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Rock Climbing Terms

Rock Climbing Terms

Below you will find user submited Terms and How-to information for Rock Climbing. Tips are displayed based on reader popularity, so make sure to vote for your favorite Terms!

MOVE
Moving together

"B"-GRADE
A grading system for bouldering problems, invented by John Gill. Now largely superseded by the "V" grading system.

"V"-GRADE
A technical grading system for bouldering problems, invented by John Sherman.

ABALAKOV THREAD
A type of abseiling point used especially in winter and ice climbing. Also called as V-thread.

ABLATION ZONE
The area of a glacier where yearly melting meets or exceeds the annual snow fall.

ABSEIL
The process by which a climber can descend a fixed rope. Also known as Rappel

ACR (ALPINE COCK RING)
An anchor method similar to a cordelette but that is dynamically equalizing. It employs a cord and a rappel ring.

ADZE
A thin blade mounted perpendicular to the handle on an ice axe that can be used for chopping footholds.

ALPINE START
To make an efficient start on a long climb by packing all your gear the previous evening and starting early in the morning, usually well before sunrise.

ALTITUDE SICKNESS
A medical condition that is often observed at high altitudes. Also known as Acute mountain sickness, or AMS.

AMERICAN DEATH TRIANGLE
An anchor which is created by connecting a closed loop of cord or webbing between two points of protection, and then suspending the rope from a carabiner clipped to only one strand of said anchor. This creates a triangular shape in the webbing or cord, which places massively multiplied inward forces on the protection, making it a dangerous, ineffective anchor.

ANCHOR
An arrangement of one or (usually) more pieces of gear set up to support the weight of a belay or top rope.

APPROACH
The path or route to the start of a technical climb. Although this is generally a walk or, at most, a scramble it is occasionally as hazardous as the climb itself.

ARÊTE
1. A small ridge-like feature on a steep rock face 2. Arête, a narrow ridge of rock formed by glacial erosion 3. A method of indoor climbing, in which one is able to use such a corner as a hold.

ASCEND
To climb a rope using aid device.

ASCENDER
A device for ascending on a rope.

ATC
A proprietary belay device manufactured by Black Diamond.

ATOMIC BELAY
A quick method for setting up a two-point anchor in sport climbing, using the climbing rope to attach to the anchor points.

BACHAR LADDER
A piece of training equipment used to improve campusing and core strength.

BACK-CLIPPING
A potentially hazardous mistake that can be made while lead climbing. The rope is clipped into a quickdraw such that the leader's end runs underneath the quickdraw as opposed to over top of it. If the leader falls, the rope may fold directly over the gate causing it to open and release the rope from the carabiner.

BAIL
To retreat from a climb.

BARN-DOOR
If a climber has only two points of contact using either the right or left side of his body, the other half may swing uncontrollably out from the wall like a door on a hinge.

BASHIE
A copperhead intended for pounding into a crack

BELAY
To protect a roped climber from falling by passing the rope through, or around, any type of friction enhancing belay device. Before belay devices were invented, the rope was simply passed around the belayer's hips to create friction.

BELAY DEVICE
A mechanical device used to create friction when belaying by putting bends in the rope. Many types of belay devices exist, including ATC, grigri, Reverso, Sticht plate, eight and tuber. Some belay devices may also be used as descenders. A Munter hitch can sometimes be used instead of a belay device.

BELAY SLAVE
Someone that volunteers for, or is tricked into, repeated belaying duties without partaking in any of the actual climbing.

BENIGHTMENT
an unscheduled overnight bivouac often due to an epic.

BETA
Advice and/or instructions on how to successfully complete a particular climbing route, boulder problem, or crux sequence.

BETA FLASH
The clean ascent of a climb on the first attempt, having previously obtained beta or while having beta shouted up from the ground en route.

BIVY (OR BIVVY)
From the French "bivouac". A camp, or the act of camping, overnight while still on a climbing route off the ground. May involve nothing more than lying down or sitting on a rock ledge without any sleeping gear. When there is no rock ledge available, such as on a sheer vertical wall, a portaledge that hangs from anchors on the wall can be used.

BIVY-BAG
A lightweight garment or sack offering full-body protection from wind and rain.

BOLLARD
A large knob of rock or ice used as a belay anchor.

BOLT
A point of protection permanently installed in a hole drilled into the rock, to which a metal hanger is attached, having a hole for a biner or ring.

BOLT CHOPPING
The deliberate and destructive removal of one or more bolts.

BOMB-PROOF ANCHOR
A totally secure anchor. Also known as bomber.

BOULDERING
The practice of climbing on large boulders. Typically this is close to the ground, so protection takes the form of crash pads and spotting instead of belay ropes

BUCKET
A large handhold.

BUILDERING
The art of climbing on buildings, which is often illegal.

BUMMER
A slang word, used usually to describe a difficult or uncomfortable hold, often one that tears the skin on the hand.

BUMP
To quickly move up a hand or a foot a small distance from one useful hold to another.

BUTTRESS
A prominent feature that juts out from a rock or mountain.

CAIRN
A distinctive pile of stones placed to designate a summit or mark a trail, often above the treeline.

CAM
A spring-loaded device used as protection.

CAMPUS
The act of climbing without using any feet.

CAMPUS BOARD
Training equipment used to build finger strength and strong arm lock-offs.

CARABINER
Metal rings with spring-loaded gates, used as connectors. Also known as crab or biner (pronounced beaner).

CHALK
A compound used to improve grip by absorbing sweat. It is actually gymnastics chalk, usually magnesium carbonate. Its use is controversial in some areas.

CHALK BAG
A hand-sized holder for a climber's chalk that is usually carried on a chalkbelt for easy access during a climb.

CHIMNEY
A rock cleft with vertical sides mostly parallel, large enough to fit the climber's body into. To climb such a structure, the climber often uses his head, back and feet to apply opposite pressure on the vertical walls. The process of using such a technique.

CHIPPING
Improving a hold by permanently altering the rock. Widely used in the 80's and early 90's, but now considered unethical and unacceptable.

CHOCK
A mechanical device, or a wedge, used as anchors in cracks. A naturally occurring stone wedged in a crack.

CHOSS
Loose or "rotten" rock.

CLAWING
Use of front points of crampons, ice axe pick and ice hammer pick to climb a slope.

CLEAN
To remove equipment from a route. A route that is free of loose vegetation and rocks. To complete a climb without falling or resting on the rope. Also see redpoint. In aid climbing, abbreviated "C", a route that does not require the use of a hammer or any invasive addition of protection (such as pitons or copperheads) into the rock (see protection).

CLEANING TOOL
A device for removing jammed equipment, especially nuts, from a route. Also known as a nut key.

CLIMBING AREA
A region that is plentiful with climbing routes.

CLIMBING COMMAND
A short phrase used for communication between a climber and a belayer.

CLIMBING GYM
Specialized indoor climbing centres.

CLIMBING SHOE
Footwear designed specifically for climbing. Usually well fitting, with a rubber sole.

CLIMBING TECHNIQUE
Particular techniques, or moves, commonly applied in climbing.

CLIMBING WALL
Artificial rock, typically in a climbing gym.

CLIPPING IN
The process of attaching to belay lines or anchors for protection.

CLIPSTICK
In bolted climbing, an extendable pole which is allows the climber to reach the first bolt from the ground, thus making the route safer and less committing. Ethically dubious.

COL
A small pass or "saddle" between two peaks. Excellent for navigation as when standing on one it's always down in two, opposite, directions and up in the two directions in between those.

CORD LOCK
a lock or toggle used to fasten cords with gloved hands. Used on most mountaineering gear.

CORDELETTE
A long loop of accessory cord used to tie into multiple anchor points.

CORNER
An inside corner of rock, the opposite to an arête (UK). See Dihedral.

COULOIR
A steep gully or gorge frequently filled with snow or ice.

CRACK CLIMBING
To ascend on a rock face by wedging body parts into cracks, i.e. not face climbing. See jamming and chimney.

CRAG
A small area with climbing routes, often just a small cliff face or a few boulders.

CRAMPONING
Using crampons to ascend or descend on ice, preferably with maximum number of points of the crampon into the ice for weight distribution. Accidentally piercing something with a crampon spike.

CRAMPONS
Metal framework with spikes attached to boots to increase safety on snow and ice.

CRANK
To pull on a hold as hard as possible.

CRASH PAD
A thick mat used to soften landings or to cover hazardous objects in the event of a fall.

CRATER
Hitting the ground at the end of a fall instead of being caught by the rope.

CRIMP
A hold which is only just big enough to be grasped with the tips of the fingers. The process of holding onto a crimp.

CRUX
The most difficult portion of a climb.

CUT-LOOSE
Where a climber's feet swing away from the rock on overhanging terrain, leaving the climber hanging only by their hands. Also known as "Cutting feet."

CWM
A hanging valley, or cirque—a steep-walled semicircular basin in a mountain—sometimes containing a lake; also known as a corrie.

DAISY CHAIN
A special purpose type of sling with multiple sewn, or tied, loops. It is significantly weaker than a normal sling.

DEAD BALL
Type of High Ball boulder, where one can possibly die when falling from above.

DEAD HANG
To hang limp, such that weight is held by ligament tension rather than muscles.

DEADMAN ANCHOR
An object buried into snow to serve as an anchor for an attached rope. One common type of such an anchor is the snow fluke.

DEADPOINT
A dynamic climbing technique in which the hold is grabbed at the apex of upward motion. This technique places minimal strain on both the hold and the arms.

DECK
The ground. To hit the ground, usually the outcome of a fall.

DEEP WATER SOLOING
Free climbing an area that overhangs a deep enough body of water to allow for a safe fall.

DESCENDER
A device for controlled descent on a rope. Many belay devices may be used as descenders, including ATCs, eights, or even carabiners.

DEXAMETHASONE
A pharmaceutical drug used in the treatment of high altitude cerebral edema as well as high altitude pulmonary edema. It is commonly carried on mountain climbing expeditions to help climbers deal with altitude sickness.

DIALLED
To have complete understanding of a particular climbing move or route.

DIAMOX
A drug used to inhibit the onset of altitude sickness. Otherwise known as Acetazolamide.

DIÈDRE
A dihedral.

DIHEDRAL
An inside corner of rock, with more than a 90-degree angle between the faces. See also corner and arête.

DIRECT AID
A type of tension climbing consisting of using one or more belay ropes to haul the leader up to the next point of protection.

DOUBLE ROPE TECHNIQUE (DRT)
For alpine and rock climbers this term implies the use of two separate ropes. For tree climbers this term is ambiguous but is usually interpreted as a synonym for Doubled Rope Technique.

DOUBLED ROPE TECHNIQUE (DDRT)
A method used primarily by tree climbers where the rope passes over a support/limb and continuously slides over the limb as the climber ascends or descends

DOWNCLIMB
To descend by climbing downward, typically after completing a climb.

DRY-TOOLING
Using tools for ice climbing like crampons and ice axes on rock.

DULFERSITZ
A method of rappelling, without mechanical tools, where the uphill rope is straddled by the climber then looped around a hip, across the chest, over the opposite (weak) shoulder, and held with the downhill (strong) hand to adjust the shoulder friction and thus the descending speed.

DYNAMIC BELAY
Technique of stopping a long fall using smooth braking to reduce stress on the protection points and avoid unnecessary trauma from an abrupt stop.

DYNAMIC MOTION
Any move in which body momentum is used to progress. As opposed to static technique where three-point suspension and slow, controlled movement is the rule.

DYNAMIC ROPE
A slightly elastic rope that softens falls to some extent. Also tend to be damaged less severely by heavy loads.

DYNO
A dynamic move to grab a hold that would otherwise be out of reach. Generally both feet will leave the rock face and return again once the target hold is caught. Non-climbers would call it a jump or a leap.

EDGE
A thin ledge on the rock.

EDGING
Using the edge of the climbing shoe on a foothold. In the absence of footholds, smearing is used.

EGYPTIAN
A climbing technique used to reduce tension in arms while holding a side grip.

EIGHT-THOUSANDER
A mountain whose elevation exceeds 8,000 metres above sea level.

ELIMINATE
A term from bouldering describing a move or series of moves in which either certain holds are placed 'off bounds' or other artificial restrictions are imposed.

ELVIS LEGS
Wobbly knees resulting from tired legs

EPIC
An ordinary climb rendered difficult by a dangerous combination of weather, injuries, darkness, lack of preparedness or other adverse factors. See Punter.

EUROPEAN DEATH KNOT
A double overhand used to join a pair of ropes for retrievable abseils. So named as the technique originated in Europe and the Americans initially distrusted it.

EXPOSURE
Empty space below a climber, usually referring to a great distance above the deck through which the climber could fall.

FACE CLIMBING
To ascend a vertical rock face using finger holds, edges and smears, i.e. not crack climbing.

FALL
Undesirable downward motion. Hopefully stopped by a rope, otherwise see mountain rescue. A free-solo belay, the quickest way to reach the ground.

FIGURE FOUR
Advanced climbing technique where the climber hooks a leg over the opposite arm, and then pushes down with this leg to achieve a greater vertical reach. Requires strength and a solid handhold.

FINGER BOARD
Training equipment used to build finger strength.

FIRST ASCENT
The first successful completion of a route.

FIST JAM
A type of jam using the hand. See climbing technique.

FIXED ROPE
A rope which has a fixed attachment point. Commonly used for abseiling or aid climbing.

FLAGGING
Climbing technique where a leg is held in a position to maintain balance, rather than to support weight. Often useful to prevent barn-dooring.

FLAKE
A thin slab of rock detached from the main face.

FLAPPER
An injury consisting of a piece of loose (flapping) skin. A climber will usually just repair these with sticky tape or super glue.

FLASH
To successfully and cleanly complete a climbing route on the first attempt after having received beta of some form. Also refers to an ascent of this type. For ascents on the first attempt without receiving beta see on-sight.

FOLLOW
What the second does.

FONT
The French bouldering grading system.

FOURTEENER
Mountain that tops 14,000 feet (4,300 m) in the contiguous United States.

FREE CLIMBING
Climbing without unnatural aids, other than used for protection.

FREE SOLO
Climbing without aid or protection. This typically means climbing without a rope.

FRENCH FREE
Also known as French climbing, or French freeing, it is the use of aid climbing techniques to bypass a section due to climbing difficulty, rock conditions, etc.; typically for only a short section of the total climb

FRENCHIES
An exercise used to develop lock-off strength.

FRICTION
Climbing technique relying on the friction between the sloped rock and the sole of the shoe to support the climber's weight, as opposed using holds or edges, cracks, etc.

FRIEND
A name brand of a type of spring loaded camming device (SLCD), sometimes used to refer to any type of spring loaded camming device.

GASTON
A climbing grip using one hand with the thumb down and elbow out. The grip maintains friction against a hold by pressing outward toward the elbow.

GENDARME
A pinnacle or isolated rock tower frequently encountered along a ridge

GENEVA RAPPEL
A modified dulfersitz rappel using the hip and downhill arm for friction, rather than the chest and shoulder, offering less complexity, but less friction and less control.

GLACIER TRAVEL
walking or climbing on a glacier; a rope is usually used to arrest falls into crevasses, but protection is not used.

GLISSADE
A usually voluntary act of sliding down a steep slope of snow.

GORP
Trail mix for periodic nibbling to keep high energy level between meals on long climbs or hikes. An acronym for 'Good Ol' Raisins & Peanuts'

GRADE
Intended as an objective measure of the technical difficulty of a particular climb or bouldering problem. More often is highly subjective, however. A surveying term for referring to the slope of an incline. (Grade (geography))

GRIGRI
A belay device designed to be easy to use and safer for beginners because it is self-locking under load. Invented and manufactured by Petzl. Many experienced climbers advocate the use of an atc type device for beginners

GRIPPED
Scared. Also over gripping the rock.

GROVEL
To climb with obviously poor style or technique. A climbing route judged to be without redeeming virtue.

GUMBY
An inexperienced (or unsafe) climber.

GYM CLIMBING
Climbing indoors, on artificial climbing walls. This is typically for training but many people consider this a worthwhile activity in its own right.

HACE
High Altitude Cerebral Edema - a severe, and often fatal, form of altitude sickness.

HAND TRAVERSE
Traversing without any definitive footholds, i.e. smearing or heelhooking.

HANGDOG
While lead climbing or on top rope, to hang on the rope or a piece of protection for a rest.

HANGING BELAY
Belaying at a point such that the belayer is suspended.

HAPE
High Altitude Pulmonary Edema - a serious form of altitude sickness.

HARNESS
A sewn nylon webbing device worn around the waist and thighs that is designed to allow a person to safely hang suspended in the air.

HAUL BAG
A large and often unwieldy bag into which supplies and climbing equipment may be thrown.

HEAD POINT
See top rope. The practice of top-roping a hard trad route before leading it cleanly.

HEADWALL
The region of a cliff or rock face that steepens dramatically.

HELMET
Also known as a brain bucket or skid lid. It can save your life, but only while worn.

HEXCENTRIC
A protective device. It is an eccentric hexagonal nut attached to a wire loop. The nut is inserted into a crack and it holds through counter-pressure. Often just termed Hex.

HIGH BALL
A boulder, which is usually more than 3-4m high and falling from top can lead to different injuries.

HOLD
A place to temporarily cling, grip, jam, press, or stand in the process of climbing.

HONED
To be in peak mental and physical fitness for climbing.

HOOK
Equipment used in aid climbing. A climbing technique involving hooking a heel or toe against a hold in order to balance or to provide additional support.

HORN
Large, pointed protrusion of rock that can be slung. Typically also makes a good hand hold. See bollard, chicken head.

HUECO
(Spanish hueco "hole") A climbing hold consisting of a pocket in the rock, typically round and deep and featuring a positive lip. Huecos vary in size from accommodating a single finger (this is also called a "mono") to large enough to fit one's entire body. The term hueco entered the jargon of rock climbers from the Texas climbing area Hueco Tanks that is famous for this sort of hold.

ICE AXE
A handy tool for safety and balance, having a pick/adze head and a spike at the opposite end of a shaft.

ICE HAMMER
A lightweight ice axe with a hammer/pick head on a short handle and no spike.

ICE PITON
Long, wide, serrated piton once used for weak protection on ice.

ICE SCREW
A screw used to protect a climb over steep ice or for setting up a crevasse rescue system. The strongest and most reliable is the modern tubular ice screw which ranges in length from 18 to 23 cm.

INDOOR CLIMBING
See gym climbing.

JAMMING
Wedging a body part into a crack.

JIB
A particularly small foot hold, usually only large enough for the big toe, sometimes relying heavily on friction to support weight.

JUG
A shortened term for Jumar, both noun and verb.

JUG HOLD
A large, easily held hold. Also known simply as a jug.

JUMAR
1.A type of mechanical ascender. 2.To ascend a rope using a mechanical ascender.

KLEMHEIST KNOT
An alternative to the Prusik knot, useful when the climber is short of cord but has plenty of webbing.

KNOTS
Climbers rely on many different knots for anchoring oneself to a mountain, joining two ropes together, slings for climbing up the rope, etc.

LEAD CLIMBING
A form of climbing in which the climber places anchors and attaches the belay rope as they climb (traditional) or clips the belay rope into preplaced equipment attached to bolts (sport).

LEADER FALL
A fall while Lead climbing. A fall from above the climbers last piece of protection. The falling leader will fall at least twice the distance back to his or her last piece, plus slack and rope stretch.

LIEBACK
Or layback. A climbing move that involves pulling on the hands while pushing on the feet.

LIQUID CHALK
A liquid form of chalk with a longer hold time than normal chalk. It is used on very hard routes and competitions, where the act of rechalking requires too much energy or time.

LOCK-OFF
Using tendon strength to support weight on a hand hold without tiring muscles too much.

LOCKING CARABINER
A carabiner with a locking gate, to prevent accidental release of the rope.

LOW-ANGLE
A face climb that is less than vertical; the opposite of an overhang or roof. The same as "slab".

MANTLE
A move used to surmount a ledge or feature in the rock in the absence of any useful holds directly above. It involves pushing down on a ledge or feature instead of pulling down. In ice climbing, a mantle is done by moving the hands from the shaft to the top of the ice tool and pushing down on the head of the tool. The external covering of a climbing rope. Climbing ropes use kernmantle construction consisting of a kern (or core) for strength and an external sheath called the mantle.

MATCH
To use one hold for two limbs, or to swap limbs on a particular hold.

MOAT
A crevasse that forms where the glacier pulls away from a rock formation.

MONO
(French monodoigt "single finger") A climbing hold, typically a pocket or hueco, that only has enough room for one finger.

MOUNTAIN RESCUE
The search and rescue activities that occur in a mountainous environment, although the term is sometimes also used to apply to search and rescue in other wilderness environments. Also see rescue doctrine.

MOUNTAIN TRAMMING
A technique that is typically used while lowering and cleaning gear from an overhanging and/or traversing route. A quickdraw is clipped between the climber's harness and the rope that is threaded through the gear. As the climber is lowered by the belayer, the quickdraw holds the cleaner close to the wall and following the line of the route. Without the quickdraw, the climber would lower straight down, further and further from the remaining gear to be cleaned. Also known as trolleying.

MOVE
Application of a specific climbing technique to progress on a climb.

MOVING TOGETHER
Method of climbing – used on easy Alpine ground – in which two or more climbers climb at the same time with running belays between them and fixed belays not being used. Similar to simulclimbing, a technique for steeper terrain.

MULTI-PITCH CLIMBING
Climbing on routes that are too long for a single belay rope.

MUNTER HITCH
A simple hitch that is often used for belaying without a mechanical belay device. Otherwise known as an Italian hitch or a Friction hitch.

NÉVÊ
Permanent granular ice formed by repeated freeze-thaw cycles.

NO-HAND REST
An entirely leg-supported resting position during climbing that does not require hands on the rock.

NUB
A little hold that only a few fingers can grip, or the tips of the toes.

NUNATAK
A mountain or rock that protrudes through an ice field.

NUT
A metal wedge attached to a wire loop that is inserted into cracks for protection.

NUT KEY
See Cleaning Tool

OBJECTIVE DANGER
Danger in a climbing situation which comes from hazards inherent in the location of the climb, not depending on the climber's skill level. Most often these involve falling rock or ice, or avalanches.

OFF-WIDTH
A crack that is too wide for effective hand or foot jams, but is not as large as a chimney.

ON-SIGHT
A clean ascent, with no prior practice or beta.

OPEN BOOK
An inside angle in the rock. See also dihedral.

OVERHANG
A section of rock or ice that is angled beyond vertical. See roof.

PANIC BEAR
A panicking novice climber clinging to hand holds while searching desperately for a foot hold.

PEAK-BAGGING
To systematically attain designated summits under prescribed conditions.

PEEL
To fall.

PENDULUM
Swinging on taut rope either to reach the next hold in a pendulum traverse or after a fall when the last piece of protection is far to either side.

PICKETS
Long, tubular rods driven into snow to provide a quick anchor.

PICKNICK STOP
A No-hand rest.

PIED À PLAT
A crampon technique in the French style: to climb on high-angle ice with feet flat on the ice (as opposed to front-pointing).

PIED ASSIS
A crampon technique in the French style: to rest on high-angle ice with one foot tucked under the buttocks, toes pointed straight down-slope.

PIED D'ELEPHANT
A short, light sleeping bag covering the lower half of the body only. It is designed to be used in connection with a down jacket for lightweight bivvies.

PIED EN CANARD
A crampon technique in the French style: to walk on moderate-angle ice with toes pointed outward; literally, "duck footed".

PIED MARCHE
A crampon technique in the French style: to walk on low-angle ice with toes pointed straight ahead.

PINCH HOLD
This is a hold where you must pinch it to hold on. They come in various sizes.

PINKPOINT
To complete a lead climb without falling or resting on the rope (hangdogging), but with pre-placed protection and carabiners. Also see clean and redpoint.

PITCH
In the strictest climbing definition, a pitch is considered one rope length (50–60 metres). However, in guide books and route descriptions, a pitch is the portion of a climb between two belay points.

PITON
A flat or angled metal blade of steel which incorporates a clipping hole for a carabiner or a ring in its body. A piton is typically used in "aid-climbing" and an appropriate size and shape is hammered into a thin crack in the rock and preferably removed by the last team member.

PITON CATCHER
Clip-on string fastened to piton when inserting or removing, so as to avoid loss.

PLUNGE STEP
An aggressive step pattern for descending on hard or steep angle snow.

POF
An alternative to chalk made from pine resin. Popular in Fontainebleau but discouraged (or actively forbidden) everywhere else since it deposits a thick, shiny resin layer on the rock and friction can only be achieved by using more pof.

POLISH
On popular routes, the sheer passage of traffic can polish the rock to such an extent as to make the climbing much more difficult. This is most common at the crux, and on certain rock types.

POSITIVE
Of a hold or part of a hold, having a surface facing upwards, or away from the direction it is pulled, facilitating use.

PRESSURE BREATHING
Forcefully exhaling to facilitate O2/CO2 exchange at altitude. Also called the "Whittaker wheeze".

PROBLEM
Used in bouldering, the path that a climber takes in order to complete the climb. Same as route in roped climbing.

PROTECTION
Process of setting equipment or anchors for safety. Equipment or anchors used for arresting falls. Commonly known as Pro.

PRUSIK
A knot used for ascending a rope. It is named after Dr Karl Prusik, the Austrian mountaineer who developed this knot in 1931. To use a Prusik knot for ascending a rope

PSEUDO LEADING
To climb a wall Toprope with having another rope connected to the climber, for practice of Lead climbing clipping. The other rope is normally not connected to any belayer below and is only there to practice the clipping. Usually practiced while learning how to Lead Climb.

PSYCHOLOGICAL PROTECTION
A piece of protection that everyone knows will not hold a fall, but makes the climber feel better about having gear beneath them anyhow.

PUMPED
To have such an accumulation of lactic acid in the flexor digitalis (forearm), that forming even a basic grip becomes impossible. Often easy activities such as holding a camera become difficult or impossible. Sometimes also used to refer to a feeling of excitement and energy before a climb. The double meaning is often a source of great frustration if without context.

PUNTER
Any over-ambitious and under-prepared climber. Invariably causes traffic jams on route. c.f. Charles Pickles

QUICKDRAW
Used to attach a freely running rope to anchors or chocks. Sometimes called "quickies" or just "draws."

RACK
The set of equipment carried up a climb; also, the part of a harness (consisting of several plastic loops) where equipment is hung, ready to be used.

RAPPEL
The process by which a climber may descend on a fixed rope using a friction device. Also known as Abseil or roping down.

RB
A removable bolt, similar in concept to a sliding nut, but shaped to fit into a drilled hole.

REBOLTING
The replacement of bolts on an existing climb.

RED POINT
To complete a lead climb without falling or resting on the rope (hangdogging). Also see clean and pinkpoint.

REST STEP
Energy-saving technique where unweighted (uphill) leg is rested between each forward step, sometimes by "locking" knee of rear leg.

RETRO-BOLTING
The addition of bolts to an existing climb which has already been ascended using natural protection.

RODEO CLIPPING
To clip in to the first piece of protection from the ground by swinging a loop of rope so that it is caught by a carabiner. This can only be done when the first piece of gear is already placed.

ROOF
Horizontal overhang.

ROPE
A basic item of climbing equipment that physically connects the climber to the belayer.

ROPE JUMPING
Jumping from objects using rock climbing equipment.

ROUTE
The path of a particular climb, or a predefined set of moves.

RP
A small nut, named after Rowland Pauligk. Not certified for sale in Europe.

RUGOSITY
Hold sized area of rock that has rougher texture than its surroundings.

RUNNER
A bit of gear in the rock with the rope attached to it (usually via a quick draw).

RUNOUT
A lengthy distance between two points of protection which in some, but not all, cases might be perceived as frightening or dangerous. May also be used as an adjective to describe a route, or a section of a route. A long portion of a route with minimal protection.

RURP
Acronym, stands for Realized Ultimate Reality Piton. Miniature, postage-stamp sized piton originally designed by Yvon Chouinard

SADDLE
A high pass between two peaks, larger than a col.

SANDBAG
A climb which receives a much lower grade than deserved. Also used as a verb when referring to the act of describing a climbing route as easier than it actually is.

SCRAMBLING
A type of climbing somewhere between hiking and graded rock climbing.

SCREAMER
1.A long and loud fall. 2.A nylon webbing structure consisting of one large loop sewn in multiple places to make a shorter length. The stitch-points are intentionally sewn with less than maximum possible strength. The screamer is attached with carabiners between an anchor point, particularly one of dubious strength, and the climber. In the event of a fall the stitching of the sewn sections is designed to rip apart, absorbing some of the fall energy and decelerating the climber, thereby reducing the overall shock load on the dubious anchor. Screamer is a brand name of Yates Mountaineering.

SCREE
Small, loose, broken rocks, often at the base of a cliff. Also an area or slope covered in scree. Scree is distinguished from Talus by its smaller size and looser configuration.

SCREW ON
A small climbing hold, screwed onto the wall in climbing gyms. Can be used for feet in a route regardless of its colour. Also referred to as a foot chip, chip or micro.

SECOND
A climber who follows the lead, or first, climber.

SELF-ARREST
The act of planting the pick of your ice axe into the snow to arrest a fall in the event of a slip. Also a method of stopping in a controlled glissade.

SEND
To cleanly complete a route. i.e. on-sight, flash, redpoint. Sometimes even on tr. See 'scend

SERAC
A large ice tower.

SEWING MACHINE LEG
The involuntary vibration of one or both legs resulting from fatigue or panic. Also known as "Scissor leg", "Elvis Presley Syndrome", or "Disco knee". Can often be remedied by bringing the heel of the offending leg down, changing the muscles used to support the weight of the climber

SHARP END
The end of the belay rope that is attached to the lead climber. "Being on the sharp end" refers to the act of lead climbing, which is considered more psychologically demanding then top-roping or following, since it may involve more route-finding as well as the possibility of longer, more consequential falls.

SHERPA
A Sherpa is a person of the ethnic group of the same name that is located in the Himalayan Mountains. Also a generic term for mountaineering porters in Nepal (usually those working at or above base camp) regardless of their ethnic group

SHORT FIXING
A traditionally-belayed lead climber reaches a new belay station, creates an anchor, tying the lead rope off to the anchor. The climber then switches over to self-belaying and continues to climb. Meanwhile the second climber ascends the fixed rope using ascenders (aka Jugging) and cleans the pitch. When the second reaches the belay, he or she anchors in and starts to belay the leader in the traditional way again. When the leader reaches the next belay the process is repeated.

SIDE PULL
A hold that needs to be gripped with a sideways pull towards the body.

SIMULCLIMBING
A technique where both climbers move simultaneously upward with the leader placing protection which the second removes as they advance. A device known as a Tibloc which allows the rope to only move in a single direction is sometimes used to prevent the second climber from accidentally pulling the lead climber off should the second slip.

SINGLE ROPE TECHNIQUE (SRT)
The use of a single rope where one or both ends of the rope are attached to fixed anchor points.

SIRDAR
Head Sherpa mountain guide.

SIT START
Starting a climb from a position in which the climber is sitting on the floor. This is common in climbing gyms in order to fit an extra move into the climb. Noted as SS or SDS in some topo guides.

SLAB
A relatively low-angle (significantly less than vertical) section of rock, usually with few large features. Requires slab climbing techniques.

SLAB CLIMBING
A particular type of rock climbing, and its associated techniques, involved in climbing rock that is less than vertical. The emphasis is on balance, footwork, and making use of very small features or rough spots on the rock for friction.

SLACK
Portion of rope that is not taut, preferably minimized during belay.

SLCD
Abbreviation for spring-loaded camming device, a type of protection device. These are better known by the term cam.

SLING
Webbing sewn, or tied, into a loop.

SLOPER
A sloping hold with very little positive surface. A sloper is comparable to palming a basketball.

SLOPPY PLOPPING
Poor footwork [Northumberland climbing slang] as in "Nae Sloppy Ploppin'" - "you'll need accurate footwork to have any chance of flashing this".

SMEARING
To use friction on the sole of the climbing shoe, in the absence of any useful footholds.

SNARG
A type of tubular ice screw that is inserted by hammering.

SNOW FLUKE
An angled aluminium plate attached to a metal cable. The fluke is buried into snow, typically used as a deadman anchor.

SOLO CLIMBING
Setting and cleaning ones own protection on an ascent; climbing by oneself.

SPORT CLIMBING
A style of climbing where form, technical (or gymnastic) ability and strength are more emphasized over exploration, self-reliance and the exhilaration of the inherent dangers involved in the sport. Sport climbing routes tend to be well protected with pre-placed bolt-anchors and lends itself well to competitive climbing.

SPOTTING
A method of protection commonly used during bouldering or before the leader has placed a piece of protection. The spotter stands beneath the climber, ready to absorb the energy of a fall and direct him away from any hazards.

SPRAG
A type of hand position where the fingers and thumb are opposed.

STATIC
Of a style of climbing or specific move, not dynamic.

STATIC ROPE
A non-elastic rope. Compare with dynamic rope.

STEEP
Descriptive of any climbing face that is angled beyond vertical. See Overhang.

STEM
1.The simultaneous use of two widely spaced footholds. 2.Climbing using two faces that are at an angle less than 180° to each other.

STICHT PLATE
A belay device consisting of a flat plate with a pair of slots. Named after the inventor Franz Sticht.

STICK CLIP
A long stick on the end of which a climber can affix a quickdraw. It allows the climber to clip a quickdraw to the first bolt on a sport climb while still standing on the ground. This is especially useful if the first bolt is high up, and out of the comfort zone of the climber. A stick clip can be bought or easily made by attaching a quickdraw to a stick with a rubber band.

STOPPER
1.A wedge-shaped nut. 2.A knot used to prevent the rope running through a piece of equipment.

SUMMIT
1.The high point of a mountain or peak. 2.To reach such a high point.

SWAMI BELT
A kind of proto- climbing harness consisting of a long length of tubular webbing wrapped several times around the climbers body and secured with a water knot. Largely eschewed today in favor of commercial harnesses.

SWINGING-LIEBACK
A dynamic form of the lieback described above, rotating off one foot while maintaining a grip with that hand, then grabbing a high handhold at the deadpoint of the swing. This move is frequently reversible, unlike more aerial dynos.

TALUS
An area of large rock fragments on a mountainside that may vary from house-size to as small as a small backpack. The area, if older and consolidated, may be stable, or the rocks may be precariously balanced. Talus is distinguished from scree in that it is larger and may feature solid interlocking of the rocks, while scree is by definition loose.

TEABAGGING
When, after a whipper, or long fall, a climber falls past their belayer, who is generally lifted up off the ground.

TECHNICAL CLIMBING
Climbing involving a rope and some means of protection, as opposed to scrambling or glacier travel.

TENSION
A technique for maintaining balance using a taut rope through a point of protection.

THRUTCHING
Poor technique or 'body climbing', often making a move more difficult than it need be. Top rope

TOP-OUT
To complete a route by ascending over the top of the structure being climbed.

TRAD RACK
A collection of equipment used for Traditional Climbing.

TRADITIONAL CLIMBING
A style of climbing that emphasizes the adventure and exploratory nature of climbing. While sport climbers generally will use pre-placed protection ("bolts"), traditional (or "trad") climbers will place their own protection as they climb, generally carried with them on a rack.

TRAINING
Getting prepared to climb on difficult mountains

TRAVERSE
To climb in a horizontal direction. A section of a route that requires progress in a horizontal direction. A Tyrolean traverse is crossing a chasm using a rope anchored at both ends. A pendulum traverse involves swinging across a wall or chasm while suspended from a rope affixed above the climber.

TRICAM
A simple camming protection device that has no moving parts.

TUBER
A belay device.

TUFA
A limestone rib formation that protrudes from the wall which can sometimes fit within the pinching grasp of a climber's hand.

UNDERCLING
A hold which is gripped with the palm of the hand facing upwards.

V-THREAD
A type of abseiling point used especially in winter and ice climbing. Also called abalakov thread.

VERGLAS
A thin coating of ice that forms over rocks when rainfall or melting snow freezes on rock. Hard to climb on as crampons have insufficient depth for reliable penetration.

WAND
A bamboo stick with a small flag on top used to mark paths over glaciers and snow fields.

WAND
A bamboo stick with a small flag on top used to mark paths over glaciers and snow fields.

WEBBING
Hollow and flat nylon strip, mainly used to make slings.

WEBOLETTE
A piece of webbing with eyes sewn into the ends which can be used in place of a cordelette.

WEIGHTING
As in, "weighting the rope." Any time the rope takes the weight of the climber. This can happen during a minor fall, a whipper (long fall), or simply by resting while hanging on the belay rope (see also hangdogging.)

WHIPPER
A lead fall from above and to the side of the last clip, whipping oneself downwards and in an arc. Has come to be the term for any fall beyond the last placed or clipped piece of protection.

WIRED
Describes a route or sequence which a climber has rehearsed extensively and thus ascends with ease. See dialled.

WIRES
A slang term for nuts.

WOLF MOON
To complete a lead climb during night time.

WOODIE
A home made climbing wall. Often specifically a hybrid between a climbing wall and a fingerboard. Specifically called such because of the wooden panels (usually left unpainted) used to attach the climbing holds to.

YABO
Another name for a Sit start, a 'Yabo start' was named after John 'Yabo' Yablonski.

YOSEMITE DECIMAL SYSTEM
A numerical system for rating the difficulty of walks, hikes, and climbs in the United States. The rock climbing (5.x) portion of the scale is the most common climb grading system used in the US. The scale runs from 5.0 to 5.15b (as of 2008)

Z-CLIPPING
Clipping into an anchor with the segment of rope from beneath the previous piece of protection, resulting in a tangled configuration of the belay rope.

Z-PULLEY
Also Z-system. A particular configuration of rope, anchors, and pulleys typically used to extricate a climber after falling into a crevasse.

ZIPPER FALL
A fall in which each piece of protection fails in turn. In some cases when the rope comes taut during a fall, the protection can fail from the bottom up, especially if the first piece was not placed to account for outward and/or upward force.




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