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The Climbing Dictionary: Slang Edition


Submitted by camhead on 2014-10-17

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by Paul Nelson


Rockclimbing.com has a very good dictionary of standard climbing terms, like “redoint,” “rappel,” and “trad.” However, we are lacking on more slang climbing terms. So here it is; think of it as climbing’s start at establishing an "Urban Dictionary"-styled resource. Add more terms in the comments and I’ll put them here– it’s a work in progress!

Aggro-Sheen (n): The fine, glistening layer of sweat that coats a climber after he has angrily fallen off of his project.

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No, not that Aggro-Sheen

Almost-send (n): means nothing. See also “tredpoint,” etc.

Batman (v): Also known as “yarding,” and a type of hang-dogging. To pull up on the belayer-end rope after you have fallen, as your belayer reels in the slack, which takes you back up to your highest gear point. Not to be confused with “boinking,” but similar to “hate-yarding.”

Beached Whale (n): to crawl up and over a ledge or clifftop in the most awkward, thrutchy way possible, often flopping upwards on your stomach or knees. Seen as very bad style, and the antithesis of the “Mantel.”

Beta-Mime (v): To obnoxiously act out, in full performance-art fashion, the beta sequence to a climb. This scene, commonplace at Miguel's, Camp 4, and any other climber's hangout, looks completely ridiculous to non-climbers.

Blackpoint (n): To fall on a climb that you have previously redpointed or onsighted, thus invalidating all of your credibility regarding the route. It is worse to blackpoint an onsight than to blackpoint a redpoint, but both should be avoided at all times. If you blackpoint a route, please consider deleting it from your ascents log.

Bluepoint (n): When you belay someone on their send of a project. “I’m a 5.14 bluepointer!”

Boink (v): Similar to “batmanning,” this is a means of using the rope to get back up a climb you have fallen on. When you can’t reach the belayer’s end of the rope on very steep routes, the only option is to throw your hips up in the air, as you do repeated pull-ups on the rope, gaining a few inches each time if you have coordinated your boinking technique with your belayer. Universally realized as much more difficult than actually climbing.

Bomber (adj): Short for “bombproof,” this describes removable gear, bolts, or trees that will not fail under any circumstances. “Dude, the crux is heinous, but the gear is bomber!” See also “truck.”

Bro-Muda Triangle (n): coined by the Enormocast climbing podcast, this is the triangle on the Utah-Colorado Borderlands, which occupies the area between Rifle, the Black Canyon, and Indian Creek, and is an epicenter for ColoRadGuys.

Brownpoint (n): 1) a feel-good synonym for any send of a route on toprope. 2) a route that is so difficult that you poop your pants on it.

Choss (n): loose, wet, rotten, or otherwise undesirable rock. “The crux is fun, but getting to it is kind of chossy.”

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Total Chosspile

ColoRadGuy (n): An early to mid-twenty-something male from Colorado, who tends to brag about his chalk sponsorship, almost-send of 5.14, late-model Tacoma, yoga instructor girlfriend, and about how awesome Boulder is. Despite their love of their home state, ColoRadGuys can occasionally infest other states’ areas, such as Ten Sleep, WY, Indian Creek, UT, and the Red River Gorge, UT.

Crush (v): to completely dominate a climb. “Dude, I crushed the white 5.8 at Earth Treks!”

Dirtbag (n): beyond the climbing world, this is universally seen as an insult on par with “scumbag,” or sleezeball.” However, in the climbing world, this merely describes a climber who is on a long-term roadtrip, living cheaply out of his or her vehicle. Correct Usage: “That dirtbag just made an entire meal out of saltines and ketchup packs!” Incorrect Usage: “Hey guys, I got dad’s Sprinter for the weekend! We’re going to be dirtbags!”

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Fred Beckey: The Original Dirtbag

Grovel (v): to get up a climb in completely awkward, ugly style. Sometimes it is essential, other time it is reflective of a climber’s lack of skill. The “Beached Whale” is a type of groveling. See also “thrutch.”

Hate-yard (v): to rapidly batman in anger up a rope after falling, usually done with such speed and aggression that your belayer is sent rolling down the hill.

Mank (n): Usually describes bad fixed gear, such as rusty bolts or sun-bleached webbing (also known as "tat").

Manky (adj): describes conditions in which a climb is seeping, mossy, or otherwise damp.

Nature Hike (n): See “trad climbing” in the official rockclimbing.com dictionary.

Redsite (n): A combination of “redpoint” and “onsight.” To send a longterm project on the first go of the day.

Rig (n): Synonym to “route.” A recent term coined by climbers who wish to seem gritty and blue-collor, in case their carharts and truckers caps do not adequately convey this image.

Send Train (n): a beautiful occurrence, which happens when one climber sends a project, kicking off a progression of increased group psych that gets everyone else sending the rig as well.

Splitter (n): used to describe the most beautiful, pure crack climbs in the world, which appear as if a deity has taken a laser to the rock, creating a straight line up an otherwise blank wall. Often misused; cracks in corners and dihedrals CANNOT be splitters!

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Supercrack of the Desert: The Quintessential Splitter

Splitter (adj): Because splitter cracks are so beautiful, eventually a few ColoRadGuys started describing climbing conditions as “splitter,” roughly synonymous to how skiers use the term “bluebird.” A sunny, low-humidity, 60 degree day is “splitter.”

Sporty (adj): though rooted in the word “sport,” this adjective is actually the antithesis of sport climbing’s safe nature, and denotes a climb that may be slightly to severely runout or dangerous.

Swarmy, Schmarmy, Schwarmy (adj): many different colloquial spellings of this word all mean the same thing– manky, wet, hot, humid conditions.

Thrutch (v): See "grovel."

Tredpoint, tronsight, trash (n): by merely adding a “tr” before common terms describing sends such a “flash,” “onsight,” or “redpoint,” topropers can describe their own glory! See also “almost-send.”

Truck (adj): Synonymous with “bomber,” describes gear so good that you could hang a truck off of it.


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