6. Crimping

A “crimp”  is a term used to describe small edges or hand-holds, ranging from in-cut to sloping. The word “crimp” can define both the type of hold, and the grip position itself.  

Crimps are edges, and are often positive. At times they are smooth, like sandstone. Others are sharp or rough, such as granite or limestone.

The grip position on a crimp is similar to that of a fist, having four fingers on the edge (if possible) with the hand in a “closed position”. Sometimes the thumb will lock over the top of the hold, or even on top of the index finger nail itself.

When using Crimps, it is important to be focused and precise. This relates to both body position, as well as foot placement. When crimping, the climber often uses just their fingertips, and edges of their shoes, to stay on the wall.

Some Considerations:

– Crimps can be one finger pad, two pads, or even three pads.

– Typically, a crimp is defined by a single pad or less. That is a true crimp.

– Climbers often forget that focusing on body and foot positioning is just as important as squeezing the crimper with your hands. That is why we minimize over-gripping, unless absolutely required.

– Sequence of movement is also important (as shown in the next videos), so try to not be intimidated by tiny crimp holds.

– On the largest crimps, fingertips alone may be enough to get positive contact.

– As crimps get smaller, and to maximize positive contact, stabilize your wrists in order to transfer the workload to the bigger muscles groups in your arms.

It should be noted that this grip type is one of the most dangerous, and places heavy strain on the joints.  Climb with an open hand or “half crimp” whenever possible. This is why some argue to minimize the technique of “stacking the thumb”.

Once again, when crimping, extra care should be given to moving smoothly and statically. Body positioning is important. Keep your hips in, and your weight over your toes.

We hope you found this video helpful. Feel free to comment below with questions or thoughts!

Please remember, climbing is inherently dangerous. Climb at your own risk.