How To Do Finger Crack Climbing


Cruising a perfect hand crack is one of the best feelings. However, when it narrows to fingers, the real battle begins. To float up finger fissures, you will need more skills. 

In this article, we will focus on making you better at finger crack climbing. Armed with the right crack climbing shoes and the tips outlined in the following paragraphs, getting the finger lock technique right should be easy for you. 

Mastering Finger Crack Climbing – Everything You Need to Know 

For finger crack climbing to work for you, you will need to know how to use your hands and feet correctly. The following hand and feet techniques will work for both experienced and beginning rock climbers

Hand Techniques

Easy: Finger Lock Technique

Finger locks are basically what one might call the cake of finger cracks – they are generally easy. You will need to simply put the fingers straight and drop them down, slotting them in the finger crack so that they sink to the second or third knuckles. Your knuckles will act like nuts – they will wedge into the constrictions. 

The right finger lock technique takes minimal muscle engagement and the climber usually feels like he/she could hang on forever. You can dry thumb-down and thumb-up finger locks considering that the pinky and ring fingers slot perfectly where the middle and pointer fingers are too large. 

Hard: Ratchet Technique 

For cracks that are too wide for the finger lock technique, try to stick as much of your hand as possible in the crack with your pinky up, elbow out, and the thumb tucked under the fingers. Pull the elbow down and in towards the ribs. 

This ratcheting motion will create a torque that cams the fingers into the crack, allowing you to move up the rock after donning your climbing shorts and climbing helmet. It is worth noting that this technique will be useless if the hands are too slow – to ensure your hands are agile enough, keep them at the face level or higher. 

Hardest: Ring Locks 

Cracks that are slightly small for the ratchet technique should fit the ring lock well. Simply put the pointer and middle fingers on the thumb’s top portion and insert that into the fissure, pinky up and elbow out. Bring your elbow down and in. This will cram the fingers in place. 

Similar to when you are using the ratchet, the hand should be at your face or higher to be effective. To enhance climbing safety and to avoid dealing with pain when climbing, you should consider taping your entire hand. 

Feet Techniques 

Easy: Face Holds 

When finger crack climbing, you can use face holds to avoid stressing your fingers too much. Simply look for edges, dishes, and bumps on the face outside the crack. 

Scout for these at all times, as they are the easiest to use. Once you locate an ideal face hold, simply use the front part of your rock climbing shoe to hold on while you maneuver your hands and fingers. 

Hard: Toe Jams 

This idea is similar to foot jamming in a hand crack. With the knee sticking out to the side, simply raise your foot almost level with the knee you are standing on and stick as many toes into the crack as you can. 

Next, cam your toes in by bringing the leg back in line with the body. Chances are, you will only get the tip of the toe-in. For this reason, twisting and trusting yourself will help it. Avoid keeping the feet too low – this can make it extremely difficult for you to make the next move. 

Hardest: Crack Smears

Compared to the techniques outlined above, crack smears are the hardest. This tells you that using the technique to improve your climbing may require some training and practice. 

For crack smears, you will need to point the foot straight at the crack, so that the big toe lines up with the middle of the crack. Bend the toes upward. 

You will essentially be smearing on the crack’s edges. Any flared spots or irregularities on the crack will make the most ideal footholds. A soft, sensitive crack or trad climbing shoes that fit tightly work the best when using the crack smears. 



Q: How Do You Climb Finger Cracks?


The best way to climb finger cracks is to combine finger locks with the right footwork. For the fingers, simply insert some or all the fingers into the crack, ideally to your second or third knuckle and lock them off on a constriction in the crack.

For the footwork, you can turn the foot so that the big toe is up and try to get the toes in if the crack is wide enough. Alternatively, you can press the foot straight onto the crack, relying on friction to create a foothold.

Q: What is a Finger Crack?


A finger crack is a fissure that is too narrow to fit the entire hand. The crack can only fit all or some of your fingers. While working with finger cracks is usually harder, the right finger lock technique can make the climbing much easier.

Q: Is Crack Climbing Hard?


Crack climbing tends to be hardest during the initial days. As you become acquainted with finger locks and footwork, your crack climbing technique and fun factor improve. It, however, takes practice for crack climbing to be easy enough. 

Q: How Do You Climb Skinny Hands?


Crack width often determines the type of jam you can use. To climb with skinny hands, you simply need to look for cracks that are well-sized for your fingers, hand, or fist. For these types of cracks, the jams will feel more natural.

Globo Surf Overview

For most climbing beginners, finger crack climbing sounds extremely complicated. However, practicing the techniques described above should make this climbing much easier. 

The key to succeeding is using the right technique in the right crack. For example, do not try to use the ratchet in a crack best-suited for finger locks. Otherwise, your climbing won’t be effective. 

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My name is David Hamburg. I am an avid water sports fan who enjoys paddle boarding, surfing, scuba diving, and kite surfing. Anything with a board or chance I can get in the water I love! I am such a big fan I decided to start this website to review all my favorite products and some others. Hope you enjoy!