The Top 7 Terms For Rock Climbing Holds

Positivity Rock Climbing Hold
Try out varying levels of challenge with jugs.
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Learning to rock climb can feel like learning a foreign language. The knots alone can be overwhelming! To help you grow into the best climber you can be, we’ve gathered useful definitions of some of the most common rock climbing holds terminology. Keep this reference handy the next time you practice your climbing!

1. Positivity

First, let’s talk about positivity. When climbers talk about positivity, they’re talking about how easy it is to grip the surface of a particular hold. The rougher the surface, the more “positivity” a hold has, and the easier it is to grip the hold while climbing. This is a good way way to gauge the difficulty of a specific climb.

2. Jugs

Jugs climbing holds with deep incut
Jugs make for an easier climb!
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Jugs are great holds for climbing beginners or those who want an easier climb. These holds are smooth with a deep incut, giving your hands more of a handle to hold as you pull yourself up the wall face.

3. Mini-Jugs

Young girl on rock climbing wall

If you’re climbing with children, mini-jugs are useful. These are the same as jugs, only with deeper incuts. They’re perfect for kids who are learning to climb. They’re also great for beginners or even for hardcore climbers who want an extra challenge (because of their small size) on a steep wall.

4. Slopers

Slopers Rock Climbing Hold
Challenge yourself with slopers!

When you want to step up your climbing practice, look for a route with slopers. These holds are rounded without any incut or edge to grip. Instead, you need to use the friction of your skin and your leverage to climb.

5. Pockets

Pockets climbing holds
Use Finger Strength With Pockets

For more challenge, pockets have an opening that can be either shallow or deep, giving climbers room for just one or a few fingers to grip. (Monos pocket only have room for one finger!) All of this means that your finger strength needs to be topnotch to pull yourself up the wall. When possible, use as many fingers as you can to gain more strength.

6. Pinches

Pinches rock climbing holds
Pinches for Technical Climbing
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Pinches are typically used for bouldering or for technical climbing routes. These have two faces that force you to pinch the hold for a grip. Usually these holds have enough room for the entire hand, but some are too tiny. This is when small hands can be useful for finding grips where others may not!

7. Crimp

Man gripping rock climbing hold

Another difficult hold is a crimp. These small, shallow edges have room for only one knuckle or finger pad. You need to create a downward grip on the hold by putting your second knuckle above the finger pad or knuckle that grips the hold. This is a powerful hold, but it is also hard on your finger joints and tendons.

Learn More Climbing Holds Terminology at Kendall Cliffs

Visit our indoor rock climbing gym at Kendall Cliffs in Ohio, where our skilled staff will help you to learn the ropes and master your skills just in time to go rock climbing in the crisp fall weather. We look forward to seeing you there!

Before your climbing trip, be sure to shop our climbing gear on for the highest quality products.