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Crack climbing is very different from other kinds of climbing, and usually more demanding! Most outdoor crack climbing involves placing traditional pro, which further complicates it.
There are different uses of the hands on different width cracks. For finger cracks, which are cracks one can only fit their finger into, the finger jam is used. The finger jam is performed either thumbs up, or thumbs down. Thumbs up doesn't allow as much camming action as thumbs down does, but the shoulder rotates farther with the thumbs up.
A finger crack will only take the tips of your shoes, and can really do some damage. There isn't much technique to small crack footwork - just jam the tips of your shoes in and push up!
In wider cracks, a hand jam is used. Press the fingers against one side of the crack, and the top of the hand against the other. It is much like cupping the hand. The wider the crack, the more cupped the hand should be.
For a hand crack, foot placement is a little easier - you can usually get about half of your shoe in. Insert your foot sideways, with the ankle facing up, and push up.
|Working the foot in.|
Cracks that are too wide for a hand jam need a fist jam. Since it is hard the change the size of a clenched fist, the size range for fist cracks is very small. The cracks that you can fit your fists into are sure ascents - fist jams are very secure. If you encounter a crack that is too large for one fist, you can use a hand-fist jam. Make a fist with one hand, then wrap your other hand on one side of the fist.
Cracks that are larger than a hand-fist jam are called off-widths. Usually a climber can fit a half of their body into an off-width. Arms and hands work together in an off-width to performthe chicken-wing. Make what seems like a chicken wing to you, then instead of sticking the hand in the armpit, the hand would go on the outside edge of the crack.
An armbar is done by pressing the upper arm against one side of the crack, and the hand against the other side.[an error occurred while processing this directive]