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How to jam thin hand cracks

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Acmesalute76 · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jul 2016 · Points: 55

I'm no crack climbing expert. But I can hand jam. I can fist jam. They feel solid when the crack is a nice size. My footwork in the crack is halfway decent. But I've been struggling hard with the thin hands size, where you can't quite get your hand in but it's way too wide for ring locks. I've tried thumbs up, thumbs down, tape, no tape, and it always seems desperate and strenuous, like I'm working too hard and always slipping out. Does anybody have any tips? I see people cruise this stuff so I know it's possible. I've read articles and asked around but have yet to figure out the subtleties.

Mathias · · Loveland, CO · Joined Jun 2014 · Points: 308

This book… excellent. It deals with various techniques for all the "off" sizes.

reboot · · . · Joined Jul 2006 · Points: 125

As much as I like Kent's book, I think he (purposefully) left out more general climbing techniques that are applicable to crack climbing (especially for a strong face climber).

There isn't much you can do with a thin hands crack jam wise: you stick your hands and feet as deep in the crack as possible. However, you CAN shift your weight side-to-side for more hand/wrist camming (requires good forearm strength) and/or hand/foot opposition (requires good core strength), especially when making a move.

BigB · · Red Rock, NV · Joined Feb 2015 · Points: 340

ha every "hand crack" ive ever tried is thin hands(I'm 6'4 #225)I'm starting to think I need to look for fist cracks to learn my hand jams :D

Don Ferris · · Eldorado Springs · Joined Nov 2012 · Points: 175

For me, thumbs down is best until the crack is thin enough for ring locks. Jam as much of your thumb and pointer and middle fingers in as you can. Flex similar to as you would for a #2 hand crack. Any smaller and ring locks are key. For me that is.

I've seen people go thumbs up third knuckle deep on shit I would ringlock. They flex their fingers like they are trying to skratch an itch in the back of the crack. This has never worked for me.

Phil Sakievich · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Aug 2014 · Points: 118

If it's really too thin for your hands then you need to move to a thumb stack or ring lock. There is a range there too. Just wrap your fingers closer to the base of your thumb and that will expand the stack/lock range.

For me, too thin is when I can't get my knuckles and my thumb's last joint in the crack together. Thumbs up thin hands for me pretty much all comes down to the thumb. Thumbs down is more like a chock, but it doesn't slide in as deep. It can seem desperate, but it should improve with practice. Chances are you just need to spend some time working the size, building strength and improving foot work.

I recently put a lot of emphasis on ring locks. When I started I could barely balance on them, with no ability to gain upward progress. After 4-6 weeks of working the size consistently they started to feel super solid to where I could climb splitters, and eventually even down climb in that size. It took a few rounds of gobies, but it all came together. It really clicked when I started paying lots of attention to my footwork.

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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