A Beginner’s Guide to Basic Rock Climbing Terminology


Every subculture comes with its own vocabulary, and for rock climbers, “crag” is as much a part of the rock climbing dictionary as “beef jerky.”

As if all the technical aspects of climbing weren’t intimidating enough, to get started, you might feel like you also need to know the difference between a trad and sport route, a carabiner and a cam, and that Gaston isn’t just the hunky bad guy from “Beauty and the Beast.”

What is all this stuff? Read on for our rock climbing dictionary to find out. Photo: Johnie Gall

Pull out the flashcards—here are a few of the basics to know before you get your climb on:


A point on top of a climb with fixed bolts or removable protection (like a sling around a sturdy tree).


Securing the rope while your partner climbs. You’ll have a belay device…

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