Rock Climbing Glossary

Rock Climbing Glossary – Learn the Climbing Lingo

Welcome to the rock climbing glossary. Here are hope is to give all the climbing jargon you need to know. We hope this helps you to better understand rock climbing.

Allez: French for “go” typically shouted to encourage a climber to keep going

Anchor: Something that attaches a belayer to the rock. Anchors are also set for top rope routes. You will want to set at least two, three would be better for top roping.

Approach: the walk or hike to the base of a cliff line or a route

Arête: a corner of rock

Backstepping: outside edging on a foothold that is behind you while climbing a move with your side to the wall

Bail: to give up on a route and come off due to difficulty, weather, or lack of daylight

Bail Biner: a carabiner that you leave behind on a route. It is used to lower/rappel off the route

Barn door: when the body swings away from the rock looking like a door opening. Will usually happen with one hand on and one foot on.

Beta: any prior information about a route, including sequence, rests, gear, clips, and so forth

Bolt: a permanent protection point consisting of a steel stud set into a small hole drilled in the rock that is fitted with a hanger

Bomber: a massive hold

Boulder: a big rock that is typically climbed without a rope

Bouldering: climbing performed without a rope or belay at the base of a cliff or boulder field usually between 10-25 ft off the ground. For safety spotters and pads recommended

Bouldering pad: a mattress type pad that is about 4 inches thick and varies in size. It’s used to help cushion and protect the climber from a fall

Buildering: climbing on buildings or other man made things. Lots of fun be careful though some places don’t like you climbing on their buildings

Campus board: a wrunglike board used to train for climbing

Campusing (campus): climbing a section of rock or artifical wall with no use of you feet, usually in a dynamic left-hand, right-hand, left-hand sequence

Chalk: a drying agent that is used to keep your hands dry

Chalk bag: a bag specifically used to hold chalk

Chalk pot: a larger chalk bag that is used for bouldering

Chipping: the act of altering the rock by breaking it, is looked down upon and show poor ethics

Contact strength: how able you are to hold holds with you hands

Crank: slang for pulling on a hold with everything you’ve got

Crimp grip: the most natural and stressful way to grip a rock hold, characterized by hyperextension of the first joint in the fingers and nearly full contraction of the second joint

Crux: the hardest move, or most difficult part of a route

Dead hang: hanging from a hold or holds with your arms completely straight

Deadpoint: the ‘high’ position of a dynamic move where for a moment, all motion stops

Deck: to fall of a route and hit the ground

Dihedral: a corner that could be more or less than 90 degrees

Downclimb: to climb downward instead of climbing up

Drop-knee: an exaggerated backstep in which one knee is dropped toward the ground whereas the other is pointing up, resulting in a stable chimneylike position, especially on overhanging rock

Dynamic move: an explosive leap for a hold otherwise out of reach

Dyno: short for dynamic

F.A.: stands for first ascent, the person who climbed the route in completion without falling first

Flagging: a climbing technique in which one foot is crossed behind the other to avoid barn-dooring and to improve balance

Flake: a rock formation where a ‘flake’ of rock protrudes from the other rock

Flash: to climb a route on the first try without ever having touched it, but with the aid of beta

Flash pump: a rapid, often vicious, muscular pump resulting from strenuous training or climbing without first performing a proper warm-up

Gaston: this is a sidepull technique however the elbow is pointed in an outward direction

Greasy: when a hold is slippery or slimy

Gym: indoor climbing facility

Heel hook: the use of the heel on a hold, usually near chest level, to aid in pulling and balance

Helmet: a protection device for your head

Jug: a large hold that is very easy to hold on to

Layback: a crack climbing technique, climber grasps the edge of the crack, leans back, and moves upwards by walking the feet up the opposing wall.

Lunge: an out-of-control dynamic move; a jump for a far-off hold

Mantel: a climbing technique that requires you to transfer from a pulling position to a pushing position.

Match: placing both hands or both feet on the same hold

Mental practice: practice in which you visualize successful execution with overt physical practice

Modeling: a learning technique in which you watch, then attempt, a skill as performed properly by another person

Mono: a one finger pocket

Multi pitch climb: a climb that takes more than one rope length

Muscular endurance: the length of time a given level of power can be maintained

On-sight: when a route is climbed on the first try and with absolutely no prior information of any kind

Open-hand: a safer grip involving all the contact from the hand used primarly on slopers

Pumped: when the muscles become hard from extended physical exertion makes it difficult to hold the rock

Redpoint: lead climbing a route from bottom to top in one push

Runout: the distance between protection points, especially when it is long

Schema: a set of rules, usually developed by the motor system in the brain and spinal cord, relating hot to move and adjust muscle forces, body positions, and so forth, given the parameters at hand, such as steepness of the rock, friction qualities, holds being used, and type of terrain

Slab: a smooth, low-angle rock face usually climbed using very small holds and friction

Sport climbing: usually refers to any indoor or outdoor climbing using quickdraws on bolt protected routes

Spotter: a person designated to slow the fall of a boulderer, with the main goal of keeping the boulderer’s head from hitting the ground

Take: a rope command used by the climber to request that the belay rope be held tight and his weight held by the belayer.

Trad: short for traditional climbing

Visualization: controlled and directed imagery

Wired: know very well, got it down referring to a route

Working: practicing moves on a difficult

Related posts:

  1. Rock Climbing 101
  2. Climbing Games
  3. Power of Visualization
  4. Graffetti
  5. Mental Aspects of Leading Sport Routes

This entry was posted on Friday, September 10th, 2010 at and is filed under Rock Climbing Articles. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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