Follow – v. Synonym: second. After the first climber leads the pitch, the second (the one who belayed the leader) follows, that is, he/she climbs up to the leader, cleaning (removing protection placed by the leader) the pitch on the way up. Because the leader is belaying the second from above, the second has a top rope and will not fall far if he falls at all. When the follower reaches the leader’s belay, he secures himself, takes the rack, and leads the next pitch. (See swinging leads.)

Fourth Class – n./adj./v. Refers to the Class 1 to 6 system (See Class 1 through 6); movement requiring the use of the hands as well as the feet and requiring specialized foot wear, and requiring a rope for safety, unlike Class 3. Experienced rock climbers tend to think of fourth class as easy and often do not rope up until they are on Class 5 terrain.

Free Climb – v. The act of making upward progress using only your hands, feet, and other body parts for purchase on the rock, as opposed to direct aid where the climber’s weight is supported by a sling attached to a device attached to the rock. When free climbing with a rope, the game is to never rely on the rope for assistance: it is there to catch you only if you fall. Contrast this with aid climbing in which your feet are in slings or stirrups and your hands are free (generally) to place the next piece of gear that will support your weight. While free climbing, you are using only your hands, feet, legs, hips, butt, back, chest, and shoulders to keep yourself from falling, and none of your weight is supported by slings or the rope.

Free Solo – v. To free climb without a rope and without protection. A fall is likely to result in serious injury or death. Usually distinguished from climbing high boulders in that free soloing implies a climb of a pitch or more. Contrast with the term highball.

Front Pointing – v. Technique for ascending steep or overhanging ice. The front teeth of the crampons are used to dig into the ice.

Gaston – n. a climbing technique that involves sidepulling with an elbow pointed outward.

Gate – n. The hinged part of a carabiner which opens to allow the clipping of a rope or piece of gear. etc.

Gear Loops – n. The loops attached to the waist belt on a harness that are used to hold gear.

Glissade – vb. a controled slide down a slope.

Greasy – adj. slippery

Greenpoint – n. To flash a route on toprope.

Gripped – adj. tired and/or scared. Often a synergy between the two.

Guide Book – n. A book which shows where climbing routes are located and gives brief descriptions of the route and its difficulty.

Gumby – adj. A (often derogatory) name for a novice climber.

Gym – n. an indoor climbing facility consisting of manmade walls.

Hand jam – n./v. Using your hand to gain purchase in a crack by twisting the hand, squeezing or spreading the palm, pulling the thumb down, making a fist, stacking both hands, etc. . .

Hand Traverse – n. Climbing horizontally using hands only. Also: Campus Traverse

Hang – v. Common usage: ‘Bill ran up to hang draws on that 5.12″. A more experienced climber may climb a route to place quickdraws for other climbers of lesser abilities. Or simply to hang from a handhold.

Hang Dog – vb./n. to repeatedly rest on the rope while climbing.

Hanging Belay – n. A belay stance where the climbers must hang from the anchor rather than sit or stand on a ledge. These tend to be uncomfortable and more time consuming because the climber must hang in the harness, and it is harder to keep gear organized when freedom of movement is restricted. If a ledge is available, climbers will try to end a pitch there to avoid a hanging belay.

Harness – n. Device the climber wears that attaches the climber to the rope so that in the event of a fall, the climber is held by the rope. (See belay.) Modern harnesses include leg loops and a waist band secured by a buckle system. They are designed to withstand far more impact force than they should ever be subjected to in use.

Haul Bag – n. Large and sturdy bag used to carry gear up a big wall climb. Generally cylindrical in shape with a minimal number of straps to avoid snagging on the rock face as it is hauled up at each pitch.

Heel hook – n./vb. a climbing technique involving the use of a heel to pull down like a third arm.

Heel toe lock – n/vb. a climbing technique involving the wedging of a foot lengthwise in a constriction

Helmet – n. Protection for the head from falling gear or rocks.

Hexcentric – n. Commonly reffered to as a Hex; a hexagonal shaped metal piece of protection. Allows for passive protection when placed one way and camming action when placed another.

Hidden Hold – n. A hold that is out of sight until a climber is very near it. Hidden holds are often hard to see even at close range and many climbers will climb past one without seeing it.

Highball – n. A very high boulder problem, often with a hard landing. A high boulder problem with a sandy or otherwise soft landing may not be considered a highball. Of Planet X in Joshua Tree John Bachar said: “That’s not a f@#%in’ highball.”

Hike – v. To send a climb in excellent style. Usage: “I was falling all over that climb then I took a rest and hiked it.”

Hold – n. Any feature of the rock wich affords the climber a place to grip with hands or feet. Also, for indoor use; small plastic molded climbing grips.

Hook – n. Small ‘r’ shaped piece of metal used as protection on ledges and small holes when aid climbing. Requires a fair amount of skill to place and weight efficiently.

Hueco – n. a large indented pocket in the rock. From Hueco Tanks, a popular climbing area with many such features.

Ice Screw – n. A piece of protection for ice climbing that is literaly screwed into the ice. Has a metal hanger on the end for clipping a carabiner.

Incut – adj. An indent An indent in a rockface or climbing wall big enough to be used as a hand or foot hold. Also refers to a hand/foot hold which slants downwards into the wall affording a better grip. ie: an incut crimper, rather than a flat or sloping crimper.

Indoor Climbing – n. Climbing on an articificial wall generally found indoors and utilizing plastic holds.

Instructor – n. A person with the qualifications to teach others about climbing and climbing safety. (not climbing specific)

Inverting – v. Flipping upside down when falling off the wall.

Jamming – v. Placing and wedging a body part into a crack in order to hold yourself on the wall.

Jug – n. A big hand hold, usually a great relief to find. (See also, bucket.) Also a verb meaning “to jumar” or the act of ascending a fixed rope with jumars.

Jughaul – n. A route that has nothing but big, easy holds on it.

Jugging – v. See jumaring…

Jumar – n. A device with a handle and a toothed cam that bites the rope when weighted used to ascend a fixed rope. Replaced prussik knots in the 60’s, and was one of only two mechanical ascenders on the market for years. Useless on iced ropes. Also a verb meaning “to jumar.” “I was jumaring when it started to rain.”

Jumaring – v. Ascending a rope using jumars.

Karabiner – n. Alternate spelling of carabiner.

Krab – n. Slang for a carabiner.

Lay back – n/vb. a move requiring pulling with arms to the side and pushing with the feet in the opposite direction. (syn. lieback)

Lead – vb/n. to climb starting with the rope on the ground clipping into protection points on the way up.

Leader – n. The climber who ascends a route first putting up the rope and protection.

Lever – n. A hangboard exercise involving a person hanging by both arms and ‘levering’ their body into a completely horizontal position. This requires very strong abdominal muscles.

Leverage – n. The action of the climbing rope on protection placed in the rock, this action can cause the protection to work loose.

Locking Carabiner – n A carabiner with either a screw gate or twist lock, locking mechanism.

Lower Off – v. To come down from a route after reaching the top or not being able to climb anymore.

Lower Off Point – n. Fixed or placed protection placed on some point of a climb for use when lowering off.

Mallion Rapides – n. A type of carabiner that is screwed shut with a wrench. Also refered to as a Quick-Link.

Manky – adj. The opposite of Bombproof. A piece of gear is said to be manky if it is not placed well and could fall out at any moment.

Mantel – n./vb. a climbing technique involving the transfer of upward force from a pulling action to a pushing action much like a child would climb the kitchen counter to reach the cabinets above.

Match – v. To place both hands or feet on the same hold.

Mixed Climbing – adj. Refers to a route with both rock and ice sections. May also refer to a route with both sport and trad sections.