Climbing Lingo and Vocabulary
Dave Graham on a 'sloper' YIKES!
Rock climbing has a specialized vocabulary that can be confusing and overwhelming. To help you understand what the heck people are talking about when they say, "I was super pumped at the crux of that chaucy splitter, and when I took a whipper I almost cratered!", we provide the following list of words. It's definitely not complete, so if you want to know what something means, shoot us an email and we will do our best to translate. Also, you can check out this sweet Wikipedia article on climbing words.
Arete- The corner of a rock face. Can be sharp or rounded.
Ape Index- The ratio of your height to armspan.
Chipping- Using tools to alter or create holds. REALLY not good climbing style.
Choss/Chossy- Rock that is not solid and likely to fall off under pressure. Rock like this is chossy.
Crater- To hit the ground when falling on lead.
Crimp/Crimper- A small hold that only accommodates the last joint of your handt. A hold like this is crimpy. Crimping is a method of holding onto a crimper where the climber places their thumb over the fingernail of the index finger to increase strength.
Crux- The hardest part of a route. If a route is rated 5.10c, at least one move on the route is of 5.10c difficulty; that move is the crux. That move is cruxy.
Deck/Deck out- To hit the ground when falling on lead.
Dirty- A section where the rock is not washed clean by water or human use. Gullies and corners are often dirty. Dirty sections can be dangerous.
Finger pocket/Monopocket- A hold that only accommodates one or two fingers. If only one finger, it is called a monopocket.
Flag/Flagging- Placing your foot against the rock to counterbalance against swinging. You don't need a hold to flag.
Flake - (1. noun 2. verb) 1. A thin, plate-like outcropping of rock; generally provides good handholds; 2. To uncoil a rope into a pile on the ground in order to prevent kinkage and knots getting in the way of the belay during a climb.
Knuckle Dragger- A climber with a high Ape Index, i.e., long arms.
Jug- A very large hold.
Picnic stop- A rest that doesn't require use of your hands.
Pinch- A hold with no horizontal elements that has distinct vertical elements. You pinch (v.), or grip, a pinch (n.) by placing the fingers on one side and the thumb on the other.
Positive- A hold that is good or easy to hold on to is positive.
Pumped/Pumpy- The state of being exhausted from climbing to the point of fear of falling. A section that makes you feel like this is pumpy.
Rap- Short for rappel.
Sandbagged- A route rated easier than it actually is is sandbagged.
Sharp End- The end of the rope that goes up first. When you are leading a route, you are on the sharp end.
Slab/Slabby- A section of un-featured rock that is less than vertical. Usually slabs have very few features and require a specific style of climbing. Slabby sections are on slabs.
Sloper/Slopey- A large hold with no horizontal elements, so the climber relies mostly on skin friction to hold on. A hold like this is slopey.
Dihedral- Two faces that form an angle to each other, like an open book. Dihedrals can also be curved.
Splitter- Adjective or noun. A crack with mostly parallel sides with no other holds around. The crack 'splits' a smooth face.
Stem/Stemming- Using both arms and legs on two separate faces to hold the body up. Imagine placing your feet on either side of a narrow hallway...
Whipper- A fall, usually big, when climbing on lead.