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A climbing technique is any type or combination of body posture, movement, or hold used in climbing. In this article, several different climbing techniques are listed, and briefly described.
- Arm bar, elbow bar: Jamming an arm into a crack and locking it into place.
- Bridging or stemming: Climbing a corner with the legs apart, one against each face, with the feet relying on friction or very small holds.
- Campusing: Campusing arms. The word itself is derived from the power training done on a set of campus boards.
- Chest jam: Jamming the torso into a wide crack, for resting.
- Chimneying: Climbing between opposing rock faces, with the back and hands against one face, and the feet against the other face, or alternating between both.
- Crimp or crimping: Grabbing on to a hold with the fingertips alone.
- Dyno: The term is an abbreviation of dynamic maneuver. 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", i.e., when the hands reach the hold. When using this technique, the climber often leaves all contact with the wall.
- Egyptian, 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. It can give a longer reach as the body and shoulders twist towards a hold.
- Egyptian bridging: The same position as bridging, but with one leg in front and one behind the body.
- Extremity jams: Jamming involves taking advantage of a body part in a crack for the friction it produces to support a share of body weight.
- Gaston: Pulling sideways and outwards, akin to opening a pair of sliding doors. The term comes from a story about the climber Gaston Rébuffat, 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.
- 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.
A climber using a heel hook
- Laybacking: Climbing a vertical edge by side-pulling the edge with both hands and relying on friction or very small holds for the feet.
- Manteling, or mantelshelfing: Boosting upwards using only the arms and ending with arms fully extended downwards. The motion is akin to getting out of a swimming pool without using the ladder.
- 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).
- Smearing: Relying solely upon the friction of a flat surface, usually with the feet, to keep from falling. This is possible primarily due to the sticky rubber soles ubiquitously used in modern climbing shoes.
- Toe hook: A toe hook is securing the upper side of the toes on a hold. It helps pull the body inwards—towards the wall. The toe hook is often used on overhanging rock where it helps to keep the body from swinging away from the wall.
Jams using feet
- Foot jam: This technique is also known as the heel-to-toe jam. It involves jamming the foot into a larger crack by twisting the foot into place, the contact with the crack being on the heel and toes.
- Toe jam in a crack: When the foot is too large, the toe jam is used by locking the toes into a crack and lowering the heel down.
Where one foot is not placed on a foot hold and the leg is held in a position to maintain balance, rather than to support weight. This is often useful to prevent barn-dooring. The flagging foot may be pressed against the wall or may simply hang in space depending on what will best maintain balance.
Basic flagging positions
- Normal flag: Where the flagging foot stays on the same side (e.g. flagging with the right foot out to the right side of the body)
- Reverse inside flag: Where the flagging foot is crossed in front of the foot that is on a foot hold
- Reverse outside flag: Where the flagging foot is crossed behind the foot that is on a foot hold
Holding a grip: tendu or arqué
- 'Tendu' (French word meaning "outstretched" in this context) In this grip the fingers are close to the position when the hand is open. The relative angle between the phalanges is gradual. The load applied is coming from tension in the forearm muscles.
- 'Arqué' (French word meaning "arched", used to describe "crimping") In this position typically the first set of knuckles are hyper-extended and the second set have a sharp angle — about 90 degrees. In this position, muscular effort is combined with soft tissue tensions in order to apply the load. This position, when used often, has been known to overstress the tendons in the fingers and lead to injuries.