Climbing Glossary
Climbing Dictionary

Letter R to Z

Rack
The climbing gear carried during an ascent.
Rad
Not trad. Slang for sport climbing.
Rally, to
To climb exceptionally well, especially on normally difficult climbs.
Ramp
An ascending ledge
Rappel, to
Also: to rap. Descending by sliding down a rope. Known in Britain (and Germany) as abseiling.
Rating
A number denoting the technical difficulty of the climb. See here for more on ratings and grades.
Redpoint
To lead a climb without falling or dogging after a number of attempts. This is different from onsight, where the climb is lead without falling or dogging on its first attempt.
Resin
An alternative to chalk. Resin is made from the yucky stuff that sticks to your hands when you touch a pine tree. Because resin is mostly colorless, it is preferred to chalk in some areas. But caution: Don't let the color fool you. Resin can do permanent damage to the rock and in fact is not allowed anywhere in the US for that reason. reason in the US.
Rib
A slender buttress. Something between a buttress and an outside corner.
Ridge
The high divide extending out from a peak.
Ring
A large (2 inch diameter) ring that is cemented in the rock as a bolt. Rings are very common in Germany and France and are excellent for rappelling and hanging belays.
Rock
Scream let out to warn people down below that a piece of rock has been overcome by gravity. The loudness, number of repitions, and/or panic in voice with which this word is uttered is often an indication of the seriousness of the rock. In the UK, you're more likely to hear "Below", beware!
Roof
Seriously overhanging part in a climb (more or less horizontal).
Rope
Long and round nylon fabrication. Climbing ropes are generally between 10 and 11 mm in diameter (with the exception of "half ropes" which are between 8.5 and 9mm in diameter).
Rope
Should be yelled when a rope is about to be thrown to the base of the crag (though most of the time it seems like "rope" is shouted about 1-2 seconds after the rope is thrown). In the UK, shout "Rope below".
Route
A certain path up a rock or mountain.
Runner
A loop of tape or webbing either sewn or tied (Aka sling).
Runner
A runner threaded or looped around chockstones, flakes, horns or chickenheads for protection.
Runout
Distance between two elements of pro. A route is "runout" when the distance between those two elements of pro becomes uncomfortably long.
Saddle
A high pass that looks somewhat like the horsewear. Not quite as steep as a col.
Safe
The British equivalent of "Off Belay".
Scrambling
Easy climbing, usually unroped.
Screamer
A very, very long fall.
Screamer
Special piece of equipment meant to reduce the impact of a screamer (the fall) on the belay system.
Scree
Loose rocks and stones that cover the slope below a cliff. With every step, scree slides under your feet.
Second
The climber who follows the leader.
Send, to
To climb a route with ease. "I'm gonna send this route, dude!"
Sewing-machine leg or arm
A leg (or arm) under tension that suddenly starts jerking up and down like a sewing machine. Stretch the muscle, take a deep breath, and don't think of falling.
Sharp end
The end of the rope to which the leader is attached.
Short roping
Technique where both climbers are tied close together into the middle of the rope. The rest of the rope is then carried over the shoulders in a coil. Frequently used for simul-climbing. The term (and technique?) is used frequently in the Canadian Rockies.
Short roping
Belaying technique where the belayer keeps the leader under tension in an attempt reduce the length of a fall. Tony Bubb will gladly give you an expos?on the dangers of this technique.
Side pull
A hand hold that needs to be held with a horizontal (sideways) pull.
Sierra wave
A lenticular cloud (quite rare in the Alps).
Slab
Flat and seemingly featureless, not quite vertical piece of rock.
Slack
Yelled when the climber needs more rope (e.g. to clip into protection).
Slingshot
A toprope setup where the belayer belays on the ground (where the climber starts climbing) and the rope is pre-clipped through the anchor at the top of the climb.
Sloper
Pathetic downward slanting hold. (Usually look like buckets from below.)
Smearing
Foot technique where a big part of the climbing shoe is used to generate as much friction as possible. The opposite of edging.
Soloing
Climbing alone, though not necessarily without the protection of a rope.
Sport climbing
Climbing routes of (extreme ?) gymnastic difficulty while protection oneself by clipping copiously numbered and generously spaced preplaced free protection.
Stem, to
Bridging with the feet between two holds.
Stick it
American slang meaning "hold on" or "go for it".
Sticht plate
A belay device consisting of a plate with two slots in it. An original creation by Franz Sticht.
Summit
The top of a mountain or rock.
Summit, to
To reach the summit.
Take
American monosyllable for "Up Rope".
Take in
The British equivalent of "Up Rope".
Taking in
Heard often in British crags, meaning the climber is "off belay" and about to pull up the slack between him and the belayer.
Talus
Large blocks of rock. A coarse variation of scree.
Tarn
A small lake.
That's me
Part of the climbing dialogue. Courtousy call to the belayer to indicate that the slack in the rope is all taken up and that further pulling is pointless.
Tight
The British equivalent of "Up rope" ???
Toe
The bottom of a buttress.
Topo
A short drawing of the route. Good topos will allow you to spot the line right away, show the placement of bolts and belay stances, indicate where the crux is and what rating it has.
Top-rope
Free climbing a route that has the safety rope attached to the top of the climb (usually one walks to the top to set up the top-rope belay).
Threaded overhand
Solid but not failproof knot also known as water knot (or ring bend when used on webbing).
Trad
Traditional climbing, characterized by the placing of protection (cams, nuts, etc.) in cracks and pockets. Trad also includes multi-pitch routes often with long runouts..
Trad fall
A fall during a trad climb, sometimes accompanied by the popping sound of protection succumbing to the temptations of gravity. See also 'crater' and 'screamer'.
Traverse
Horizontal climb.
Trucker
Synomym for 'Bomber'. A trustworthy piece of pro.
Tunnel
A tunnel through or hourglass shape in the rock that allows a runner or cord to be fed through for protection.
Undercling
A hold that would be a perfect bucket if gravity were upside down. As it is, underclings are usually awkward holds that require lieback type moves.
Up Rope
Yelled by the leader or the follower when she/he wants a tighter belay. (In UK: "Take in" or "Tight" or even "Watch me").
Verglas
Thin water ice on rock.
Watch me
Call to indicate the climber is about to do something stupid -- like fall.
Water ice
Ice formed directly from frozen water. Water ice is clear and brittle and contains few air bubbles. Sometimes water is even flowing around the ice. Can be found in the couloirs of the High Sierra in autumn (and in many other places).
Water knot
See tape knot.
Webbing
Flat and strong strip of nylon, that is hollow in the inside.
Webbing
A runner made of webbing.
Whipper
A very long fall.
White ice
Ice with lots of air bubbles that forms from melted-and-frozen snow. Good climbing stuff.
Woodie
A homemade climbing wall.
YDS
Yosemite Decimal System. The North-American rating system.
Zipper
A fall where the protection pulls out one after the other as the leader succumbs to gravity. Often ends with a grounder (or a cardiac arrest).
Z-Pulley System
Complicated rope setup that allows you to hoist heavy weights with relatively little force. Excellent for recueing or hauling bags.



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