When I started climbing, I didn’t realize there was a lot of lingo that comes with it. There are some I’m even still learning how to use. In this post, I hope to help you interpret a handful of common terms and understand what’s being said. Maybe you’ll want to learn a few and start using them yourself.
Frequently Used Words
- Arěte – An outside corner where two planes of rock meet. They can be slabby, vertical, or overhung.
- Beta – Helpful hints or descriptive information for a problem.
- Crag - a generic term for an outdoor technical rock climbing area.
- Crash pad – A very thick portable pad for bouldering to provide cushioning.
- Crux – The hardest move or section of a problem or route.
- Dab – To make unintended contact with something off-route while bouldering. This could be the ground, the pad, or another climber. Dabbing invalidates the ascent in nearly all instances. But usually, it’s the climber’s call.
- Deck – To hit the ground violently. Also, it’s known as the landing area.
- Downclimb – To climb downward, usually to get off a problem.
- Dyno/Dynamic Movement – A dynamic movement that requires speed and momentum to do. Some dynos include detaching from all holds to make the move.
- Flash/Onsight – To do a problem on the first try and complete it.
- Hueco – A really large deep pocket, named after the Hueco Tanks where these holds are common to find.
- Highball – A very tall problem, at least 15 feet or higher from the deck.
- Link/On Link – To complete a problem or section of a problem.
- Project – A problem you haven’t done. These usually take a while to complete and is significant for its difficulty or classic status.
- Pump – The fatigue in your arms after doing a long problem.
- Redpoint – In lead climbing, this means to climb a route all the way through without resting or falling off it.
- Sandbag – A problem that looks easier than it is. Can be used as a verb.
- Send – Short for ascend, to complete a problem or project.
- Session – A period of time spent bouldering, usually at a gym.
- Sit-start – Starting a problem by sitting on the ground or on a pad. These are common on overhung problems.
- Traverse – Refers to going across a problem rather than up it.
- Work/Working – Physically figuring out a problem.
- Whipper – Commonly used in lead climbing, any fall beyond the last placed or clipped piece of protection.
Example: If I can move a little more to the right, I can grab on to that arête at the end of the wall. Then pull towards myself with my right hand for balance.
Ex: Do you have any beta for starting the V3 over there? I can’t seem to get off the ground.
Ex: Are you going to the crag this weekend?
Ex: “Hey Natasha! What did you think of the crux of that V4? It’s a doozy for me.”
Ex: “Barbara, you’re really close to dabbing the ground. Get your foot up!”
Ex: “Carol, be careful. If you fall from there, you’re going to deck.”
Ex: “Alicia, are you sure you’ll be able to jump to make that dyno move?”
Ex: Yea! I flashed my first V4!
Ex: I don’t know, that highball problem looks scary to me. Maybe next time.
Ex: I could link the beefy V2 a few weeks ago; let’s see if I can do it again.
Ex: That V3 overhang is my project for the month.
Ex: Ugh, I got pumped on the crux of this problem. My arms hurt.
Ex. Hopefully I’ll be able to redpoint this route today and not have to stop.
Ex: “Ororo! Why did you tell me to try that problem? That was a flippin’ sandbag! No wonder I couldn’t send it."
Ex: That V3 traverse is fun but long.