Climbing Glossary
Climbing Dictionary

Letter K to Q

Karabiner
Metal connecting device (Aka "biner").
Kernmantle rope
Modern climbing rope consisting of bundles of continuous nylon filaments
Knotted cord
Piece of cord with a knot tied into the end that is used for protection (pretty much like a nut). The traditional method of protecting climbs, and still used in the Elbsandsteingebirge in Eastern Germany.
Layback/Lieback
Somewhat clumsy looking climbing technique where hands and feet work in opposition.
Leader
Person who leads a climb.
Lead, to
To ascend a climb from the bottom up, placing protection (or clipping protection) as you go.
Ledge
Flat bit on a rock (can be miniature or gigantic).
Limestone
Type of rock found in abundance in southern France (usually white and full of pockets and holds).
Locking biner
Karabiner that can be locked.
Lock-off
To hold on to the rock with one bent arm while using the other arm to reach up for the next hold or to place or clip protection. Lockoffs on small holds will get you pumped in a hurry.
Lowering
To descend something or somebody.
Manky
Term used to describe a fixed bolt that looks like it was placed before the last ice age. Use these bolts at your own discretion
Mantle
Difficult balancing move useful to get up on ledges.
Mixed climbing
Climbing with a combination of different methods of ascent. e.g mixed free and aid climbing, mixed rock and ice climbing, etc.
Moat
The gap between snow and ice on a rock wall. Has posed problems ever since the middle ages.
Mountain rescue
The people who put their life on the line when you screw up badly.
Munge
The dirt and vegetation that can sometimes be found in cracks.
Multi pitch climb
Climb that consists of more than a single pitch.
Munter hitch
Knot used for belaying (Aka italian hitch or friction hitch). The Germans love this knot (see HMS).
Nailing
An ancient term used to describe direct-aid climbing with pitons.
Needle
Rock with a characteristic pointed shape. Also known as pinnacle, aiguille, gendarme, etc.
Notch
A small col.
Nut
Metal wedge used for protection in cracks.
Nut tool
Piece of metal that can be used to remove stuck nuts or cams
Off Belay
Yelled when the climber no longer requires a belay. Once the belayer hears "off belay", he/she removes the rope from the belay device and yells "belay off". In UK, Australia and New Zealand: "Safe".
Off width
A climb too wide to jam, too small to chimney. And then I've heard of people who actually like this kind of climbing.
On Belay
Query to verify if the belayer is ready to secure the climber (US only).
On-sight flash
Leading a climb with no falls and no dogging and without any prior attempts, watching someone do it or beta on how to do the moves.
Open book
Same as a dihedral or inside corner. Two panes of rock join in an acute or obtuse corner that faces left or right.
Outside corner
Also known as pillar or arete.
Overhand knot
A simple (but solid) knot in a double rope.
Overhand loop
The simplest type of knot possible.
Overhang
Rock (or ice) that is "more than vertical".
Pass
The lowest passage between two mountains. The french - but not just the french - know this as a col. The mathematicians would call this the saddle point.
Party ledge
A somewhat larger ledge used to rest (and party !) during a particularly hard or long climb. Sometimes used to refer to the belay station on a multipitch climb.
Pendulum
A swing on the rope, either intentional to gain a distant anchor on big wall climbs or unintentional when falling during a traverse with not enough pro in place.
Pig
The haul bag.
Pillar
Outside corner
Pink point
To red-point a climb where the pro and runners have been pre-placed.
Pitch
A section of climb between two belays and no longer than the length of one rope (this used to mean 45m, nowadays pitches can also be 50 or even 60m long -- check your topo).
Piton
Metal spike hammered into a crack (has come in disuse for all but some special applications) (Aka "peg" in the UK).
Pocket
A hold formed by a (small) depression in the rock.
Portaledge
A hanging tent with built in bed used on big walls (and big trees).
Pro, Protection
Anchors placed during the climb to protect the leader. Beware: even properly placed pro does not prevent pregnancy or the transmission of STDs.
Prusik
The sliding knot or the method to ascend a rope (named after its inventer Dr. Karl Prusik).
Pumped
The feeling of overworked muscles. Most climbers are familiar with the forearm pump: too much finger work causes the forearms to swell and the strength to disappear. With a serious forearm pump, even holding a glass of beer can become a serious challenge.
Quickdraw, quick
Short sling with karabiners on either side.



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