Traverse (climbing)

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A marked traverse on Mount John Laurie / Yamnuska Yamnuska cabled traverse.jpg
A marked traverse on Mount John Laurie / Yamnuska
Traversing moves in buildering Buildering at Bakewell - - 597544.jpg
Traversing moves in buildering

A traverse is a lateral move or route when climbing or descending (including skiing); going mainly sideways rather than up or down. The general sense of 'a Traverse' [1] is to cross, or cut across and in general mountaineering, a road or path traveled traverses the steep gradient of the face. In civil engineering, road bed cuttings (or 'traverses') dug by construction operations creating an navigable incline into a hillside traverse the slope, also cut across the gradient as does the skier, climber, or builder.


In climbing, Traversing a climbing wall is a good warm-up exercise. [2]

When moving laterally, the technique of crossing through is more efficient than shuffling. In this, the limbs are crossed so that the moves are longer and more fluid. The longer extension requires coordination between the hands and the feet to avoid over-extension of the upper or lower part of the body. [3]

If two climbers are roped together for protection, the leader should secure the rope both before and after a difficult move when traversing. This enables the following climber to remove the anchorage before making the difficult move while still having good security from the anchor point which was placed after the move. [4]

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The Yosemite Decimal System (YDS) is a three-part system used for rating the difficulty of walks, hikes, and climbs, primarily used by mountaineers in the United States and Canada. It was first devised by members of the Sierra Club in Southern California in the 1950s as a refinement of earlier systems, particularly those developed in Yosemite Valley, and quickly spread throughout North America.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Glossary of climbing terms</span> List of definitions of terms and concepts related to rock climbing and mountaineering

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<span class="mw-page-title-main">Ice climbing</span> Activity of ascending ice formations

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.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Free climbing</span> Form of climbing not using aid climbing

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 vertical or horizontal progress. The climber ascends or traverses by using physical ability to move over the rock via handholds, footholds, and body smears.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Aid climbing</span> Style of climbing

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.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Rock climbing</span> Sport in which participants climb natural rock formations

Rock climbing is a sport in which participants climb up, across, or down natural rock formations. The goal is to reach the summit of a formation or the endpoint of a usually pre-defined route without falling. Rock climbing is a physically and mentally demanding sport, one that often tests a climber's strength, endurance, agility and balance along with mental control. Knowledge of proper climbing techniques and the use of specialized climbing equipment is crucial for the safe completion of routes.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Steve Roper</span>

Steve Roper is a noted climber and historian of the Sierra Nevada in the United States. He along with Allen Steck are the founding editors of the Sierra Club journal Ascent.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Prusik knot</span> Type of knot

A Prusik is a friction hitch or knot used to attach a loop of cord around a rope, applied in climbing, canyoneering, mountaineering, caving, rope rescue, ziplining, and by arborists. The term Prusik is a name for both the loops of cord used to tie the hitch and the hitch itself, and the verb is "to prusik". More casually, the term is used for any friction hitch or device that can grab a rope. Due to the pronunciation, the word is often misspelled Prussik, Prussick, or Prussic.

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<span class="mw-page-title-main">Tyrolean traverse</span>

A Tyrolean traverse is a method of crossing through free space between two high points on a rope without a hanging cart or cart equivalent. This is used in a range of mountaineering activities: rock climbing, technical tree climbing, caving, water crossings and mountain rescue. A zip-line is in essence a Tyrolean traverse which is traveled down quickly with the assistance of gravity. Several sources claim that the name comes from the Tyrolean Alps, where climbers are said to have developed the system in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Ice tool</span>

An ice tool is a specialized elaboration of the modern ice axe, used in ice climbing, mostly for the more difficult configurations. Ice tools are used two to a person for the duration of a pitch, and thus in some circumstances such as top-rope-anchored climbs, a pair may be shared among two or more people, where only one of them at a time is climbing. In contrast a classical "ice axe" is used one to a person for the hours or days a party is traveling across snow or glacier. In communities where it is common to refer to an "ice tool" simply as an "ice axe", classic "ice axes" are often referred to as "traveling axes", "walking axes", or "general mountaineering axes" to distinguish them from "tools".

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Andreas Hinterstoisser</span>

Andreas Hinterstoisser was a German mountain climber active in the 1930s. He died during an attempt to climb the Eiger north face with his partner Toni Kurz. A section of the north face was later named the "Hinterstoisser Traverse" in his honor. The 2008 film North Face was based on his experience climbing the Eiger.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">1953 American Karakoram expedition</span> Attempt at first ascent of K2 in 1953

The 1953 American Karakoram expedition was a mountaineering expedition to K2, at 8,611 metres the second highest mountain on Earth. It was the fifth expedition to attempt K2, and the first since the Second World War. Led by Charles Houston,a team South-East Spur in a style which was unusually lightweight for the time. The team reached a high point of 7750 m, but were trapped by a storm in their high camp, where a team member, Art Gilkey, became seriously ill. A desperate retreat down the mountain followed, during which all but one of the climbers were nearly killed in a fall arrested by Pete Schoening, and Gilkey later died in an apparent avalanche. The expedition has been widely praised for the courage shown by the climbers in their attempt to save Gilkey, and for the team spirit and the bonds of friendship it fostered.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Self rescue (climbing)</span>

Self-rescue, in climbing, or in the broader activity of mountaineering, refers to actions and techniques, taken by either an individual climber or teams, to retreat or advance from situations which would leave them, otherwise unprepared, stranded.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Slab climbing</span>

Slab climbing is a type of rock climbing where the rock face is at an angle less steep than vertical. It is characterized by balance- and friction-dependent moves on very small holds. It is often not leadable, or climbable from the ground up, unless it has pre-drilled bolts to protect the climb, making most slab climbs either top rope climbing or sport climbing. Special techniques such as smearing are necessary to climb slab. It is a type of face climbing and is distinctly different from crack climbing. Slab climbing is a relatively new area of climbing, having become more popular in the last 30 years, and some of the highest graded routes are currently being realized.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Willy Angerer</span>

Willy Angerer was an Austrian mountaineer. He was one of four mountaineers who died in the 1936 Eiger north face climbing disaster, along with Toni Kurz, Andreas Hinterstoisser and Eduard Rainer. At thirty-one Angerer was the oldest of the four climbers who died.


  1. See Wiktionary
  2. S. Peter Lewis, Dan Cauthorn (2000), "Traversing", Climbing, p. 53, ISBN   978-0-89886-682-7
  3. Matt Burbach (2005), Gym Climbing, pp. 90–91, ISBN   978-0-89886-742-8
  4. Jerry Cinnamon (2000), "Traversing", The Complete Climber's Handbook, pp. 138 et seq., ISBN   978-0-07-135755-5