Crimp is a term used in climbing to describe a certain way of holding onto the rock. The essence of the crimp is that the only part of the hand which is used to gain purchase on the rock are the fingertips. The weight of the climber is loaded onto the rock via the fingertips. There are two distinct type of crimp the open crimp and the closed crimp.

In the open crimp the only inflection of the knuckles happens at the tip most knuckles. Were the hand not to be attached to the rock it would appear pretty flat, or open. The advantage of this type of crimp is that it causes less stress on the flexor tendons of the fingers, and is therefore less likely to cause injury. The disadvantage is that it is harder to hold on with this crimp and you need to be stronger to use it than you do with the closed crimp.

In the closed crimp the knuckle inflection for this crimp comes at the knuckles closest to the palm of the hand. If the hand were to be apart from the rock it would appear be bent, or closed. Having the bend in the hand so close to the palm gives rise to greater torque on the fingers. This can lead to injury, but on the other hand it is easier to use this crimp than the open crimp.

When one crimps one is said to be crimping.

In reference to siren's writeup, I just have one thing to add as a Canadian west coast climber. Over here, what you deemed an "open crimp" we call an "open hand" grip. Crimp implies just the "closed crimp" you talked about.

Open hand grips are typically weaker than the closed crimp you talk about, but that is not always the case. A friend of mine, when we boulder, can always hit long slaps in a full crimp (crimp is taken to be a closed crimp in this case to avoid confusion). He doesn't need to reset his grip or anything, he's already in a full crimp. However, when I attempt the same move, I can never hit it in a crimp. I always fall out to an open hand grip, then when my body stops swinging around I switch to a crimp grip (closed).

Such is life I guess. I blame the campus board for my open hand grip being the unconscious preference.

Note: NEVER campus in an closed crimp grip, unless you enjoy grinding your knuckles out of existence in the space of an hour.

Crimp (krimp), v. t. [imp. & p. p. Crimped (krimt; 215); p. pr. & vb. n. Crimping.] [Akin to D. krimpen to shrink, shrivel, Sw. krympa, Dan. krympe, and to E. cramp. See Cramp.]


To fold or plait in regular undulation in such a way that the material will retain the shape intended; to give a wavy appearance to; as, to crimp the border of a cap; to crimp a ruffle. Cf. Crisp.

The comely hostess in a crimped cap.
W. Irving.


To pinch and hold; to seize.

3. Hence,

to entrap into the military or naval service; as, to crimp seamen.

Coaxing and courting with intent to crimp him.

4. (Cookery)

To cause to contract, or to render more crisp, as the flesh of a fish, by gashing it, when living, with a knife; as, to crimp skate, etc.

Crimping house, a low lodging house, into which men are decoyed and plied with drink, to induce them to ship or enlist as sailors or soldiers. --
Crimping iron.
(a) An iron instrument for crimping and curling the hair.
(b) A crimping machine. --
Crimping machine, a machine with fluted rollers or with dies, for crimping ruffles, leather, iron, etc. --
Crimping pin, an instrument for crimping or puckering the border of a lady's cap.


© Webster 1913

Crimp, a.


Easily crumbled; friable; brittle. [R.]

Now the fowler . . . treads the crimp earth.
J. Philips.


Weak; inconsistent; contradictory. [R.]

The evidence is crimp; the witnesses swear backward and forward, and contradict themselves.


© Webster 1913

Crimp, n.


A coal broker. [Prov. Eng.] De Foe.


One who decoys or entraps men into the military or naval service. Marryat.


A keeper of a low lodging house where sailors and emigrants are entrapped and fleeced.


Hair which has been crimped; -- usually in pl.


A game at cards. [Obs.] B. Jonson.

Boot crimp. See under Boot.


© Webster 1913

Crimp, v. t. (Firearms)

In cartridge making, to fold the edge of (a cartridge case) inward so as to close the mouth partly and confine the charge.


© Webster 1913

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