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In rock climbing, a copperhead is a small nut with a head made of soft metal on a loop of wire,  originally copper or brass, later aluminium. Copperheads are most often placed into small shallow seams and crevices by pounding or hammering them in to place, with a climbing hammer, sometimes with the aid of metal rod, chisel, or punch. The malleability of the soft metal head makes copperheads conform to the rock and grip better than other devices, and are often the only protection that will stay fixed in many placements.   Their small size and low strength makes them among the poorest kinds of protection; their main use is in aid climbing where a placement that will just support the weight of the climber can be used to make progress, even though it would be useless in a fall.
Rock climbing is an activity in which participants climb up, down or across natural rock formations or artificial rock walls. The goal is to reach the summit of a formation or the endpoint of a usually pre-defined route without falling. Professional rock climbing competitions have the objectives of either completing the route in the quickest possible time or attaining the farthest point on an increasingly difficult route.
In rock climbing, a nut is a metal wedge threaded on a wire and is used for protection by wedging it into a crack in the rock. Quickdraws are clipped to the nut wire by the ascending climber and the rope threads through the quickdraw. Nuts come in a variety of sizes and styles, and several different brands are made by competing manufacturers. Most nuts are made of aluminum. Larger nuts may be threaded on Dyneema cord instead of wire, but this has become unusual.
Copper is a chemical element with symbol Cu and atomic number 29. It is a soft, malleable, and ductile metal with very high thermal and electrical conductivity. A freshly exposed surface of pure copper has a pinkish-orange color. Copper is used as a conductor of heat and electricity, as a building material, and as a constituent of various metal alloys, such as sterling silver used in jewelry, cupronickel used to make marine hardware and coins, and constantan used in strain gauges and thermocouples for temperature measurement.
Climbing is the activity of using one's hands, feet, or any other part of the body to ascend a steep object. It is done for locomotion, recreation and competition, in trades that rely on it, and in emergency rescue and military operations. It is done indoors and out, on natural and man-made structures.
A modern day hammer is a tool consisting of a weighted "head" fixed to a long handle that is swung to deliver an impact to a small area of an object. This can be, for example, to drive nails into wood, to shape metal, or to crush rock. Hammers are used for a wide range of driving, shaping, and breaking applications.
In rock climbing, mountaineering, and other climbing disciplines, climbers give a grade to a climbing route or boulder problem, intended to describe concisely the difficulty and danger of climbing it. Different types of climbing each have their own grading systems, and many nationalities developed their own, distinctive grading systems.
Climbing protection is any of a variety of devices employed to reduce risk and protect others while climbing rock and ice. It includes such items as nylon webbing and metal nuts, cams, bolts, and pitons.
Scrambling is "a walk up steep terrain involving the use of one's hands". It is an ambiguous term that lies somewhere between hiking, hillwalking, mountaineering, and rock climbing. Canyoning often involves scrambling.
Traditional climbing, or trad climbing, is a style of rock climbing in which a climber or group of climbers place all gear required to protect against falls, and remove it when a pitch is complete. Traditional bolted face climbing means the bolts were placed on lead and/or with hand drills. The bolts tend to be much farther apart than sport climbs. For example, a trad bolted route may have bolts from 15–75 feet apart. A sport route may have bolts from 3–10 feet apart, similar to a rock climbing gym. The term seems to be coined by Tom Higgins in the piece "Tricksters and Traditionalists" in 1984. A trad climber is called a traditionalist.
An ice axe is a multi-purpose hiking and climbing tool used by mountaineers both in the ascent and descent of routes that involve frozen conditions with snow and/or ice. An ice axe can be held and employed in a number of different ways, depending on the terrain encountered. In its simplest role, the ice axe is used like a walking stick in the uphill hand, the mountaineer holding the head in the center. It can also be buried pick down, the rope tied around the shaft to form a secure anchor on which to bring up a second climber, or buried vertically to form a stomp belay. The adze is used to cut footsteps, as well as scoop/bucket seats in the hillside and trenches to bury an ice axe belay. The long-handled alpenstock was a predecessor to the modern ice axe.
This page describes terms and jargon related to climbing and mountaineering.
Ice climbing is the activity of ascending inclined ice formations. Usually, ice climbing refers to roped and protected climbing of features such as icefalls, frozen waterfalls, and cliffs and rock slabs covered with ice refrozen from flows of water. For the purposes of climbing, ice can be broadly divided into two spheres, alpine ice and water ice. Alpine ice is found in a mountain environment, usually requires an approach to reach, and is often climbed in an attempt to summit a mountain. Water ice is usually found on a cliff or other outcropping beneath water flows. Alpine ice is frozen precipitation whereas water ice is a frozen liquid flow of water. Most alpine ice is generally one component of a longer route and often less technical, having more in common with standard glacier travel, while water ice is selected largely for its technical challenge. Technical grade is, however, independent of ice type and both types of ice vary greatly in consistency according to weather conditions. Ice can be soft, hard, brittle or tough. Mixed climbing is ascent involving both ice climbing and rock climbing.
A wide range of equipment is used during rock or any other type of climbing that includes equipment commonly used to protect a climber against the consequences of a fall.
Free climbing is a form of rock climbing in which the climber may use climbing equipment such as ropes and other means of climbing protection, but only to protect against injury during falls and not to assist progress. The climber makes progress by using physical ability to move over the rock via handholds and footholds. Free climbing more specifically may include solo climbing, traditional climbing, sport climbing and bouldering.
Aid climbing is a style of climbing in which standing on or pulling oneself up via devices attached to fixed or placed protection is used to make upward progress.
Clean climbing is rock climbing techniques and equipment which climbers use in order to avoid damage to the rock. These techniques date at least in part from the 1920s and earlier in England, but the term itself may have emerged in about 1970 during the widespread and rapid adoption in the United States and Canada of nuts, and the very similar but often larger hexes, in preference to pitons, which damage rock and are more difficult and time-consuming to install. Pitons were thus eliminated in North America as a primary means of climbing protection in a period of less than three years.
In climbing, a piton is a metal spike that is driven into a crack or seam in the climbing surface with a climbing hammer, and which acts as an anchor to either protect the climber against the consequences of a fall or to assist progress in aid climbing. Pitons are equipped with an eye hole or a ring to which a carabiner is attached; the carabiner can then be directly or indirectly attached to a climbing rope.
Yvon Chouinard is an American rock climber, environmentalist, and outdoor industry billionaire businessman. His company, Patagonia, is known for its environmental focus.
John Salathé was an American pioneering rock climber, blacksmith, and the inventor of the modern piton.
Although the practice of rock climbing was an important component of Victorian mountaineering in the Alps, it is generally thought that the sport of rock climbing began in the last quarter of the 19th century in at least three areas: Elbe Sandstone Mountains in Saxony near Dresden, the north of England including the Peak district and Lake District, and the Dolomites in Italy. Rock climbing evolved gradually from an alpine necessity to an athletic sport in its own right, making it imprudent to cite a primogenitor of the latter in each of these three locales. Nevertheless, there is some general agreement on the following:
A hex is an item of rock climbing equipment used to protect climbers from falls. They are intended to be wedged into a crack or other opening in the rock, and do not require a hammer to place. They were developed as an alternative to pitons, which are hammered into cracks and are more prone to damage the rock. Most commonly, a carabiner will be used to join the hex to the climbing rope by means of a loop of webbing, cord or a cable which is part of the hex.
Rock climbing hammers, also known as wall hammers, big wall hammers, or aid hammers, are a type of specialty hammer used mainly in aid climbing for the placement and removal of pitons, copper-heads, and circle-heads. They can also be used in the initial placement of fixed anchors (bolts) or the forceful removal of stuck free climbing protection.
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