Climber’s Dictionary: Volume 2
June 15, 2017
If you thought Volume 1 was helpful, then you’re gonna be psyched on Volume 2.
Dab: This is not the latest, hip dance move. It’s something boulderers like to say when a climber accidentally touches something outside of the designated problem.
Dab. Dab! DAB!
Deadpoint: Dynamically making a move to a hold that is at the full limit of your reach, or your “dead point”.
Adam is tall enough to deadpoint that move, but Sean had to dyno it.
Deck: To unexpectedly hit the floor while climbing. This can happen after a large fall if there is too much slack in the system or if your belayer drops you while lowering or catching you. Pertains to sport and trad climbing.
Anyone who has let their climber deck is blacklisted from climbing with us.
Dihedral: The part of a rock formation where two walls meet to form an inward facing corner; the opposite of an arete.
Mike should’ve paid more attention in geometry class. He can’t climb dihedrals to save his life.
Nolan climbing in a dihedral
Dirtbag: An (often affectionate) term for that person whose entire life revolves around climbing; the climbing equivalent to a ski bum and every climber’s dream.
He quit his job, sold his house, and bought a van. Now he climbs full-time. He became the ultimate dirtbag.
Drop Knee: When a climber turns one hip into the wall and lowers the corresponding knee while keeping the outside edge of their foot on the wall; helps to extend the climber’s reach on the side of the dropped knee.
David drop-knees excessively because he thinks it makes him look cool.
Dry Fire: Fulling committing to a big move, but having your hand pop off before you can complete it.
I dry fired on my project in front of my girl and she wouldn’t stop giving me shit about it the whole drive home.
Dyno (dynamic): Another climbing move that can give you serious cred. It’s less about controlled technique and more about big powerful moves and strength.
We call our friend Dyno-Mike because his dynos are dynamite.
Elvis Leg: Used to describe someone who is so scared on a rock that their legs shake.
I got such bad Elvis legs on that climb my partner made me sing “All Shook Up” before she’d lower me back down. The shame.
Epic: When a typical climbing outing becomes unexpectedly dangerous and most likely life-threatening.
If only having an epic was actually epic…
Figure Four: When you are on an overhanging route and you place your leg above and through the opposite arm, often used instead of campusing.
Ted the contortionist showed us this sick figure four beta.
Finger Lock: A technique for climbing small cracks the width of your finger.
Be careful with finger locks! You fall hard enough you can pull your fingers off.
A climber finger locking his way up a route. Photo by Nick Tunnicliffe
Flag: When a climber moves their free-hanging foot to the side of their body in such a way to maintain their balance.
On a scale from 1 to America, how hard did you flag that foot?
Flapper: Every climbers’ worst nightmare, this is when a callous or section of your skin rips almost entirely off, leaving a flap of skin remaining.
I don’t want to see your flapper. I have PTSD from my last one.
Flake: 1) A feature marked by a prominent edge apart from the main rock 2) To smoothly lay out one’s rope to prevent tangles.
Joey forgot to bring the beer, so he’s flaking out our ropes the whole weekend.
Devan chillin at a flake.
Flare: When the two sides of a crack are not parallel and instead converge inward or upward, making it very difficult to find solid placement.
Joe had to run out parts of the climb because the crack was too flared.
Flash: When a climber successfully completes a route on their first try after receiving beta before or during the climb.
Why did you spray beta at me while I was climbing?! You ruined my on-sight. Now I’ve only flashed it.
French Free: Using aid techniques to get past a hard section of the route. Also, just grabbing the quickdraw, sling, or other equipment already on the wall during your climb because you can’t make the move without it.
The starting handhold broke off of that route. Most people now French free off the quickdraw in the first bolt to make that first move.
French Flag (Reverse Inside Flag): A type of flag where the climber moves their flagging foot to the opposite side of their body, between the other foot remaining on the wall and the wall itself. See also reverse outside flag.
Gaston: When a climber pulls hold in an outward direction from their body, usually with their hand vertical and thumbs facing downward. Opposite of compression and sidepulls.
Hold my feet up, I’m going to gaston this bench.
Jake pulling off a gaston. Photo by Nick Tunnicliffe
Gearhead: That one friend in your climbing group that knows the technical specs of every single piece of climbing-related equipment made in the last 90 years. Also, he/she buys every single new piece of gear that comes out, but never uses it.
AJ is such a hopeless gearhead.
Glassy: When the rock has been worn smooth. Also polished, varnished.
The rock was so glassy it was hard to get a solid foothold.
Gumby: A term for to a new, inexperienced climber. Generally used by crunchy old trad climbers hating on “kids these days”.
Anyone who hasn’t been trad free-soloing since 1924, you’re a gumby.
Gym Rat: One who frequents the climbing gym, often to the exclusion of climbing in the great outdoors.