WON Landing Page OCT 2022

Climbing Holds, Moves, & Technique: The Beginner’s Guide

There’s an awful lot going on in climbing. That’s actually one of the sport’s main attractions. No two climbs are ever the same.

But with so many variables in what makes a climb how are you supposed to make sense of any of it?

Well, there are actually a few different categories we can put aspects of a climb into. These categories can include what the rock is shaped like and how you cling to it — the holds. They can also include how you travel between these holds — the moves.

There is actually a vast array of ways you can move between climbing holds. The important part is that some of these ways are much easier than others.

Good climbing technique is when you perform the easiest possible movement to get to the next hold.

This guide covers everything you need to get started — from choosing the right body position for a move to fine-tuning the exact orientations of your body in that position to harness the best possible centre of gravity.

Firstly, let’s go through the different types of climbing holds.


This is your bread and butter climbing hold. It’s what everyone thinks of when trying to imagine what climbers are hanging onto.

crimp climbing hold

The name actually comes from the way your fingers hold it so this hold describes a small but positive edge you can only fit the top pad of your fingers on.


This is what you’ll find yourself on when trying climbing for the first time or when warming up.

jig climbing hold
jug climbing hold 2

A jug normally describes a large, deep hold that you can wrap your whole hand around.

Interestingly though the word jug is probably the most SUBJECTIVE term in climbing holds and is often used to describe a hold that you can grip okay but your climbing partner struggles with.


If you take a crimp and then try to imagine grabbing something as unlike it as possible you’ll probably end up with a sloper.

Slopers are often large, round holds that do not have a positive gradient. This means you can’t close your fingers around them at all and your hand remains quite open.

Sloper hold

Continue reading Climbing Moves, Holds, & Technique: The Beginner’s Guide from our friends at 99Boulders here.

Read more posts about climbing at The WON here.

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    The Women's Outdoor News, aka The WON, features news, reviews and stories about women who are shooting, hunting, fishing and actively engaging in outdoor adventure. This publication is for women, by women.