A medical condition that is often observed at high altitudes. Also known as Acute mountain sickness, or AMS. Typical symptoms include headache and nausea. Symptoms dissipate quickly by reducing altitude.
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.
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. See also approach shoe.
A small ridge-like feature or a sharp outward facing corner on a steep rock face
Arête, a narrow ridge of rock formed by glacial erosion
A method of indoor climbing, in which one is able to use such a corner as a hold. See also dihedral.
Jamming an arm into a crack and locking 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. 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.
Stepping on a hold in such a way that the outside edge (little toe side) of your shoe touches the rock, while your hips are turned to the side in such a way that the outside of your hip faces into the rock.
To retreat from a climb.
Climber's right foot pressing on a rock, is preventing him from barn door swing to the right.
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.
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.
The strongest point on the harness. This is the loop you use your belay device on. You should not tie anything around the belay loop such as a daisy chain or sling. The belay loop will wear more quickly.
Called by belayer to confirm belay has been removed from climbing rope. Response to Off belay request.
Called by belayer to confirm belay has been (re)applied to climbing rope. Response to On belay request.
Someone that volunteers for, or is tricked into, repeated belaying duties without partaking in any of the actual climbing.
Typical bolted belay station with bolts set up for belaying and rappeling.
Place where the belayer is belaying, while anchored to the rock or other objects.
An unscheduled overnight bivouac often due to an epic.
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 "two fingers") A climbing hold, typically a pocket or hueco, that has enough room for two fingers. See also mono.
A climb on which most parties will spend more than one day. Big wall style generally refers to hauling the needed gear (food, water, sleeping bags) in a haulbag. Instead of carrying the gear on their person, the climbers put it in the haul bag and raise it in between pitches.
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.
A lightweight garment or sack offering full-body protection from wind and rain.
A large knob of rock or ice used as a belay anchor.
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. Also another name for a bowline on a bight, a rescue knot.
A slang word, referring to a difficult or uncomfortable hold, often one that tears the skin on the 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.
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.
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 (chimneying).
Improving a hold by permanently altering the rock, which is considered unethical and unacceptable.
A mechanical device, or a wedge, used as anchors in cracks.
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.
Industrial hardware used to link or repair steel chains, occasionally adapted by climbers as repel 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 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. Also known as "Cutting feet."
(Welsh) 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 to accidentally touching the ground, crashpad, spotter or another route while trying to ascend a route, and which might have helped the climber.
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 bodyweight, rather than arrest a fall, and while the sling as a whole will have a strength rating comparable to that of a standard sling, but 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.
Referring to the quality of a hold/route. That climb was absolutely dapper.
Type of High Ball boulder, where one can possibly die when falling from above.
To hang limp, such that weight is held by ligament tension rather than muscles.
An object, which lies horizontally, 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.
climbers living cheaply and supporting themselves through odd jobs in order to maximize the amount of time climbing. Well known practitioners of this lifestyle include Jan and Herb Conn or Fred Beckey.
Climbers using Double Rope Technique
Double Ropes or Half Ropes
System where the climber is using two thin ropes instead of one thicker one. Double ropes are often used by trad and alpine climbers. They help managing the rope drag, reduce the chances for accidental cutting of the rope by sharp rock edges, and allows full pitch rappeling. 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 move or to pull up the rope to clip into protection. There are several ways to prevent rope drag: protection placement that minimizes zig-zaging 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.
Old drilled baby angle in sandstone
Drilled baby angle or Drilled Pitons
Type of anchor sometimes used in sandstone or other soft rock instead of bolts. The anchor consist of baby anglepiton hammered into 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 US and can be still found on many routes.
One or both hand(s) blows off a hold usually while chalked (dry). As your hand(s) 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, 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.
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 tend to be damaged less severely by heavy loads. Compare with static rope.
Dynamic motion. Body momentum allows the climber to grab a hold that would otherwise be out of reach.
Any move in which body momentum is used 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.
Preparing for a dyno
A dynamic motion in which 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.
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. Also known as a "drop knee."
The same position as bridging or chimneying, but with one leg in front and one behind the body.
Empty space below a climber, usually referring to a great distance a climber is above the ground or large ledge, or the psychological sense of this distance due to being unprotected, or because the rock angles away due to climbing an arête or overhang.
Hypothermia resulting from prolonged exposure to cold, wind and rain.
Part of the UK adjectival grading system, originally short for extremely / exceptionally severe (XS); now split numerically into E1, E2, etc.
To ascend a vertical rock face using finger holds, edges and smears, i.e. not crack climbing.
To unintentionally descend using gravity as an aid. Hopefully stopped by a rope.
An instruction on indoor bouldering routes requiring 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, permanently fixated to the rock. The progression is often aided by artificial steps or ladders. Typically found in the Alps, also called Klettersteig.
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.
Climbing technique where a leg is held in a position to maintain balance, rather than to support weight. Often useful to prevent barn-dooring. There are three types of flagging:
Normal flag: Where 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: Where the flagging foot is crossed in front of the foot that is on a foothold
Reverse outside flag: Where the flagging foot is crossed behind the foot that is on a foothold
A thin slab of rock detached from the main face.
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.
Climbing without aid or protection. This typically means climbing without a rope.
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.
An exercise used to develop lock-off strength consisting of pull-ups that stop with the elbows locked at angles between 20 and 160 degrees.
Delicate and easily broken rock, often dangerous.
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.
Early Wild Country rigid Friends
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.
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 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. 'Geneva Style' is also a description used in Australia for what is commonly referred to elsewhere as 'Australian Rappelling'.
A belay device designed to be easy to use and safer for beginners because it is assisted-braking under load. Invented and manufactured by Petzl. Many experienced climbers advocate the use of an atc type device for beginners.
Scared. Also over gripping the rock.
Accidentally going off-route while leading and becoming lost on a rock face in an area much more difficult than the climb being attempted. The word arises from the climb "Gronk" in Avon Gorge which is notorious for this.
To climb with obviously poor style or technique.
A climbing route judged to be without redeeming virtue.
An inexperienced, unknowledgeable and oblivious climber; is a derogatory term. Gumbies are incapable of learning.
The act of pulling oneself up with both arms parallel in front of your chest. Resembles a Hamster during feeding. That sloper required some hamstering to get to the next move.
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 50s made by climbers such as Joe Brown and Don Whillans although they did not invent it.'
Traversing without any definitive footholds, i.e. smearing or heelhooking.
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.
A large and often unwieldy bag into which supplies and climbing equipment may be thrown.
The practice of top-roping a hard trad route before leading it cleanly.
A region at the top of a cliff or rock face that steepens dramatically.
Using the back of the heel to apply pressure to a hold, for balance or leverage; this technique requires pulling with the heel of a 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. Also known as a heel-toe cam, involves using opposing pressure from the toes and heel between two holds to hold the body on the wall.
A personal protective device to protect the wearer's head from rocks, debris, equipment, or falls. Also known as a brain bucket or skid lid.
A set of hexes
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 called hex.
A tall boulder problem. Falling becomes more dangerous due to the increase in height.
1. The highest point ever reached on a climb.
2. A personal highest point ever reached.
Climbing grown in the Himalayas. In a broader sense this Himalayan mountaineering climbing, similar as to the nature of climbing in the Himalayas, but also grown in other high mountains, where the height of the peaks above 7000 meters above sea level are the Karakoram, Kunlun, Hindu Kush, Pamir, Tien Shan, Daxue Shan.
A climbing technique involving hooking a heel or toe against a hold in order to balance or to provide additional support.
Large, pointed protrusion of rock that can be slung. Typically also makes a good handhold. Known in the UK as a "Spike". See bollard, chicken head.
(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.
An alternative to the Prusik knot, useful when the climber is short of cord but has plenty of webbing.
Knee bar used in bouldering
Knee Bar or Kneebar
Involves camming your lower thigh or knee against a protruding section of rock, usually with the foot pushing against an opposing hold. Kneebars can be very secure and are one of 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 also needs to place anchors and quickdraws. In sport climbing, the anchors are typically preplaced, and the quickdraws may either be preplaced or placed by the climber.
A fall while lead climbing. A fall from above the climber's 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.
Ice climbing with your axes not being attached to your wrist, if you drop them they're gone, but the trade off is greater mobility
A technique used to climb off-width cracks pioneered by Randy Leavitt and Tony Yaniro, the technique uses alternating hand/fist stacks and leg/calf locks.
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.
A carabiner with a locking gate, to prevent accidental release of the rope.
Using tendon strength to support weight on a handhold without tiring muscles too much.
A face climb that is less than vertical; the opposite of an overhang or roof. The same as "slab".
Mantel (abbreviation of mantelshelf) also spelled 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 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.
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 climbers gear because he or she is unable to or because it would be more convenient.
A crevasse that forms where the glacier pulls away from a rock formation.
(French monodoigt 'single finger') A climbing hold, typically a pocket or hueco, that only has enough room for one finger.
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.
Climber on few pitches up on a multi-pitch climb.
Climbing on routes that are too long for a single belay rope.
A section of rock or ice that is angled beyond vertical. See roof.
In orangutan position, 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 panicking novice climber clinging to handholds while searching desperately for a foothold.
In the strictest climbing definition, a pitch is considered one rope length 50–60 metres (160–200 ft). However, in guide books and route descriptions, a pitch is the portion of a climb between two belay points.
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.
Clip-on string fastened to 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 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.
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 noticeable at the crux, and more common on certain rock types.
Container for carrying out your feces during multi-day climb. 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 a webbing so it can be clipped below the haul bag.
A hold or part of a hold, having a surface facing upwards, or away from the direction it is pulled, facilitating use. Positive hold is an opposite to a sloper.
Forcefully exhaling to facilitate O2/CO2 exchange at altitude. Also called the "Whittaker wheeze".
Boulder problem or problem is used in bouldering to indicate the path that a climber takes in order to complete the climb. Same as route in roped climbing.
A potential new route or bouldering problem that is being attempted, but has not seen a first ascent yet.
An established route or bouldering problem that an individual is repeatedly attempting to ascend over a period of time, but has not been successfully been sent by that climber. Sometimes slang in the form proj.
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.
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. Also commonly referred to as "mock leading".
A piece of protection that everyone knows will not hold a fall, but makes the climber feel better about having gear beneath them anyhow.
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.
(Psychology) A feeling of anticipation and energy before a challenging climb.
An over-ambitious and under-prepared climber.
To have a solid grip on a hold or feature. "I had good purchase on that jug."
A screw-type oval-shape stainless steel carabiner which is smaller than normal oval-shape biner, particularly used for attaching to the chains of the master anchor. Also known as a maillon or maillon rapide.
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.
Also a type of descender consisisting of bars mounted on a "U" shaped chassis.
Also roped team or roped party. Team of mountaineers or climbers joined together by a safety rope.
Rose (also called rose move)
An extreme cross-through reach in which the crossing arm goes behind the other arm, and it 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.
The path of a particular climb, or a predefined set of moves.
A small nut, named after Roland Pauligk. Not certified for sale in Europe.
In the US, runners are slings, made of nylon and nylon/blend materials, used by climbers for a multitude of purposes.
In the UK, runners, or running belays, refer to any item of gear placed by the lead climber to reduce the length of a fall.
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 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.
Acronym for the important points to consider when building anchors. The acronym stands for Strong, Equalised, Redundant, Efficient, No Extension. See also ERNEST.
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
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 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
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.
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.
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.
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 and commonly used on Reddit in the community /r/climbing.
Climbing without following any specific color in a gym with color-designated routes/problems. Also referred to as "climbing the rainbow," since any and all colors of holds are used.
A small hook which gives hold on small protrusions on watery and slippery grips. They are most often used for placements, often extremely marginal, in aid climbing, although they also feature in some extreme free routes. Additionally, the skyhook can be attached to the 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 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.
Portion of rope that is not taut, preferably minimized during belay.
An attempt at a route or move. "I'll give that a slap." or "What a hard slap; I'm pumped."
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.
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.
A type of hand position where the fingers and thumb are opposed.
Giving unwanted – and unasked-for – beta to a fellow climber. Also, excessive, overly prominent, or boorish proclamation of one's own (often exaggerated) skills or exploits.
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.
The simultaneous use of two widely spaced footholds.
Climbing using two faces that are at an angle less than 180° to each other.
Scooping steps out of snow or ice with the adze of an ice axe.
Scooping and stamping steps out of soft snow with the feet.
A belay device consisting of a flat plate with a pair of slots. Named after the inventor Fritz Sticht.
Use of stick clip
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 comfort zone of the climber. A stick clip can be bought, easily made or even improvised when needed. Ethically controversial in some communities.
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 climbers body and secured with a water knot. Largely eschewed today in favor of commercial harnesses.
Refers to 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 (also known as La Femme Nikita) by Luc Besson.
A dynamic form of the lieback, described above, 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.
To swap limbs on a particular hold. Not to be confused with matching.
Called by a climber when requesting that the belayer remove all slack. See hang dogging.
Talus rocks at the foot of the mountain
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.
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 very technical sequences of moves and / or the degree of ingenuity and creativity required to protect a route. Difficulty ratings of climbs often is a combination of technicality of a climb and the endurance or strength necessary to complete it.
Specialized moves given names to help communicate what to do to another person.
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.
Make progress by squeezing into a space and wriggling against opposing rock surfaces.
The leg straps and waist belt create two loops connecting the belay loop. The points which you tie in at. Also known as soft loops.
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, by means of a footpath or scrambling.
To complete a route by ascending over the top of the structure being climbed.
To use holds specified out for you in any route, usually used in gym 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.
Getting prepared to climb on difficult mountains.
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.
Traverse section on a big wall in Yosemite
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.
A limestone rib formation that protrudes from the wall which can sometimes fit within the pinching grasp of a climber's hand; alternatively: a plastic, bolted on bouldering hold designed to replicate such a formation on an indoor climbing wall.
System where the climber is using two thin ropes instead of one thicker one, but unlike double ropes twin ropes have to be clipped through the same biner for each piece of protection. Twin ropes are often used by trad and alpine climbers. They allow full pitch rappelling and help reducing the chances for accidental cutting of the rope by sharp rock edges.
Two man stand
An outdated climbing technique where one climber stands on the shoulders of another climber as an assist in climbing.
Technique needed to make slow upwards progress on holdless rock, especially off-width cracks.
A hold which is gripped with the palm of the hand facing upwards. Also known as an undercut.
A thin coating of ice that forms over rocks when rainfall or melting snow freezes on rock. Hard to climb on as there is insufficient depth for crampons to have reliable penetration. See also clear ice and glaze ice.
A large, hollow bolted-on bouldering hold.
Originating in Sheffield, a slang term for a good climber.
A bamboo stick with a small flag on top used to mark paths over glaciers and snow fields.
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.
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).
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.
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 face.
Another name for a Sit start, a 'Yabo start' was named after John 'Yabo' Yablonski.
To pull on the rope to make upward progress, often with assistance from the belayer. This may be done to bypass a crux, or to quickly regain ground lost after a fall without re-climbing the section. AKA to "jug up" the rope.
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 starts with the easiest grades at 5.0 and is open-ended on the harder end. As of September 2017, the most difficult grade was 5.15d.
In the UK, a deep, narrow inlet in a sea-cliff, filled by the sea at high tides.
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 fixed 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.
Also Z-system. A particular configuration of rope, anchors, and pulleys typically used to extricate a climber after falling into a crevasse.
Alpine climbing (German: Alpinklettern) is a branch of climbing in which the primary aim is very often to reach the summit of a mountain. In order to do this high rock faces or pinnacles requiring several lengths of climbing rope must be ascended. Often mobile, intermediate climbing protection has to be used in addition to the pitons usually in place on the climbing routes.
Alpine tours may be free (pitons, belay devices, slings are only used for safety, not to climb), aid climbing (i.e. all aids are used to assist the climb), clean (all protection devices are placed during the climb and then removed again) or free solo (no protection). A big wall may refer to a route which cannot be climbed within a day or a route which is primarily a rock climb. In addition, ice climbing is part often a component of an alpine climb.
As the climbers are on wholly or partly on their own, depending on the availability and extent of routes in Alpine climbs, careful route planning and selection, and knowledge of anchor techniques and the laying of mobile protection devices, abseil and rescue techniques are required. Although most Alpine climbing is free, it may be necessary to use aid climbing, at points where there is no free climbing option, in order to avoid losing time and endangering the rope team.
In the 1980s, Alpine sport climbing was developed as a form of Alpine climbing, thanks to increasingly sophisticated equipment with better performance especially in the sport climbing field. In Alpine sport climbing the aim is to increasingly raise the bar even on multi-rope routes.
Belaying refers to a variety of techniques climbers use to exert tension on a climbing rope so that a falling climber does not fall very far. A climbing partner typically applies tension at the other end of the rope whenever the climber is not moving, and removes the tension from the rope whenever the climber needs more rope to continue climbing.
The term "belay" also means the place where the belayer is anchored; this is typically a ledge, but may be a hanging belay, where the belayer themselves is suspended from protection in the rock.
A carabiner () or karabiner is a specialized type of shackle, a metal loop with a spring-loaded gate used to quickly and reversibly connect components, most notably in safety-critical systems. The word is a shortened form of Karabinerhaken (or also short Karabiner), a German phrase for a "spring hook" used by a carbine rifleman, or carabinier, to attach items to a belt or bandolier.
Climbing is the activity of using one's hands, feet, or any other part of the body to ascend a steep object. It is done for locomotion, recreation and competition, in trades that rely on it, and in emergency rescue and military operations. It is done indoors and out, on natural and man-made structures.
Guides, such as professional mountain guides, have historically been an essential element of pursuing the sport in the natural environment, and remain so today.
Exposure is a climbing and hiking term. Sections of a hiking path or climbing route are described as "exposed" if there is a high risk of injury in the event of a fall because of the steepness of the terrain. If such routes are negotiated without any protection, a false step can result in a serious fall.
The negotiation of such routes can cause fear of falling because of the potential danger.
In mountaineering, a first ascent (abbreviated to FA in guidebooks) is the first successful, documented attainment of the top of a mountain, or the first to follow a particular climbing route. First mountain ascents are notable because they entail genuine exploration, with greater risks, challenges, and recognition than climbing a route pioneered by others. The person who performs the first ascent is called the first ascensionist.
In free climbing, a first ascent (or first free ascent, abbreviated FFA) of a climbing route is the first successful, documented climb of a route without using equipment such as anchors or ropes for aiding progression or resting.
Lead climbing is a climbing technique used to ascend a route. This technique is predominantly used in rock climbing and involves a lead climber attaching themselves to a length of dynamic (elastic) climbing rope and ascending a route while periodically attaching protection (quickdraws or traditional protection) to the face of the route and clipping into it. The lead climber must have another person acting as a belayer. The belayer has multiple roles: holding the rope in the event of a fall, and paying out or taking up rope as the climber moves.
As lead climbing does not require a pre-placed anchor at the top of the route, it is often seen as less restricted than top roping. Also, because a lead climber does not have an anchor point above them while climbing, only the limbs and body of the climber are used to affect upward progress. Carabiners are only placed to catch the climber in the event of a fall. Lead climbing as a part of sport climbing will debut at the 2020 Summer Olympics and was previously tested at the 2018 Summer Youth Olympics.
A mountain sport or Alpine sport is one of several types of sport that take place in hilly or mountainous terrain.
All these sports require special equipment, carry a higher level of risk and require specialised training before they can be undertaken safely.
Because mountain sportsmen deliberately go into terrain that is not easily accessible where there are higher risks – dangers such as avalanches, bad weather, mudflows, rockfalls and icefalls - special measures must be taken to mitigate these risks. This is generally known as risk management.
Mountain sports include the following:
Klettersteig or via ferrata climbing
Ski touring, ski mountaineering and its freeriding
Hiking, especially Hillwalking
Mountain biking (partly)
CanyoningThe usual skiing on pistes is not generally counted as a mountain sport, because the use of prepared slopes and the corresponding legal standards reduce risks to a minimum, so that the skier or snowboarder does not have to take account of any significant risks.
A Reverso is a belay device developed and patented by Petzl, used for example in rock-climbing and other activities which involves rope-work. Another version of this device is the Reversino, intended for use with thinner ropes.
A Reverso can be used to belay the leader, one or two seconds, or as a descender during rappelling. It can also be used in self-braking mode, to belay one or two seconds, if attached directly to the belay.
A Reverso is similar in design and use to an ATC when belaying a lead climber from below. A rope passes through the Reverso, through a carabiner attached to both the Reverso and the belayer's harness, and back through the same hole in the Reverso. This creates the friction required to properly belay a climber.
When belaying a seconder from the top of a climb, the Reverso is attached by a carabiner through the "extra loop" that an ATC does not have, to the anchors in the place of an italian hitch knot. Using this method, the device is self-locking, and cannot be released without extra gear.
A wide range of equipment is used during rock or any other type of climbing that includes equipment commonly used to protect a climber against the consequences of a fall.See also the Glossary of climbing terms for more equipment descriptions.
Self-rescue, in climbing, or in the broader activity of mountaineering, refers to actions and techniques, taken by either an individual climber or teams, to retreat or advance from situations which would leave them, otherwise unprepared, stranded (and, possibly, dead).
Self-rescue is an alternative to calling search and rescue (SAR) which can save the climber(s) being charged for SAR services and can avoid putting SAR team members in harm's way. Unfortunately, many aspiring climbers don't take the opportunity to train themselves in real-life conditions (overhanging edges, etc.) and "find they need to seek outside help".When members of a team require self-rescue, rescuing a fallen partner may expose the rescuer to significant risks. Self-rescue requires having a practiced rescue plan, good communication, and foresight to avoid "an incident within an incident".
Slab climbing is a type of rock climbing where the rock face is at an angle less steep than vertical. It is characterized by balance- and friction-dependent moves on very small holds. It is often not leadable, or climbable from the ground up, unless it has pre-drilled bolts to protect the climb, making most slab climbs either top rope climbing or sport climbing. Special techniques such as smearing are necessary to climb slab. It is a type of face climbing and is distinctly different from crack climbing. Slab climbing is a relatively new area of climbing, having become more popular in the last 30 years, and some of the highest graded routes are currently being realized.
Snow protection (snow pro) is a type of natural or artificial protection used in mountaineering as an anchor. Two common artificial devices are the snow fluke and snow picket. It is used both for climbing and for securing tents and other camping gear, designed for use in sand and snow.
A fluke is a bent square or rectangle, approximately 8 by 10 inches (20 by 25 cm), and is made of aluminium or other metal, with a cable attached at two points on the upper surface. A fluke correctly used is buried in the snow, tip pointed down, approximately 40° from the angle of the mountain slope. Flukes can deflect or dislodge in harder-packed or dry snow, and are therefore more reliably used in heavy, moist snow.A picket is usually made of lightweight aluminum in 18–36-inch-long (46–91 cm) long T-shaped design.
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