re-sized climbing warning

Rock Climbing Jargon? … Why not!

Well, we’ve done kite surfing and snowboarding so why not some commonly used words in the rock climbing world…

However, with rock climbing it is a little more serious. Not just a whole new dictionary like the above sports but, a bit like scuba diving with its hand signals, rock climbing has a few critical expressions that one needs to know. It sounds a bit dramatic that it could be ‘the difference between life and death’, but at times a leader and the second might lose sight of one another and, without verbal communication, one climber might begin climbing before the other is ready to belay which is a scary thought.

So, a set of calls should be known beforehand and even practiced and agreed upon beforehand. Some common calls are:

  • “Off belay!” The leader has reached a secure place. The second may discontinue the belaying process.
  • “Taking in!” The leader will now pull the slack of the rope that remains between the two climbers. The second should watch for snags and tangles in the rope.
  • “That’s me!” The second informs the leader that no slack remains.
  • “On belay!” The leader is ready for the second to begin climbing.
  • “Climbing!” The second answers that he is ready.
  • “Climb!” The leader gives the final cue to begin the climb.

  • “Slack!” The climber asks the belayer for extra rope.
  • “Up rope!” The belayer may remove any slack that has accumulated.
  • “Tension!” The belayer should take in enough rope to support some of the climber’s weight; a somewhat urgent call.
  • “Watch the rope!” “Watch me!” or “Take me!” A fall or difficult move is anticipated. The belay may be tested, so get ready!

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