A Beginner's Guide to Climbing Holds: Types, Sizes, and Installation Tips

Climbing holds are the essential building blocks of any climbing wall, providing the necessary grip and challenge for climbers of all skill levels. Whether you're a beginner looking to start your climbing journey or a seasoned climber interested in building your own wall, understanding the different types of climbing holds, their sizes, and proper installation techniques is crucial. In this beginner's guide, we'll take you through everything you need to know about climbing holds, helping you get started on your climbing adventure with confidence.

Understanding Climbing Holds:

Climbing holds come in various shapes and designs, each serving a specific purpose to create diverse climbing routes. Here are the most common types of climbing holds you'll encounter:


These large, comfortable holds provide an excellent starting point for beginners, offering a generous amount of surface area to grip.


Crimps are small, shallow holds that test your finger strength and precision. They require careful placement of your fingertips to maintain grip.


Slopers have rounded and smooth surfaces, making them challenging to hold onto. Developing body tension and balance is crucial when using slopers.


Pinches are holds that require you to squeeze them between your thumb and fingers. They can come in different widths and shapes, adding variety to your climbing experience.


Pockets are small indentations in the climbing wall that you can grip with your fingers. They can be shallow or deep, demanding finger strength and technique.


Choosing the Right Sizes:

Climbing holds are available in various sizes to accommodate different skill levels and wall angles. When starting out, consider the following factors:

Beginner-friendly sizes:

Look for larger holds with more surface area, such as jugs and larger-sized slopers. These provide a more forgiving grip and help build confidence.

Intermediate sizes:

As you progress, gradually introduce smaller holds like crimps and pockets to improve finger strength and precision.

Advanced sizes:

For experienced climbers, smaller and more challenging holds can be used to enhance technique and strength.


Installation Tips:

Proper installation of climbing holds is crucial for safety and durability. Consider the following tips:

Wall surface preparation:

Ensure your climbing wall is clean, free of dirt, and structurally sound before installing holds. Smooth out any rough spots and remove any loose debris.

Bolt-on holds:

Most climbing holds are secured with bolts. Use appropriate hardware, such as T-nuts and bolts, to attach the holds securely to the wall. Follow the manufacturer's guidelines for bolt torque and spacing.

Screw-on holds:

Some holds are designed for screw-on installation. Pre-drill pilot holes to prevent wood from splitting, and use appropriate screws to secure the holds in place.

Hold placement and route setting:

Consider the intended difficulty level and flow of your climbing route when placing holds. Create variety by positioning holds at different heights, angles, and distances.

Tips for Beginners:

If you're new to climbing holds, here are some additional tips to help you get started:

  1. a. Warm-up and stretch: Always warm up your muscles and stretch before climbing. This helps prevent injuries and improves flexibility.

    b. Proper hand positioning: Practice using different grip techniques, such as open-handed, crimping, and pinching, to develop strength and versatility.

    c. Take breaks: Listen to your body and take regular breaks to avoid overexertion. Climbing can be physically demanding, so allow yourself time to rest and recover.

    d. Seek guidance: Consider taking a beginner's climbing class or hiring a climbing coach to learn proper techniques and safety protocols.

Climbing holds are the gateway to an exhilarating climbing experience, offering endless possibilities for climbers of all levels. By understanding the different types of climbing holds, selecting the appropriate sizes, and installing them correctly, you'll be well on your way to creating exciting climbing routes and improving your skills. Remember to prioritize safety, take it one step at a time, and enjoy the rewarding journey of mastering climbing holds. Happy climbing!