Crux (climbing)

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Wolfgang Gullich starting the crux move of Action Directe, one of the world's most difficult routes.

A crux in climbing, mountaineering and high mountain touring is the most difficult section of a route, or the place where the greatest danger exists. In sport climbing and bouldering the most challenging point is also called the crux.[1] In describing a climbing route using a topo, cruces (or cruxes) are usually shown with a key symbol.

The grade of a climbing route is based on the difficulty of the crux. That means the rest of the route can be considerably easier. In addition a route may comprise several cruces. There are also routes, however, that have a very consistent level of difficulty with no sections that stand out as harder than the rest.

In planning a route it is important to know how far it is before the crux is reached, because cruces, also called cruxes,[2] can only be overcome with sufficient reserves of strength.[3]


  1. ^ Kletterlexikon at
  2. ^ The term is Latin, so strictly the plural is cruces. However, climbing references also use cruxes
  3. ^ Kurt Winkler / Hans-Peter Brehm / Jürg Haltmeier: Technik, Taktik, Sicherheit, SAC Verlag 2008, ISBN 978-3-85902-280-5, pp. 84 ff.