The Ultimate Guide to Different Types of Climbing Holds

In rock climbing, climbing holds are the artificial or natural features on the climbing wall or rock surface that climbers use to support their weight and make progress. There are various types of climbing holds, each offering different shapes, sizes, textures, and angles. Here are some common types of climbing holds:

1. Jug Holds

Jug holds are large, deep, and positive holds that are easy to grip. They typically offer a generous and comfortable grip, resembling a jug or large handle. Jug holds are often used for resting or providing a secure grip on less challenging routes.

2. Crimp Holds

Crimp holds are small, narrow, and shallow holds that require the climber to crimp their fingers tightly on the hold. These holds have a small contact area and can be challenging to grip, relying on finger strength and precision. Crimps are commonly found on more difficult routes and boulder problems.

3. Pinch Holds

Pinch holds require the climber to squeeze the hold between their thumb and fingers, similar to pinching an object. They come in various shapes and sizes, from wide pinches to narrow pinches. Pinch holds can be challenging, as they require finger and thumb strength as well as body positioning to maintain grip.

4. Sloper Holds

Sloper holds have a smooth and rounded surface, making them challenging to grip due to the lack of positive edges or features. Climbers must rely on friction, body tension, and precise hand placement to maintain contact with sloper holds. Slopers are often found on steep or slab routes.

5. Pocket Holds

Pocket holds are small, concave indentations in the rock or climbing wall. They can vary in depth, shape, and orientation. Pockets can be shallow or deep, one-finger or multi-finger pockets. Climbers typically insert their fingers or thumbs into the pockets to gain a grip. Pocket holds require finger strength, body positioning, and technique.

6. Edge Holds

Edge holds, also known as crimps or edges, are narrow and thin holds that provide a small positive edge to grip. They require climbers to use their fingertips to grasp the hold and often demand precise footwork and body positioning for balance. Edge holds can be found on both vertical and overhanging routes.

7. Tufa Holds

Tufa holds are specific to outdoor climbing on natural limestone formations. They resemble elongated protrusions or columns and can vary in shape and texture. Tufa holds offer unique grip options, requiring climbers to use body positioning and creative techniques to utilize their irregular shapes.

These are just a few examples of the many types of climbing holds. The variety and combination of holds on a climbing route or wall contribute to the overall challenge and diversity of climbing experiences. Climbers must adapt to different hold types, using their strength, technique, and problem-solving skills to navigate the route.