A vue – adj. French for “onsight”, a clean ascent first try with no prior knowledge of the route (see onsight).

A0 – n. (Pronounced “A-zero”) Rating given to using a bolt for aid. No possibility of falling because weight is supported by something that cannot fail.

Abseil – v. UK English for rappel, from the German origin. See Rappel.

Aid Climbing – n Originally called direct aid or artificial climbing, aid climbing is a means of ascent where the climber’s weight is supported primarily, or entirely, by slings attached to a device attached to the rock, rather than by the climber’s own hands, feet and other body parts as in free climbing. Upward progress is not required: weighting the rope, or resting on gear is aid. Difficulty increases as security diminishes. (See Aid ratings.)

Aider – n. Ladder made of webbing used for Aid Climbing, or as footholds for the belayer on a multi pitch climb. See also: Etrier
Allez – v. French for “Go!” Used to encourage climbers to push on.

Alpine Start – n. The set off time on an Alpine Route to enable a summit and return journey without the worry of the snow & ice melting in the days heat. Generally very early in the morning, ie 3am.

Alpine Style – adj. Doing a mountain route without pre-placing fixed lines or using pre-supplied camp sites for any stage of the journey. Example: The British group climbed the new route on Changabang in fine alpine style.

AMS – n. Acute Mountain Sickness

Anchor – n. That which attaches the belayer to the rock, or otherwise prevents the belayer from being pulled off the belay stance if the leader falls. In roped technical climbing, one climber moves at a time, while the other belays. The belayer must be securely attached to the the rock by means of protection devices (cams, nuts, bolts, pitons), or tied to an immovable object like a boulder or sturdy tree. The attachments are called collectively the “anchor.” An ideal anchor relies on at least three bombproof attachment points. (See also belay.)

Angle – n. A type of piton made of a few inches of chromoly steel with a 90 degree angle down its spine, like a shallow taco. Comes in sizes of less than 1/2 inch (baby angle) to 2 inches wide, 4 to 6 inches long, and with an eye in the end for clipping a carabiner. Rarely used now except on aid climbs, and when left as fixed protection on free climbs.

Approach – v. The journey to the base of a crag or route.

Approach shoes – n. A sort of cross between a trainer and a walking boot used for the approach from the car to the base of the climb.

Approach Time – n. The time taken to reach the base of the route your going to climb.

Arete – n. A narrow ridge, or corner, of rock or snow. Derived from the french word for “stop”.

Ascend – v. To go up. Climbers ascend a route to get to the top.

Ascenders – n. Mechanical devices used to ascend a rope, consisting of a camming mechanism which bites into the rope when downward pressure is applied but allows movement when slid up the rope.

Ascent – n. A completed climb. ‘Everest was one of my many ascents.’ 2. v. The upward

[not vertical] movement or progress [not motion] of a climber. Antonym: descent.

Back clean – 1. v, back cleaning, back cleaned, When leading, to remove superfluous gear from below for anticipated use higher on the pitch, most often when aid climbing by simply reaching back or below to clean. Mindy decided to back clean the last two TCUs she had placed to save them for the centimeter-wide crack out the big roof.

Back step – 1. n, a foot position relative to its foothold wherein the climber uses the outside edge of the toe box, instead of the big toe, inside edge, heel, instep, etc. 2. v, to use the outside edge of one’s foot on a foothold. 3. v, (the rope) to place a foot or leg between the rope and the rock in such a way as to make entanglement and, subsequently, an upside-down fall more likely. Dude! Watch your right foot! Don’t back step the rope!

Bail – v. To give up and rappel or otherwise get off the route because of weather, darkness, or difficulties. “We both tried and fell on the crux several times, so we bailed.” “We didn’t want to finish in the dark, so we bailed.”

Bail Biner – n. A carabiner left behind when rappelling or lowering off of a climb, usually left on a single bolt or other protection device mid-pitch.

Bandolier – n. A short sling with a padding worn over the shoulder by the leader to hold a rack that is too big to be accommodated by gear loops.

Barn door – n. When the body swings away from the rock from two or more pivot points (usually one hand and one foot) due to the angle. Can occur on a steep lieback as well. Difficult to recover from and often results in a fall.

Base Camp – n The lowest fixed camp on a long route or other journey.

Belay – vb. (1) vb. – the process of paying out the rope to the lead climber, or taking in rope for a follower, while he/she climbs, and of protecting the climber in the event of a fall. Belaying allows a climber to fall and live to try again. (2) n. – the place where a climber belays, and the anchor is set up attaching the climber to the rock, normally at the beginning and end of each pitch. (See belay station.) Also, a session of belaying.

Belay Device – n. A device that attaches to the climber’s harness through which the rope is threaded for belaying. Its primary purpose is to create friction quickly in the event of a fall so the belayer can stop the rope, which stops the leader’s fall, simply by pulling against the device. The device creates a ‘hairpin’ turn in the rope at all times and allows the belayer to pay out or take in slack freely, and to stop or brake the rope in an instant. Common belay devices: ATC, GriGri, Sticht Plate

Belay Monkey – Any person recruited for the task of belaying for long periods of time. Similar to Belay Betty; usually a non-climbing female recruited to belay a significant other.

Belay Station – n. A secure stance consisting of an anchor, a rope, and a belayer with a belay device. The place where a belayer sits, stands or hangs while belaying.

Belayer – n. a person who is belaying a climber.

Beta – n. information about a route.

Betaflash – n. a clean first ascent with no falls after having received beta. (This contrasts an onsightflash, a clean ascent with no prior knowledge of the route. 2. (vb.) to perform a betaflash.