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CLIMBING TERMINIOLOGY 

Climbing is dangerous, it involves inherent and other risks and cannot be made safe. The information presented here does not describe all of the risks associated with climbing and is not intended to replace or supersede expert instruction and training.

TYPES OF CLIMBING 

BOULDERING
Bouldering is the most straight forward and most accessible form of climbing. NO ropes, only shoes and chalk (and hopefully some ground pads). It is all about technical, difficult moves on short routes- generally no higher than 12-15ft above the ground. While roped climbing has more of a focus on endurance, bouldering is all about power, finesse and technique. What started as a way to train for roped climbing has now evolved into a sport of its own.

TOP ROPE CLIMBING
Top Rope climbing is done by running the rope through an anchor at the top of the climb, and then back down to the climber allowing the rope to hang from the top of the climb. A belayer holds on side of the rope and a climber will ascend being tied into the other side. The climber follows the rope up to the top rope anchor and the belayer takes up the slack and holds the climber in case of a fall. The belayer must diligently take up slack in the rope as the climber ascends the route, reducing the threat of falling greater distances or to the ground.

LEAD CLIMBING
In Lead climbing, the climber is going to take or "lead" the rope up as they climb. It is different from top rope climbing in that the rope is not redirected through an anchor at the top and before it is attached to the climber. With lead climbing, the climber is going to tie in on the ground, the rope hangs below them as they climb, as they ascend, they clip into anchors or quick draws that are placed or already in place on the wall. A belayer lets out slack as their partner climbs, takes in slack once they clip into an anchor, and holds them if they sit back or put their weight on the rope, or fall. Because the person is often climbing above their last clip, a climber could fall a distance twice that or more.

TRADITIONAL/TRAD CLIMBING
Trad climbing is a type of outdoor lead climbing where climbers must place removeable protection, anchors, or gear as they climb. This protection is non-permanent, and the climber relies on pockets, cracks and other natural rock features to secure their gear so it will hold if weighted or if the climber falls. The climber clips their rope into gear to protect against a fall as they ascend and removes it when they are finished climbing or when the second (or last) climber reaches it and is relying on protection, an anchor or gear that was placed higher up by the lead climber.

SPORT LEAD CLIMBING / SPORT CLIMBING
Sport climbing is a type of lead climbing, both indoor and outdoor, where bolts or anchors are already placed in the climb. The climber will place quickdraws in the preplaced bolts or bolt holders that are fixed to the rock wall as they climb. Once the climber places a quickdraw, they then clip the rope into that anchor as they continue to ascend. Indoor climbing facilities usually have the quickdraws permanently attached, and the climber merely has to clip the rope into them as they climb.

FREE CLIMBING
Believe it or not, free climbing and free soloing are different! Free climbing simply refers to any style of climbing where you strictly use your strength and skill to ascend a route (no tools such as ascenders, skyhooks, ladders, aiders, etc...). As long as you are only using hand and footholds to get up a climb, you are free climbing.

FREE SOLOING
No partner, no rope, and no gear equals the highest stakes in climbing. To free solo is to climb a route alone, without using any protective equipment - yes, just like Alex Honnold did on El Cap. It is a fairly uncommon type of climbing due to its extremely dangerous nature. Those who do attempt free solos often choose easier routes and rehearse many times before soloing harder grades. Deep water soloing is a less dangerous, and more common type of solo, as this is done on overhanging rock faces above deep water. If the climber falls, the idea is that they fall unharmed into water, although rough seas or hazards just below the surface can still pose risks.

ADAPTIVE CLIMBING
Climbers with permanent physical disabilities may be considered adaptive climbers. Adaptive climbing can look different depending on the individual, and they was they need or prefer to adapt their climbing technique to work with their body. In some cases, an adaptive climber may use a chair harness and an ascender to scale walls.

AID CLIMBING
Aid climbing involves standing on or pulling oneself up via devices attached to fixed or placed protection to make upward progress. Rather than relying on one's own strength, ability or body to ascend, an aid climber utilizes various tools and gear such as ascenders, aiders, sky hooks and more for upward movement. Contrasting with free climbing protection, which can sustain the force of some long falls, some aid protection is only designed to hold one's body weight.

AUTO BELAY
Auto-Belay devices allow people to climb without the help of a belay partner. They prevent slack in the climbing rope, or line by automatically and mechanically taking it up as the climber ascends. When the climber reaches the top, or falls, the auto-belay immediately arrests the fall and lowers the climber to the ground in a controlled manner. these devices usually hang on or attached to an artificial climbing wall. There are several different types of auto-belay devices, including those that operate by hydraulics, magnetic braking technology, centrifugal force, and/or friction.

RAPPELLING / RAPPEL
Rappelling is the method of descending from the top of a wall or pitch using a belay device on a doubled rope, fixed from above. In Europe, they sometimes call it abseiling! A climber rappels down a rock face, wall, or other structure by lowering themselves down the rope in a controlled way.

 

CLIMBING SLANG & jARGON

APPROACH
The route or hike to the base of a climb.

BELAY
Belaying is an essential part of any type of climbing that uses a rope. The belayer is the one responsible for catching or holding the climber if they fall. They do this by running the rope through a belay device to create friction, which gives the belayer the ability to catch or hold the climber. The belay device is connected to the belayer's harness with a locking carabiner. When the rope is appropriately locked into the belay device, the climber is then "on belay" and can begin their ascent. The belayer applies tension to the rope whenever the climber is not moving and removes the tension or slack from the rope whenever the climber needs more rope to continue climbing. An individual should receive instruction and supervision from an experienced climber or trained instructor before belaying.

BELAY DEVICE
A belay device helps control and acts as a brake on the climbing rope by applying friction to it and giving the belayer a mechanical advantage in catching the weight and arresting a climber's fall. The device, along with the belayer's quick braking hand (which locks off the free end of the rope), helps keep tension on the rope and helps protect the climber at the other end. Belay devices usually attach to the harness of the belayer with a carabiner. Some belay devices can also be used as an aid for a controlled descent of a rope, called rappelling.
     Sticht Plate: This was an early mechanical rope brake,, named after its designer, Fritz Sticht. It consisted of a small metal plate with a slot that allows a bight of rope to pass through to a locking carabiner and back out. The locking carabiner is also clipped into the belayer's harness who is then able to control the movement of the rope and lock it off to take a climber's weight or arrest a fall. Some plates have two slots for double ropes. A wide wire spring may be attached on one side of the plate to keep the plate away from the carabiner, resulting in locking the rope. This makes it easier to feed or take in slack in the rope through the device.
     Tubular: A tubular or tube style belay device generally has a tubular or rectangular shape. It is an evolution of the Sticht Plate's concept but has more surface area to dissipate heat from the friction of the rope, and has a stronger degree of friction for greater ability to catch a fall. As a result, this is generally the most common type of belay device used in climbing. Besides arresting the fall of a climber, these devices can also be used for rappelling.
     Assisted Braking Belay Device or Grigri: Assisted braking devices use a sudden load on the rope to engage a camming mechanism or pull the belay carabiner into a pinch point to prevent the rope from passing through the belay device. This will arrest a fall or take the weight of the climber automatically and assist the belayer in locking off the rope. The most common assisted braking device is the Petzl Grigri. Most assisted braking belay devices are designed for single rope use. Therefore, They are not suitable for double rope rappels. A climber will need to bring along a second device if a rappel might be needed.
     Figure 8: Sometimes referred to as an "eight", this device is most commonly used as a descender or rappelling device. A figure 8 can be used for belaying, however, they are not preferred as it tends to twist the rope, causing kinks in it.

BETA
This is one of the most useful terms for beginner climbers to learn. Beta refers to any help, advice or information from another person in regards to a climb. Are you stuck on a move? Request beta from a more experienced climber and it will often help get you past it. Be careful when giving beta however, as it isn't usually wanted unless asked for!

BOMBER
This term comes from being "bombproof", meaning that the rock or hold is very solid and secure. Usually, it refers to a piece of gear, the placement of gear, the quality of the rock, a hold or grip. The opposite of "bomber" is "sketchy".

Chalk
Climbing chalk is primarily made of magnesium carbonate and helps reduce moisture on sweaty hands to improve the friction between skin and rock. Chalk can be broken down into three basic subcategories: block chalk, powder chalk and liquid chalk. Block chalk is, as the name indicates, sold in solid rectangular blocks.  It is the same as powdered chalk, but has not been crushed and filtered into a powder. Therefore, it is most often more economical than other types of chalk. you must break down the chalk yourself before using it. Powder chalk comes in varying degrees of consistency from a super fine chalk to chunky, pebble sized pieces.  Often, it comes in a super find mesh cloth bag that is carried in a chalk bag. Liquid chalk is a combination of regular chalk and a type of alcohol, forming a liquid that can be easily applied to the hands. The alcohol evaporates, leaving an even layer of chalk.

CLIMBING SHOES
A climbing shoe is a specialized type of footwear designed specifically for rock climbing. Typically, climbing shoes have a tight fit, very little (if any) padding, to conform closely to the wearer's feet. They have a smooth, sticky rubber sole with an extended rubber rand (an edge that extends over the toe, heal, and sides of the shoe). Climbing shoes should be tight to support the foot and allow the climber to use small footholds effectively. Most climbers do not wear socks in order to achieve a more precise fit and feel. As a result of the tight fit, climbing shoes are uncomfortable to walk in, therefore, it is common to see climbers wearing other shoes to approach climbing areas, belay or walk around indoor climbing facilities.

CRAG
This is a general term for an outdoor climbing area with many different routes. It can also be used as a verb, so "cragging" is the activity of spending the day at a climbing spot, working on a project, sending some moderate routes or having a great time outdoors with friends.

CRASH PAD
What looks like mattresses that boulderers carry around on their backs are crash pads. When bouldering outdoors, climbers will strategically place crash pads in the fall zone of whatever their attempting to provide a softer landing surface.

CRUX
The crux of a climb refers to the most difficult move or series of moves on a route/problem. Climbs are rated based on the crux, not on their average difficulty. While moves in indoor climbing facilities are usually fairly consistent with their ratings, when climbing outdoors, the difficulty can vary greatly. Reading guidebooks and researching routes is imperative to understand routes and problems.

FLAPPER
The rock or hand hold tears a massive chunk of flesh that hangs from the finger. It may look like a bloody mess, but don't fear- flappers heal quickly and are an inevitable part of the rock climbing experience.

PROJECT
A project is a route or problem that a climber is dedicating time to work on. Generally, it will be at or just above their level of ability. While not terribly specific to climbing, it is a term you will hear a lot. It is often used as a verb, as in "projecting"

PUMPED
This term describes the sensation of extreme fatigue in the forearms. Lactic acid builds up and accumulates in the muscles as the forearms fatigue, making them feel inflated, tight, and clumsy.

RACK
A rack refers to a climber's gear, usually organized onto a sling or a harness. What is actually selected for one's rack on any specific day or climb depends on the rock type, length and grade of the route(s) that are expected to be climbed. Don't climb with more weight than necessary!

SEND
Sending a route is the most common use of the term. This means successfully reaching the top and finishing a climb. One may hear someone yelling at other climbers to "send it!" If one is climbing strong, the people yelling this are encouraging to not give up and keep going!

SPOTTING
Spotting is a safety measure used in bouldering and sometimes before a lead climber has clipped the first piece of protective gear or quickdraw on a trade or sport route. A spotter remains below a climber, with arms raised, prepared to help guide their fall to a crash pad to ensure hey do not fall headfirst or backwards. There is a lot that goes into being an excellent spotter, and it not done correctly, spotting can lead to injury. Be sure to read up on proper spotting techniques before offering to spot others!

SUS
to "sus" is to check something out. It is shorthand for suspicious or suspect. Before a first attempt on a boulder problem, there may be questions on the difficulty of the overall climb, or a specific hold. Therefore, it may be beneficial to sus it out first. Inspect the holds, visualize the movement, feel the texture of the rock, etc...

TAKE
This is a command phrase used in roped climbing. The phrase refers to taking up slack in a rope system. For example, when a climber completes a route they will often shout "TAKE!" Their belayer then knows to tighten the rope by  taking slack out through the belay device, allowing the climber to sit back and place their weight on the rope without being lowered.

TOP-OUT
At an indoor climbing facility, one usually jumps or downclimbs from the final holds of a bouldering problem, in a few facilities, top out boulders are available. Many outdoor boulders must be "topped-out" in order to complete the problem. Topping out, by definition is the final act of climbing a problem, up and over until you are standing on the top of the boulder. After pulling through some of the hard, pumpy moves, topping out can sometimes be the hardest part of the climb!

WHIPPER
A whipper is a big fall. It is called this because when a climber falls on lead from above their last piece of protection, they will plummet in an arcing manner and the slake in the rope will create a whip like motion. If you take an impressive fall, you might hear another climber exclaim in admiration, "that was quite a whipper!" Hopefully, the verbal support will reduce the sting of the fall.

CLIMBING GEAR


PROTECTION
Climbing protection is any variety of devices employed to reduce risk and protect climbers from falling when they are climbing. There are a number of ways to protect a climb using natural features and various pieces of gear. Different types of climbing and different climbing surfaces utilize varying forms of protection and systems to provide anchors that help secure climbers. Protection includes nylon webbing, slings, quickdraws, carabiners, bolts, pitons and various gear that can be passive or active. It is vital that climbers receive proper instruction on ow to appropriately use any and all climbing gear.

BOLTS
Fixed anchors in holes drilled into the rock. Usually, they are expansion bolts with a bolt hanger that can be clipped by the climber with a carabiner.

CARABINERS
A metal coupling link with a safety closure. The closure mechanism or gate on every carabiner is meant to allow for things to be attached or clipped to it so that it is unlikely to come off. On a locking carabiner, the gate can either screw or snap shut so the gate is locked closed for safety purposes.

CLIMBING ROPE
Rope used for climbing must be dynamic rope. it is designed to stretch or elongate when weighted. this reduces the impact force on the climber and their gear when it is weighted or loaded during a fall. High impact forces are harmful on the climber's body and on their equipment.
     Diameter: Modern climbing ropes range anywhere from 8.0mm-10.5mm in diameter. Larger diameter ropes are heavy, but very durable. This makes them a good choice for top-roping. Skinnier ropes are light and have low impact forces, making them best suited for lead climbing, alpine, ice and hard sport climbing.
Length: Ropes come in a variety of lengths, from 30 meters all the way up to 80 meters. Climbing ropes are often 60 or 70 meters in length.
     Core: The core of a rope is comprised of individual yarns which are bundled into plies. The plies then get bundled together to form the core. The core is where you rope will get a large majority of its strength and shock absorption from.
Sheath: This is the pretty, colorful face material you see when looking at a rope. The main function of the sheath is to protect the core. The thicker the sheath, the more protection it will provide, increasing overall durability of the rope. While the main purpose of a sheath is to protect, it does provide a small degree of strength.
     Breaking Strength: The breaking strength of a rope is measure using kilonewtons (formulated using mass, length, and speed) and represents how much force a rope can withstand before breaking. Dynamic ropes have a slew of other complex statistics in addition to breaking strength such as fall factor, impact force, elongation, and sheath slippage.

DAISY CHAIN
A length of webbing that has sewn loops that run the length of the "chain". One end of the daisy is usually girth-hitched through the tie-in point on the climber's harness. The loops running the length of the webbing may then be clipped with a carabiner and attached to an anchor, providing a safety attachment for the climber. The advantage of using a daisy chain is that it can be left affixed to the harness when climbing. Once at the anchor, the daisy chain can be quickly and easily clipped in to secure the climber.

PERSONAL ANCHOR SYSTEM (PAS)
Similar to a daisy chain, a PAS is a series of independent loops that are sewn together in a chain.

PITONS
Metal spikes hammered or hand placed in thin cracks and clipped through an eye in the piton to a carabiner.

QUICKDRAWS
A type of runner consisting of two carabiners connected by a semi-rigid material, sometimes called the "dog bone", that attaches the rope to an anchor and allows the rope to run freely thought it. One carabiner is clipped to the protective anchor, and the rope runs through the other carabiner. A climber uses quickdraws to extend an anchor and help keep the path o the climbing rope straight to avoid sharp changes in rope direction. This will lesson rope drag, which enables more fluid climbing movement.

SLING OR RUNNERS
Slings or runners are loops of nylon webbing, cord or rope. They can be attached or tied to natural features such as rocks or trees, threading through natural holds in the rock or looped around natural chock stones (a stone securely jammed in a crack). They can also be hitched to artificial anchors such as metal hangers, chains, bolts, or rings. Other uses include temporarily securing a climber directly to an anchor, extending anchors to equalize the system, or extending protection to avoid rope drag.

STATIC ROPE/CORD
Unlike dynamic rope, a static rope does not stretch when bearing a load. These ropes or smaller diameter cords are intended to be sued for building anchors, hauling loads, and rappelling. This type of rope should not be used as a climbing rope because it will not absorb any forces in a fall and could lead to equipment failure and/or serious injury.

WEBBING
Nylon webbing is used primarily in climbing for anchors is a tube of one-inch webbing that lies flat. The benefit of tubular webbing is that the wrap around effect increases the overall strength because of the double material. where flat webbing is a solid weave of strong nylon fibers, tubular webbing's doubled over feature gives it additional protection against frays and cuts when it is scraped over rough or jagged surfaces. Also, it tends to be more flexible and pliable than flat webbing. Therefore, it is easier to tie into slings, runners and loops.


PASSIVE GEAR/PROTECTION

PASSIVE GEAR
Passive gear is placed protection which have no moving parts. Pieces of passive protection or "pro" are wedged into constrictions in the rock to provide secure anchors. When weighted or subject to the force of a fall, it digs deeper into the rock constriction and holds the anchor in place. Originally, climbers would jam stones into cracks and sling them with the rope, cord or webbing. Eventually, it was discovered that machined metal nuts could be permanently slung with cord and they came in various sizes. Today, passive gear comes specifically made for climbing in a variety of sizes, shapes and uses.

NUTS OR STOPPERS
A type of passive gear that comes in various shapes and sizes of metal pieces that can be placed in constrictions in cracks and attached to a carabiner with wire or nylon cord.

HEXCENTERICS/HEXES
These are a type of nut or stopper that are a hollow eccentric hexagonal (six-sided) prism with tapered ends, usually threaded with webbing, a swaged cable, or a cord. The range in size can often be larger than typical nuts or stoppers. Like nuts and stoppers, the yare wedged into a crack or other openings in the rock acting like a chock stone. Hexes are sometimes used as active protection by orienting the webbing, cord or cable so that the pull causes a camming action against the rock.


ACTIVE GEAR/PROTECTION

ACTIVE GEAR
Active gear is placed protection that actively expands or cams to fit a range of cracks or pockets in the rock.

CAMALOTS/CAMS
Also referred to as Friends, Spring Loaded Camming Devices or SLCDs, cams typically feature three or four curved pieces of aluminum, called cam loves mounted on an axle. These multiple cams operate in opposition, which expand in a crack as they device is weighted and are released, making the device smaller, when a spring trigger mechanism is engaged. They are engineered to expand when the trigger is released to fit the crack. Their design allows them to be placed in parallel and outward flaring cracks, A properly placed cam will convert the pulling force of a falling climber from along the stem of the device downward pressure directed outward onto the rock, generating more force and friction so as to securing the unit in place.


HYBRID GEAR/PROTECTION

TRICAMS
A nut/cam hybrid that can be placed as a passive piece, like a nut, or as an active or camming piece. They consist solely of a loop of webbing attached to a uniquely shaped metal head and come in various sizes. They have no moving parts; however, they use clever geometry to convert a downward pull on the webbing into an outward push against the rock. When they webbing attachment point is oriented on the opposite side to the direction of the pull, the head will cam into the crack. If the webbing attachment point is nearest the direction of the pull, the Tricam is used as a passive protection anchor, similar to a nut or stopper.

CLIMBING HOLDS & WALL FEATURES


JUGS
Comes from the term "jug handle" simply meaning a great big hand hold that is easy to grab onto.

SLOPER
This is a type of hold that cannot be held onto by gripping or using fingers. Instead, climbers must rely on hand and surface friction. The palm of the hand is used to create as much surface area contact as possible. A slopey climb will usually be a slightly less steep pitch where friction is key.

CRIMP
Unlike jugs, crimps are smaller and cannot be grasped in the same way. These small edges are barely large enough to engage the fingertips.

PINCH
Exactly what it sounds like, this type of hold is best used by squeezing both sides with thumb and fingers.

POCKET
Pockets are smaller circular hand holds that often can only fit 2 or 3 fingers. A hold with only enough room for one digit is known as a mono-pocket or mono.

HUECO
Named after the world class bouldering destination in Hueco Tanks, Texas, hueco is the Spanish word for hollows. It describes the type of hold commonly found at Hueco Tanks State Park & Historic site. These are large circular inset handholds ranging from a size that can fit your whole hand, or, in some cases, your whole body.

CHIMNEY
A wide, vertical crack large enough for a climber to fit inside and shimmy up. Successful climbers will ascend the inside of the chimney by using opposing force with the feet and the body.

CHOSS
Crumbly, or loose rock, usually considered unsafe to climb. If you are one of the twisted few who choose to tackle chossy rock, carefully inspect and test holds by gently tapping on it before putting any weight on. If it sounds hollow or moves, don't use it!

OVERHANG/ROOF
An overhang refers to a rock face at an angle greater than 90 degrees (vertical). It slopes beyond the vertical. Particularly steep overhangs that nearly or completely reach horizontal, are called a roof.

SLAB
The type of rock face positioned at an angle less steep than vertical. successful slab climbing is often dependent on trusting friction, precise footwork, good body position and balance.

HIGHBALL
A highball is a boulder problem that is long and high off the ground. A fall could result in serious injury. Any boulder taller than 15ft is considered a highball, with an upper limit around 25-35ft. Even with the most crash pads and best spotters, falling from a highball boulder can result in injury. That is why most successful high ball boulderers climb with the mindset that they won't fall. Added height and risk can make a highball send feel extra rewarding!

ARETE
A fancy, French way to refer to the outward facing corner of a rockface. Difficult arete routes will demand heel hooks, toe-scums and slap moves.

DIHEDRAL
A dihedral is where two planes of a rock wall intersect in an "open book" or inside corner. A climber can use counter0pressure and friction on each side of a dihedral to climb it.

CLIMBING TERMS DENOTING MOVEMENT


HEEL HOOK
It seems simple in theory-throw your heel around a hold or feature to use those powerful leg muscles to pull you into the wall. But when used properly, this simple move can is one of the best climbing techniques available for taking weight off your arms, keeping your hips close to the wall for balance, and generating power towards your next hold.

TOE HOOK
An essential footwork technique for steep overhangs. using the friction of shoe-rubber on the top of your toes and flexing your foot up, against the rock. This position is useful for keeping four points of contact on the wall and distributing body weight to your feet, giving your arm muscles a rest.

SMEAR
When there is a lack of footholds, using the friction of shoe rubber on the bare rock is called smearing. The more pressure you put on your smearing foot, the more friction there is to help it stick.

FLAG
Flagging is a body position essential for beginners breaking into higher grades! Flagging allows you to use a free-hanging foot as counterbalance to statically make the next move. By extending your foot out to one side of your body, it acts lie a tail, keeping your balance and helping to use less energy on the wall.

LOCK-OFF
A static, controlled movement of pulling down on a hand hold until the arm is in a bent position, then using body tension to hold the locked position in order to reach the next hold with the free hand.

DEADPOINT
A controlled dynamic climbing motion in which the climber will time their movement with the brief instance when their body weight is not being pulled downward by gravity. They grab a hold with one hand at the apex of their body's upward motion while one or both feet and the other hand maintain contact with the rock. Do not confuse this move with a dyno.

DYNO
A dyno is a dynamic climbing movement that requires an explosion of momentum to send the body in the direction of the next hand hold. A true dyno requires both hands to simultaneously disconnect from or leave the wall on their way to grabbing the next hold or holds. It is more of a "leap of faith" and once you go for it, then you are committed to the move!

TRAVERSE
A traverse is a lateral or side-to-side move or route when climbing or descending. It means moving sideways rather than up or down. Traversing is climbing horizontally instead of vertically. Traversing can be an excellent way to warm up or a way to get past a difficult or impossible portion of the climb.

DROP-KNEE
The drop-knee is a footwork technique that involves heavily weighting the outside edge of one foot, swiveling the corresponding hip toward the wall and torqueing the knee downwards. The other foot can be stemmed against another hold. This knee torque brings the hips close to the wall and allows for an easier reach to the next handhold.

TOE SCUM OR TOE JAM
A toe scum or jam is the act of squashing the toe bit of the foot into whatever space is available to progress up the route or problem.

HAND/FIST/FOOT JAM
Jamming is inserting your hands or feet into a crack and expanding, cupping or torqueing them to create a secure hold. A fist jam is created by making a fist and widening it or wedging it into a constriction. James can be difficult and sometimes painful, but it is often the only way to get a hood hold in a crack.

FINGER JAM OR FINGER LOCK
A climber creates a finger lock when they insert or jam their fingers into a narrow crack, ideally to the second or third knuckle, and lock them off in a constriction by rotating the elbow down, torqueing the fingers into the jam. A crack that is too small to fit the index and middle finer might fit the pinkie and ring finger. In order to get the index and middle finger into the crack, try to place the hand in a thumb down position. If the crack is too small to fit those fingers, turn to a hand thumb up and insert a pinkie and ring finger.

RINGLOCK
When a finger crack starts to get a little wider, climbers can use what is called a ring lock to make a secure finger lock or finger jam. To create a ring lock, make an "OK" sign with the thumb and index finger, insert the finger circle into the crack with the elbow up, stack additional fingers on top of the index finger, and then torque the elbow down to lock the jam into place.

ARM BAR
For an arm bar, a climber jams their entire arm into a crack, placing their hand deep into the crack. With their body oriented sideways, they press the palm of their hand against one side of the crack, thumb up, and their elbow against the other side. use opposing force to get a secure jam.

CHICKEN WING
A chicken wing is similar to an arm bar except a climber jams an arm with a bent elbow into a crack first, with the hand pointing outward, and pushing in opposition with the back of their shoulder and the forearm, wrist, or hand against both sides of the crack to create a secure hold. The climber pushes down and outward on the chicken wing and cams the elbow and arm into place.

HAND STACK
Jam both hands into a crack that is too large for a regular hand jam and too small for an arm bar or chicken wing. There are three different configurations that can be utilized, however, they wider the crack, the less secure these holds can become:
      Hand-Hand or Butterfly Stack: Place the backs of your hands together and insert them into the crack fingers first with your thumbs up. Cup your hands to the sides of the crack and pull. This is essentially a double hand jam.
      Hand Fist: One hand will be in a fist against the back of the other hand that is open and cupped in a hand jam position. Place the open hand palm-first against the crack, and hen the fisted hand between the crack and the back of your open hand. Generally, it is more secure to cross your arms at the wrists, rather than normal left/right orientation; also, this is less awkward and allows to you to reach father into the crack.
      Fist-Fist: The widest and most difficult of the hand stacks is the two fisted hand stack. Make two fists and cross your arms at the wrists; one hand should have the back of the hand facing outward, toward the climber, and the other hand should be facing inward. the wrist with the back of the hand facing outward should be on top of the wrist with the thumb facing outward. Flexing the firsts against each other and the crack while pushing downward creates a subtle jam.

LAYBACK
A layback is a technique that is mainly used in crack climbing, on flakes or corners with the hands and feet working in opposition to each other. To perform a layback, you need to put both hands in the crack, thumbs facing each other, and pull while pushing with your legs off the edge of the wall. Your body lays back from the wall keeping your arms as straight as possible.

GASTON
A gaston is a kind of two-handed grip which involves pushing a hold instead of pulling. A climber grabs a hold or places their hands in a crack with the palms facing away from one another with the thumbs pointing down and the elbows out. They generate pressure by pushing outward, like they are trying to open an elevator door.

KNEE BAR
This is a climbing maneuver in which a leg hold is created by camming a kneed or lower thigh up under or against a hold/ feature in opposition to the foot. A solid knee bar should allow a climber to go hands free to rest.

 

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