Beta be prepared - a guide to climbing terms

Posted by Tony Ryan on 06/11/2004

"I was sandbagged into the onsight flash!" Climbing has evolved a whole lexicon to explain the various styles of ascent. Here's what it all means.

Beta: Prior knowledge of almost anything about a climb. With the advent of climbing forums, beta cheater guides, how-to articles, and dvds, onsight ascents are becoming increasingly difficult to claim.

Ballpoint: To claim an ascent, often a first ascent or early repeat, without actually having done the climb.

Batmaning: Regaining your highpoint after a fall by pulling up on the rope. Often used in conjunction with dogging.

Flash: To make an ascent without practice (but perhaps with Beta) and at the first attempt without falls. Opinion is divided as to what constitutes Beta. To some people, even knowing a route’s grade makes the ascent a flash rather than an onsight.

Frigging: A non-specific term usually applied to an ascent or an attempt which doesn’t conform to the accepted style for a particular climb. Frigging often involves some form of assistance from the rope. Also a mild expletive.

Hangdogging: (aka Dogging): Falling or resting on protection, often repeatedly, in order to work out a sequence of moves.Not to be confused with something else.

Headpoint: A traditional route which is led after (toprope) practice, sometimes with pre-placed protection. The traditional equivalent of a Redpoint.

Onsight: To make an ascent at the fi rst attempt without falling and without any prior knowledge. Sometimes referred to as "proper climbing".

Pinkpoint: An archaic term, now obsolete, which formerly differentiated a Redpoint from one where the quickdraws were pre-placed.

Redpoint: To ascend a sport climb without falling or resting, after previous attempts or practice. Quickdraws can be placed whilst climbing or pre-placed.
Sandbagging: To deliberately underrate the difficulty of a climb in order to appear superior to other climbers or to encourage others to attempt a climb, knowing they will fi nd it harderthan you described it. Surely this never happens?!

Toprope: To climb with the belay rope secured from above. For some the ultimate evil.

Yo-yoing: A style of ascent whereby the climber lowers down after falling, but leaves the rope pre-clipped at the highpoint, and then re-ascends.

Cheating: Dogging, headpointing, pinkpointing, redpointing, toproping, or yo-yoing a climb, and then claiming you flashed or onsighted it.

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