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Glossary of Climbing Terms
List of definitions of terms and concepts related to rock climbing and mountaineering
This glossary of climbing terms is a list of definitions of terms and jargon related to rock climbing and mountaineering. The specific terms used can vary considerably between different English-speaking countries; many of the phrases described here are particular to the United States and the United Kingdom.
Generally, any climbing that is done in the mountains, especially mountaineering. May include a mixture of ice climbing and dry-tooling. To climb "alpine style" generally means carrying all of one's gear in a backpack, even for multi-day climbs.
Alpine cock ring (ACR)
An anchor method similar to a cordelette but that is dynamically equalizing. It employs a cord and a rappel ring.
To use one's knee as a way to gain ground on a climb. Examples include the "'expansion knee,' by which the climber would overcome the lack of a piton large enough to fit a broad crack in the rock by inserting his knee into the crack, bending the leg to anchor, and hoisting himself up to a level where a piton might be inserted." 
To make an efficient start on a long climb by packing all gear the previous evening and starting early in the morning, usually well before sunrise.
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.
An arrangement of one or (usually) more pieces of gear set up to support the weight of a belay or top rope.
approach to climbing area
The path or route to the base of a technical climb. Although this is generally a walk or, at most, a scramble, it is occasionally as hazardous as the climb itself. Special shoes called approach shoes are often preferred over climbing shoes for an approach.
Climber climbing an arête
1. A small ridge-like feature or a sharp outward-facing corner on a steep rock face.
2. A narrow ridge of rock formed by glacial erosion.
A technique in which a climber jams an arm into a crack and locks it into place.
(from the French word meaning arched) Used to describe crimping. In this position, typically the first set of knuckles are hyperextended and the second have a sharp angle of about 90 degrees. This combines muscular effort with soft tissue tensions in order to apply the load. When used often, this position has been known to over-stress the tendons in fingers and lead to injuries.
A piece of training equipment used to improve campusing and core strength.
A potentially hazardous mistake that can be made while lead climbing, whereby the rope is clipped into a quickdraw such that the leader's end runs underneath the quickdraw as opposed to over the 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.
Stepping on a hold in such a way that the outside edge (little toe side) of a shoe touches the rock, while the hips are turned to the side in such a way that the outside of a hip faces into the rock.
To protect a roped climber from falling by controlling the movement of the rope. This usually involves the use of a belay device. A belay can also be achieved using a Munter hitch, a hip belay, or by passing the rope around a rock or tree to increase friction.
A mechanical device used to increase the braking force when belaying. Many different types of belay device exist, including plates, figure eights, tubers, geometrical assisted-braking devices, mechanical assisted-braking devices, and centrifugal devices. Some belay devices may also be used as a descender.
The strongest point on a climbing harness; the loop to which a belay device is physically attached. The belay loop will wear more quickly if anything is tied around the belay loop such as a daisy chain or sling.
Called out by a belayer to confirm that the friction or pressure of belaying has been removed from a climbing rope. It is a standard response to a climber's "off belay" request.
Called out by a belayer to confirm that the friction or pressure of belaying has been (re)applied to a climbing rope. It is a standard response to a climber's "on belay" request.
Advice, tips, or general information on how to successfully complete (or protect) a particular climbing route, boulder problem, or crux sequence. Some climbing purists believe that obtaining beta prior to attempting a route "taints" an ascent.
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. Also see on-sight.
A technique used to keep the feet on when climbing on overhangs. One foot is placed on a foothold and the other foot is placed behind the foothold in a toe hook position. The climber can now squeeze the hold between the feet.
(French for "two fingers") A climbing hold, typically a pocket or hueco, that has enough room for two fingers. See also mono.
Any climb on which most climbing parties will spend more than one day. "Big wall style" generally refers to hauling the needed gear (food, water, sleeping bags) in a haul bag (rather than carrying the gear on one's person) and raising the haul bag between pitches.
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.
A lightweight garment or sack offering full-body protection from wind and rain, which can be used as a makeshift shelter for a bivouac.
1. To reduce pains from heavy-duty climbing using a harness, such as long-time belaying or bolting a new route, climbers attach their harness with a special type of chair, which is usually light and has multiple high-endurance straps and buckles. Similar types are also used in industrial climbing.
2. Another name for a bowline on a bight, a rescue knot.
The practice of climbing on large boulders. This type of climbing is done relatively close to the ground, typically less than 20 feet (6.1 m), such that protection takes the form of crash pads and spotting instead of belay ropes, which also obviates the need for bolts and anchors.
bowline on a bight
The bowline on a bight is a knot which makes a pair of fixed-size loops in the middle of a rope. Its advantage is that it is reasonably easy to untie after being exposed to load. This knot can replace the figure-eight loop knot when tying into a climbing harness.
A difficult or uncomfortable hold, often one that tears the skin on one's hand.
A climbing technique wherein a hand or foot is moved to one hold then quickly moved up immediately to a further hold. This is often done over short distances advancing from an inferior hold to a superior one.
A motion or position where rotation of a piece of equipment or body part presses it tight against a rock, creating friction and holding it in place. As in spring-loaded camming device, heel-toe camming, or knee bar camming.
A crack climbing technique where a hand is placed on one side of the crack and the shoulder on the other.
1. A rock cleft with mostly parallel vertical sides, and large enough to fit the climber's body into. To climb such a structure, the climber often uses their head, back, and feet to apply pressure on the opposing faces of the vertical walls.
2. The process of using such a technique (chimneying).
Improving a hold by permanently altering the rock, which is considered unethical and unacceptable.
A naturally occurring stone wedged in a crack.
Loose or "rotten" rock that makes for unpleasant, difficult, or dangerous climbing.
A small pass or "saddle" between two peaks. Excellent for navigation, as when standing on one it is always down in two, opposite, directions and up in the two directions in between those.
Industrial hardware used to link or repair steel chains, occasionally adapted by climbers as rappel anchors. Cold shuts can be either open, shut or welded. Open cold shuts are the unaltered hardware, which is hammered closed and sometimes welded, resulting in more secure anchors.
A hand grip which is squeezed over the top or around the side, between the fingers and palm, forming a cup shape with the hand, or applying this type of hold on any protrusion or feature. More commonly known as guppy.
Cut-loose or cutting feet can often result in a large swing
Where a climber's feet swing away from the rock on overhanging terrain, leaving the climber hanging only by their hands.
A hanging valley or cirque--a steep-walled semicircular basin in a mountain--sometimes containing a lake; also known as a corrie.
A term in bouldering for accidentally touching the ground, crash pad, spotter, or another route which might have helped the climber while trying to ascend a particular route, instances of which are typically prohibited.
A special-purpose type of sling with multiple sewn or tied loops, used in aid and big wall climbing. It is designed to hold a climber's body weight, rather than to arrest a fall, and while the sling as a whole will have a strength rating comparable to that of a standard sling, the individual side loops (pockets) will typically have much lower ratings. This is because a load between the two strength ratings could cause the pocket stitching to break, allowing the attachment device, typically a carabiner, to slide to the end of the sling before being halted by the greater strength of the webbing material itself.
To hang limp, such that weight is held by ligament tension rather than by muscles.
An object which lies horizontally and is buried in the snow to serve as an anchor for an attached rope. One object often used is a snow fluke.
A controlled dynamic motion in which the hold is grabbed with one hand at the apex of upward motion of the body, while one or both feet and the other hand maintain contact with the rock. Dynamic motions in which both feet leave the rock are typically called dynos.
1. The ground below a climbing route.
2. To hit the ground, usually as the outcome of a fall.
A climber who lives modestly and often itinerantly, supporting themself through odd jobs in order to maximize the amount of time climbing. Well known practitioners of this lifestyle include Jan and Herb Conn and Fred Beckey.
Any system in which the climber uses two thin ropes instead of one thicker one. Double ropes are often used by trad and alpine climbers. They help manage the rope drag, reduce the chances for accidental cutting of the rope by sharp rock edges, and allow full-pitch rappelling. Unlike twin ropes, double ropes can be clipped separately into different pieces.
Rope drag occurs when the friction generated from the rope running over the rock and through the quickdraws builds up to the point where it is difficult to move or pull up the rope to clip into protection. There are several ways to prevent rope drag: protection placement that minimizes zig-zagging of the rope and potential for rope being pinched or hooked on a rock, use of long quickdraws like 24-inch alpine draws, and use of double ropes.
A type of anchor sometimes used in sandstone or other soft rock as an alternative to bolts. The anchor consists of a "baby angle" (piton) hammered into a drilled hole, which some climbers believe is stronger in soft rock than expansion bolts, which can crack the rock. They were especially popular on desert routes in the United States and can be still found on many routes.
One or both hands blows off a hold, usually while chalked (dry). As hands blow off and skid across the hold (as if they are rubbing against sand paper) it results in a painful burning feeling (fire).
A method of rappelling which does not make use of mechanical tools, whereby 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.
Technique of stopping a long fall using smooth braking to reduce stress on the protection points and avoid unnecessary trauma from an abrupt stop.
A slightly elastic rope that softens falls to some extent. Also tends to be damaged less severely by heavy loads. Compare static rope.
Dynamic motion: body momentum allows the climber to grab a hold that would otherwise be out of reach
Any move in which a climber makes use of their body momentum in order to grab a hold that would otherwise be out of reach, as opposed to static technique where three-point suspension and slow, controlled movement is the rule. When both feet leave the rock, it is called a dyno. When one or both feet maintain contact with the rock, it is called a deadpoint.
A method for reducing muscle strain in arms when holding a side grip. One knee ends up in a lower position with the body twisted towards the other leg. It can give a longer reach as the body and shoulders twist towards a hold.
The same position as bridging or chimneying, but with one leg in front and one behind the body.
A measure of the amount of empty space below or around a climber, usually referring to a great distance between a climber and the ground or some other perceptibly safe and stable area such as a large ledge, or to the psychological impact of this distance due to being unprotected, or because the rock angles away when climbing an arête or overhang.
Part of the UK adjectival grading system, originally short for extremely / exceptionally severe (XS); now split numerically into E1, E2, etc.
Any climbing that involves ascending a vertical rock face using finger holds, edges, and smears, as opposed to crack climbing.
An instruction on indoorbouldering routes requiring that foot movements match preceding hand movements, with no intermediate moves.
A protrusion or indentation on an indoor climbing wall which is permanently moulded into the wall itself.
A route on a mountain where the safety is provided by steel ropes or chains that are permanently fixed to the rock. The progression is often aided by artificial steps or ladders. Typically found in the Alps.
A climbing technique in which a leg is held in a position to maintain balance, rather than to support weight. Such positions are often useful in preventing barn-dooring. There are three types of flagging:
Normal flag: When the flagging foot stays on the same side (e.g. flagging with the right foot out to the right side of the body).
Reverse inside flag: When the flagging foot is crossed in front of the foot that is on a foothold.
Reverse outside flag: When the flagging foot is crossed behind the foot that is on a foothold.
1. A thin slab of rock detached from the main face.
2. A method of untangling a rope in which the rope is run through the climber's hands and allowed to fall into a pile on the ground. Useful when preparing a rope for coiling, or before starting a lead climb, to ensure the rope is fed cleanly and without twists. Often called "flaking out" a rope.
An injury consisting of a piece of loose (flapping) skin. A climber will usually just repair these with sticky tape or super glue.
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.
A name brand of a type of spring-loaded camming device (SLCD) made by Wild Country, sometimes used to refer to any type of spring-loaded camming device.
A climbing grip using one hand with the thumb down and elbow out, often thought of as a reverse side pull. The grip maintains friction against a hold by pressing outward toward the elbow. Named for French climber Gaston Rébuffat.
The action of the gate on a carabiner opening during a fall.
A pinnacle or isolated rock tower frequently encountered along a ridge.
A modified Dulfersitzrappel using the hip and downhill arm for friction, rather than the chest and shoulder, offering less complexity, but less friction and less control. Geneva style is also a description used in Australia for what is commonly referred to elsewhere as Australian rappelling.
A usually voluntary act of sliding down a steep slope of snow.
When a climber is cleaning a route and forgets to pull out a piece or unclip the rope and begins to climb above the piece, rendering the top rope ineffective.
Trail mix for periodic nibbling to maintain energy levels between meals on long climbs or hikes. The name comes from "Good Old Raisins and Peanuts."
Any classification intended as an objective measure of the technical difficulty of a particular route or bouldering problem. Numerous and often conflicting grading systems exist, and grades for individual routes are often highly subjective.
Climbing a sport route with the use of traditional gear.
A belay device invented and manufactured by Petzl and designed to increase the ease with which falls can be arrested, especially for heavier climbers or longer falls, because it makes use of assisted braking under load.
Having accidentally gone off-route while leading and become lost on a rock face in an area much more difficult than the intended climb. The word arises from the climb "Gronk" in Avon Gorge, which is notorious for this.
A new climber (derogatory). Originates in the 1950s in reference to the claymation character Gumby's bumbling style of movement.
A severe and often fatal form of altitude sickness caused by extended periods of physical exertion without sufficient oxygen.
Making progress by inserting the hand (usually vertically with the thumb uppermost) into a crack and then pushing the thumb downwards towards the palm. This expands the hand and can make a highly secure placement. In the UK this move was credited with facilitating the advances in free climbing in the late 1940s and 1950s made by climbers such as Joe Brown and Don Whillans, although they did not invent it.
Using the back of the heel to apply pressure to a hold for balance or leverage; this technique requires pulling with the heel of the foot by flexing the hamstring. This technique is notable since in most forms of climbing one uses the toes to push.
A combination of a toe hook and heel hook. It involves using opposing pressure from the toes and heel between two holds to hold the body on the wall.
2. A climbing technique involving hooking a heel or toe against a hold in order to balance or to provide additional support.
A large, pointed protrusion of rock that can be slung. Typically also makes a good handhold. Known in the UK as a spike. See bollard and chicken head.
(From Spanish hueco, meaning "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.
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 10 to 23 centimetres (3.9 to 9.1 in).
Involves camming the lower thigh or knee against a protruding section of rock, usually with the foot pushing against an opposing hold. Knee bars can be very secure and are one of a few ways to get a no-hand rest on overhanging rock. They also can provide additional hold on a climb.
A form of climbing in which the climber clips the belay rope into quickdraws or similar equipment attached to the wall by means of anchors. In traditional climbing, the climber needs to place the anchors and quickdraws; in sport climbing, the anchors are typically already in place, and the quickdraws may either be pre-placed or placed by the climber.
A fall while lead climbing or from above the climber's last piece of protection. The falling leader will fall at least twice the distance back to their last piece, plus slack and rope stretch.
Ice climbing with axes not being attached to the wrist, such that if dropped they are gone. The trade-off is greater mobility.
A technique used to climb off-width cracks pioneered by Randy Leavitt and Tony Yaniro. It uses alternating hand-fist stacks and leg-calf locks.
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 oneself up. In ice climbing, manteling 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. Abbreviation of mantelshelf.
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.
To use one hold for two limbs.
To retrieve another climber's gear because they are unable to or because it would be more convenient.
A crevasse that forms where the glacier pulls away from a rock formation.
(French monodoigt, meaning "single finger") A climbing hold, typically a pocket or hueco, that only has enough room for one finger.
A 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.
A section of rock or ice that is angled beyond vertical. See roof.
A position in which one's back is facing the wall and has a posture resembling an orangutan hanging with limbs outstretched. The orangutan is primarily used for horizontal traversal. In a left traversal, the sequence starts by threading one's right foot and right hand between the placements of one's left foot and left hand to reach the next supportive rock features. The exit sequence is symmetric.
A flat or angled metal blade of steel which incorporates a clipping hole for a carabiner or a ring in its body. Pitons are typically used in aid climbing, where an appropriate size and shape is hammered into a thin crack in the rock and preferably removed by the last team member.
A clip-on string fastened to a piton when inserting or removing, so as to avoid loss.
An aggressive step pattern for descending on hard or steep-angle snow.
An alternative to climbing chalk that is 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.
On popular routes, the passage of heavy traffic can wear the rock to such an extent that it loses some of its natural friction, making climbing much more difficult. This is often most noticeable at the crux, and more common on certain rock types.
A container for carrying out feces during multi-day climbs. The poop tube is made of PVC tubing, with a sealed end at the bottom and a screw top. It has a loop attaching screw top to the body of the tube and typically a webbing so it can be clipped below a haul bag.
A hold or part of a hold with a surface facing upwards, or away from the direction it is pulled, facilitating use. A positive hold is the opposite of a sloper.
Forcefully exhaling to facilitate O2/CO2 exchange at altitude.
2. An established route or bouldering problem that an individual is repeatedly attempting to ascend over a period of time but which has not been successfully sent by that climber. Sometimes slang in the form proj.
1. A knot used for ascending a rope. It is named after Austrian mountaineer Karl Prusik, who developed this knot in 1931.
2. To use a Prusik knot for ascending a rope.
To climb a wall toprope with having another rope connected to the climber, for practice of lead climbingclipping. 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.
A piece of protection that everyone knows will not actually hold a fall but which makes the climber feel better about having gear beneath them.
To have such an accumulation of metabolic waste products in the forearm, that forming even a basic grip becomes impossible. A climber who is pumped will find it difficult to hold on, and may struggle to lift or clip a rope.
A team of mountaineers or climbers joined together by a safety rope.
An extreme cross-through reach in which the crossing arm goes behind the other arm and is so far extended that the body is forced to twist until it ends up facing away from the rock. It was introduced by Antoine Le Menestrel, who used it to climb a route in Buoux, called La rose et le vampire.
1. A long portion of a route with minimal protection.
2. 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 type of climbing somewhere between hiking and graded rock climbing.
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.
The involuntary vibration of one or both legs resulting from fatigue or panic. Can often be remedied by bringing the heel of the offending leg down, changing the muscles used to support the weight of the climber.
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 than top-roping or following, since it may involve more route-finding, as well as the possibility of longer, more consequential falls.
A person of the ethnic group of the same name that is located in the Himalaya Mountains. Also a generic term for mountaineering porters in Nepal (usually those working at or above base camp), regardless of their ethnic group.
A traditionally belayedlead climber reaches a new belay station and 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 (a.k.a. "jugging") and cleans the pitch. When the second reaches the belay, they anchor in and start to belay the leader in the traditional way again. When the leader reaches the next belay the process is repeated.
A technique in which two 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.
sit and spin
A method of starting a rappel from a cliff edge, accomplished by sitting with legs over the edge and then spinning around to face the cliff while planting feet on the face.
A small hook which gives hold on small protrusions on watery and slippery grips. Most often used for placements, often extremely marginal, in aid climbing, although they also feature in some extreme free routes. Additionally, a skyhook can be attached to a harness, thus allowing the climber to rest, or held in one or both hands to hold a grip.
A relatively low-angle (significantly less than vertical) section of rock, usually with few large features. Requires slab climbing techniques.
A type of climbing, and its associated techniques, involved in climbing rock that is less than vertical and devoid of large or secure holds. The emphasis is on balance, footwork, and making use of very small features or rough spots on the rock for friction.
A style of climbing in which form, technical (or gymnastic) ability, and strength are more greatly 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 lend themselves well to competitive climbing.
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 them away from any hazards.
A type of hand position where the fingers and thumb are opposed.
Of a style of climbing or specific move, not dynamic. In general this entails movement of a limb to a new hold without the simultaneous transfer of weight. Instead weight transfer occurs after the limb has moved.
A long stick or extendable pole 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 climber's comfort zone. A stick clip can be bought, easily made, or even improvised when needed.
Rubber with enhanced frictional properties used on the soles of climbing shoes; originally introduced in the 1980s (on Boreal's Firé shoes) but now ubiquitous.
A kind of proto-climbing harness consisting of a long length of tubular webbing wrapped several times around the climber's body and secured with a water knot. Largely eschewed today in favor of commercial harnesses.
The last member or the tail of a climbing group. The sweeper's task is to spot and retrieve things that may have accidentally fallen from the preceding climbers; to make sure that no mess or gear is left behind; and to make sure that the rear is keeping up with the whole team. The term sweeper, a Filipino contribution to mountaineering vocabulary, was introduced in 1998 and was inspired by the Cleaner, a character in the 1990 film Nikita.
A dynamic form of the lieback, rotating off one foot while maintaining a grip with one hand, then grabbing a high handhold at the deadpoint of the swing with the other hand. This move is frequently reversible, unlike more aerial dynos.
Called out by a climber when requesting that the belayer remove all slack. See hangdogging.
An area of large rock fragments on a mountainside that may vary from house-sized to the size of 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 composed of larger rocks and may feature solid interlocking of the rocks, while scree is by definition loose.
When, after a whipper or long fall, a climber falls past their belayer, who is generally lifted up off the ground.
A term often used to describe relatively difficult or complex sequences of moves and/or the degree of ingenuity and creativity required to protect a route. Difficulty ratings of climbs are often based on a combination of the perceived technicality of the climb and the endurance or strength necessary to complete it.
A specialized move given a name to help communicate to another person what to do.
From the French word meaning "outstretched". In this grip the fingers are close to the position when the hand is open. The relative angle between the finger bones is gradual. The load applied is coming from tension in the forearm muscles.
A technique for maintaining balance using a taut rope through a point of protection.
A climb that is representative of the hardest, best climbs in an area.
A runner created by threading a sling around a jammed block or through a hole in the rock.
Making progress by squeezing into a space and wriggling against opposing rock surfaces.
The leg straps and waist belt of a climbing harness create two loops connecting the belay loop. The points which you tie in at.
A toe hook is securing the upper side of the toes on a hold. It helps pull the body inwards, towards the wall. The toe hook is often used on overhanging rock where it helps to keep the body from swinging away from the wall.
To belay from a fixed anchor point above the climb. Top-roping requires easy access to the top of the climb, often by means of a footpath or scrambling.
To complete a route by ascending over the top of the structure being climbed.
A style of climbing that emphasizes the adventure and exploratory nature of climbing. While sport climbing generally makes use of pre-placed protection ("bolts"), traditional (or "trad") climbing involves the placement of one's own protection during the climb, which is generally carried by climbers on a rack.
Getting prepared to climb on difficult mountains or routes. The Hangboard Repeaters protocol is a common method of training for climbing.
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.
A system in which the climber uses two thin ropes instead of one thicker one, but unlike double ropes, twin ropes have to be clipped through the same carabiner for each piece of protection. Twin ropes are often used by trad and alpine climbers. They allow full pitch rappelling and help reduce the chances for accidental cutting of the rope by sharp rock edges.
A climbing technique often used in conjunction with back-stepping, especially useful on overhanging sections. Hips are held perpendicular to the wall, feet press down in unison, and the outside arm pulls down and in towards the torso.
An outdated climbing technique in which one climber stands on the shoulders of another climber as an assist in climbing.
A thin coating of ice that forms over rocks when rainfall or melting snow freezes on rock. Hard to climb on as there is usually insufficient depth for crampons to have reliable penetration. See also clear ice and glaze ice.
A hollow and flat nylon strip, mainly used to make slings.
A piece of webbing with eyes sewn into the ends which can be used in place of a cordelette.
Any time a rope sustains the weight of the climber, e.g. "weighting the rope". This can happen during a minor fall, a whipper (long fall), or simply by resting while hanging on the belay rope. See also hangdogging.
A homemade 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.
A rating from the Yosemite Decimal System given to climbs that have very poor or no protection. These climbs often present risk of serious injury or death if a fall were to occur, even if the climb is properly protected.
A hold appearing to be composed of a different type of rock than the surrounding rock face.
A numerical system for rating the difficulty of walks, hikes, and climbs, used primarily in the United States. The rock climbing (5.x) portion of the scale is the most common grading system used in the US. The scale starts with the easiest grades at 5.0 and is open-ended on the harder end. As of September 2017[update], the most difficult grade was 5.15d.
In the UK, a deep, narrow inlet in a sea cliff which is filled by the sea at high tide.
Clipping into a piece of protection with the segment of rope from beneath the previous piece of protection, resulting in a potentially dangerous tangled configuration of the belay rope. If not corrected, this can result in high drag.
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.
A particular configuration of rope, anchors, and pulleys typically used to extricate a climber after falling into a crevasse.