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Definition of a Climbing Word


A lead climber jams a finger crack on Crescent Wall at Lumpy Ridge in Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado.

Jamming or wedging your hands, fingers, and feet in a crack, is how you climb cracks.

Photograph © Stewart M. Green


Jamming, also called crack climbing, is a climbing technique used for ascending cracks or fissures on rock faces by the technique of wedging or "jamming" a climber’s fingers, hands, arms, feet, and knees into a crack or fissure. The friction obtained from wedging allows the climber to move upward. Jams are referred to by the body part used: finger jam; hand jam; fist jam; arm bar; knee jam; foot jam; toe jam. Jamming is a difficult technique to learn but once a climber learns it offers a generally secure way to climb a crack as well as find a rest.

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