Eigh­teen new climb­ing slang terms so you can fur­ther con­fuse your par­ents.


LIKE A PAR­ENT snoop­ing on her teenager’s text mes­sages, climb­ing slang sounds like ut­ter non­sense to out­siders. It’s not unique to our sport. Surfers, skate­board­ers, and (prob­a­bly) standup pad­dle­board yo­gis all have their jar­gon. But does rock climb­ing have enough slang? Un­til “climber speak” is so dense that it’s listed as its own lan­guage, we say, “No.” Add the fol­low­ing new terms to your vo­cab­u­lary to bet­ter com­mu­ni­cate with your fel­low climbers—and to com­mu­ni­cate way worse with ev­ery­one else.

Bail Dead­line

(n.) The lat­est time at which you can bail on climb­ing plans with­out piss­ing off your part­ners. For days with an early start, this should be be­fore any­one goes to sleep the night be­fore, so they don’t wake up at 5 a.m. for noth­ing.

“Mark needs to learn to re­spect the bail dead­line. If I wake up to one more ‘Sorry, I’m not feel­ing it to­day’ text, he’s dead to me.”

Beach Bash

(n.) When a crag looks more like a party zone than a climb­ing area, packed with ham­mocks, blue­tooth speak­ers, and more peo­ple hang­ing out tan­ning, snack­ing, and gab­bing than climb­ing.

“We swung by Avalon, but it was a beach bash, so we con­tin­ued up to Wiz­ard Rock be­cause peo­ple only put in the ef­fort to hike up there if they ac­tu­ally want to climb. It was empty.”


(v.) A tech­nique in which you are taller than 6 feet and skip a crux by reaching re­ally, re­ally far "I had to back off a heinous side-crimp, bump off a sloper into a ring lock, then dyno to the mono un­der­cling. Derek was able to just be-tall his way past all of it.”

Climber Fat

(adj.) When you are fit com­pared to the gen­eral pop­u­la­tion, but feel like a blimp com­pared to the climb­ing com­mu­nity, with their rip­pling abs and stri­ated back mus­cles.

“Ugh! I’m so climber fat. If I could only lose this last per­cent of body fat, I could fi­nally break out of this V13 slump.”


(v.) To toprope, es­pe­cially on steep ter­rain with no di­rec­tional, where a fall would re­sult in a wild swing. “I couldn’t de­cide if I wanted to TR the 50-foot roof or take a gi­ant rope swing, so freesnaked it and did both."


(v.) A park­our-like move in which you must turn ac­cross a se­ries of footholds with no hand­holds in the gym. The ap­pear­ance of grinds typ­i­cally co­in­cides with a new sea­son of Amer­i­can Ninja War­rior. “I ate shit when I face-planted into that vol­ume after miss­ing a foot on that grind. Oh, well—the doc­tor says I’ll be eat­ing solid food again in no time.”

Gym Name

(n.) Much as through-hik­ers have trail names, the climbers you see fre­quently at your lo­cal rock gym also have gym names—only in this case, it’s you giv­ing them their names ... in se­cret, in your head.

“Crap, ‘Bald Guy with Head­phones’ is hog­ging the auto-be­lay again. Guess I’ll head into the boul­der­ing cave and...shit! ‘An­gry Guy with Pony­tail’ is in there kick­ing his chalk pot. Maybe I’ll just do a lit­tle travers­ing in back here where...Oh, no! The ‘Gos­sip Girls’ are sit­ting below that panel, shoes off, trad­ing sto­ries about their boyfriends and block­ing the wall. Guess I’ll just go home.”


(n.) To red­point a route while “be­layed” by a su­per-chill brau or brauette ly­ing in a ham­mock lis­ten­ing to crunchy grooves. Best done on a route two to three num­ber grades below your limit that’s short and has a good “land­ing.” “Rain­bow gives a re­ally good ham­mock­point be­lay; just make sure your rope doesn’t get tan­gled up in De­nali’s leash or in her iPhone speaker cords.”


(v.) A gym move named for a climber with stronger fin­gers than route- find­ing skills.* The act of pulling through on footholds in­stead of try­ing to fig­ure out the proper se­quence.

“Grab the un­der­cling, to your left! To your left! Next to the—OK, fine, or just Jake it. You made a 5.10 into a 5.12, but what do I care?” *Try mak­ing up your own terms for your friends’ tech­nique fail­ings. It’s fun!


(v.) To climb on the now-ubiq­ui­tous MoonBoard climb­ing wall.

“Jan­ice doesn’t even climb any­more. She spends all her time Moon­ing, talk­ing about Moon­ing, and check­ing the app for new Daniel Woods prob­lems she can’t climb.


(v.) The act of grab­bing a hold and pulling re­ally hard, re­cruit­ing all of your mus­cles. Some­times this is the only way for­ward.

“You can keep look­ing for a se­cret foothold, but there’s noth­ing there. You just gotta bear down on that crimp and mus­cle-fuck it.

Pad­dle Dyno

(n.) The hand ver­sion of a grind. A dyno so large and ex­plo­sive that you need to “pad­dle” on in­ter­me­di­ate holds like slop­ers, blobs, etc. en

route to the tar­get grip to main­tain mo­men­tum. Aka a “sec­ond-gen­er­a­tion dyno.”

“When you see two gi­ant vol­umes eight feet apart with a cou­ple miserly slop­ers be­tween them and no other vis­i­ble means of as­cent, it’s prob­a­bly some twisted set­ter’s new pad­dle dyno.”

Para­noia Pro

(n.) The un­nec­es­sary ex­tra safety pre­cau­tions used by some­one who’s not yet com­fort­able re­ly­ing on proven meth­ods and tech­niques.

“Did you see all the para­noia pro that guy used? He had five quick­draws in his toprope an­chor, and his be­lay loop was backed up with an auto-locker through his tie-in points.”


(n.) A climber who re­fuses, de­spite years of ex­pe­ri­ence, to do away with patently gumby-like be­hav­ior such as the daisy- chain thong, rap­pelling from low­er­ing an­chors, car­ry­ing a ton of un­nec­es­sary shit on his har­ness, be­lay­ing on sport climbs with a trad- style de­vice, and so on. At present, there is no known cure. “In the deep-blue gloam­ing, the per­magumby donned his hel­met, har­ness, rock shoes, back­pack, and head­lamp to make his way from the gym park­ing lot into the foyer. You never could be too care­ful on a predawn start, he mused.”


(n.) To re­deem your­self by red­point­ing a route after an em­bar­rass­ingly bad at­tempt. For full ef­fect, grab the chains with one hand, raise your other fist up into the sky, and scream, “SENDGEANCE!”

“You may have brushed me off in a leg-be­hind-the-rope, up­side-down whip­per to­day, Kiddo Crack, but to­mor­row I will re­turn and I will have sendgeance!”


(v.) A rope-stretch whip­per, oc­cur­ring when a route is long enough that fall­ing at a bolt re­sults in what feels like freefall due to stretch.

“I clipped the twelfth bolt, went to sit on the rope, and took a 15-foot scream­ing strip­per. I thought my part­ner had dropped the rope.”


(n.) The Time To Soli­tude for a given area, i. e., the length you must hike to find an empty crag. More- crowded ar­eas will gen­er­ally have a longer TTS, though this will di­min­ish if the ap­proach is steep or loose and/or in­volves bush­whack­ing.

“Damn, Morn­ing Glory Wall is crowded to­day. What’s the TTS?” “30 min­utes.” “Let’s just stay here.”


(n.) A splin­gus, min­gus, and ut­terly jin­gus min­gos­ity you must hold onto in an un­der­cling po­si­tion in or­der to reach the next hold.

“Spling the fling, ming—as in, the un­der­fling jing.”



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