BOOKS by CLINTON McKINZIE..
the Antonio Burns series of crime novels takes place
At the top of each pitch, you set 2 or 3 pieces of pro(tection)
together and equalize them with a long
cord. Then you tie yourself into it, call down "Off Belay!" to your
belayer, put her on, and then it's her turn to climb.
Where the second holds the rope through
a locking device attached to her harness in case the leader falls.
She pays out the rope as the leader climbs, always watching for a
(usually a spouse or significant other) who is not as fond of climbing
as you are, and whom you drag along against his/her will.
and Bolted Route: A climb that's protected
by pre-placed bolts rather than protection you place yourself. You clip
the rope to the bolts as you climb past them.
Boots: Super-tight slippers that are soled with sticky rubber. If they aren't smaller than your feet, they're too big.
Bouldering: Training by climbing short, hard "problems" without a rope. A spotter or something soft to land on may be the only protection.
or Friend: Type of protection.
It's a mechanical device that you slide into a crack while pulling a
trigger, thus retracting the cams. When the trigger is released, it
fits snuggly into the crack.
A palm-sized aluminum loop with a gate that opens and shuts. These are
the most basic climbing devices, used for connecting the rope to the
various pieces of protection you place.
Chimney: A vertical crack you can fit your whole body into. In a wide chimney, you scoot up with your feet on one wall and your butt on the other. In a squeeze chimney, you just kind of wriggle upwards and inhale if you start to slip.
Steep, off-piste skiing in a rock-lined
couloir. You have to hike or climb to the top. Usually steeper than
40º - far steeper than a double-black diamond at a ski area.
Couloir: Steep, snow-choked chute on a mountainside.
Crack: A fissure in the rock that you jam your limbs into and where protection can be placed.
Sharp metal spikes you attach to heavy
mountain boots. The front-points are used to climb vertical ice, the
bottom spikes are used on steep snow.
Fading to the Belay: What you do mid-way up a pitch when you're too gripped by panic to bother placing protection. Involves heavy breathing, sewing machine leg and much frantic prayer. The lead becomes a desperate solo to the next ledge.
Feeding the Rat:
Feeding the need for an adrenaline rush
through climbing. Can become addictive.
you fall all the way to the deck, pulling out all your protection as
you go. What follows is called a dirt nap.
Someone who either falls or just rests,
hanging on the rope which the belayer has locked off. Too much of this
will result in first insults, and then penalty slack. See Penalty Slack.
A large piece of passive protection that's shaped like a hexagon and
tied to a short piece of cord.
screw: A 3" to 5" screw with teeth
that bite into ice. This is what you use for protection on ice.
Crack climbing, where you stick whatever
parts of your body you can into the crack, flex them, and hope the expanded
muscles will lock said body parts in. It's amazingly secure once you
get the hang of it.
Cracks wider than a fist, yet narrower than body width. You climb them
sideways by stuffing in a flexed elbow and knee.
intentionally loose (sometimes very loose) belay. What the belayer gives
the leader a penalty for hangdogging, abject cowardice, or not having
done the dishes the previous night.
Section of rock, snow or ice which is climbed
between major belay points. Often pitch stops at suitable stance or
A short link of cord with a carabiner on
each end. You clip one end to the pro you've placed, and the other to
the rope. Hopefully the slack provided by a quickdraw will keep the
rope from pulling out the pro as you climb higher.
Descend a rope safely in a controlled fashion, the speed being controlled
by friction of rope around the body.
Down the Windows: When falling, you
find yourself involuntarily and frantically waving or flapping your
arms in a circular motion.
A big fall. Often pulling out several pieces of pro (Ping! Ping! Ping!)
as you fly by them. Maybe (Please, God!) the next one will hold.
a Course: Picking out a line or a crack
Machine Leg: Generally the first outward
sign of fear. Your calves start pumping up and down like an old Singer.
Same as Boots.
When bouldering on low rocks without a rope, or making low, unprotected
moves, the one who stands beneath you with upraised arms to catch your
head and shoulders if you fall.
Chimney: Fissure in the rock that's
wide enough to fit your body into. A squeeze chimney is climbed by wriggling
in an upright manner.
Taping Up: Wrapping your hands (or other body parts) in athletic tape to keep them from getting torn up by jamming on rough rock.
Updated May 2007