What Do You Say Before You Start Rock Climbing?

Climbers need to communicate effectively in order to be successful, especially if they’re out of sight from each other or the wall’s geometry, winds, or river noise make hearing voices difficult.

Climbers often use specific terms for holds and moves that might be unfamiliar to those just starting out climbing.

Table of Contents


Rock climbers rely on rope as an essential lifeline; it should not be treated like a toy and treated with respect. Though ropes can withstand several falls before eventually failing, two things could happen: either you fall onto sharp rocks that cut it or it is subjected to excessively large forces that exceed its capacity and stretch beyond its breaking point. Ropes come rated according to diameter and durability so as to determine how much force they can absorb before reaching their breaking point.

As a beginner, you should invest in thicker rope that is more durable and less likely to break. As part of your research process, consider purchasing multiple rope types so that you can find which works best with your climbing goals and budget. Thicker ropes tend to be heavier and cost more, so finding an optimal balance is essential to finding success with climbing.

Communicating with your belayer is crucial to having a safe and enjoyable climb experience. Every climber has different preferences, and sharing those preferences with your belayer can make the process smoother for both of you. Some climbers prefer having plenty of slack in the system while others may prefer it tighter; also some climbers appreciate receiving beta (guidance on what to do next), while other may find uninvited advice distracting.

Wherever your climbing takes you, it can often leave you out of sight and hearing range of your belayer. Therefore, it’s essential to agree on a system of rope signals before beginning climbing, such as using alternate color stripes or tugs on the rope to communicate between yourselves. Two-way radios also enable clear communication in case it becomes windy enough that speaking becomes impossible.


As climbing gyms and public walls continue to spring up around the world (including this year’s surprising Olympic sport of climbing! ), more people are becoming passionate about rock. Anyone in reasonable physical shape can try climbing, though it requires strength, control, finesse and finagle in order to safely ascend vertical pieces of rock. Furthermore, this sport even has its own language that may seem strange or unfamiliar to outsiders.

As climbers are well aware, there are a variety of common climbing terms such as backstep, fingerlock and first jam that help navigate between holds and overcome challenging sections of an ascent. Backstep involves using light knee drops to place sole’s bottom-outside against rock surface for footholds on thin or small surface terrain allowing balancing on one foot while pushing off with another; finger crack is a series of narrow gaps where climbers place their fingers together and tighten or uncinch them, typically thumb-up or thumb-down, for cam formation to support weight from above or underneath an ascent; similarly.

Runouts are areas of rock without protection that pose significant threats to free climbers, with any route completed without taking falls considered clean climbing.

Nearly every major city offers climbing gyms for beginners to get started and learn the fundamentals. Climbing gyms provide a safe and easy way for newcomers to get in shape while meeting fellow climbers. As your confidence builds up, outdoor climbing crags may offer outdoor climbing options; be sure to practice in a secure area under supervision by an accredited instructor in order to avoid injuries!


Climbing requires strength, control, and finesse – not to mention lots of grip strength that could cause fingers to become pumped up with tension. To mitigate this potential discomfort before climbing begins, apply hand lotion directly onto fingertips and practice grabbing holds with just enough room for one finger at a time. Be mindful to maintain good form so your fingers do not catch on rough holds that could tear them off!

Be mindful of your surroundings and communicate with your belayer when rock climbing; this is particularly essential when learning. Overconfidence or going beyond one’s ability could result in serious injury or even fatal falls; stay within your capabilities and aim to learn as quickly as possible.

Beginner climbers often make the mistake of focusing solely on their arms and grip strength. This can be dangerous as you can quickly exhaust yourself if your arms tire quickly. Instead, novice climbers should work on moving their feet first before their hands to conserve energy and make moves easier.

“Send It” is an often heard refrain in climbing circles and it usually means pushing through fears and keeping at it despite discouragement. While hearing such advice can be intimidating when feeling discouraged, its overall intent can often be positive. Although “send It” may no longer be used so often today, its place still remains important within climbing culture.


Climbing can be physically taxing and provides valuable life lessons that extend into every area of life. Newcomers to climbing must learn to take it slow as they build strength. Communicating with climbing partners may prove tricky if they’re out of sight or hearing distance from one another; so before beginning it’s essential that a system be established before getting underway so they can relay vital information when necessary.

At your first crag or gym visit, it’s natural for you to hear some loud grunts and painful yelps; climbing is hard on muscles that lie dormant within our bodies. Don’t let this discourage you – soon enough, your muscles will strengthen enough for any pain to decrease significantly.

As with any adventure, climbing is about the journey and not the destination. Take care to allow for adequate rest periods on every problem that lies within your ability level; over-stretching could result in injury and exhaustion that might prevent future attempts at climbing altogether.

Climbing has its own language and vocabulary that may seem foreign to newcomers, yet understanding what other climbers are talking about can be daunting for newcomers. Deciphering this code can be intimidating for beginners but is essential if they wish to remain safe on their journeys. Learning what holds are called can also help determine which are easier; for instance “crimps” are small holds which must be grasped between thumb and fingers to stay upright – an example being “crimped crimps.”


Beginners to rock climbing require effective communication with their belayer. Climbers utilize an informal language of voice commands that they use to ensure everyone is set up for success; when hearing “On belay,” that indicates your belayer has prepared themselves to hold tight while their climber ascends the rock face.

Climbers often shout important climbing commands aloud; for instance, when hearing “Send it”, that climber could be trying to encourage their leader or belayer through an especially challenging move, or asking the belayer if he or she needs time off the rope if fatigue sets in.

Climbers should remember the key principle for safe climbing: keeping both hands on the rope. A common error among climbers is taking their hand off of the brake hand from their device, leading them down into potentially harmful terrain such as cracks or flaky rocks, potentially leading them to an accident.

Communication between partners when belaying is also essential when climbing together. Misunderstandings may occur from being six pitches up, out of sight of each other; therefore it is vital that you communicate before heading up the crag and begin every command with their name to ensure they know you are speaking directly to them.

Take time after each climb to take a rest and recoup. A good break will allow your muscles to recover so that you can continue climbing more routes, and also gives an opportunity to re-chalk and re-adjust your grip on the wall if necessary; climbers often grip too tightly during harder moves or when fatigued; relaxing your fingers will result in better climbing experiences!