June 7, 2017
So you can walk the walk, but can you talk the talk? Make sure you’re up to speed on the latest climbing lingo before you go for the send.
Arete: A rock feature defined by the large, vertical edge where two faces of rock join to form an outward facing rail, often resembling the external corner of a wall.
Grab the arete! Is the arete on? Start at the arete and then traverse to the face after the third clip.
Bat Hang: A climbing technique where one uses the tops of both toes to hang vertically with no hands, much like a bat.
Bet you can’t bat hang that ladder.
Nolan bat hanging in Joshua Tree
Beached Whale: The most elegant move for topping out of a climb, defined by flopping on your stomach and shimmying on your belly to the top.
Call the Coast Guard. We’ve got a beached whale over here.
Belayer: The person who (nearly) literally has your life in their hands when you’re climbing.
Jerry is the worst belayer. He’s let multiple people deck because he wasn’t paying attention.
Alex climbing while being belayed, Photo by Natalie Walker
Belay Bitch: The person who rarely to never climbs and only belays.
Richard was my belay bitch for a while when he couldn’t climb due to his finger injury.
Belaytionship: The very special relationship between a climber and their belayer, often rivaling marriages, friendships, and families.
It’s not you; it’s me. I found another partner… our belaytionship is over.
Beta: Information on how to successfully complete a climb, typically in the form of the specific techniques, sequences, or moves a person uses. (See also: Spray)
I’m too short! Your tall-person beta doesn’t work for me.
Bicycle: A climbing technique where one foot is placed on top of the hold, pressing downward, while the other foot is placed under the hold and presses upwards like a toe hook.
Once I learned how to bicycle, steep overhangs became so much easier!
Bomber: Used to describe anchors, placements, or rock features that are super safe and won’t fail.
That anchor is so bomber I’d let my grandma climb on it.
Bump: A climbing technique when a climber immediately moves the same hand or foot to the next hold before making another move.
I had to bump up to the next handhold before I could clip.
Brown Point: An inconsequential top-rope onsight.
“You guys know what the brown point is, right? The brown point is when it doesn’t mean shit.” -Ethan Pringle
Burn: A strong, but often unsuccessful, attempt at a climb.
I gave my project one last good burn before calling it a day.
Campus: Using only one’s hands; climbing without using your feet
Dilbert broke his leg, and now only campuses.
Cheese Grater: The act of falling down on a particularly slabby route, sliding and leaving lots of skin along the way.
I fell on a slab and cheese-grated all the way down. I haven’t climbed slab since. It still haunts me.
Chicken Head: A protruding, knob or horn-like rock feature, often resembling a chicken head.
Chicken heads are great features, but they make me hungry on the route.
Chicken Winging: Holding onto the wall with unnecessarily bent (and sometimes shaky) arms; usually happens when you have poor technique or are tired. Chicken Wing also refers to a crack climbing technique where a person places their hand on one side of a crack and the same shoulder on the opposite side of the crack.
My partner bought me KFC after our climbing trip because I chicken-winged all day. It was worth it.
Chimney: A crack wide enough for a climber to put their entire body into, typically climbed by applying opposing force on both sides of the wall with hands and feet.
This doorway is perfect for working on my chimney technique.
Trask chillin in a chimney
Choss: Loose, insecure, or otherwise less-than-excellent quality rock.
I’ve been trying to scope out a local sandstone crag, but it’s pretty chossy.
Clean: To remove protection, carabiners, or other gear that has been placed on a climb.
They call me housekeeping because I’m always the one who cleans the anchors.
Compression: Using one’s arms or legs to press inwards, or compress, a part of the wall, usually large volumes.
I channeled my inner tree hugger on that compression problem.
Crag: A rock formation where there are climbing routes.
It’s our responsibility to keep our local crag clean.
Crimp: A climbing technique or handhold where there is so little to hold onto with your hands that you can only use your fingertips.
I hate crimps.
Devan on crimps, Photo by Austin Flood
Crush: To totally dominate a route or boulder problem.
Margo Hayes crushed it when she sent La Rambla.
Crux: The hardest move or sequence of the climb.
The crux was definitely that no hands mantel.
Cut: When your feet pop off the rock while you hang on by your arms; usually happens after a dynamic move or bad footwork, or when someone just wants to show off.