In Chamonix, the summer is in full swing and the Climbing World Cup has just bagged itself some new World Champs and left town. Here’s some rock climbing themed vocabulary to put you in the mood for scaling those rocks yourself!!

Many climbing terms that were first coined in the French language are also used transferred into English. You can checkout this link for a full glossary of climbing terms.

Escalade – climbing

Grimpeur – climber

Désescalade – downclimbing

Escalade sportive – sports-climbing

Escalade en libre – free-climbing

Escalade artificielle  or “artif” – aid-climbing

Prise de pied – foot hold

Prise de main – hand hold

Faire du bloc – bouldering

un bloc –  a boulder

une falaise – a cliff

une cordelette – a cord

une corde – a rope

un mousqueton – a carabiner

un baudrier – a harness

un casque – a helmet

Pof – resin

Sac à pof  – chalk bag

Topo – guide book

Chausson d’escalade  – climbing shoes

un matelas – a crash pad

Chute de pierres – rockfall

Assureur  – belayer

Descendeur – belay device

Point d’ancrage – anchor

Bivouac    – bivy

Assurage – belaying

Traversée – traverse (past tense of the verb traverser, meaning to cross)

Exposé – exposed (past tense of the verb exposer, meaning to expose)

Rappel – abseil

Assurer – to belay

Descendre en rappel – to rappel

Grimper en tête – to lead

Parer – to spot

Tomber – to fall

Attacher, Nouer – to tie

Dénouer – to untie

International Federation of Sport Climbing