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Basic Rock Climbing Terminology

Aug 17, 2007
Thinking of enrolling for a rock-climbing event this vacation? Well if you are new to rock climbing, you need to access a lot of information on rock climbing, including the equipment required, the place to go for rock climbing and first aid manuals. You will also find yourself learning a new lingo!

That is right a new lingo, which is used by the rock climbing community. Most of the amateur rock climbers ignore this very important aspect and think that they will learn as they take the training and go for their first rock-climbing expedition. However, this is a very big mistake because if you are not accustomed to rock-climbing lingo, you may find yourself standing against more insurmountable objects than the physical ones.

Like many other sports, rock climbing has also evolved a language unique to the sport that the climbers must learn if they want to communicate with fellow rock climbers. What makes the terminology more interesting is that they do not have an obvious meaning. There are many rock climbing specific words and listing all of them here would be impossible, but given below are few terms that are more popularly used than the others:

Anchor-Not the one that is found on a boat, but it is equipment that is part of the climbing gear. It is equipment that supports the belay when climbing.

Belay-It is perhaps the most important equipment within the climbing gear. It is a rope anchor system that is used to provide support for the climber. The first climber often carries the belay and as he makes progress, he keeps on feeding out the rope to the succeeding climbers. Belay is run with the help of the friction system and it also has a mechanical break, which helps the climber from plunging to ground in case he falls.

Bouldering-This is the only term that means what it sounds. It means to find large size boulders and to practice climbing on them. Bouldering is the best way to learn climbing and it is also an excellent way to build up strength for the muscles for the advanced climbers. The climber can probably throw some pads around the boulder to cushion the fall.

Crimp-It is actually an art of trying to find a finger hold where there is not any.

Elvis-This is a physical condition, where the climbers legs begin to shake because of being tired or scared or even if the climber is listening to good music. The phenomenon is also known as sewing machine.

Face Climbing-This means to climb vertically, face up and towards the rock-using finger holds and edges to work ones way up.

Harness-This is a nylon device that is worn around the waist and legs and also tied off to the supporting ropes, to support the climber. It is advised to always put on the harness while climbing for safety.

Leading-The term is used for the first climber who is also responsible for determining the route, placing anchors and solving any problems. Clearly not meant for the amateur climbers.

Pitch-A pitch does not essentially means a vertical angle of rocks, but it is the distance between two belay points.
About the Author
Extreme Engineering is the industry leader in Climbing Walls including: Rock Climbing Walls, Portable Climbing Walls, Mobile Climbing Walls and Auto Belay Systems. The Spider one is our own proprietary system that handles 300 children per hour. Check out our photo gallery at http://www.extremeengidneering.com
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