Chiris' guide to Rock Climbing

Get your Draws ready

Welcome to our (soon to be) ultimate guide to rock climbing. Rock climbing is a huge topic, but I’m going to share with you all the knowledge you need to get you off the ground in this incredible adventure! If you don’t know when to use a quad anchor vs a sliding X  or if you don’t know how to pick out the right rope, this guide is for you.

 I’ve seen too many climbers at the gym or the crag who know little beyond what they can observe from others in the area and I want to change that. 

This guide is here to help you be more prepared for your next climbing adventure. It will teach you all the skills, knowledge, and techniques and give you the motivation you need to get you off the couch and on belay.

The guide is under development, so check back often as we add additional content.

Most of us as kids had a natural inclination to climb up and on top of all sorts of things. Just look at any playground and you’ll see ladders, chains, climbing walls, and all kinds of other objects designed specifically for climbing. Some of us never lose our natural desire to climb. I write this guide for all of you! Those of you who still want to go climb every rock and mountain are in the right place. Keep reading my vertical loving friends and learn more about this amazing sport. We’ll cover all the basics you need to get started at the local crag confidently and safely.

  • Class 1: Easy walking on a trail or level surface
  • Class 2: Hiking with steep hills or simple scrambling; occasional use of hands may be helpful
  • Class 3: Steep scrambling with some exposure; requires hands but may usually be descended facing outward
  • Class 4: Steep scrambling or simple climbing with exposure; must be descended facing inward but often does not require a rope
  • Class 5: Steep, technical climbing that requires a rope
  • Arete- The corner of a rock face. Can be sharp or rounded.
  • Ape Index– The ratio of your height to armspan.
  • Chipping– Using tools to alter or create holds. REALLY not good climbing style. 
  • Choss/Chossy– Rock that is not solid and likely to fall off under pressure. Rock like this is chossy.
  • Crater- To hit the ground when falling on lead.
  • Crimp/Crimper– A small hold that only accommodates the last joint of your handt. A hold like this is crimpyCrimping is a method of holding onto a crimper where the climber places their thumb over the fingernail of the index finger to increase strength.
  • Crux- The hardest part of a route. If a route is rated 5.10c, at least one move on the route is of 5.10c difficulty; that move is the crux. That move is cruxy.
  • Deck/Deck out- To hit the ground when falling on lead.
  • Dirty A section where the rock is not washed clean by water or human use. Gullies and corners are often dirtyDirty sections can be dangerous.
  • Finger pocket/Monopocket- A hold that only accommodates one or two fingers. If only one finger, it is called a monopocket
  • Flag/Flagging Placing your foot against the rock to counterbalance against swinging. You don’t need a hold to flag.
  • Flake – (1. noun 2. verb) 1. A thin, plate-like outcropping of rock; generally provides good handholds; 2. To uncoil a rope into a pile on the ground in order to prevent kinkage and knots getting in the way of the belay during a climb.
  • Knuckle Dragger- A climber with a high Ape Index, i.e., long arms.
  • Jug- A very large hold.
  • Picnic stop– A rest that doesn’t require use of your hands.
  • Pinch– A hold with no horizontal elements that has distinct vertical elements. You pinch (v.), or grip, a pinch (n.) by placing the fingers on one side and the thumb on the other. 
  • Positive- A hold that is good or easy to hold on to is positive.
  • Pumped/Pumpy– The state of being exhausted from climbing to the point of fear of falling. A section that makes you feel like this is pumpy.
  • Rap– Short for rappel.
  • Sandbagged– A route rated easier than it actually is is sandbagged.
  • Sharp End- The end of the rope that goes up first. When you are leading a route, you are on the sharp end
  • Slab/Slabby- A section of un-featured rock that is less than vertical. Usually slabs have very few features and require a specific style of climbing. Slabby sections are on slabs.
  • Sloper/Slopey- A large hold with no horizontal elements, so the climber relies mostly on skin friction to hold on. A hold like this is slopey.
  • Dihedral- Two faces that form an angle to each other, like an open book. Dihedrals can also be curved.
  • Splitter- Adjective or noun. A crack with mostly parallel sides with no other holds around. The crack ‘splits’ a smooth face.
  • Stem/Stemming– Using both arms and legs on two separate faces to hold the body up. Imagine placing your feet on either side of a narrow hallway…
  • Whipper- A fall, usually big, when climbing on lead.
  • Ropes
  • Harnesses
  • Helmets
  • Caribiners
  • Belay Devices
  • Protection
  • Shoes
  • Belay Gloves
  • Chalk and Chalk Bags
  • Slings
  • Prusiks
  • Accessory Cord
  • Webbing
  • Understanding Risk
  • Beta
  • Climbing Site Selection
  • Potential Risks To Recognize
  • Vigilance While Climbing
  • Leave No Trace
  • Bolts
  • Webbing
  • Human Waste
  • Rope Grooves
  • Sharing Beta
  • Flash Floods
  • Preparation
  • Communication
  • Heat
  • Cold
  • Falls
  • Navigation mishaps
  • Moving Water
  • Getting Stuck
  • Figure Eight Retrace
  • Figure Eight on a Bight
  • Double Loop Figure Eight
  • Clove Hitch
  • Munter Hitch
  • Munter Mule
  • Prusik Hitch
  • Girth Hitch
  • Basket Hitch
  • Alpine Butterfly Knot
  • Overhand on a Bight
  • Choke Hitch
  • Types of Anchors
  • Building EARNEST Anchors
  • Bold and Chain Anchors
  • Natural Anchors
  • Artificial Anchors
  • Physics of Belaying
  • Tying in to Belay
  • PBUS Belaying Method
  • Rope Management
  • Lowering a Climber
  • Climbing Commands & Communication
  • Belaying Tips
  • Tying in to Climb
  • Basic Climbing Techniques and Movements
  • Staying Safe on the Wall
  • Lowering After Completing the Route
  • Rappelling
  • Sport Climbing
  • Lead Climbing
  • Multi-Pitch Climbing
  • Trad Climbing

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