11/08/2010 11:36:43

Words by tcsh

Climbing Terms

Abseiling A method of travelling down a vertical surface (i.e. Rock face) by descending down a rope via a specific 'descender' device
Aid Climbing A style of climbing that uses devices in order to rest on or assist your ascent. Used on long and strenuous mountaineering routes and big walls. The opposite to Free Climbing.
Alpine Climbing Simply put: Climbing in the Alpine regions - a destination that, even in the summer, requires ice protection and winter skills. The term can also refer to the style of mountaineering whereby all ones kit is carried with no supporting group or bases.
Arete An outward angled ridge or rib of rock
Ascender A device for ascending a vertical rope without climbing the rock wall. Usually, the device features an effective jamming function that grips the rope when released, thus allowing the climber to apply their weight to the device and ascend the rope.
Belay (Adj) The action of safely controlling the outflow of rope to the active climber via the use of a belay device
Belay (Noun) A point where you safely attach yourself to the rock face during a climb.
Belay Device A metal device that a rope can be passed through, in order to allow the Belayer to apply more or less friction to the pay out of rope. If needs be, the device can be used to lock the rope completely to arrest a climbers fall. They can be very simple, or feature complicated jamming mechanisms like the Petzl Grigri.
Belay Loop A loop of strong webbing at the front of the harness that a belay device and other devices can be attached to without fear of damaging the rest of the harness
Belay Plate See Belay Device. Usually, a Belay Plate is one of the  simpler Belay Device models like an ATC or VC Pro
Belayer The person responsible for belaying the active climber, In case of a fall, the belayer can arrest the progress of the rope with a belay device and stop the climber descending indefinitely
Bite of rope A fold of rope that can then be tied to leave a loop that can be clipped into.
Bomber A piece of protection or kit that is so reliable that it could literally survive a bomb strike - pretty dependable!
Boulder Bag A large version of the Chalk Bag used when bouldering and therefore can remain on the ground and contain much more chalk.
Bouldering A style of climbing that involves climbing particular problems that are low to the ground and therefore does not require ropes and harnesses. A Bouldering Mat is essential however.
Bouldering Mat A large high density foam mat used to cushion a fall when Bouldering.
Buttress A large protruding crag face
Cam A spring loaded camming protection device. A device featuring 3 or 4 cams that pivot on an axle to jam into a crack or crevice. When fitted correctly, the device can me relied upon to protect the climber from a fall.
Camalot A type of Cam manufactured by Black Diamond. The name has become intricately associated with the device.
Carabiner see Karabiner
Chalk  Magnesium carbonate used to add friction to fingers to enable easier climbing.
Chalk Bag A small sealable pouch that can be attached to your harness to carry Chalk.
Chimney A  wide crack that is large enough to climb through.
Chockstone A chunk of rock that is jammed into a crack and can therefore be used as a hold or threaded around.
Crack A fissure in the rock that can be climbed up or can be used to hold pieces of protection.
Crag A face of rock that can be climbed
Crimp A tiny feature in the rock that you can only hold with the tips of your fingers
Crimping To hold onto a Crimp.
Daisy Chain A type of Sling that has been stitched together in such a way that it provides a series of separate loops that can be individually attached to.
Dead Rope The inactive end of a rope that is fed through the Belay Device.
Deep Water Soloing A form of Soloing that is carried out over water thus allowing some protection if one falls. Not to be undertaken unless one is confident of sufficient water depth.
Descender A device for safely descending a rope, usually via a method of friction. A belay plate can often double up as a descender.
Double Rope A system of ropes where two ropes are used independently of each other. This benefits from reducing rope drag as well as being safer if one rope gets damaged.
Dynamic Rope A type of rope that is designed to stretch when loaded. This reduces the stress to the system, and the climber!
Dyneema A very strong and highly abrasion resistant polymer material that is used in slings and load bearing items. Dyneema slings can therefore be thinner and lighter than the comparable nylon variety.
Dyno Jumping for a hold that is ordinarily beyond ones reach.
Edging Using the edge of the shoe to gain purchase on small ledges. 
Etrier A small rope ladder used in aid climbing
Extender See Quickdraw
Fall Factor A term to describe the severity of a fall, calculated by dividing the distance fallen by the length of rope between the climber and the belay
Fig of 8 A knot that resembles a number 8. When tied with a Bite of rope it provides the climber with a loop that can be safely attached to.
Finger Board A board of wood or resin that featured holes and holds and is attached to a room wall and can be hung from in order to train a climbers hand and arm strength.
Finger Tape Fabric tape that can be used to strap up cracked fingers or protect fingers on particularly rough routes.
Fingerboard A training tool that consists of a board with a variety of holes and shapes that can be hung off to work on finger strength. 
Free Climbing The style of climbing whereby ascent is done using just the power of the body, without using equipment to pull yourself up on rest upon. Ropes and protection are used simply to arrest any fall. The opposite to Aid Climbing.
Friend See Technical Friend
Gate The opening section of a Karabiner
Gear Loop A loop of webbing or plastic, usually around the back of a harness waist loop that can be used to hang climbing gear upon.
Half Rope A rope designed to be used as a pair in a Double Rope system
Heel Hooking A technique that requires using the heel of your foot to hold onto a ledge that is normally head height.  A lot of Rock shoes are now equipped with heel rubber to help with this.
Hex(es) A hexagonal piece of metal (often attached to a sling) that can be inserted into a crack or crevice for protection.
HMS A large, often pear shaped, Karabiner that can easily be used with a Munter Hitch. These are also often used to support Belay Plates and other rope bearing devices.
Ice Axe See Walking Axe or Technical Axe
Ice Screw A piece of protection needed for ice climbing that allows you to screw into the solid ice and attach a Quickdraw to.
Italian Hitch See Munter Hitch
Jamming The climbing technique where parts of your body are forced into various sized cracks in order to aid progression - Warning - can result in grazed knuckles (or a lot worse!)
Karabiner A strong metal oval device with a Gate that allows ropes and slings to be attached to other items safely. They can be locking or not depending on the function and come in a variety of styles and shapes.
Krab see Karabiner
Lead(ing) Climbing first and setting the protection for your Second. Leading requires more skill than seconding as falls will be further and there is a chance that protection can pull out.
Leader One who Leads
Munter Hitch A simple hitch knot that can be used, in conjunction with an HMS Biner, to belay with when a belay device is not used.
Nut Key A length of hooked metal that can be used to prize Nuts, or Hexes out of a crack.
Nut(s) A form of Protection that consists of a wedge shaped piece of metal on a wire that can be inserted into a crack or crevice.
Overhang A section of rock that angles back over ones head, resulting in a climbing move that can require a Heel Hook or a move without the use of your legs.
Piton A blade shaped piece of metal that can be hammered into a crack and attached to when other forms of protection will not fit. They are less commonly used as they are a more destructive method.
Protection A general term to describe the equipment used to attach the rope to the rock face to protect oneself from taking a severe fall. 
QD See Quickdraw
Quickdraw Two snapgates joined together by a short sling. These are most often used to attach a rope to a piece of Protection in order to allow a short distance between the rock face and the rope.
Rock Boot See Rock Shoe
Rock Shoe Shoes specifically designed for climbing due to their snug fit and sticky rubber soles. Starter shoes tend to be quite relaxed in fit whereas the more professional grad shoes will be tighter and more convex fit for more precise use.
Rope Bag A bag for carrying a bale of rope that both keeps the rope clean and, in wet conditions, keeps the rest of your kit dry. Usually, these bags come with a built in tarp for laying rope out on a dry surface.
Scrambling The climbing of simpler routes that generally does not require climbing protection. The harder scrambles should not be attempted without a basic rack of climbing gear however, and the line between scrambling and climbing can become very blurred.
Screwgate A style of Karabiner that has a lockable gate. The sleeve on the Gate can be screwed down to ensure that it does not open. These are more often used in situations where the Krab is staying in place for a long period of time or is safety critical.
Second The individual who climbs are route after the Leader has set the route. This is generally a lot safer than Leading as a Bomber Belay should have been set at the top of the route.
Semi Static Rope A type of Abseil rope that has very little stretch in  it. A small amount of stretch allows of a more comfortable descent, however too much stretch can lead to unpredictable lowering.
Short Rope The use of a short length of rope to attach to a less experienced member of your group, when on a mountain, in order to provide more security and an element of confidence.
Single Rope A rope that can be used to climb on it's own, without the addition of a 2nd rope. This method is suitable only for straight routes where rope drag would not be a significant factor.
Sling A length of high strength material, usually stitched into a loop. They are normally constructed from nylon or Dyneema
Smearing A technique whereby the sole of the Rock shoe is applied to a flat surface of rock, gaining grip from friction alone, instead of through an Edge.
Snapgate A style of Karabiner that cannot be locked. The gate simply 'snaps' shut under tension. These are mostly used in Quickdraws and items that need to be quickly released.
Snow Probe A lightweight collapsible pole that can be used to probe deep snow to locate avalanche victims or lost items.
Soloing A style of climbing that uses no ropes or protection and relies on just the climbers skill and strength. In the case of a fall, there is no protection from injury.
Sport Climbing A style of climbing that uses pre-bolted routes as opposed to inserting your own Protection. One can therefore just clip a Quickdraw to the bolt to protect from a fall. These routes can be climbed a lot quicker and often individuals are able to climb higher grades due to the easier protection.
Static Rope A type of rope that is NOT designed to stretch when loaded. Used for abseiling or hauling. Cannot be used for normal climbing as the stress of a fall is transferred entirely to the climber.
Technical Axe An ice axe that is strong enough, and of the correct design, to be used for ice climbing and/or belaying from (as opposed to Walking Axes). Most modern technical axes have curved shafts that make climbing easier.  Usually marked with a T in a circle on the shaft
Technical Friend Wild Country's branded version of a Cam
Thread A natural feature that a sling can be passed through in order to attach a piece of protection.
Trad Climbing Traditional. The style of climbing that involves placing your own protection, as opposed to Sport Climbing
Twin Rope A rope that is designed to be used as a pair. Different to a double rope in that twin ropes are used together and both fed through each point of protection. This system is more popular for winter climbing as it is safer in situations when rope abrasion can be a major factor.
Via Ferrata A mountain route that is equipped with wires and ladders that can be clipped to, in order to enable individuals to climb and walk in areas that would ordinarily be beyond their standard.
Walking Axe An ice axe that is designed for support and security whilst walking on snow and ice. They are often made from lightweight materials and therefore are not suitable for belaying from. 
Wire See Nut(s)
Wire Gate A type of Snapgate that has a strong wire gate in order to save weight over a solid gate.

 

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