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. 

Bolt: A permanent anchor fixed into a lead wall. These commonly have carabiners attached to them for climbers to clip quickdraws. Climbers are not permitted to step on bolts.

Bouldering: The practice of climbing short, challenging routes close to the ground. One of the three disciplines of Olympic sport climbing, and one of the two (along with lead) included in the combined event.  

Campusing: The act of climbing using only the arms, necessary when the route is overhung to a degree that the feet are rendered useless

Carabiner: A snap-link piece of metal that connects one's rope to one's protection

Crag: A steep or rugged cliff or rock face

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

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. One of the three disciplines of Olympic sport climbing, and one of the two (along with bouldering) included in the combined event.  

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 each 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

Smear: To drag your entire foot along the wall to offer a boost between proper holds or crimps

Speed climbing: An explosive form of competitive climbing where athletes race to the top of a 15m route. One of the three disciplines of Olympic sport climbing, and the only one that is contested as a standalone event. 

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: A hold along a boulder route used to give partial credit to a climber that completes some, but not all, of a boulder problem. Each problem has two zones: a low zone (first checkpoint) that awards 5 points and a high zone (second checkpoint) that awards 10 points.