Belay: To protect a climber from falling by securing the rope. A belayer passes the rope through a belay device on their harness which locks in the event of a fall.
Beta: Any advice or information on how to ascend a route. Except during observation periods, sport climbing athletes are prevented from getting any beta ahead of a climb.
Bouldering: The practice of climbing short, challenging routes close to the ground. The second of three disciplines in the Olympic sport climbing combined competition.
Campusing: The act of climbing using only the arms, necessary when the route is overhung to a degree that the feet are rendered useless.
Crimp: A very small hold with only enough surface area for the tips of the fingers.
Crux: The most difficult part of a climb. In lead climbing, the crux is the point on the route at which the most athletes fall off the wall.
Dyno: A leaping movement when both feet come completely off the wall to grasp a hold beyond arms reach.
Flash: To top a route or boulder on the first attempt, after having received beta in some form.
Heel hook: Using the back of the heel to apply pressure to a hold for balance or leverage.
Isolation zone: An area of the competition facility out of sight of the competition wall where athletes wait for their turn to climb. An isolation zone is necessary to prevent climbers from observing each other’s beta.
Hold: Any feature on a wall that is usable for climbing.
Jug: A large hold that is easily held with an open hand.
Lead climbing: A form of climbing where climbers clip their belay rope into quickdraws along the route as they ascend. The final of three disciplines in the Olympic sport climbing combined competition.
Overhang: A section of a route that forms an angle with the ground of less than 90 degrees.
Observation: The visual study of a route, through which athletes form their initial approach on the ascent. An observation period occurs before the final round of bouldering and before the qualification and final round of lead climbing.
Pumped: When the forearms fill with lactic acid and become fatigued. “Fighting the pump” is often required to top a lead route.
Quickdraw: A non-locking carabiner clip used to anchor the belay rope during lead climbing.
Sloper: A downward-slanted hold that is difficult to grasp.
Speed climbing: An explosive form of competitive climbing where athletes race to the top of a 15m route. The first of three disciplines of the Olympic sport climbing combined competition
Toe hook: Using the upper side of the toes to apply pressure to a hold for balance or leverage.
Top: (As a noun) the highest point on the route. (As a verb) to successfully ascend a route.
Volume: The largest type of hold, often in the form of large hollow geometric shapes on which smaller holds can be installed.
Zone hold: A hold roughly midway along a boulder route used to give partial credit to climber that completes some, but not all, of a boulder problem.