Indoor climbing involves mastering a diverse array of holds, each presenting its own set of challenges and demands. In this article, “Climbing Holds 101: Types of Climbing Holds,” we delve into the intricacies of some fundamental hold types, shedding light on their characteristics, difficulty levels, and optimal uses. Whether you’re a novice or an experienced climber or route setter, understanding the nuances of these holds can significantly impact your climbing and setting experience.

Difficulty: Easy
Grip Area: Whole hands
Size: Small – Large

Climbing jugs are the most beginner-friendly hold suitable for climbers all levels. Generally, they are large with a rounded edge, allowing for one or two hands to wrap around the lip of the hold for a comfortable and strong grip. Climbers will feel safe and secure making these holds the perfect choice for down climbers, easy beginner climbs and even overhung cave routes.

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Kingdom Climbing: Chubby Jugs

Difficulty: Medium – Hard
Grip Area: Finger Tips
Size: Small – Large

Crimp holds are recognised for their low profile, featuring a narrow edge that accommodates only the fingertips. Widely acknowledged as the quintessential style of hold and the fundamental gripping technique in climbing, crimps require sturdy finger joints, tendons, and forearm strength. Training tools such as boards and hang boards often emphasise this grip, making it particularly beneficial for outdoor climbers seeking to enhance their finger strength. The term “crimp” is derived from the way these holds are utilised. In the context of climbing, crimp holds necessitate fingers to come together and sharply bend at the final joint.

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Satellite: Shinka

Difficulty: Medium – Hard
Grip Area: Whole hands
Size: Small – Large

The significance of hand size and hold dimensions becomes evident when seeking a comfortable pinch. What may be an effortless pinch hold for one climber could pose a challenge for another. Pinch holds come in many size from fat pinches to narrow pinches and are predominantly employed in vertical or diagonal placements, necessitating thumb engagement. In many indoor gyms, these holds are easily recognisable due to their distinctive hourglass or rectangular shape.

Emphasising the use of thumbs is consistently recommended, as it enhances grip strength irrespective of the hold type.

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Grizzly Holds: Floods

Pockets and Slots
Difficulty: Hard
Grip Area: Fingers
Size: Small – Medium

One of the most strenuous types of climbing holds, which are recommended for seasoned climbers only. Pockets are characterised by their small holdable surface area, usually suitable for only 1 to 3 fingers. Monos (1 finger) are the most aggressive type of pocket and put an immense amount of stain onto the fingers and tendons.Widely used by setters, these holds present challenges for matching on the climbing wall, making them ideal for forcing specific low percentage movements.

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Kilter: Granite Pockets

Difficulty: Hard
Grip Area: Whole hands
Size: Medium – Large

A love hate relationship for many climbers, slopers are possibly the most challenging climbing hold to master. These often featureless holds are large and round, offering a friction dependant open hand grip. What makes them challenging is the lack a defined edge, where intended use and best grip is not always clear. Slopers generally come in two major variations: a rounded concave or convex design. Each style presents distinct body positions and associated challenges.

Mastering slopers demands overall body strength, engaged thinking, muscle control, and dedication. This often entails making numerous attempts with a few falls in the process.

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Anti Gravity Holds: Shell

Keep an eye out for the next chapter of this Holds 101 article series, where we will cover climbing hold materials. If you have any questions or would like more information regarding climbing holds contact us through our contact form or check out our Online Holds Store.