December 12, 2006
If you are looking for an inexpensive extreme sport that is pure adrenaline and addicting, rock climbing may be just what you need. When you start out, you are going to need to know some of the following lingo.
Rock Climbing Jargon
Rock climbing is one of those niche sports that gets little publicity, but is incredibly popular. It also happens to be one of the more adrenaline pumping things you can get out and do. Since it is pretty much you and the face of a click, the costs are limited to shoes and the gear to keep you from falling to your death. Put another way, it isn’t going to break the bank. Eventually, however, you will start planning climbing trips to Thailand and other exotic places, and it will cost a few bucks. Trust me, it is worth it.
If you are going to have a go at climbing, you need to know some of the basic jargon. Here we go…
“Elvis” – refers to the reaction of newer climbers when they first go beyond the comfort zone in the height of a climb. If you blow through 80 feet or so and start getting stressed, one of your legs may start to gyrate. It looks like you are dancing like Elvis, thus the name. To stop the Elvis, stop looking down at the ground and take slow, deep breaths.
Free climbing is the art of rock climbing without safety ropes. The advantage is it represents the purist form of climbing and is a quicker trip than with safety equipment. The disadvantage, of course, involves the fact there is nothing to save you if a fall occurs. At a minimum, we are talking broken bones. In a worst case scenario, well, you can guess. As a beginner, you should never, ever free climb.
Bouldering refers to rock climbing on large boulders found in valleys and other areas around the country. Bouldering is both fun and a good place to practice your technique. Boulders almost always have unique angles and edges, which can make them technically challenging. Since you are usually no more than ten feet off the ground, falling usually only damages your pride.
Buildering is rock climbing on buildings. Insanely fun, but also illegal. Falling is not recommended. Buildering is definitely not for the beginning climber. If you ignore this advice, make sure to take your driver’s license with you so the hospital will know who you are.
Chalk is a powder used by many to keep their hands dry during climbs. The chalk is kept in a chalk bag on your waste. You dip your hands in as you need to dry them off. If you are climbing in some remote location, it is highly advisable you wash the chalk off before driving home. Officers of the law, particularly Highway Patrolmen, often do not understand the difference between climbing chalk and other off white substances. I kid you not!
As you can image, there are plenty of other rock climbing terms you need to know. The above list will at least give you a head start on the process.
Rick Chapo is with Nomad Journals - makers of rock climbing journals that make great gifts for him.
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