What does ‘Crux’ mean in Climbing – [Climbing Term Explained]

If you’re new to climbing or bouldering, you’ll be hearing a lot of new terms in the climbing gym as well as from videos that you might consume. One of the most common climbing terms is ‘Crux’.

So what does Crux mean in climbing? Let’s take a look…

What does ‘Crux’ mean in climbing/bouldering?

The Climbing term ‘Crux’ stands for the hardest move or section in a route or boulder problem.

In most cases, the crux is the most technically demanding part of a climb. In some cases, it can also be the part that requires the most strength.

When assigning a grade, the climber always has to consider the crux of that route to assign a proper grade. If the crux feels like a 5.10 but the rest of the route is an easy 5.8 the route should still be graded 5.10.

Not taking the crux into account when assigning a grade, can result in a sandbagged climb. If you can make it past the crux, you should easily be able to send the route.

How the climbing term Crux originated

Unlike other climbing terms which have interesting origins (e.g. Beta) the origin of the climb term Crux is very simple. Crux is a word used in the English language.

Here’s how dictionary describes Crux:

Crux (noun): a vital, basic, decisive, or pivotal point

In climbing, the term Crux has the exact same meaning as it does in the English language.

This definition can easily be applied to in climbing world: the crux of that route is located around the halfway point.

How to identify the crux in a route

Have you ever been stuck on a certain part of a boulder problem? Did the rest of the problem feel like a cakewalk until that one point you just can’t seem to get past? Maybe the hold seems too far, you need to use a dyno or a heel hook that you just aren’t comfortable with? In this case, you have likely been stuck at the crux of the problem.

In many cases, the crux of the problem is the most technically demanding part and might require a specific beta in combination with practice to get past.


Crux is simply a climbing term to identify the hardest, most pivotal part of a climb or boulder problem. The term is derived from the English language and is widely adopted by climbers to address the most difficult section of a route or boulder problem. Most climbs have at least one crux in them but sometimes a route might have more than one.

Since Crux is such a notable climbing term, you might notice it is used in a lot of climbing-related fields. For example, plenty of climbing gyms have ‘crux’ in their name. Some climbing gyms even sell drinks that are named crux. Boreal sells shoes that are called crux. The list goes on.

Hopefully this article has helped you understand the meaning of ‘Crux’ in climbing. For more info on jargon, out our articles on other climbing terms as well!

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