Rock Climbing 101: A Guide to Types of Rock Climbing Holds

Rock climbing holds are the grips or handholds that climbers use to ascend a wall or rock face. They come in various shapes, sizes, and textures, providing different challenges and techniques. Here are some common types of rock climbing holds:

1. Jug Holds

Jug holds are large, deep, and easy-to-grasp handholds. They are often rounded or incut, providing a secure and comfortable grip. Jug holds are commonly used for resting, as they offer a positive grip and require less effort to hold.

2. Crimp Holds

Crimp holds are small and shallow handholds that require a strong grip. They typically have a narrow edge, requiring climbers to apply pressure with their fingertips. Crimps demand finger strength and precision and are often used on more challenging routes.

3. Sloper Holds

Sloper holds are smooth, rounded holds with little or no positive edges. They require climbers to rely on friction and body tension rather than relying solely on hand strength. Slopers often test a climber’s balance and body positioning.

4. Pinch Holds

Pinch holds require gripping with the thumb on one side and the fingers on the other, resembling a pinching motion. They can be either large or small and vary in difficulty depending on their width and angle. Pinch holds challenge thumb and finger strength.

5. Pocket Holds

Pocket holds are small indentations or holes in the rock face that climbers use to grip. They can range in size from shallow pockets to deep pockets, requiring different finger positions and strength. Pocket holds often demand precise finger placement.

6. Ledge Holds

Ledge holds are wide, horizontal handholds that offer a flat surface for climbers to rest or stabilize themselves. They provide a larger surface area for gripping, allowing climbers to redistribute their weight and take a break.

7. Gaston Holds

Gaston holds require the climber to apply outward pressure against the hold, typically with the palm facing outwards. They often involve using the side pull of the hand or an opposing force to maintain grip on the hold.

These are just a few examples of the many types of rock climbing holds. Each hold requires different techniques, strength, and body positioning, adding to the challenge and variety of the climbing experience.