Types of Climbing Holds: Everything YOU need to Know

Types of Climbing Holds

When you begin your indoor climbing adventures, you will notice that not all climbing wall holds are the same. You get a variety of shapes and sizes designed to mimic the different types of climbing holds you will find outdoors.

It is important to know the difference between the different types of climbing  grips. This will help you choose the correct grips when building a climbing wall at home.

In this post we will teach you about the different types of grips available and how to use them.


Below is a list of the MAIN types of climbing holds available.

When discussing different types of holds we refer to the ” positivity” of a hold which refers to how much space there is for your hands or fingers to fit into.

A flat surface, with no space to hold onto is completely negative.

Types of Climbing Holds


Jugs are the easiest and most user friendly of all climbing grips and they are usually extremely positive.

They are large open holds that provide space for you to either put both or one of your hands in easily.

These grips are great for beginner routes and for resting on intermediate or expert routes.

You also get mini jugs (incuts) that  you can only fit your fingers into

Types of climbing holds -Jug


Edges are usually small grips that sit on a wall with a 90 degree “edge”. They can also be slightly more positive or negativ).

Edges are easy to identify as they have a flat surface. Usually edges are large enough to fit at least four fingers onto the edge or your toes.

In outdoor climbing edges can be big enough for both hands and then we call them ledges.


A crimp is a very small edge that only allows you to place the pads of your fingers on the edges.

Crimps are not recommended to beginner climbers. This is due to the strain placed on the hand and fingers while holding the grip.


Pinches are grips that are placed vertically on a wall and they have a positive edge on both sides .

You are meant to hold this grip in a pinching motion.  Your thumb on one side of the grips and then you place your other fingers on the opposite side of the grip.

Although pinches do not look easy, they are great to use because your thumbs provide extra gripping power.

Types of Climbing Holds - Pinches


Slopers come in a variety of sizes, this however, does not make them easy for you to use.

A key trait to a sloper is zero positive angles, meaning you will only be using friction to pull yourself up on this grip.

The best way to grip a sloper is to place as much of your hand onto the grip as possible.


Pockets are grips that have holes in the middle. Depending on the size of the hole you will be able to fit a finger, fingers or your hole hand in one.

Pocket grips can look easy to use but because you may be putting a lot of strain on a few fingers  it is possible to cause an injury while you pulley yourself up.


You most likely will not find the below holds in a climbing gym but when you are climbing outdoors.

  • SIDEPULLS – are holds where the positive edge is facing sideways away from you.
  • UNDERCLINGS – this is where the positive edge of the hold is facing downwards. You grip these with your palm facing up.
  • GASTONS – a climbing hold that you will push against as opposed to pulling on.
  • HORNS – are holds that protrude from the wall or rock, you can easily get your hands around them to pull yourself up.
  • FLAKES – a flake is a piece of rock that has detached from a bigger piece of rock and left a gap or a crack between them. You can usually get a good grip on a flake similar to a jug, this depends on the space between the two rocks.


We manufacture and supply climbing grips and holds, climbing and bouldering crash mats, DIY Climbing Wall Kits as well as climbing wall panels.

 You can purchase either online, by Whats App  or book an appointment to come see the stock we have on hand.

We are based in Boksburg, Gauteng and we sell and courier to all regions in South Africa.

You can purchase climbing grips and fittings on our ONLINE STORE:   or you can call or Whats App Romaigne on 061 787 1431 or email info@intrepidtraders.co.za

You can also follow us on our Facebook Page to keep up to date with the latest news, articles and promotions.

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