What are "holds" in rock climbing, and what are the different types of holds commonly found on climbing routes?

What are "holds" in rock climbing, and what are the different types of holds commonly found on climbing routes?
In rock climbing, holds are the specific features on the rock surface that climbers use to grip, step on, or otherwise manipulate their body position to ascend a route. Holds come in various shapes, sizes, and orientations, and they play a fundamental role in determining the difficulty and style of a climb.

Here are some of the different types of holds commonly found on climbing routes:

Jugs: Jugs are large, positive holds that provide ample space for the entire hand. They are often deep and rounded, allowing climbers to comfortably grip them with their entire hand.

Crimps: Crimps are small, narrow holds that require climbers to grip them with only their fingertips. They often have a sharp or thin edge, demanding strength and precise finger placement.

Pockets: Pockets are concave or partially enclosed holds that climbers can insert their fingers or thumb into. They come in various depths and sizes, ranging from shallow two-finger pockets to deeper multi-finger pockets.

Slopers: Slopers are holds with rounded, smooth surfaces that lack positive edges. They require climbers to rely on friction and body tension to maintain their grip. Slopers can be challenging, as they often demand precise body positioning and careful weight distribution.

Pinches: Pinches are holds where climbers pinch or squeeze the rock with their fingers and thumb. They can be either positive or negative, and their difficulty depends on their size, angle, and the grip strength required.

Edges: Edges are small, often thin holds with a positive or incut edge that provides a grip for fingers or toes. They can vary in width and require precise foot or hand placement to utilize their full potential.

Cracks: Cracks are fissures or gaps in the rock face that climbers can use for hand or foot jamming. Climbing cracks involves inserting body parts into the crack and using friction or pressure to maintain stability and ascend.

These are just a few examples of the diverse range of holds found in rock climbing. The distribution and arrangement of holds on a route contribute to its overall difficulty, requiring climbers to adapt their technique, strength, and body positioning accordingly. A skilled climber must be able to read and interpret the different types of holds and understand how to effectively use them to progress on the route.

Photo: Pixabay (free) 

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