Climbing technique

A climbing technique is any type of body postures, movements and holds used in climbing.


Heel hook

Using the back of the heel to apply pressure to a hold, for balance or leverage; this technique requires pulling with the heel of a foot by flexing the hamstring. This technique is notable since in most forms of climbing one uses the toes to push.

Toe hook

Hooking the upper side of the toes on a hold. It helps pull the body inwards--towards the wall. Often used on overhanging rock where it helps to keep the body from swinging away from the wall.


Climbing using only the arms. This term comes from specific power training done on a set of campus boards.

Finger jam, hand jam, fist jam

Jamming a body part in a crack and using the friction produced to hang from it.

Chest jam

Jamming the torso into a wide crack, for resting.

Arm bar, elbow bar

Jamming an arm into a crack and locking it into place.

No-hands rest

Method for resting without using the hands, such as standing on footholds, or using a knee bar (jamming a knee into a large crack).

Holding a grip tendu or arqué

Different ways of holding a grip. Tendu is French for open hand, which means the fingers are in a position that is close to the position they are when the hand is opened--hence the name. The relative angle between the phalanges is gradual. The load applied is coming from muscular tension in the forearm muscles. Arqué is French for crimping, in this position typically the first knuckles are hyperextended and the second has a sharp angle--about 90 degrees. In this position muscular effort is combined with soft tissues tensions in order to apply the load. This position, when used often, has been known to overstress the "pulleys" in the fingers and lead to injuries.

Crimp or crimping

Holding onto a hold with no obvious grip--see above definitions of arqué.


Climbing between opposing rock faces, with the back and hands against one face, and the feet against the other face or alternating between both.

Egyptian or drop knee or Lolotte

Method for reducing tension in arms when holding a side grip. One knee ends up in a lower position with the body twisted towards the other leg. Can give a longer reach as the body and shoulder twists towards a hold.

Mantling or mantleshelfing

Boosting upwards with only one's arms, ending with arms fully extended downwards. The motion is akin to getting out of a swimming pool without using the ladder.

Bridging or stemming

Climbing a corner with the legs spread wide apart, one against each face, with the feet relying on friction or very small holds.

Egyptian bridging

Same as bridging, but with one leg in front and one behind the body.


Climbing a vertical edge by side-pulling the edge with both hands and relying on friction or very small holds for the feet.


Relying solely upon the friction of a flat surface, usually with the feet.


Pulling sideways and outwards, akin to opening a pair of sliding doors. The term comes from a story about the climber Gaston Rebuffat who apparently climbed several difficult cracks in Europe using this hand position. Normally cracks are climbed by jamming hands or fingers—or any part of the body that fits—in the crack to hold oneself.


Using the momentum of a movement or jump to reach a hold beyond your reach. Ideally gravity brings the movement to a stop at the "deadpoint", just as the hands reach the hold. Can involve the climber leaving all contact with the wall. The term is short for Dynamic Manoeuvre.

ee also


External links

* [ Climbing Techniques] footwork, jamming, dynos and more.
* [] has lots of info on climbing techniques

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