How to Crack Climb

Last Updated on August 20, 2020

Most people love outdoor adventure. Because it can refresh the mind and it helps to improve the focus as well. And so, people often do outdoor activities such as climbing. Besides that, some people prefer rock climbing as it increases the level of joy. But rock climbing is not an easy task until you know how to apply the techniques of rock climbing.

How to Crack Climb

For that, traditional climbers follow crack systems as this system offers natural locations for placing hands or other protective equipment. And there are several methods involved in crack climbing as well as jamming is one of them.

To apply the technique of jamming, climbers need to force their body parts into the crack such that it exerts the force on walls. As a result, they get the necessary friction to climb upward.

And there are also some other essential methods like jamming which can help a climber to crack climb successfully. As we know, without the use of these techniques, a climber may fall into the ground.

So, it is recommended to understand how to crack climb before go climbing. Let’s check some essential tips and tricks regarding crack climbing.

How to Crack Climb


The width of a crack determines the type of jam that you will use. And it gives you an approximate level of difficulty for climbing. The individual climber’s numbers are slightly different, but the big cracks for the fingers, hands or fists are the most straightforward and natural technique.

And if you want to use standard sizes which require advanced technologies, then you need to use different body parts often. But we recommend you first to try to practice finger, hand, and fist; then you may move on the intermediate sizes.


It is an awkward size that is slightly broader than perfect fingers and narrower than a hand jam. To apply the off-fingers crack, first, you need to place your thumb in the crack.

Then put your fingers on top to form opposite corners, and also you need to drop the elbow for torque. Although the number of digits you place on your thumb (and the depth at which you drag it into the crack) varies to your position, it surprisingly works well.

Thin Hands Jam

The thin hands are the size which is more extensive than off-fingers, but narrower than the perfect hand jam. The only way is to put your fingers in the crack as much as possible and fold the palm and fingers to glue them together. Your thumb sometimes helps as part of the jam.

Hands Jam

Hand jams are the ultimate option for secure and fun climbing. You can point your hand up or down with your thumb. Of course, when the thumb is down, it creates a torque to help stick, but the thumb in a down position usually ensures maximum security for twisting movements.

You will find that each alignment adapts to slightly different conditions. Generally, thumbs up (or thumbs down) are natural in simple situations, and you can use them from the top to the waist.

The thumb down is useful only when you are above the head, but it is especially helpful in uncomfortable situations such as angles. However, you should try to squeeze your hand and gently pull it down (not out) to make sticking.

Wide Hands Jam

Between the hands and the fists is the dreaded position known as the size of wide hands. Although this technique can make jamming dangerous and exhausting, most climbers use it to crack climb.

In general, you have to fill the gap and create a holding force by bending your thumb inward. And then you have to rotate your hand. Also, you have to turn your wrist, and you can even torque it by rotating your elbow.

In this way, you can successfully apply the wind hands technique. Besides that, you need to combine all these techniques during the ascent, with slightly different variations to suit the situation.


The size of your fist is fixed, so the range of possible crack sizes is limited. Although you may feel insecure when you first learn them, Fist jams can be very stable.

A well-placed fist over a narrowing can be a slight jam that behaves like a large hex. You need to put your fist on the palm, but the palm up (palm out) also works well.

For tight fists, relax your hand and bend it (little finger with your thumb), then push it gently. For wide fists, tilt the wrist on the sides and pretend it is sticking.

Use your thumb like a shim to make the fists tighter and more relaxed. Again you can take your thumb off your fingers to get very wide fist as well.

Crack Footwork

Cracks in the size of our hands and fists also suit our feet too. The first option is to climb depending on the crack by turning your soles inward, pointing your toes up or down, and placing your knees to one side like a grasshopper.

When you use your feet in this way and get up, your legs naturally squeeze your feet and lock them in place. In this position, you are on your feet and have a full view of the crack.

In one corner, try to jam your feet in the same way. Although your inner foot is more distorted and does not feel natural, it works well.

In some situations, it is a good idea to squeeze the top of the foot in the opposite direction with the sole facing out. Because it forces your body more on the side of the crack, and it can be better for other movements without getting clogged as well.

Protect Your Skin

Whether climbing sandstone, granite, or any other material, cracks climbing can be brutal for your skin. So, experts wear tapes or gloves to crack climb, and you can also buy specially designed gloves for climbing.

Besides that, you should moisturize your hands too before you go climbing. If you plan to use a moisturizer properly, your skin will be well hydrated and elastic when you start climbing. And of course, it will keep your hand protected.

Final Words

Besides mastering the techniques related to crack climbing, you need to ensure that you have the best equipment for your security. Because every decision counts in the mountains. And small decisions like bringing the wrong kit, not enough food or water, can be a barrier to achieve your goal or having to turn back.

Also, you should remember that the higher you climb, the more extreme everything becomes. So, you need to prepare yourself properly to crack climb. Hope, you may find the review helpful and enjoyable.


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