to the EverestNews.com Lesson plans developed by
Kevin Cherilla ( base camp manager of the NFB
2001 Everest Expedition and 7th and 8th grade
physical education teacher from Phoenix, Arizona)
and the staff at EverestNews.com, the largest
mountaineering publication in the world.
you would like to hire Kevin as an Everest speaker e-mail us at
following vocabulary words are used for rock and ice
climbing along with mountaineering. Use these words in vocabulary quizzes and make
up your own word searches.
German term (also employed by the British) for rappel;
a method for descending a fixed rope by means of
sliding and braking mechanisms known as belay
Direct use of fixed or placed protection (pitons,
spring-loaded cams, bolts, rivets, etc.) to support a
climber's weight and assist in upward progress.
Climbing aids made of nylon webbing used to step
upward on big walls.
A technical rock climb that requires the use of
artificial devices such as pitons, spring-loaded cams,
bolts, rivets, etc. to support the climber's weight
for upward progress.
The push-off time (generally around 2 a.m. or earlier)
for a summit run in order to return to camp by
nightfall, as well as to avoid the dangers of melting
ice and snow as the day's heat progresses, which make
the climb dangerous.
An ultra-lightweight method of climbing in which
equipment and food rations (i.e., comfort and
security) are trimmed to the barest essentials in
order to facilitate a swift ascent to the
Acute Mountain Sickness. A cluster of symptoms brought
on by lower blood levels of oxygen at higher
altitudes. Symptoms include headache, loss of
appetite, nausea, vomiting, malaise and disturbed
Point where the rope is secured to the rock with
either fixed bolts, rocks, trees or non-fixed gear to
provide protection against a fall.
A steel piton folded lengthwise.
The route undertaken to reach the technical portions
of a climb.
A sharp ridge of rock or snow and ice found in rugged
mountains or when two planes of rock or snow wall jut
from a face and intersect.
Mechanical sliding and braking devices used to move up
a rope. Sometimes generically referred to as the brand
Air Traffic Controller. A popular belaying and
rappelling device which, when used in conjunction with
a locking carabiner, provides a safety brake on the
To give up on a rock climb or summit attempt for
reasons that range from the legitimate (weather,
lateness, injury, fatigue) to the suspect (hunger,
thirst, discomfort, job obligations, waiting wives,
husbands or significant others).
Thin crack protection utilizing sliding ball-and-ramp
The lowest, largest (and most luxurious) fixed camp on
a major ascent.
A bat hook is a hook filed to a sharp point for
tapping into shallow drilled holes for aid
Safety technique in which a stationary climber
provides protection, by means of ropes, anchors and
braking devices, to an ascending partner.
A forged metal device of various configurations
through which a climbing rope is threaded and then
linked to a carabiner in order to provide friction to
brake a fall.
One who can be persuaded by any means (promises,
deception, love, coercion) to stay on the ground and
provide a safety belay for a procession of
A stance on a rock face of varying degrees of
discomfort from which a climber provides roped
protection for his or her ascending partner.
A gap or crevasse which appears between a glacier and
the upper snows of a mountain's face.
Any advance information (weather, rock or snow
conditions, terrain features, local lore) which helps
in planning or negotiating a climb.
A technical rock climb so long and sustained that an
ascent normally requires more than a single day.
A thin, hooking-type piton used to hook small cracks.
Bird beaks are easily removable and used on clean
A temporary camp sometimes planned, often not
that provides little or no shelter from the elements.
Bivy, or Bivi, for short.
Permanent ice found in shady couloirs or on steep
north faces that is usually extremely hard, dense and
difficult to climb.
Stout metal pin drilled in the rock of steep routes to
provide permanent protection for climbers.
Has extremely high quality and dependability. Usually
refers to a handhold, but can also describe a piece of
equipment, a campsite or any generally positive or
beneficial item or state of being.
It's an extra-wide-angled piton used primarily in the
early days of big wall climbing.
To climb short, hard routes on low-lying rocks without
A handhold large enough to latch the entire hand onto
as with the lip of a bucket.
A rock formation that projects out from the line of a
Generic term for mechanical spring-loaded devices of
varying sizes and manufactuer (Friends, Camalots, TCUs,
etc) which can be inserted in cracks to secure a
Dynamic climbing move executed using the arms only,
orignated by Wolfang Gullich.
Forged aluminum or steel devices of various shapes
(oval, D-ring, etc.) with a spring-loaded gate through
which a climbing rope can be threaded. The most basic
all-around tool on a climber's rack, they are used
variously for such activities as belaying, rappelling,
prusiking and clipping into safety anchors. (Common
Powdered magnesium carbonate used by climbers to dry
A protruding lump found in granite which provides
excellent handholds or foot placements.
A crack large enough to climb inside of.
Slang for loose rock. Also choss pile: an unappealing
rock or route.
A very steep gully. (Chute is French for
"fall," and refers to the rockfall often
found in such gullies.)
A steep-walled mountain basin which usually forms the
blunt end of a valley. (French for
To remove the protective gear placed by the climbing
leader while ascending. Usually accomplished by the
following climber, or "second." Also can
refer to climbing an aid route without a hammer.
A narrow metal device with a hooked end used for
removing nuts or cams stuck in cracks. Also employed
post-climb as a beer bottle opener.
The act of a climber using a carabiner to connect to
belays and anchors or to connect ropes to
A dip in a ridge that forms a small, high pass.
A malleable chunk of metal (once made of copper, but
now often aluminum), swaged (attached) to a flexible
wire loop, that can be hammered into small depressions
in the rock for protection in aid climbing.
An overhanging mass of wind-sculpted snow projecting
beyond the crest of a ridge; generally an extremely
dangerous feature of terrain.
An open, steep gully, usually containing ice or
Free climbing up a rock by wedging one's hands and
feet into a crack in the rock and pulling
Spiked metal devices which attach to climbing boots to
provide purchase on ice and firm snow slopes.
To pull on a hold with maximum force; to expend total
effort in any endeavor.
Climber's wry description of a horrendous fall in
which a climber lands on the ground or other solid
A crack in a glacier surface of varying width and
depth, caused by the movement of the glacier over
underlying irregularities in terrain.
A negligible hold that accomodates only the
The most difficult section of a climbing route.
A nylon sling sewn into loops; also used to provide
supplemental security at belay stations.
An alloy fluke or plate which is placed into deep snow
to provide an anchor.
To hang from a handhold with arms straight so body
weight is supported by the skeleton rather than arm
A dynamic climbing technique in which a hold is
grabbed at the very apex of upward motion, thereby
placing the smallest possible load on the hold.
To have total understanding of a route, a move, a rock
problem or a situation.
A point where two walls meet in a right-angled inside
corner, ie. an "open book."
American slang for "Lower me to the
To descend a mountain or a rock face without weighting
a rope; often accomplished without protection, and
hence potentially the most dangerous part of a
A solid and reliable knot used to tie two ropes or
pieces of webbing together.
To ascend a section of rock using ice tools, a common
technique employed on routes that contain both rock
and ice sections.
Short for "dynamic," a gymnastic upward leap
for a distant hold.
A climbing technique in which the thin edges of the
climbing shoes are used to stand on small
The act of stringing together two or more hard routes
as a single enterprise. Made possible by accelerating
the descents in between climbs by skiing, for
example, or by paragliding to the base.
A climbing adventure in which abnormal events occur on
such a routine basis that the feats undertaken to
survive them come to seem routine as a
Portable "step ladders" usually made of
nylon webbing clipped into protection and used to
progress upward on steep, featureless rock in aid
The condition of being on high vertical rock with full
consciousness that nothing exists between you and the
distant ground but thin air.
Ascending rock that is predominantly made up of finger
pockets and thin edges.
To retreat in dynamic fashion from a climb.
The fifi hook is attached to the climber's harness and
serves as an emergency or temporary method of clipping
in to a piece of gear.
The basic climber's knot. When retraced, it is used to
attach a climber's harness to the rope.
A crack climbing technique wherein the fingers are
wedged (often painfully) into a crack for purchase on
Similar to a fingerlock except that the entire fist is
wedged into a crack.
A rope anchored to a route by the lead climber and
left in place for all who follow. May also be left by
an unknown climber for an unknown length of time. Used
to ascend and descend the route when the climbers want
to sleep on the ground or are shuttling gear up.
A large piece of detached skin, often field-repaired
with Super Glue or duct tape.
A crack or chimney whose sides are not parallel, but
form two converging planes of rock to the back.
To successfully lead a climb you've never previously
attempted - with no falls or "dogging," (ie.
hanging on the rope), but with prior knowledge (beta)
of its features or difficulties.
A usually insecure fin or flake of rock or ice.
To be the second climber up a pitch, belayed by the
leader from above.
To ascend steep rock without recourse to artificial
aids, using only the hands and feet to propel oneself
upward. (Although ropes and anchoring devices are
employed for protection, they are not used to bear the
weight of the climber or for upward progress.)
To climb with no protective devices whatsoever,
relying solely on strength, agility, technique and an
ability to accept or ignore the consequences of long
falls from high places.
Trade name for one of the original spring-loaded
A technique for ascending steep or overhanging ice.
The two forward points and two vertical points of the
crampons are used for purchase simultaneously with the
supporting balance of hand-held tools, such as ice
A sharp pinnacle of rock on a ridge.
An exhilarating (or terrifying, depending on the
circumstances) slide down snow or ice on one's feet or
Flesh wounds on the hands resulting in ugly scabbing,
generally incurred during crack climbing.
To have difficulty grasping a particular hold due to
sweat, lactic acid in the muscles, or slickness of the
Trade name for a belaying device with an
"automatic" braking system.
A novice climber.
High Altitude Cerebral Edema is the most serious form
of altitude sickness, involving swelling of brain
tissue. Symptoms include loss of memory and
coordination, vision disturbances and hallucinations,
paralysis and seizures. Immediate evacuation and
treatment is imperative.
High Altitude Pulmonary Edema, is a dangerous form of
altitude sickness involving fluid buildup in the
lungs. Symptoms include breathlessness, fatigue, pink
sputum and increased heart rate. Going to lower
altitude is highly recommended.
Climbing laterally on rock where there are no
A generally uncomfortable belay stance on steep rock
where there is no place to stand.
Resting on the rope and protective gear while climbing
a sport route. ("Dogging" for short).
A strong belt made of nylon webbing with leg and/or
chest loops used to secure the climber to the rope and
to provide a repository for gear.
Large, heavy, unwieldy bag used to carry food, water
and gear on big wall climbs. Also know as a "Haul
Pig," or just "Pig."
The point where a cliff or mountain's face steepens
Awful, scary, monstrous; any activity fraught with
A hexagonally shaped nut attached to a flexible looped
wire which is inserted into a rock crack as a
protective climbing device ("Hex" for
To be in top condition for climbing.
Small metal devices used to grip tiny ledges or small
Abnormally low body temperature caused by exposure to
cold and wetness, symptoms of which are sluggishness,
reduced mental capacity and apathy.
A debilitating lack of oxygen.
A mountaineering tool of varying lengths, pointed at
the base and with a head consisting of a pick and an
A feature of a mountain's terrain in which a glacier
falls so steeply that it creates a series of crevasses
and ice pinnacles. Usually one of the most dangerous
features encountered on a mountain climb.
A threaded piton made of aluminum or some other light
metal designed to bore into ice securely enough to act
as a protective anchor.
A hold or depression indented in the wall of a
A technique for climbing cracks in which the fingers,
hands, or feet are wedged inside a rock crack to gain
purchase and facilitate upward progress.
A crack which is wide enough to accomodate a hand,
fist, arm, foot, or elbow (or combination thereof).
To ascend a rope using a mechanical sliding/braking
A handhold so luxuriantly secure that it can be
grasped like a jug handle. Also known as a
Trade name for a mechanical sliding/braking device
used to ascend a rope.
Long thin piton used to fit into cracks too narrow for
even the tiniest of nuts.
A technique wherein a climber's hands are positioned
to pull on one side of a crack while the feet push in
opposition from the other, facilitating a crablike
advance up the rock.
To be the first climber up a pitch, placing protection
in the rock along the way while being belayed by a
partner from below.
A carabiner whose gate can be screwed or locked tight
for increased security.
Very thin piton.
Bad, heinous, atrocious, dreadful, ghastly. Usually
applies to a piece of protection, but can refer to
anything that is generally worthless, disgusting
A technique wherein a climber grasps a hold
waist-level and powers the body upward with minimal
assistance from the feet. (From
To grasp a hold with both hands, or to place the feet
side by side on the rock.
Ascending a route by a combination of methods, e.g.
mixed free and aid climbing; also, ascending a route
wherein both rock and ice, and sometimes snow, are
An accumulation of stones and various debris pushed
into a large pile by a glacier.
A climb that is longer than a single rope length,
necessitating the setting of anchors at progressively
higher belay stations as the climbers ascend.
A belay knot through which the rope slides when pulled
in one direction and brakes when pulled in the
A descriptive term that refers to aid climbing with
pitons, which are hammered into a wall's cracks to
Permanent granular snow formed by repeated freeze-thaw
cycles which is found above the head of a
A small rock protrusion, often a crystal, that can be
utilized as a hold.
A metal wedge with a wire loop that is inserted in
cracks for protection.
Vocal signal from a climber who has reached a safe
stance and no longer requires protection from his or
A crack, dreaded by most rational climbers, that is
too wide for a hand or fist jam and too narrow to
"chimney." Generally awkward and strenuous
to climb, and difficult to protect.
Ritual query from a climber to verify that his or her
belayer is ready to belay the climber.
(or "On-sight Flash"):
Leading a climb with no falls and no
"dogging" (hanging on the rope) on the first
attempt without any prior knowledge (beta) of its
features or difficulties.
A dihedral, or right-angled inside corner.
Rock or ice that is angled beyond vertical.
A thin piton resembling a bird's beak.
To swing on a rope across a rock face to gain a
distant anchor point.
A section of rock between two belay points, no more
than the length of one climbing rope.
Metal spike or peg of various shapes and
configurations that can be hammered into the rock for
protection, primarily in aid climbing.
A hole formed by a depression in the rock. Usually
measured by the number of fingers that can be crammed
A lightweight device consisting of stretched nylon
over a metal frame which can be hung from a vertical
rock face to provide a place to rest/sleep on big wall
Any anchor (such as a nut, chock, camming device,
piton or stopper) used during a climb to prevent a
A sliding friction knot used to ascend a rope; to
ascend a rope by means of such a knot.
A condition of severely depleted strength and lactic
acid burn caused by overworking the forearm muscles
The collection of protective devices that a climber
carries on a route, attached to harness loops or on a
sling slung across the shoulders.
An ascending ledge.
To descend a fixed rope by means of mechanical braking
To lead a route from bottom to top while placing one's
own protection, without falling or hanging on the
A thin crust of icy snow which accumulates on the
surface of rocks.
A short metal stud which is tapped into a drilled hole
and connected to a short sling or hanger. Rivets are
used as protection on aid routes and hold the body
weight of a climber, even in very shallow holes.
An overhanging rock ceiling.
Unreliable rock which has a tendency to break off
under a climber's weight.
The original brass nut or taper, a small and effective
form of protection for clean aid.
An uncomfortably long and often dangerous distance
between two points of protection.
A high pass between two peaks.
To deliberately underestimate the difficulties of a
climb in order to get a climber in over his or her
head, often with hilarious or tragic results.
Easy, unroped climbing.
A long fall.
Small loose rocks that gather on the slope at the base
of a cliff.
To gain purchase on the rock with body parts other
than the hands or feet, however tenuous or
The climber who follows a lead up a pitch, belaying
from below while the lead advances, then ascending to
the end of the pitch.
A pinnacle or tower of ice, usually unsafe and
unreliable in nature, and prone to toppling in warm
An embarrassing climbing condition caused by panic
and/or fatigue which is manifested by an involuntary
vibration of one or both legs. Also known as
"Elvis Presley Syndrome."
The top, or leader's end, of the rope.
To mount an extended assault on a mountain by moving
laboriously upward through a series of progressively
higher camps. Siege tactics include the use of oxygen,
previously cached equipment dumps, and high-altitude
porters to do the heavy lifting.
An ethnic group of Tibetan origin living below Mt.
Everest in the Solo Khumbu area. From the Sherpa's
effective monopoly as high-altitude porters, the name
has come to be applied generically to all who work in
The head Sherpa on an expedition.
Climbing a smooth sheet of rock that lacks large
handholds by holding the body out from the rock and
using friction and balance to move around and up the
Spring-loaded camming devices, such as Friends or
A length of nylon webbing which is either sewn or tied
into a loop and is used in conjunction with the rope
and anchors to provide protection. Also called a
A technique of applying to a rock slab as much of the
sticky sole of the climbing shoe as possible to
achieve maximum friction.
Loose, powdery snow.
Ascending routes of extreme gymnastic difficulty
protected by closely spaced bolts.
A rock or snow rib on the side of a mountain.
Rope / Line:
Special climbing rope used ( usually 8 or 9 mm in
diameter ) as fixed rope / line for jumaring or
rapelling that does not stretch.
To bridge the distance between two holds with one's
feet; to push against adjacent or opposing walls with
A trapezoidal metal wedge of varying size attached to
a loop of flexible wire which is fitted into cracks
and depressions in the rock to provide protection for
an ascending climber.
An accumulation of rocks and boulders that have fallen
from a crag or face to form a steeply sloping fan at
A climbing rope that is anchored from above.
A sketch of a route showing its line, bolt placements,
belay stances, crux and rating.
A thin piton resembling a bird's beak.
Moving sideways across a section of terrain instead of
directly up or down.
A usually awkward and tenuous hold that requires
applying upward pressure on a downward facing
Command shouted by a climber when he or she desires a
tighter, more secure belay.
A thin coating of ice on rock which makes for
extremely dicey climbing conditions.
Flat nylon tape or tubing used for slings.
To delicately rest one's weight on a piece of
protection to test its security.
A type of avalanche which occurs when a snow layer
compacted by wind settles insecurely atop old snow;
when it detaches it falls in large slabs or blocks of
To have a route totally figured out.
A homemade climbing wall.
A fall of such length and velocity that the climber's
protective devices are ripped from the rock in rapid