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Handhold

Definition of a Climbing Word

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Handhold

A climber crimps handholds on a vertical limestone cliff in Montana.

Photo © Stewart M. Green

Handhold

A handhold is a point on a cliff face that a climber uses for one or both hands, allowing him to make upward progress. Handholds come in many sizes from a dime-width edge on a granite slab to a jug or bucket hold that is big enough for a climber to grip with his whole hand. Other types of handholds are crimps, open hand holds, fingertip holds, pinch holds, Climbers use six basic grips to use handholds: the crimp; the vertical crimp; the open hand grip; the ring grip; the pocket grip; palm pressure; and the pinch grip. Other types of handholds and their hand techniques are underclinging, mantling, laybacking, and sidepulls.

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