June 22, 2017

Keep building your climbing vocabulary!

Hand Jam: A method of climbing cracks where you place your whole hand into a crack, either using downward force


Hangdogging: When a climber rests while hanging on the rope for excessive amounts of time during a climb.

Hangdogging without annoying your belayer is an art in itself.


Heel Hook: Placing the heel of your foot on a hold to stabilize the body.

Robbie got moves. He loves those over-the-head heel hooks.


Highball: A very tall, usually dangerous boulder route that requires significant mental fortitude to ascend.

I wish I had a giant foam pit to protect that highball.
climberNina Williams sending the high ball “Ambrosia” V11, Photo by Nayton Rosales

High-Gravity Day: The go-to excuse when you’re climbing poorly, as in the earth’s gravity is higher than normal and you can’t get off the ground.

I’m just going to climb moderates. I’m having a high-gravity day.


Hueco: A natural rock feature resembling a rounded, deep hole in the wall; it can be large enough for your whole body or so small you can only fit a few fingers into.

“Hueco” means hole in Spanish.The name Holey Moley for that 10.a in New Jack makes so much more sense now.


Honnolding: To pause during a climb with your back and heels to the wall and face outwards, made famous when Alex Honnold paused on the Thank God Ledge during his free solo ascent of Half Dome.

Honnolding is like facing fear itself.


Jug: A typically large handhold that is really easy to hold onto, like the handle of a milk jug.

After such a long climb, I was relieved to finally reach the jug of glory at the top of the route.


Knee Bar: When a climber wedges their knee and foot between two points on the wall to stabilize their body.

Double knee bars are a dream, especially when you get a full, no hands rest too.


Layback: A technique when the climber leans horizontally away from a hold and positions their body parallel to the wall.

If only laybacks were as easy as laying back in a Lazy Boy recliner.
climberNolan laybacking on a giant flake, Photo by Chad Furman

Lead: The first climber to ascend a sport or trad route, setting protection or placing draws along the way.

Learning to lead was the scariest thing I’ve ever done – until I free soloed El Cap.


Mantel: The act of pressing up with one’s hands and feet, usually to finish topping out.

I finally mantled up my kitchen counter the other day. I got the first ascent.


Off-Width: A crack that is too wide to hand jam and too narrow to chimney.

You have to be off kilter to like off width.


Onsight: When a climber completes a route on their first attempt without any prior beta.

Ondra onsighted my project again. I want to give up.


Pebble Wrestler: A term of endearment that lightly makes fun of a boulderer or bouldering-dominant climber.

Kerim is my all-time favorite pebble wrestler. I really look up to him.


Pinch: A type of climbing hold that is held by pinching it between your fingers and thumb.

Robert’s pinch strength is unreal. His hands are like vice grips.


Pocket: A deep hold that allows for several fingers to hold positively on.

I love pockets! They’re like jugs for your fingertips.


Polished: Holds that have low friction and are hard to pull on, usually from overuse.

Gumbies polished all the bomber classics.


Power belay (aka girlfriend belay or assisted belay): When the belayer pulls so hard while taking up slack that the climber gets pulled up the route.

Thanks for the girlfriend belay! I wouldn’t have made it past the crux without it.


Project: A specific climb or boulder problem, often at or above the limit of their ability, that a climber chosen to work on until they send it.

I’m tired of all these munchkins sending my projects!


Pulling Plastic: Climbing in an indoor gym.

Why are we pulling plastic when we could be climbing outdoors?!
climberClimber pulling plastic

Pumped: When your forearms are so fatigued from climbing that holding onto anything becomes difficult.

You know you were pumped when you still can’t open a jar of peanut butter two days later.


Punt: To try hard and fail. This could be anything from unceremoniously falling off a boulder problem to a typical climbing day failing spectacularly due to unexpected and unforeseen circumstances or lack of preparedness.

We punted last weekend when it rained halfway up the route, my partner dropped his belay device, our headlamps died, and we had to bivy until morning.


Red Point: Successfully completing a route after multiple attempts.

I finally got the red point on my project.
climberNick getting the red point on a classic route, Photo by Brendan Leader

Rope Gun: The work-horse of any climbing group. This is the person who does most of the leading and cleaning of all the routes for the day.

My friends rope-gunned for me when I was first learning to climb. Now I’m returning the favor.


Rose Move (Petal): A move where one crosses inside by way of facing their body away from the rock.

My rose move was as pretty as a dozen roses.


Run Out: When there is a lot of distance between bolts or protection on a climb.

Derrick is too ballsy for me. He likes to run out his protection.

Cover Photo by Chad Furman

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