Climbing terminology

Like all other sports, rock climbing has its own terminology and jargon. As there is climbing an international sport that can be practiced in almost every country where there is at least one bigger stone, it is relatively difficult to know some terms or to translate them directly into the mother tongue. That is why we have prepared a shorter series for you called climbing terminology.

Climbing has its own, and truly amazing, community. Over the years, her universal language of communication has become English and her specific climbing jargon. Most of the climbers today know at least the basics. With basic deduction, we are able to name individual holds and the most used objects. However, there are still situations where we stop and turn to our climbing partner with a puzzled expression and humbly ask for an explanation. Although this can lead to funny situations, the consequences may not be nearly as funny. If you were to ask for an explanation standing in the background or just on the edge of strength when every second plays a vital role. In order for us all to avoid mishaps, better understand each other and develop an amazing climbing community, we have compiled a list of basic climbing terms and examples of them that you may come across. Whether you are on a rock, an artificial wall or behind your computer screen, on the Internet.

Content:

  1. Climbing equipment
  2. Catches
  3. Securing points
  4. Climbing styles
  5. Sport climbing styles
  6. Climbing commands

1. Climbing equipment

English nameCzech name
HarnessSeat / Full time
Dynamic RopeDynamic Rope
Static RopeStatic Rope
Belay deviceBucket
CarabinerMajlonka
FriendFriend
Nut, StopperWedgie
DescenderWaiting room
Quick DrawExpress
Seznam důležitého názvosloví a lezeckého slangu

Seat

A climbing seat or harness is one of the basic items of every sports climber. It serves as a harness to which a rope is tied so that the climber is properly and safely unlocked on the way to the top.

Dynamic Rope

The dynamic rope is made of flexible materials so that it is sufficiently strong and at the same time tensile under the weight of the climber's fall.

Static Rope

Unlike a dynamic rope, a static rope is not made to be flexible. Static ropes are not suitable for sport climbing, they do not spring when falling and can injure the climber. Their use is rather suitable for professionals working at height.

Bucket

It is a multifunctional belay suitable for belaying sports routes or abseiling. In combination with carabiners, it can also be used for multi-length and high-altitude climbing.

Majlonka

Solid steel carabiner with screw cap. Tank tops are often used on abseils as a place where the climber places his rope before abseiling.

Friend

A mechanical locking device that jams into wider cracks in the rock. 

Wedgie

A securing device that is usually pressed into joints and crevices in the rock. The wedge is one of the basic belaying elements in classic climbing.

Waiting room

A strong, stitched loop serving climbers in many ways. The spacers can be used when tying the rope before abseiling, to increase safety during belaying for long climbs, but also, for example, to extend the distance between two carabiners in an expressway. The odes are produced in lengths from a few tens of centimeters to 120 cm.  

Express

Two strap-connected carabiners used to secure the climber during progress. Express bikes are usually attached to a fixed belay on the rock on one side, and a climber's rope is snapped into the other. You may also come across the terms presa or fart at the express service.

2. Catches - basic

First in the series of climbing terminology are holds. Knowing the types of holds is one of the first language goals of most new climbers. For your convenience, we have divided the dates into tables according to when you will meet them. Below the table you will always find a picture with an explanation of the hold and how it is usually used. We start with the basic grips that we all encounter!

English nameCzech name
Tributecatch
Jug / BucketHandrail
Edge / LedgeEdge
CrimpBar
PinchPress / Cleaver
HornCorner
UnderclingBackstroke / Understroke
Side pullBočák / Side move
SloperFriction catch
PocketPocket

Handrail

Madlo / Jug

Handles, baskets, buckets, tankards and so on. As a rule, large, comfortable and safe grips. On the handrails, a person is caught with the whole hand, or even with both. These are most people's favorite grips, mainly because they don't require any finger strength and they rest well.

Edge

Hrana, Edge

Edges are the most common holds in outdoor climbing. There is no limit to their size. They can be big enough to stand comfortably, but also barely big enough to put your weight on. Access to the edges is pretty straightforward.
It is necessary to determine in which direction the edge is and approach it accordingly. In the ideal case, it is gripped (as deep as possible) and the climber hangs into it so that he is as perpendicular to it as possible. The edge, unlike the handle, may require finger strength.

Bar

Hranka / crimp

A bar or crimp are tiny, often sharp grips, big enough only for the bellies of the first finger joints. The smaller and shallower the edge, the more strength the climber must have in the fingers. The key to climbing ledges is center of gravity. The closer it is to the wall, the better the grip angle will be. Bars are the most demanding grip on the tendons and most often lead to injury. That is why we advise adequate preparation before climbing.
There are three main types of strips or crimps.

1. Full bar – the edge of the grip is on the finger joint (belly) and the thumb is placed on top of the index finger for greater strength

2. Half Bar – the same principle as on a full edge, but without the thumb for support.

3. Open – The most demanding option. The grip on the open edge is conditioned by the strength of the fingers. The athlete is suspended from their ends with an outstretched palm.

Press

Stisk / Pinch Slang lezecký název

The squeeze alias pinch is exactly what the name promises. It is any grip that is pressed with the thumb on the opposite side of the fingers. The thumb in the grip adds grip to the power and transfers stress from the tendons to the muscles in the hand. Pinch is one of the popular holds, but it is not very common on the rock.

Corner

Roh / Horn Slangový název chytu

Horn, peep, pyramid and other names. All this is our favorite, not always stable, climb out of the rock. They are grips that can be grasped with the whole hand and gripped easily. Good corners also serve as places to rest and knock out.

Spočak

Spoďák / Undercling lezecký slang název pro chyt

The bottom is a place held by a pull from below. The key to staying on a hold like this is planting your feet. Since the bottom pull can drain a lot of muscle power, the bottom push from stable, high-set legs is a good foundation for further progression down the road. However, grips are usually deep grips, where several finger joints can fit.

Bočak

bočák, sidepull

Bočák is the brother of the lower grip. Staying on this species is therefore similar to staying on the bottom and on the edge. Pull for the edge of the side grip as perpendicular to the body as possible.

Friction catch

Sloper - chyt na tření

The sloper is one of the unpopular holds and a controversial part of climbing terminology. This is especially because it is not so much a catch as a hinge. When "grabbing" them, it is mainly about the correct position of the body. The center of gravity should remain low and directly below the point of contact in the opposite direction of the pull.

Pocket

Kapsa - Pocket

Pockets are small grips, usually only for a few fingers, if there is only one (so-called mono). Pockets are the best friend of the middle fingers of anyone who uses them. The middle finger is the strongest of the fingers, so its position in the grip is extremely important. Like the ribs, the pockets are dominated by strong tendons. The fewer fingers that fit in the grip, the stronger it must be.

3. Securing points

The second category in climbing nomenclature is belay points, mastering them is one of the most important categories in climbing. What is the difference between a bolt and a rivet? You can find out what a clock, a stand or a slanka is in section 2.

English nameCzech name
BoltBorhák
Fixed ProFixed assurance
TunnelClock
Belay stationSecuring post
BoltRivet
ChainsSlánák
Belay station, ChainsStand
ChainsReturn point

Borhák

Borhák - bolt

A steel eye fixed firmly in the rock for securing. Fasteners are attached to the borhák, and it is also possible to abseil over it.

Fixed assurance

The artificial belay that remains on the rock is permanently attached. Bolts, rivets.

Clock

A naturally formed eye in the rock that can be used to unlock by threading a rope through it.

Securing post

The place from which the climber is belayed.

Rivet

nýt - bolt

A metal staple firmly fixed into the rock. Unlike the borhák, the rivet is made of a narrower material and is not attached directly to the rock. The rivet is drilled into the rock using a special screw. Expresses are attached to the rivet during the process.  

Slánák

Slaňák - rapell

A climbing term for a belay point from which one can abseil back to the ground. As a rule, this is a series of lanyards that can be connected by a chain or equipped with additional carabiners.

Stand

Another term for a belaying post, salt marsh. The point from which the climber is belayed.

Return point      

The point at which the climbing route ends, similar to the abseil, and the stand can be abseiled down from it.

4. Climbing styles

Rock climbing, like most modern sports, has its specialties. Knowing their specific specifics will help you to understand the climbing culture itself much better. In the table below you will get to know the basic terms and their English alternatives.

English nameCzech name
Sport climbingSport climbing
BoulderingBouldering
TradClassic climbing
——–Chopping
Single-pitch climbingSingle pitch climbing
Multi-pitch climbingMulti-pitch climbing
Crack climbingJoint climbing
Free soloFree climbing
Deep water soloDeep water solo
High BallHigh Ball
Lezečka potřebná k skalnímu lezení a jejímu názvosloví či slangu

Sport climbing

A climbing style in which the climber is belayed in advance, into the rock, drilled rivets or bolts. The basic safety equipment consists of a rope and expressways, which the climber places during his ascent. Sport climbing is the most common form of climbing you will encounter.

Bouldering

It is probably the second most common climbing style. Bouldering differs from other climbing disciplines in the height and technicality of the climbing itself. The paths are usually shorter, more difficult and mostly located on large boulders. Belaying is not ensured by a rope but by a number of boulders.

Classic climbing

It is one of the oldest styles of rock climbing. Climbers gradually, on the way up, set up concrete belays, which they pull out attached to the seats. These elements are then collected during abseiling. The rock is thus almost intact by the climbers who moved on it. Classic climbing requires a considerable amount of belaying aids (friends, wedges).

Chopping

A climbing technique where new, more usable holds are cut into the rock. This is a very controversial topic in the climbing community, as its practice fundamentally disrupts the naturalness of the rock. Due to environmental concerns, it is hardly used anymore.

Single pitch climbing

Single pitch climbing is characterized by its length. The paths must be shorter than one rope length.

Multi-pitch climbing

It is a climbing style where the route is longer than one length of rope (single length). The climber first climbs the first part of the route, where he is followed by the second climber. From this point, they continue to the second, third, fourth length...

Joints

Joint climbing is typical for its specific climbing technique, which is very physical and strength-exhausting. Climbers at joint climbing they squeeze parts of their bodies into cracks in the rock, slowly sliding upwards.

Free climbing

It allows climbers to use the purely natural elements of the rock during their ascent. Ropes, ropes and other securing elements are not allowed. They are among the most famous free climbers Alex Honnold.

Deep water solo

A type of free climbing, the rock climber operates without belaying. In the event of a fall, it then falls into deep water. The most legendary deep water solo trips are found on the island of Mallorca in the Mediterranean Sea.

High Ball

It is a style quite similar to bouldering. However, its difficulty is increased by the size of the boulders, which dangerously approach the level of 15 m.

5. Styles of sport ascent, Mountaineering shortcuts

English nameCzech name
AFAll free
FlashFlash
OSOn Sight
PPPink Point
RPRed Point
TRTop Rope
Sportovní lezení se seznamnem a přkaldem jeho názvosloví, disciplín
Photo by Allan Mas on Pexels.com

AF / All Free

A style of climbing where the climber rests with the help of belay points on the rock while trying to climb the route. After falling, the climber continues from the place of the fall.  

Flash

It is a climbing style similar to On Sight, only in this case the climber has received information about the sequence of movements needed to climb the route, or has seen someone climb it beforehand.

OS / On Sight

Climbing style without sitting down, falling and receiving any information before attempting the climb. The path was conquered at first glance. This is the most respected style of sports climbing.

PP / Pink Point

Beating the road with previous research and trials. PP has pre-prepared expressways at the belay points, the climber only clicks the rope during his ascent. The final attempt must be without falling and sitting. Pink Point is a controversial term, as some climbers consider it only part of Red Point.   

RP / Red Point (Rot Punkt)

Red Point is a similar climbing style to PP. The difference between the two styles is found in the placement of the express. During the RP, the climber snaps not only the rope but also snaps into the belay points during his ascent. Again, the path must be completed without falling and sitting, research and multiple preparation attempts are allowed.

TR / Top Rope

Trail-leading style with a pre-built top belay. This is the safest way to tackle rocks.

6. Climbing commands

English nameCzech name
Climbing!I'm climbing!
Take / TightGood
Slackenable
Lower meRun
Off belaycancel
He belaysI'm sure
Rope is freeLoosely
Watch out!Attention!
Falling!I'm falling!
Rock!Calculus!
Rope!Rope!

I'm climbing

It is used when a climber starts climbing after a long break or starting a new belay (eg a new route or multipitch). It serves as information for the belayer, who may not always see the climber well, or as a reminder for less attentive partners.

Good

The dober command is given by the climber when he wants the belayer to reduce the amount of free rope between them. It is most often used when the climber feels an imminent fall, at an uncertain moment or crux or before launching.

enable

On the other hand, I will say "good", slack is used when the climber does not have enough slack in the rope, and this prevents him from climbing, clicks the belay or perhaps pulls him to one side.

let me go

Unlike the previous ones, this command is very specific. This is again a climber's command used when he needs to get lower on the rock. Most often used when finishing a single-pitch climb or after a fall when designing a route.

cancel

Information command for circuit breakers. This is a very important information command, which says that the climber has untied himself from the belay rope.

I'm sure

The command of the belayer to the climber indicating that the climber is again actively belayed by the rope and can thus continue climbing. In English, this command can also be used by a climber to indicate that he is tied to the rope again. In Czech we say "on a rope" or "tied".

Loosely

The command following most often with the "cancel" command. Free means that the climber or belayer is untied from the rope, which now moves freely on the rock.

Attention

Relatively universal command used for warning (most often for imminent fall, falling stones or rope, etc.).

I'm falling!

The cry, rather than the command, "I'm falling" is meant for belays only moments before the climber falls or when the climber feels he is losing strength and is in danger of falling.

Calculus!

Warning of the breaker, climbers under the first climber or people under the rock about falling stones.

Rope!

Alerting the breaker, climbers under the first climber or people under the rock of a falling rope (most often dropped by the first climber).

What is Borhák / Bolt?

Borhák (Bolt) is a type of fixed belay to which express ropes are connected. It is a small steel eye firmly attached to the rock used for progressive belaying, and it is also possible to abseil from it.

What is a deduction?

In mountaineering slang, the term waiting room indicates a sewn loop. Standoffs are used to attach the climber to the rock, during abseiling, to extend the ropes or to extend the belay so that the rope is less strained.

What is the climbing greeting?

Although not an officially recognized climbing greeting, most climbers use the classic one Hi and automatically switches to ticking.