terminology

If you’ve just started climbing and want to get to grips with the basic terminology or if you’re heading to the French Alps and want to know how to ask for slack, you may find this list helpful. On the other hand, if you’re an experienced climber and want to improve of add a new climbing term to the list, go ahead and drop as a mail.

ImageEnglishSpanishFrenchDefinition
comunicación de escalada"Off Belay""Estoy seguro""Vaché! / Relai!"Climber --> Belayer. The climber is in a safe position (tied on with the lifeline). The belayer can rest.
onsight climbOnsight / Beta FlashA vistaÀ vueClean ascent of a route without having previously practiced it or received any other type of information about it (watch someone else climb it, advice from other climbers etc).
comunicación de escalada"Watch me!""Al loro! / Voy""Attention! / Fais gaffe!"Climber --> Belayer. Warning that the climber is about to try a difficult and / or potentially dangerous move.
alpinismoAlpine ClimbingAlpinismoAlpinismeForm of climbing which consists in the ascent of high mountains in a self-sufficient manner.
sandstone rockSandstoneAreniscaGrèsSedimentary rock consisting of sand or quartz grains cemented together, typically red, yellow, or brown in colour. Two well-known sandstone crags in Madrid are El Vellón and the Cañon de Uceda.
aristaAreteAristaArêteThe vertical corner of a wall. If you imagine a book standing open on a table, the angle on the outside of the book would be the arete and the angle on the inside a dihedral.
paraboltSpits / ParaboltsSpits / Parabolts Goujon / spitsDifferent anchors fixed to the wall on sports routes which are used to hang quickdraws in order to secure the climbers ascent.
varios largosMulti-pitch climbAscension de varios largosGrande voieSuccession of vertical routes where the beginning of one route is the end of the previous one. The second climber is belayed by the first from the belay station above. La Pedriza and La Cabrera have some excellent multi-pitch climbs.
asegurar con gri griTo belayAsegurarAssurerTo protect the climber from a fall by means of a belaying device such as an 8, Gri-gri or other belay device.
bulderBoulderingBúlderBlocA form of climbing on large boulders without ropes or harnesses. Routes are usually relatively short and a crash pad or bouldering matt is used to cushion a potential fall.
roca calizaLimestoneCaliza CalcaireSedimentary rock composed mainly of calcium carbonate. Climbing on limestone is characterised by vertical or overhanging routes with solid rock and features like jugs, holes and tufas. The best-known limestone crag in Madrid is Patones.
agarre cazoJugCazoBacVery large hold.
cinta expresQuickdrawCinta ExpréssDégainePiece of climbing equipment formed by two carabiners connected by a sewn loop of webbing. On a lead climb, the climber clips one of the carabiners to an anchor and passes the rope through the other to secure their ascent.
crashpadCrashpadColchonetaCrashpadThick mattress used to cushion the landing in case of a fall. Mostly used for bouldering.
cuerda de escaladaRopeCuerdaCordeClimbing equipment used to connect climber and belayer.
comunicación de escalada"Rope!""Cuerda!""Corde !"Warning to the people at the base of a sports route that they are about to pull the rope.
comunicación de escalada"give / slack!""Dame cuerda!""Mou! / Donner du mou"Climber --> Belayer. To ask for extra slack in the rope, usually when clipping a quickdraw.
desescalarDownclimbDesescalar / DestreparDésescaladerTo climb downwards either to reach the beginning of a route, to search for a more comfortable position to rest before attempting a hard move or for training purposes.
desplomeOverhangDesplomeDéversSection of a route with a greater than vertical inclination.
diedroDihedralDiedroDièdreThe angle formed by two plane rockfaces. If you imagine a book standing open on a table, the angle on the outside of the book would be the arete and the angle on the inside a dihedral.
dinamicoDynoDinamicoDynamique/jetéA move in which the climber uses his entire body to leap to a hold which would otherwise be unreachable.
dispositivo de frenobelay DeviceDispositivo de frenoSysteme d'assurageThe device is either connected to the belayer's harness or the belay station. The friction caused as the rope passes through it allows the belayer to catch a fall and safely lower the climber after an ascent.
ChocksEmpotradoresCoinceursCollection of climbing gear that is placed into cracks and features on the wall to protect a fall. Different types include nuts, stoppers, friends, camalots and any type of gear that can act as an anchor.
escalada deportivaSport ClimbingEscalada deportivaEscalade sportive / faire des couennesType of climbing that uses pre-placed anchors (parabolts) to secure the ascent. The level of risk is signifcantly lower in sports climbs when compared with trad climbing or alpine climbing.
escalada solo integralFree soloSolo integralSolo intégralClimbing without ropes, harness or any other safety equipment. This is the highest risk form of climbing; unlike sport climbing, falling is not an option.
escalada clásicaTraditional Climbing (Trad)Escalada ClásicaTerrain d'aventureType of climbing which uses the placement of non-fixed equipment (nuts, friends, knots etc.) placed in cracks and holes in the rock to secure the ascent. The second climber recovers the equipment.
escalada en adherenciaSlab ClimbingAdherenciaAdherenceType of climbing on flat slabs with few or no hand holds. Requires good balance, friction and a lot of patience. La Pedriza in Madrid is a mecca for slab climbing.
First AscentFirst AscentFirst AscentUne premièreThe first successful ascent of a route.
fisurerosNutsFisurerosCoinceursA metal wedge connected to a looped wire which is jammed into cracks in the rock and acts as an anchor to protect the climber in case of a fall.
flashFlashFlashFlashClean ascent of a route on first attempt after having received some kind of tips or information about the route or having seen another climber attempt it.
friend empotradorFriendFriendFriendPiece of trad kit that is placed into cracks where the placement of nuts would be difficult or ineffective. Once placed and tested, a quickdraw is clipped to the friend and the rope passed the quickdraw. Unlike nuts, friends are expandable by levers which allows them to adjust to different sized cracks.
detalle granitoGraniteGranitoGraniteA plutonic rock consisting of quartz, feldspar and mica which is produced when magma solidifies slowly at very high pressure. Granite climbing crags in Madrid include La Pedriza, La Cabrera and El Pantano de San Juan.
grietaCrack / FissureGrietaFissureLong, thin separation in the rock which can be used to place anchors (friends, nuts) or parts of the body to aid an ascent.
HangdogHangdogHangdogSe reposerHanging from the rope to rest while attempting a lead climb.
invertidoUnderclingInvertidoInverséeAn inverted hold which becomes good when pulling up instead of down.
escalar de primeroLead climbingIr de primeroGrimper en têteAscending a route from the ground and passing the rope through the quickdraws as you ascend. The alternative is to top-rope of second a climb with the rope securing you from above.
escalar de segundoTop-rope climbingIr de segundo / Ir en poleaMoulinetteClimbing a route when secured by a rope from above. In this way, there is no risk of injury from a fall as long as the belayer remains alert.
comunicación de escalada"On Belay""Listo / te tengo""Prêt"Belayer --> Climber. The climber is secured with the rope and can start climbing when ready.
magnesio para escalarChalkMagnesioMagnesiePowdered chalk used on hands to improve grip on the rock.
agarre romoSloperRomoAplatRelatively flat, downward sloping hold.
pies de gatoClimbing ShoesPies de GatoChaussons d'escaladeLight, flexible and high-grip footwear used for rock-climbing.
comunicación de escalada"Take""Pilla! / Recoge cuerda""Prends moi / sec"Climber --> Belayer. Request to tense the rope between climber and belayer.
pinchPinchPinzaPinceType of hold which uses the thumb on one side and one or various fingers on the other to pinch.
escalar placaSlabPlacaDalleWall or part of a wall that is relatively flat and without features to hold on to where hand and foot friction is used to ascend.
psicoblocDeep-water soloingPsicoblocDeep-water soloingType of climbing practiced on sea cliffs which are sufficiently overhanging to avoid contact with the rock in case of a fall.
rapelTo AbseilRapelarRappelerTo descend a rope using a belay device.
red pointRedpointredpointEnchaînerA clean ascent of a sports route without falling or resting on the rope, after a number of previous attempts.
regletaCrimpRegletaRegletteVery small hold big enough for the tips of your fingers.
escalar en traversiaTraverseTravesíaTraverséeClimbing horizontally either for training or during an ascent.
HarnessArnésBaudrierItem of climbing equipment worn around the waist and used to secure the climber to a rope or anchor point.
mosquetónCarabinerMosquetónMousquetonA link with a safety closure used to join the rope to the anchor points.
ReuniónBelay StationReuniónRelaisCollection of items in the security system which a climber uses to secure themselves at the end of a pitch by means of ropes, slings and anchors. In single pitch routes, the climber will use the belay station to descend. In multi-pitch routes, the belay station it is the point at which climbers regroup after each pitch.