How To

Your How-To Guide to Crack Climbing

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Crack climbing isn’t something you’re going to excel at straight away; it takes a lot of practice and requires a lot of technique. If you’re a bit of an adrenaline junky, and crack climbing is next on your hit list, you won’t just be able to jump straight into it and start scaling walls and cliff faces.

You will need a bit of patience as it can take some time to learn all of the different techniques and practice the ways you can get your hands and feet into cracks. The art of crack climbing isn’t easy. It can also be very painful since most of the cracks you jam your hands and feet into are rough and sharp.

Of course, you not only need to learn the techniques, but you also need to know how to stay safe. To help you out, we’ve put together a list of helpful tips that you can use as your how-to guide and become a pro crack climber in no time.

Tape Up

Don’t be a fool and cut up your hands. If you want to be a pro crack climber, you’re going to have to look after those hands. Use tape to protect the skin on your hands from being roughed up or torn.
Taping up your hands also gives you a bit of extra friction when you’re trying to jam smoother cracks. By taping up your hands, you’ll be able to crack climb for longer.

Here’s a handy video on how to tape your hands:

Footwork Is Important

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When you’re crack climbing, it’s essential that you nail your footwork. While you’re scaling a cliff face, you always need to consider where your feet can go next. These limbs play a vital role in supporting your bodyweight, so you need to ensure that you have the techniques down to a tee. With proper footwork, you can make your way up the cracks much faster while also receiving more stability.

How To Hand And Foot Jam

Knowing how to jam your hand into a crack safely is one of the first steps to becoming a crack climbing pro. Here are three steps that will help you with your first hand jam:

Step 1 – To get a good hand jam, you need to begin by wedging your hand sideways into the crack with your thumb on top. This move is referred to by climbers as ‘thumbs up.’

Step 2 – The next step is to tuck your thumb into the side of your palm and expand your hand, so it fills out the crack.

Step 3 – Test your jam by hanging your body weight off of the wedged hand. If you don’t slip, you’ve got yourself a hand jam.

Once you’ve aced hand jams, it’s time to practice jamming your feet. Get your hands securely into the crack and from there; you can push the front part of your shoe into the crack with your knee facing outwards. Once it’s in, twist your foot, so your knee is facing upwards.

Let the rubber on your climbing shoe grip onto the crack, and then push off with your free foot so that you’re standing on your jammed foot. Bring your free foot up to the level of your calf and jam it into the crack using the same technique. As you get the hang of jamming both your hands and feet, you’ll soon find your rhythm.

No Pain No Gain

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Yes, we know that crack climbing can hurt, but it’s all in the name of learning. You may experience some serious pain and awkward positions, but once you get the hang of jamming, the suffering you once felt will be no more.

Don’t be put off by the aches and discomfort you feel at the start, with practice; you can increase your understanding and eventually crack climbing will come naturally. Overcome the pain because the final reward is thrilling.

Ace The Tricks


To become a pro crack climber, you need to ace the tricks. Hand stacks, fists, thumb down, thumb up, knee bars, finger locks, and ring locks are just a few of the skills that you need to master, and you’ll never become one unless you give them all a shot.

With every crack that you jam, your body will have to respond in different ways. You may feel uncomfortable at first, but the more you practice, the more techniques you’ll pick up. Eventually, you’ll be able to navigate your way to the top no matter what size cracks you’re faced with.

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