More Rock Climbing Jargon

Here’s another useful list of rock climbing jargon:

Aid climbing – Using artificial aids to ascend the rock

Anchor – Main protection in a roped safety system

Apron – A low angle slab of rock

Arete – A sheer knife-edged. An outside corner

Balance – Where we place our center of gravity

Barndoor – The tendency of the body to swing out from the rock when executing a layback or using a sidepull

Belay, Belayer – In a roped safety system, the belay is the point where the rope is fed out, taken in, or stopped to catch falls. The belayer is one who does this.

Beta – An explanation of the sequence of climbing movement for a particular climb

Bouldering – Climbing without ropes close to the ground.

Bucket – An in cut hand hold.

Bulge – A portion of the rock that becomes overhanging then lessens is steepness

Buttress – A large face that protrudes from a ridge or slope.

Cam – A twisting motion that uses opposing forces to hold a part of the body in place.

Case-harding – Mineralization of the surface of the rock that produces holds. Also called Patina or Varnish.

Chalk – A substance used to dry sweat and oils from the hands.

Chichenhead – A protruding erosion feature characterized by a thin neck where it is attached to the rock.

Chimney – A large crack in the rock that is big enough to fit your entire body. A squeeze chimney fits only a part of your body.

Ceiling – An overhang that juts out horizontally from the rock.

Cling Grip – Arching the fingers inward on a handhold

Corner – The meeting point of two planes of rock. Also called a Dihedral or Open book

Crab Crawl – Facing outward while descending.

Cross-hands, Cross-feet, Cross-over – the act of crossing feet or hands to accomplish further reach on the next move.

Deadpoint – The point of maximum extension while lunging.

Dihedral – See Corner

Dike – A vein of harder rock that protrudes from the surface.

Dome – A large rock that lessens in steepness towards the top

Dynamic Climbing – Junping or lunging movements

Edge, Edging, Edging boot – A squared off hand or foothold; Pressing the edge and side of the boot into the hold; A boot with stiff soles and harder rubber.

Exfoliation – The erosion of successive layers of rock

Exposure – In creased height and steepness

Finger Crack, Finger lock – A thin crack that fits only your fingers; twisting of the fingers in a finger crack

Fifth Class Climbing – Near vertical climbing where a fall would result in death

First Class Climbing – Walking up a steep hill

Fist crack, Fist jam – A crack hose width is the same as you fist; expanding your fist is a jam.

Flake – Where two layers of rock meet.

Flash accent – Completing a climb for the first time without a fall

Follower – The second person in a roped climbing party that removes the protection.

Fourth Class Climbing – Climbing on large holds on steep rock. A fall may result in injury or death.

Free climbing – Climbing using only your hands and feet. A rope may be used for safety, but not for ascending.

Free soloing – Climbing without ropes where a fall could kill you.

Friction – How hard you press into a rock

Friction hold, Friction boot – A hold that is not positive, but lower angled or sloping; a boot with a soft rubber soul.

Hand crack, Hand jam – A crack that is the width of your hand; rolling the thumb into the palm to create a jam

Hand stack – Utilizing both hands to create a jam in a wide crack

Head wall – A large expanse of overhanging rock

Heel cup – The heel of the shoe.

Heel hook – Hanging by the heel.

Hueco – A shallow depression in the rock.

Imaging – Watching climbing and recording it in your mind subconsciously.

In-cut – A hold you can get you fingers behind.

Jam – Expanding a part of your body to hold it in place in a crack.

Knee-back – Opposition utilizing the knees against one wall and the back against the other wall.

Knob – A protrusion from the rock.

Lateral stiffness – The quality of a climbing shoe that prevents it from moving from side to side.

Layback – Pulling with the hands an pushing with the feet.

Leader – In a roped safety system, the leader climbs first and places protection.

Leavittation – A method of climbing wide cracks utilizing knee lock and hand stacks.

Lip – The edge of an overhang.

Lunge – Jumping for a hold.

Mantle – Boosting yourself on a hold or ledge by locking the elbows and bringing the feet up.

Match hands, Match feet – Placing both feet or both hands on the same hold.

Mountaineering – Climbing involving snow or ice.

On-sight ascent – Climbing a route for the first time without falling, without any prior knowledge about the climb.

Off-hands, Off-fingers jam – A jam slightly larger that a hand jam or a finger jam.

Off-width – A crack that you can get your arms and legs in, but not you entire body.

Open grip – Palm open , finger tips resting on the hold.

Opposition – Pushing in two different directions.

Outside corner – Where two planes of rock meet to form a vertical Arete.

Palming – Placing the entire hand over a rounded hold.

Pinch grip – Pinching the sides of a hold.

Pinnacle – A solitary shaft of rock that is separated from or leans against other rocks.

Piton – A type of protection that is hammered into cracks. Rarely used in modern free climbing.

Pockets – Small holes in the rock formed by trapped gas or solution.

Polish – Slippery rock formed by abrasion from water or glaciers.

Positive pull – A handhold that you can pull downward on.

Protection – Devices placed in the rock to catch a falling climber.

Push-off – Pushing upward off of a positive hold.

Rand – The rubber side of climbing shoes.

Ratings – Degrees of difficulty of climbs.

Redpoint – The ascent of a climb without a fall after many attempts

Ring grip – Using the thumb to hold down a finger.

Roof – See ceiling

Second Class Climbing – Hiking up steep and uneven terrain.

Sequence – Certain movements that are needed to climb a climb.

Side-pull – A hold that is grasped sideways.

Sixth Class Climbing – See aid climbing

Slab – See apron

Smearing – Pressing both feet against opposite holds.

Static climbing – Climbing in control with no jumping or sudden movements

Stem – Pressing both feet against opposite holds.

Tape – Adhesive cloth tape used to protect the hands when climbing cracks

Thank God hold – See buckets

Tips – A crack that is too small to stick your fingers in.

Toe cam – Wedging your toe in a crack.

Toe jam – Twisting your toe in a crack.

Toeing in – Pressing the toe of the boot into a crack that is too thin to toe jam.

Top rope – A roped safety system whereby a rope is dropped from the top of a cliff.

Torque – Twisting motion of a cam.

Traverse – Sideways climbing movement.

Vertical grip – Pressing the tips of the fingers into a hold with the first digits bent out ward and the other digits bent inward.

Visualization – Rehearsing a movement in your mind before doing it.

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