Rock Climbing Slang : an alien language and How To Use It
If you’re new to the walls, rock climbing slang can quickly render a sentence meaningless. Any non-climber that has meandered through the bush near climbers at a crag, shouldn’t feel all that guilty if they thought they were about to stumble across some sort of ancient cultist ritual.
Rock Climbing Slang And How To Use It. Like many sports, climbers have an extensive glossary of terms that isn’t far off its own alien language to most. You’ll likely hear a myriad of herculean groans and pained yelps all folded into an assortment of words and phrases such as “Yes”,“Come on”, “Slap it” and “Squuueeeeeze”.
Though this article will dabble in the jargon of climbing as well as the rock climbing slang, certain terms for technical equipment and techniques have been intentionally left out. Much of the climbing world can, and should only be learnt through experience, for your safety and those around you.
Rock Climbing Slang : Let’s Start With The Basics
Gym – Indoor rock climbing gym or center.
Crag – Cliff or outdoor climbing area.
Climber – Duh.
Belayer – The person that belays the climber by managing the rope, in order to catch the climber in a fall.
Types Of Climbing
Top Rope – The kind of roped climb most commonly found at a gym, where the climber is attached to one end of the rope, which then passes up and over an anchor at the top of the wall before coming back down to the belayer.
Sport Climbing – Roped climb where fixed points of protection (rings or bolts) are clipped in to as the lead climber ascends. The seconder (i.e. clean queen), would then climb the route as a top rope, “cleaning” it (retrieving the placed gear).
Trad Climbing – Traditional Climbing, where removable protection is strategically placed as the leader ascends.
Soloing – Climbing routes without a rope.
Deep Water Soloing – Climbing without a rope, but over deep water as the name suggests; a.k.a. DWS.
Pitch – Part of a climb that can be completed with a single rope length.
Multi-pitch – A long climb that requires multiple ‘pitches’ to ascend the entire wall.
Bouldering – Climbing boulders, or shorter, challenging routes (known as problems) without a rope, but with a foam crash mat laid underneath as protection.