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KOTR is looking for a new owner. Are you a developer, a climber and have plans to stay in Korea for a while? If so, email me at [email protected]
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Unread 12-06-2005, 08:42 PM
skinsk's Avatar
skinsk skinsk is offline
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Jochiwon (Sejong City)
Posts: 2,552
Climbing 101

I've an idea!! How about a thread of "climbing terms" as a service for folks just learning to climb here in Korea?! I'll start us off. Everyone can add to and ask. . .

Basically, climbing is divided into a few disciplines:


Traditional climbing (Trad) is following natural lines on the rock, placing protection in the form of removable gear (from the passive nuts, chocks and hexes -- metal "blocks" one lodges in cracks-- to the dyamic cams and friends-- trigger-rigged camming devices) that the leader places and the second removes. This is considered the ultimate in pure climbing as it leaes the rock in it's natural, or "pure" state.

Sport climbing allows the climber to carry minimal gear and climb faces where there are no/minimal cracks, chicken heads to tie off, or features that allow for natural protection. Bolts are placed in the rock vis drilling (no, there are no "bolt guns" a la Cliffhanger) Way back, er in the 70s and 80s, some folks believed you had to place bolts on lead-- which led to serious runnout-- giant spaces between bolts-- because the leader had to find a secure stance to drill from. Most routes these days are rap-bolted, or bolted while rapelling down the route.

When people speak of rock-climbing, they are generally referring to these basic types of climbing. Free-soloing is the correct term for climbing without a rope or any protection. Free climbing simply means trad or sport climbing, bottom to top, without hanging on the route and leading, placing pro(tection) or clipping the bolts (through quick draws-- 2 carabiners, the "0" or "D" shaped metal clips sold at climbing stores, with a sewn webbing sling about 6" long-- which are clipped to the bolt on one end and the rope tied to the climber's harness on the other). Soloing is trad or sport climbing with a special devise allowing one to belay her or himself.

Aid climbing involves weighting pre-placed protection (i.e. bolts or pitons, chocks, cams etc that are permanently lodged in the rock). Some aid routes are "bolt ladders" where the climber reaches from bolt to bolt. Aiders are sewn webbing "steps" that the climber clips to the bolts and literally walks up, instead of footholds. (If this sounds too easy, go to Jeok Byeok in Soraksan or Utah or El Cap in Yosemite in the USA!) Often aid climbing involves rock climbing, hense the dual grades 5.10 A1. . .

Top roping (seconding if you are removing the gear from the leader) is climbing after the rope is running through an anchor at the top. This is basically how everyone starts climbing, and is often done for climbs beyond one's leading ability. Theoretically, the rope is not weighted, just the slack is taken up as the climber ascends so that if the climber falls, s/he merely weights the rope and potential for injury is reduced (though this varies depending on slope, direction, distance from anchors, belayer skill ajnd alertness!)

Ice climbing involves climbing frozen water (ice!) using crampons (aka <foot> fangs)-- spikey metal thingies that attach to yer boots, and ice-axes (aka "picks" esp in "chicks with picks") that you hook on "ice holds" to pull yourself up a frozen waterfall or the like. Screws are placed for protection, but they DO NOT HOLD many falls, unlike rock protection, but will often hold the belayer. Thus, leading ice, one should be relatively sure of one's comfort zone!

Mixed climbing is ice climbing with rock areas. Dry hooking is using ice gear to climb rock (by hooking holds with one's ax)

Mountaineering is generally getting to the summit of a mountain, generally requiring hiking, glacier travel (aka "slogging" through steep snow with crampons and a longer 'cane like' ice axe). . . technical mountaineering involves some rock or ice climbing moves and gear.

Redpointing refers to rock climbing-- sport or trad-- leading from top to bottom without falling or resting while hanging or weighting the rope. Generally, when referring to one's hardest climb, or general ability, one refers to what one has redpointed or generally redpoints after working, or trying, a route several times.

Onsighting is redpointing a climb without scoping it or any other information about the route (including beta, or a route description, from another climber or guidebook).

Pinkpointing is a kinda old-fashioned term referring to "redpointing" a route with preplaced draws. . . most people refer to it all as "redpointing" these days. Unless you're spraying, bragging of your exploits, say, to a magazine, there's little distinction these days.

Bouldering, or climbing "low" to the ground, almost always "uprotected" (as in no rope), has it's own vocabulary. Traversing (also found on climbing routes, though less commonly) is moving sideways. A highball is a problem that ascends pretty high and is best protected by a spotter-- a good friends who can, and WILL, catch you, or at least prevent you from injuring yourself, or a crash pad, 3-6" of foam about 4-6'X8-10' that can be folded in half and carried to the problem (boulderer talk for route) to save an ankle or tailbone.

Multi-pitch climbing involves climbing to an anchor (the end of any given climb) and moving onward (instead of lowering or rappelling back down). The leader stays at the anchor and belays the second up. The second either leads from the anchor (and the previous leader continues to belay, then seconds. . . i.e. swinging or swapping leads) or s/he clips into the anchor, returns any gear s/he cleaned, and the leader starts up the next pitch. Thus, one pitch is limited by the length of the rope. Generally, each pitch is determined by 1) where there is a good ledge or easy place to belay from, and 2)the flow of the rope to create less drag (pull felt from the rope changing direction, running over lips or through a crack, etc. . .)

OK, my fingers are tired so I pass. . .
"If you can't do something well, you might as well learn to enjoy doing it poorly." -- from a de-motivational poster, but I find it oddly liberating!
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Unread 12-07-2005, 09:30 PM
curious_j's Avatar
curious_j curious_j is offline
This Guy That's Me
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: No Longer In Korea
Posts: 45
To redpoint, pinkpoint, and onsight, I'll add:

Flash: Usually used in bouldering. Generally means to climb a boulder first try without beta. However, regarding beta 8a.nu says "you can actually use a coach, while you are climbing. Prior to your climb, you can prepare as much as possible including looking at other climbers. The only thing you can't do is to rapell down or studying [sic] holds from a route." (www.8a.nu/eng/articles/onsight.shtml)

But that definition is getting pretty technical. Since this thread is for beginners, when you hear someone say that Eric flashed another V12, you can know that he turned off his computer long enough to send the impossible on his first attempt.

Send: To finish a route/problem/project/boulder. To top out. Most commonly used for bouldering and sport climbing rather than trad.

Balance: For the new climber and the old pro, balance means at least two things.
1. A state of equilibrium or parity characterized by cancellation of all forces by equal opposing forces. (www.answers.com) Strength is not enough; you will need to develop balance. Learn the way of Yoda you will.

2. Life is more than climbing. Believe me, I know because people tell me all the time. Life is also about training for climbing, recovering from climbing injuries, reading climbing mags and books and websites, and practicing levitation. You'll have to balance climbing with resting, destroying skin with growing skin, your left foot with your right crimp, time climbing with time belaying, the purchase of gear with the purchase of food. Everything is balance.

Life is also about leaving a legacy. Which is exactly why I'm defining balance. This is my legacy. You're welcome. What will your legacy be? Chris Sharma gives half of his winnings each year to kids who can't afford to climb. The American Alpine Club just sent 6 tons of winter gear and clothing to homeless people in Pakistan. Some climbers support the HERA Ovarian Cancer Climb for Life. If it is climbing you desire, it is balance you need.
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Unread 12-07-2005, 10:58 PM
skinsk's Avatar
skinsk skinsk is offline
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Jochiwon (Sejong City)
Posts: 2,552
And to send or flash, you must be leading (unless bouldering, duh).

The 8a in cj's link refers to the French grading system, used in France and Thailand, among other places. . . 8a is 5.13. . . in Korea, the US, and elsewhere that uses the Yosemite Decimal System (5.8, 5.9, 5.10a. . .) the letters don't start until 5.10. 5.9 often gets a +/- to denote "hard" and "soft" grades.

Balance is precarious. . . this includes not only varying from sport to trad to aid to ice to mountaineering (and yes, one should go to the mountains now and then, for perspective, to learn about friendships, good judgement, enough and excess, cold and hunger. . . cool populations also tend to live in the mountains). Sport climbing is convenient and fashionable and a quick way to raise your numbers and hang out with beautiful people around the world. Don't forget it's about the community, and not just the climbing (or even climbers, though it's definitely possible to "live" completely within a community of climbers). cj has some great points that remind us, it's so easy to get obsessed and lost in this sport that is so much more than a sport, and there are so many good reasons to justify it! Good balance will help you on many routes, and it's essential to a good life. You don't have to go to political and social extremes to include it in your day!
"If you can't do something well, you might as well learn to enjoy doing it poorly." -- from a de-motivational poster, but I find it oddly liberating!
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Unread 12-08-2005, 12:04 AM
curious_j's Avatar
curious_j curious_j is offline
This Guy That's Me
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: No Longer In Korea
Posts: 45
Well said. And yet a few political, social, and climbing extremes sure add to the mix! Long live the mountain community. Okay, a couple more vital terms for all beginners:

Oneness: 1. The existential reality of a weekend without a belayer/spotter. 2. See Transcendence.

Transcendence: The supreme experience of losing oneself in the moment, of becoming one with the rock and the universe with or without the use of weed.

Hemp: 1. Plant of choice for making early climbing ropes when the motto was “Never fall.” 2. Plant of choice for transcendence.

“Just Say No to Drugs”: Slogan of choice for Nancy Reagan and Curious J. And that includes performance enhancing drugs. You never know when you’ll end up in the Tour de France or Olympics and wish you had a clean urine sample. Our bodies are gifts, temples. Oh, Beginner, rely not on steroids or EPO to bag your first 5.9. Transcend. Transcend.

“To Send, Transcend”: New cheesy mantra I spent hours developing for your hardcore mega-project mental preparation. This will get you through hours of campus training and one-finger, one-arm pull-ups. How else do you plan to get sponsors and an X-Games championship? Climbing is about being the best, or it’s nothing. Or balance. Whatever…

Spray: 1. What Michael Reardon used in the 80’s to add body to his glam metal hair. 2. What Michael Reardon did in Peter Mortimer’s “Return2Sender” after putting to rest rumors that he couldn’t free solo with the big boys. Come on, no one believed him until then, not even you. Who can climb two vertical miles of hard rock in less than 19 hours sans rope?

Here’s a brief way to look at the forms of climbing:
Free Soloing is climbing sport & trad routes without a rope for safety. A progression of ropeless climbing by size of rock would be bouldering, high-balling, free soloing. Free Climbing is climbing with hands and feet without the help of the rope. The rope is just there in case of a fall (category is further split into Sport & Trad climbing). Aid Climbing utilizes the rope and other gear as a means of climbing. It is for more than just safety; it’s an integral part of reaching the top. Check it out… no jokes in this definition. Free soloing is not a joke.
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Unread 01-16-2006, 01:28 AM
curious_j's Avatar
curious_j curious_j is offline
This Guy That's Me
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: No Longer In Korea
Posts: 45
Foot Work

New climbers, myself included, tend to think of climbing as a hand or arm sport. But your feeties are a smart place to focus. "Look at your feet! Look at your feet!" could be heard bouncing off the rock walls as some Korean friends taught me the way of the rock.

Why your feet? Because your legs are much stronger than your arms. When you walk up a ladder, you don't drag yourself up with your arms; you let your legs do the work while the arms provide balance. The cliff is a steep ladder. The steeper the rock, the more your arms will be involved, but also the more important feet become. Your arms just aren't strong enough (I mean, unless your biceps are bigger than your thighs by some genetic freakness.).

Some simple generalizations:

1. The inside of your foot will stabilize you more than the outside.

2. The most stable part of your foot is the ball (the bulge just behind your big toe).

3. Smearing the front of your toes, rather than edging, is also quite stable.

Some simple foot work (quoted from answers.com):

1. Smearing: "Using the sole of a shoe against a flat rock face." Press the front of your shoe just above your friction point and roll (weight) your foot down onto the hold or protrusion.

2. Edging: "Using the sides of shoes on edges of rock."

3. Hooking: "Grabbing rock with the heal or toe (usually to stabilize body position)."

Smearing and edging will be your bread and butter when starting. Save heal hooks and toe hooks for later.
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Unread 05-14-2006, 04:22 PM
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mp31bravo mp31bravo is offline
Damn, that hurts!
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Northern Virginia
Posts: 52
well said
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Unread 05-17-2006, 08:54 AM
punchy's Avatar
punchy punchy is offline
stone samurai
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: sokcho, gangwan-do
Posts: 73
no one's even mentioned the colourful words we use to describe all the various holds one encounters on route. let me see...

crimper: a small edged hold, often only a dime sized edge on which only the tips of your fingers can pull. with crimpers, you have two options, an open crimp from which your tips are pulling on the hold while your palm is open, or a closed crimp on which your thumb presses on your pointer and you knuckles are bent in an attempt to form a fist. although the closed crimp has more pulling power, it can be a recipe for tendon or pulley injury. crimpy sequences are often referred to as "thin".

sloper: a rounded hold, often with no discernable edge that must be held purely by skin to rock contact. your ability to "stick" (hold) a sloper is proportional to the area of your hand that's squeezing and the amount of chalk on your sweaty digits.

slimper: a sloping crimper. ugh.

jug: generally, a hold big enough to elicit a "thank you god' from a climber. when encountered after a difficult or "thin" (see crimper) section, a jug may be referred to as a "god-send" or "god save me". jugs are also known as buckets.

sidepull: any hold that is angled vertically rather then horizontally. they are generally pulled from either side using a layback technique (in which one lays back off the hold in the opposite direction they're pulling) or a gaston (used in combination with another sidepull on which both hands are pushing rather than pulling, away from the climber, thumbs down).

undercling: any hold that's facing upside down. generally much better when grabbed from above than from below.

chicken head: a phalic shaped hold usually found on limestone rock.

gerry rail: a hold big enough to support a senior citizen with a recent hip replacement.

regarding technique:

dynamic (aka dyno): a move where the climber springs from his stance and lashes to grab the nexy hold. usually performed to reach a faraway hold or to look cool on camera. can be performed as a "one hand", a "no hands" or the impressive "all points off".

deadpoint: a controlled dyno in which the hold is grabbed at the acme of pushing oneself on top of one's feet.

heel hook: performed, usually on steeper climbs, to gain balance, to gain rests, or to push from to reach a far off hold. considered advanced footwork.

regarding route terminology:

onsight flash: to climb a route on your first try without having anyone tell you about the route or without seeing anyone else climb it. this is known as climbing a route without beta. (exclusive to leading sport)

beta: information regarding a climb (where crux moves are, where rests are, how to do crux sequences, etc)

crux: generally, the hardest section of a climb. there may be more than one crux on a route (consider "honeymoon").

flash: climbing a route with beta, but without ever having tried it before. (exclusive to leading and bouldering)

hangdogging (aka dogging): the act of having the belayer take your weight while you work out the moves or rest or cry. (exclusive to leading)

redpoint: climbing a route without falling or hangdogging, but having tried it before, often many times, to work out the moves. a clean ascent. (exclusive to leading sport)

pinkpoint: leading a trad route with preplaced gear. (exclusive to leading)

headpoint: to work out the moves on toprope before commiting to lead the route.

whipper: the name given to a fall on lead. as in "i took a huge whipper on honeymoon yesterday."

sketched: to be scared. being sketched to the point of paralysis is known as being gripped.

spray: any bragging, schit-talking or slandering. as in, "that dude sprays like a garden hose."

to deck: to hit the ground on a fall. (not relevant to bouldering)

that's all i can think of for now.
the way i see it, there are two worlds: the world where nothing is sacred except money, and the other world, where everything is sacred.

-ron kauk

Last edited by punchy : 05-17-2006 at 01:11 PM.
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Unread 05-17-2006, 12:50 PM
kimcito's Avatar
kimcito kimcito is offline
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: dortmund germany
Posts: 24
a sidepull that you hold with your thumb down.

figure of 4 or yaniro:
pretty weird move, that is used on steep rock to avoid a dyno, when there are no footholds. a descibtion is maybe a little bit confusing. but here i go. if you have a good hold for your right hand, then you put your left leg over the right armand try to put the left foot under your right legs knee...
now you should be able to lift your body and reach the next hold. this method was used to climb the crux of chouca.
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