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Unsent: 10 New Slang Terms for Climbing Gear

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Unsent /un-sent/ 1. To have failed so badly on a route you had previously climbed that you negate your redpoint. 2. A humor column.


“Climbers speak their own language,” sighed my mom. She had just picked up my latest copy of Climbing and found it impenetrable. We go through this every month. It’s true, our sport has a lot of slang. “I picked up a couple gobies whipping on my proj,” sounds like nonsense to the general population. But there’s a serious lack of slang when it comes to climbing gear. In an effort to make our sport even less accessible, I’ve devised the 10 terms below. Add them to your vocabulary so you can be at the cutting edge of climber-speak. 

1. Trust Fall

(Assisted-Braking Belay Device)

Edelrid Jul2 Belay Device Rock Climbing

Example: “Just go for it and take the whip, Carl! The trust fall will catch you.”

2. Life Umbrella

(Spring-Loaded Camming Device)

Black Diamond Camalot Ultralight C4 Rock Climbing

Example: “Open a #2 life umbrella in the crack before the crux. This route is known to rain climbers.”

3. Pants Eaters


Black Diamond Snaggletooth Crampon Rock Climbing Ice

Example: “We had a great weekend in Ouray, and my pants eaters only chomped three new holes in my $400 ’pon magnets.”

4. ’Pon Magnets

(Expensive Ice Climbing Pants)

Black Diamond Ice Climbing Pants Rock

Example: See above.

5. Trampoline

(Climbing Rope)

Edelrid Boa Rock Climbing Rope

Example: “My sport proj slapped me around today. I spent the entire session bouncing on the trampoline.”

6. Hand Shoes

(Crack Gloves)

Crack Climbing Gloves Outdoor Research Rock

Example: “I got tired of making tape gloves, so I finally bit the bullet and bought a pair of hand shoes for the Creek.”

7. Big Balls

(Micro Nuts)

Micro Nuts Trad Rock Climbing Protection

Example: “That pitch only takes small gear so bring big balls.”

8. ’Gram Gun

(GoPro Camera)

GoPro Camera Rock Climbing

Example: “Shoes tied, chalkbag on, ’gram gun locked and loaded. Time for the Third Flatiron. YOLO FREE SOLO!”

9. Finger Flour


Rock Climbing Bouldering Chalk Magnesium Carbonate

Example: “Wouldn’t it be adorable if we called climbing chalk finger flour instead of making a trite cocaine joke, Daniel?”

10. Bed


Petzl Cirro Crashpad Bouldering Rock Climbing

Example: “Wipe off your shoes before you get on that problem. Don’t get my bed all muddy. I’ve been sleeping on it since Michelle moved out.”

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