Glossary of Climbing Terms

As a beginner climber, the inherent terminology can be baffling. You are eking your way up some of your first climbs or boulder problems, and your buddies begin yelling in another language "flag your foot!" "there's a gaston on the left!" "press it out!!" Here are a few terms and techniques you will see often when climbing and bouldering to help sort out the beta.

Jug - Everyone learns this word quickly. It is a joyously large, and easy to hang-on-to hold. Chicken Head City is a great example of jug climbing at Rumbling Bald.

Crimp - Crimps require a lot of finger strength, as they are tiny holds which usually require you to bend your first two knuckles extensively. Try Tips A Hoy at Hawks Bill and you will get a good idea of a crimp- ouch!

Heel Hook- Heel Hooking is extremely useful when your are on steep climbs. Tossing your heel onto a jug or ledge can take a lot of weight off your arms, and give you a little more juice to send. A heel hook can be a Godsend on steep routes at the Obed like Solstice .

Mantle - Many bouldering problems end with a mantle onto the top of the boulder. Mantling is when you put one or both arms on the hold and press your body up onto the ledge or holds. It can be daunting on high problems, but it is essential to finish the problem! You will use a lot of mantling to finish boulder problems at Grandfather Boulders.

Lock Off - Locking off requires core and hand strength, and it allows you to reach another hold while keeping your hand firmly fixed on another hold in a calculated, static movement. You will lock off a lot if you start bouldering at Rumbling Bald this winter.

Jam - Jamming is the word of choice when crack climbing. You use your fist and hands in countless contortions to hold yourself on the wall. Jamming your feet in a lace up shoe like the Scarpa Techno often means turning it a bit sidewards to maximize the width and holding power of the jam. A great route for learning to jam in New Yosemite at the Junkyard Wall of the New River Gorge.

Finger Lock - Finger locking is just what it sounds like. You use your fingers in a crack or constriction to hold your hand in place. Often, this includes taking advantage of big knuckles in just the right spot. Try this technique on Shredded Wheat at Rumbling Bald's Cereal Buttress.

Smearing - Smearing is common in western North Carolina, where the slab of Looking Glass mandates this technique. Smearing is when you stand on a relatively featureless part of the wall. Smearing is easier as the angle of the wall lessens. Try Sensemelia Sunset at Looking Glass in some comfortable, sticky shoes to try the calf-burning technique of smearing.

Looking Glass Outfitters is a full service gear shop open 7 Days a week at the entrance to Pisgah National Forest and around the corner from Hendersonville, Brevard & Asheville.

Happy Exploring..........

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