HACE High Altitude Cerebral Edema. Liquid in the brain as a result of high altitude exposure. Few people live to tell what it is like
Half rope A rope of 9 or 8.5 mm that has to be used together with a second rope when leading a climb.
Handjam Slightly masochistic technique where the hand is wedged into a crack.
Handle Big banana-shaped hold often found in indoor gyms. Great for waving hello to admiring bystanders. It may sound bizarre, but I've never seen one of those outdoors...
HAPE High Altitude Pulmonary Edema. Liquid in the lungs as a result of high altitude exposure. Pretty serious condition that can quickly lead to HACE if a descent to lower altitudes is not made immediately. See also HACE.
Hardman / hardwoman A climber with seemingly superhero strength who has survived epics of grandiose proportions.
Harness Piece of clothing that identifies you as a climber. The coolness factor can be significantly enhanced by hanging things from the harness that go cling.
Haul bag Large and robust bag used to haul food, water, climbing gear, sleeping bag, television, satelite dish, and other essential equipment that is required, up a big wall. Also know as "the pig".
Headwall Where the face of a mountain steepens dramatically.
"Help" The vocal alternative to 6 signals a minute. In far away countries, try S.O.S. -- it doesn't mean anything but is understood by most.
Helmet Solid plastic device that can sometimes protect the head from falling stones or impact (Aka a brainbucket).
Herbish The opposite of grodle. Not all that awesome.
Hex Short for Hexentrix. A type of nut with an excentric hexadiagonal shape. Works for wedging (as a nut) but also for camming.
Hueco A beautifully shaped pocket with a positive lip named after these incredible features found at the Hueco Tanks bouldering area in Texas.
HMS Karibiner with one wide side used for belaying with a munter hitch (aka pearabiner). From the German term for munter hitch belay: 'Halbmastwurfsicherung'.
Hold Anything that can be held on to.
Horn Spike of rock that can be for a great hold or not so great protection. The same as a chickenhead.
Hurtin unitThat member of the climbing team that is suffering from severe exposure to alcoholic beverages the night before.
Ice axe Device used for ice climbing, glacier crossing, or scaring away burglars.
Ice screw A protection device for ice climbing. Looks like a large bolt that can be screwed in hard ice.
Italian hitch Munter hitch knot or HMS knot
JamWedging body parts in a crack.
Jingus Gnarly, sharp, hard, or radical. Often used as an expletive.
Jug Very large hold (short for jug handle) (Aka "bucket" in the US).
Jugs Big wall lingo for Jumars or any other type of ascenders.
JugTo jumar up a line (big wall lingo).
Jumar A type of rope ascending device.
Jumar ascend a rope using ascenders.
Karabiner Metal connecting device, sometimes spelled with a 'c' in the US. This most essential climbing device is also known as a "biner" in the US and as "crab" or "krab" (mostly) in the UK.
Kernmantle rope Modern climbing rope consisting of bundles of continuous nylon filaments (Kern) surrounded by a braided protective sheath (Mantle).
kN Kilonewton. An abbreviation usually found on karabiners and other climbing gear. For those of you who are not engineers, one kilonewton is about 100 kg or about 220 lbs. (And for those of you who are, don't bother lecturing me).
Knotted cord Piece of cord with a knot tied into the end that is used for protection (pretty much like a nut). The traditional method of protecting climbs, and still used in the Elbsandsteingebirge in Eastern Germany. Krab Short for Karabiner.
Largo start A climb or bouldering problem where the first move starts with a jump for high holds. Named after John Long (or 'Largo').
Layback/Lieback Somewhat clumsy looking climbing technique where hands and feet work in opposition.
Leader Person who leads a climb.
LeadTo ascend a climb from the bottom up, placing protection (or clipping protection) as you go.
Ledge Flat bit on a rock (can be miniature or gigantic).
Limestone Type of rock found in abundance in southern France (usually white and full of pockets and holds).
Locking biner Karabiner that can be locked (in the UK, a screwgate or twistlock).
Lock-off To hold on to the rock with one bent arm while using the other arm to reach up for the next hold or to place or clip protection. Lockoffs on small holds will get you pumped in a hurry.
Lowering To descend something or somebody.
Manky Term used to describe a fixed bolt that looks like it was placed before the last ice age. Use these bolts at your own discretion
Mantle Difficult balancing move useful to get up on ledges.
Mixed climbing Climbing with a combination of different methods of ascent. e.g mixed free and aid climbing, mixed rock and ice climbing, etc.
Moat The gap between snow and ice on a rock wall. Has posed problems ever since the middle ages.
Mountain rescue The people who put their life on the line when you screw up badly.
Munge The dirt and vegetation that can sometimes be found in cracks. In the UK: Choss.
Multi pitch climb Climb that consists of more than a single pitch.
Munter hitch Knot used for belaying (Aka italian hitch or friction hitch). The Germans love this knot (see HMS).
Nailing An ancient term used to describe direct-aid climbing with pitons.
Needle Rock with a characteristic pointed shape. Also known as pinnacle, aiguille, gendarme, etc.
N??Consolidated granular snow formed by repeated freeze-and-thaw cycles. Also used to indicate permanent snowfields.
Notch A small col
Nut Metal wedge used for protection in cracks.
Nut key The piece of metal that Americans call a nut tool.
Nut tool Piece of metal that can be used to remove stuck nuts or cams. In the UK: nut
"Off Belay" Yelled when the climber no longer requires a belay (e.g. because she/he has reached a stance). Once the belayer hears "off belay", he/she removes the rope from the belay device and yells "belay off". In UK, Australia and New Zealand: "Safe".
Off width A climb too wide to jam, too small to chimney. And then I've heard of people who actually like this kind of climbing.
"On Belay ???" Query to verify if the belayer is ready to secure the climber (US only).
On-sight flash Leading a climb with no falls and no dogging and without any prior attempts, watching someone do it or beta on how to do the moves.
Open book Same as a dihedral or inside corner. Two panes of rock join in an acute or obtuse corner that faces left or right.
Outside corner Also known as pillar or arete.
Over-camCompressing a cam to its absolute minimum size during placement, effectively eliminating the possibility of extraction.
Overhand knot A simple (but solid) knot in a double rope.
Overhand loop The simplest type of knot possible.
Overhang Rock (or ice) that is "more than vertical".
Over-kilned A boiler plate or flaky rock
Pass The lowest passage between two mountains. The french - but not just the french - know this as a col. The mathematicians would call this the saddle point.
Party ledge A somewhat larger ledge used to rest (and party !) during a particularly hard or long climb. Sometimes used to refer to the belay station on a multipitch climb.
Pendulum A swing on the rope, either intentional to gain a distant anchor on big wall climbs or unintentional when falling during a traverse with not enough pro in place.
Pig The haul bag using for big wall climbing.
Pillar Outside corner
PimpTo do a short semi-dynamic stab. It's not quite a dynamic move, but it's also not quite static. It's the happy median.
Pink point To red-point a climb where the pro and runners have been pre-placed.
Pitch A section of climb between two belays and no longer than the length of one rope (this used to mean 45m, nowadays pitches can also be 50 or even 60m long -- check your topo).
Piton Metal spike hammered into a crack (has come in disuse for all but some special applications) (Aka "peg" in the UK).
Pocket A hold formed by a (small) depression in the rock.
Portaledge A hanging tent with built in bed used on big walls (and big trees).
Pro, Protection Anchors placed during the climb to protect the leader. Beware: even properly placed pro does not prevent pregnancy or the transmission of STDs.
Prusik The sliding knot or the method to ascend a rope (named after its inventer Dr. Karl Prusik).
Pumped The feeling of overworked muscles. Most climbers are familiar with the forearm pump: too much finger work causes the forearms to swell and the strength to disappear. With a serious forearm pump, even holding a glass of beer can become a serious challenge.
Pumpy Describes a climb that will leave you pumped.
Quickdraw, quick Short sling with karabiners on either side.
Rack The climbing gear carried during an ascent.
Rack,To sort the rack before engaging on the next climb or pitch.
Rad Not trad. Slang for sport climbing.
RallyTo climb exceptionally well, especially on normally difficult climbs.
Ramp An ascending ledge
RappelAlso: to rap. Descending by sliding down a rope. Known in Britain (and Germany) as abseiling.
Rappeler Individual who enjoys sliding down ropes instead of climbing up rocks. The second-lowest form of life on earth (second only to the touron)
Rating A number denoting the technical difficulty of the climb. See here for more on ratings and grades.
R.D.S. Rapid Deceleration Syndrome. Military term for the very sudden illness that happens at the end of a long fall.
Redpoint To lead a climb without falling or dogging after a number of attempts. This is different from onsight, where the climb is lead without falling or dogging on its first attempt.
Resin An alternative to chalk. Resin (or "pine tree resin" to use its full name) is made from the yucky stuff that sticks to your hands when you touch a pine tree. Because resin is mostly colorless, it is preferred to chalk in some areas. But caution: Don't let the color fool you. Resin can do permanent damage to the rock and in fact is not allowed anywhere in the US for that reason
Resident protection Fixed pro.
Rib A slender buttress. Something between a buttress and an outside corner.
The high divide extending out from a peak.
Ring A large (2 inch diameter) ring that is cemented in the rock as a bolt. Rings are very common in Germany and France and are excellent for rappelling and hanging belays
"Rock" Scream let out to warn people down below that a piece of rock has been overcome by gravity. The loudness, number of repetitions, and/or panic in voice with which this word is uttered is often an indication of the seriousness of the rock. In the UK, you're more likely to hear "Below", beware!
Roof Seriously overhanging part in a climb (more or less horizontal). Rope Long and round nylon fabrication. Climbing ropes are generally between 10 and 11 mm in diameter (with the exception of "half ropes" which are between 8.5 and 9mm in diameter).
"Rope" Should be yelled when a rope is about to be thrown to the base of the crag (though most of the time it seems like "rope" is shouted about 1-2 seconds after the rope is thrown). In the UK, shout "Rope below".
Route A certain path up a rock or mountain.
Runner A loop of tape or webbing either sewn or tied (Aka sling, especially in the UK). In the UK, a 'runner' is a running belay
Runner A runner threaded or looped around chockstones, flakes, horns or chickenheads for protection.
Runout Distance between two elements of pro. A route is "runout" when the distance between those two elements of pro becomes uncomfortably long.