Thursday, November 1, 2012

Rock Cricket's Climbing Dictionary

I have been told by a number of readers that it is difficult to understand what we are talking about unless you are a climber.  Most notable was an email that I received from a friend about the matter..

"By the way, putting a glossary of terms on the Rock Cricket website would be helpful, since I have no idea what you are talking about (sending?). But it looks really dangerous!"

Although the majority of our audience is climbers (and probably only five of us), I thought that such a list of terms might be in order.  I decided to title it "Rock Cricket's Climbing Dictionary" due to the fact that our particular regional dirtbag dialect may vary in forms from others (i.e. we make shit up).  Though, many of the words are common among the climbing community.  You may have to refer to other words in the list for definitions of others.  I'm not Merriam or Webster, nor did I attend Oxford, so don't hold me to the same standards.  Here we go..


Beta - Information about a climb.  This can range from knowing which holds to grab, to learning a particular sequence of moves that are crucial to sending a problem.  Beta on any problem can differ from one person to another, though many problems have specific beta that works where other beta won't.  (Ex. Alex was trying some of his crazy beta on this problem we found.)

Choss - Crumbing, flaky, loose, (basically shitty) rock.  Also used as a description for anything that's sub par or not to your liking, synonymous with "shitty".  (Ex. Hey Kyle, those sandwiches your Mom made us were some real piles of choss) (Just kidding Kyle's Mom)

Crash Pad - A mat used to protect a climber from hitting the ground, rocks, roots, etc.

Crimp - A small edge used as a handhold to move up the rock.

Dab - For any part of or body (or clothing) to touch anything other than the rock you are trying to climb.  (Ex. I was on the most classic V1 at the Res.  It was called Ginsu, I think Ryan put it up..anyway, I couldn't stop stump dabbing!)

Dirtbag - An endearing (or not) term for a climbing bum.  Someone who lives on the cheap in order to pursue the climbing lifestyle.  A climbing wook.  (Ex. I was down in the Red River Gorge and I saw this dirtbag pawing black beans out of a can he found in the garbage.)

Downgrade - To think a problem is easier than what it is graded and then hold it to your own opinion. 

Dropping Trow - To drop your pants and underwear to your ankles and go to the bathroom.  The only respectable way to urinate (male or female) while climbing outside (some may also consider the method while at a gym).  (Ex. I went to go take a leak near the Erkanan Boulder and forgot to drop trow.  People started yelling at me and throwing sticks.)

First Ascent - To be the first to climb a particular problem or route up some rock.  AKA "FA"

First Cigarette Ascent - To be the first to climb a particular problem or route up some rock whilst smoking a grit.  AKA "FCA"

Flash - To send a problem first try, with beta.

Gaston - A sideways facing hold you pull away from your body.

Highball - A Boulder problem that is tall enough to scare you.

Jug - A large, incut hold, that you can hold as if holding a handle.  Some people tend to overplay the word, as in the case when I read a problem description in the Gunks starting on "tiny jugs", which were no more than small incut crimps.  (Ex. I was able to drop trow, do my business, and pull my pants back up all hanging from the finishing jug on Trainspotting.)

Mantle - To press off the top of a boulder, palms down, in order to get over the lip.

Onsight - To send a problem first try, without beta.

Problem - A certain route you follow up a boulder.  The path of least resistance up given holds on a certain part of the rock.  If not contrived, this route is independent from other lines.

Project - A problem in which you dedicate time to, usually having to visit it many times, putting in many days of work.

Sandbag - To give a grade to a problem lower than the consensus, usually a habitual infliction, usually done knowingly.  (Ex. That dude's a serial sandbagger.  I saw him come up to these girls and say Guardrail was easy V3..dab!)

Scour - To search for new rock.  Usually involving bushwhacking through all sorts of horrid shit.  (Ex.  Don't even bother, these hills have all been scoured!)

Send - To ascend a boulder problem without dabbing or falling off.

Swisch - Any form of alcohol.  Can also be used as a synonym of "drunk".  (Ex. My tips are shredded, let's just go into town and get swisched.)

Tick Marks - A mark you make to point out holds that may be hard to see for various reasons.  They are fine to use if you don't get out of control and mark excessively.  It is also good form to scrub them off afterwards.  (Ex. Did you see those ticks Dawson left on Stumpy?  Looks like he made love to the thing.)

V Grades - The system in which we describe difficulty to a problem.  The system originated with bouldering legend John "Vermin" Sherman.  It is open ended and starts at V0 (currently stretching to V16).  There are many factors that contribute to a climbs grade (length, steepness, holds, etc.), but in the end grades are all subjective and usually follow a certain consensus.


Well that's it, hope it helps.  If you have any other words to add feel free to drop them in the comments box.

Scour on my dabbing, swish bucket, downgrading, dirtbag brethren.


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