Glossary

Allright, a Glossary, I'm adapting this from a glossary I did for an article on climbing in Ireland that I did for the Irish American Post. A lot of it is probably pretty basic for you and some of the rest too detailed.

Irish termUS termExplanation
Abseiling Rappelling Descending a rock face with the use of technical equipment (rope, descending device). The equipment used is called a figure-of-eight, the climber threads the rope through the figure-of-eight which provides friction as the climber slides (abseils/rappels) down the rope.
Belayer Same (different pronunciation) Climbers belay each other in turn, anchored into the rock they control the flow of the rope, taking it in or letting it out, depending on the progress of the climber above (leader) or below (second) them. The principal of belaying is similar to abseiling (see above), a friction device is used to control the flow of the rope. A number of friction devices have been developed, including the belay/stitch plate and Tuber. A figure-of-eight can also be used though itís not ideal.
Crab Biner Both terms are slang for carabiner, which in general is an oblong ring of metal that can be snapped/ screwed open/shut. These are used to clip the rope into and to clip into gear (see protection).
Extender Quickdraw 2 carabiners joined together with a length of webbing, one carabiner is clipped to the protection (see below) and the other to the free-running rope
Protection Same This refers to the gear or piece the climber (leader) puts in as they climb to protect themselves. Gear includes passive camming devices such as lumps of metal mounted on metal wires known as rocks, wires, or walnuts and hollowed out metal in hexagonal shapes known as Hexes, usually threaded with 5/6mm rope. The climber places these passive cams in breaks in the rock - cracks, fissures, pockets, etc. Generally a piece is put into a crack where itís bigger than the piece inserted and moved to a point where the crack bottlenecks and therefore the crack holds the gear. Non-passive camming devices such as Friends, Tri-cam units (TCUs) and Camelots can be used to protect parallel type cracks where there are no bottlenecks. An extender or piece of webbing is attached to the piece and this is what the running rope is clipped to provide the protection.
Route Same (different pronunciation) The line climbed up the rock, oftentimes this follows an obvious crack system, however many climbs are eliminate, the involve face climbing and the line is not so obvious.
Leader Same Climber who climbs up the route first
Bridging Stemming This involves spreading your legs across on two sides of rock (possible a chimney like formation), often there are no positive holds (or gear) and the only way upward is to keeping moving your feet and arms up, taking the bridge between the rocks higher.
50m 165ft Approximate comparison of the standard climbing rope length. Normally lead ropes are 10.5 to 11mm thick. Depending on the nature and location of the route climbers may opt to use double rope technique, whereby using 2 ropes of usually 8 to 9mm thickness.
Pitch Same A pitch is the length a leader climb before he stops, sets up anchors (belay) and brings up (belays) the second (climber). Generally the climbers then swap and the second becomes the leader of the next pitch. A pitch is often nearly a rope length, though this is more common in the States than in Ireland where the routes are generally not as long as is possible in the States. If a route is 8 pitches and the first climber leads the first pitch, then they will lead all the odd pitches and the other climber the even pitches. This assumes that everything goes according to plan and that both climbers are of similar ability (harder to lead).

Other terms used in ďIndependence NightĒ:

TermExplanation
Traversing To (climb) cross rather than up or down.
Alpine face A climb is considered Alpine if itís at such an elevation that weather becomes very unpredictable and Alpine like. In Rocky Mountain National park the climbing window is at the most 3 months, June to September. During that time Thunderstorms are very common in the afternoon, generally the higher you are climbing, the earlier you should be off the rock. Noon is a yardstick, but thatís all.
Grades / 5.7 crack, 5.9+ / topo Climbs are graded and are described in guidebooks. The guide will generally have a description of the climb and an illustration of the rock formation with the route marked and numbers on it (topo). A Topo can also refer to a (topographical) map of the area. There are many different grading systems and they are subjective, depending often on the first person who climbed it and/or whether or not the route sees much traffic. Guidebooks often have a star system that stars routes that are deemed superior or classics. The Yosemite decimal grading system is the standard used in the States. Grade 4 is scrambling, not requiring a rope, Grade 5 is technical rock climbing requiring a rope and extends from 5.0 to (currently) 5.14. 5.7 generally corresponds to between HS (hard severe) 4B (technical grade) and VS (very severe) 4C in the Irish/British grading system. To give you an idea, any athletic person with a reasonable mindset should be able to climb 5.5/5.6, though leading is of course a different matter.
A-shaped roof This was one of the main features on the climb. The crack looking like a Sickle or scythe finished underneath this overhanging roof that had an A-shaped alcove underneath it.
Bivy To sleep outside, normally one puts oneís sleeping bag inside a (Gortex, if you can afford one!) bivy bag which is just bigger than a regular sleeping bag and protects you from the rain. Oftentimes there are bivy sites which are situated in caves or underneath large protruding/overhanging rocks. Biviers build stone walls around these sites to help protect from the weather.
ran out the first couple of pitches This means to climb and not place too much gear, often leaving 5-15+m between gear. Faced with this kind of runout a potential fall quickly becomes a no-can-do. With a 10m runout, a fall would be a minimum of 20m, more with rope stretch. Sometimes runouts are forced as there is no place to put protection, climbs like this are generally given a higher grade or noted for their runout severity.. If a runout is not forced a climber wonít runout unless the climb is well within their ability and/or they are feeling very confident that day. Sometimes a climber can runout because of time or weather constraints, when getting of the rock face become a higher priority.
5.6/7 flaky loose meandering pitch Flakes are chunks of rock that stick out. They can be very comforting but also can be very scary as sometimes they appear unstable or actually be loose. This does not inspire confidence, especially if you are on a runout section of the climb. In the pitch in question, there was a 2 ways to go a 5.6 pitch to the left and a 5.7 pitch to the right, neither were completely obvious to I ended up meandering around a bit.
...steep 5.7...jamming in a right-facing dihedral...swing into the crack... Pretty technical paragraph I guess. This pitch was very close to the vertical, the jamming crack was such that the only real way up it was to jam your hands into the crack, there were no normal holds as such. Jamming is a climbing technique where you insert your hand (thumb up or down) into a crack and contort it so that it holds you. It is a hard technique to learn and one I am poor at, but it can be very rewarding once learnt (seemingly!). Picture an open book, in climbing a rock formation looking like that is known as an open dihedral. A dihedral is essentially a section of rock that meets another section a an angel and can be obviously left or right facing. That pitch I think we should have traversed lower. The second has to follow the rope to take out the gear (if thereís any) so has to go where the leader placed protection. Therefore, the route finding is up to the leader (well the second can shout from below!). On this pitch Matt came to a section of rock that offered nothing for our abilities. I took him tight on the rope and he tension traversed (rope held him) and lowered a little over and down to where the crack continued to a perfect belay stance. In climbers minds this is a blemish on the climb as it means we didnít climb it completely free, however on such an Alpine route priorities change and you do whatís necessary to get off the rock. When seconding Matt couldnít put me on tension as the rope went over and upwards so I was left with s short pendulum or swing into the crack.
...flaring cracks...roof split in chimney form...decent foot friction and balancing from the parallel cracks...clipped a piton...eye bolt...Ö A flaring crack is one that starts at a certain width at the back and then flares out, these are hard to protect. I hadnít the strength to wait to see if I could get gear in and I saw a piton above so I made the made crack moves quickly to get to the piton and clip it. A piton is like a chisel of metal with a loop at the end. Years ago when modern climbing gear was not developed, climbers often used these to protect themselves, by hammering them into cracks and clipping the rope into them. Bolts are similar to piton but are normally drilled into the rock, an eye-bolt has a huge eye on it that you can clip into. The bridging moves were required as there were no positive holds around, the rock offered good friction for the sticky rubber soled climbing shoes, this improves the sense of balance.
Jug city...exposed stance bringing the full gorge below into view Jugs are huge holds sometimes called thank-God holds. Of course one climber will say itís jug city and another on the route will say fuck off where are the holds. When a climb is said to be exposed this generally means you are way out there, a chimney or crack not offering solace and you have a full view of where you would go if you took a plunger. When you see exposed in a guidebook you will be prepared to be gripped (freaked out) at this point. Often though exposure can be exhilarating.
...perfect 5.7 hand left upwards traversing hand crack... A hand crack is a crack that is side enough to accommodate hands only, you wonít get arms or fists into this. The lead was blemished in that I rested on the rope to change the direction of the bridge, this meant I didnít do it entirely free. However I knew I could have done I without the rest if I had taken a minute to think out the moves first, so that made me feel a little better. It can be hard to understand climberís ethics because oftentimes even your second doesnít know if you have done something Ďunethicalí and you could get away with Ďtelling a storyí. However most climbers will tell you that ethics are a personal thing, you know yourself, so thatís what matters. The slab was unprotected meaning there was no place to place gear and a forced runout was necessary. 5.7 in not trivial, thatís what made it so nuts that those other guys did this in the rain; the moves were not 5.10 (!) but a serious swinger for both the leader and second were a distinct possibility.
...I'm sure the bag he was carying didn't help. A bag can really through of your balance, especially on a roof.
...looked around the bulge and spotted a bolt 10 feet above...ballsy moves... A bulge in the rock often hides what the route is doing on the others side. The guidebook said there was a bolt out there but we couldnít see it from the belay, but Matt saw it once he skirted the bulge. The moves were ballsy as they were unprotected and he was looking at a good fall. The rock had some small protruding pebble like stones that were useful for the feet, but not very confidence inducing. Pro is slang for protection.
Descent route The way down from the top of the climb is the descent route. Sometimes this means Abseiling all or part of the way, other times it involves a hiking route down gullies, boulder fields or scree. The formation beside SpearHead was called Chiefshead and the saddle or low point between the two was were the descent route proper went.

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