Abseil & Climb glossary

Anchor: Any load bearing attachment to which any part of a belay system is attached.

Anchor system: a group of individual anchors to which any part of a belay system is attached.

Artificial surface(s): a man-made structure. Also called ‘artificial structures’ and may include but is not limited to portable climbing/abseiling walls, climbing gyms, challenge course elements, fixed climbing/abseiling or other towers, buildings and bridges.

Autobelay system: A device that acts as a belay system and that provides for the safe retardation of the climber to a controlled rate of descent such that there is no hazardous impact with the ground.

Belay System: The means by which the climber or abseiler is protected from an uncontrolled fall or descent.

Belayer: A person that operates the belay system.

Bottom belay: Belaying a climber or abseiler from the bottom of a pitch.

Bushwalking: walking in natural areas.

Carabiner: (refer connector).

Camping: the use of a temporary site for overnight camping.

Caving: [to be developed]

Canyoning: [to be developed]

Connector(s): a metal device used to link components together. A connector may be:

  • Non-locking: a connector that cannot be locked to prevent it opening.
  • Locking: a connector that can be manually locked and unlocked to reduce the possibility of it opening
  • Auto-locking: a connector that will automatically lock to prevent it from opening and requires two or more deliberate actions to unlock.

Connectors include but is not limited to:

Carabiner: a metal connector with a spring-loaded gate specifically designed and manufactured for use in abseiling and climbing safety systems. There is range of carabiner designs with differing features. This standard may refer to specific designs of carabiners for use in specific contexts. Carabiner design types include but are not limited to:

  • Non-locking: a carabiner with spring-loaded gate that cannot be locked to prevent it opening.
  • Screw Gate: a locking carabiner with a threaded sleeve over the spring-loaded gate which has to be manually locked or unlocked
  • Auto Locking: a locking carabiner which will automatically lock to prevent it from opening when the spring-loaded gate is closed. It requires two or more deliberate actions to unlock.
  • Captive Eye: a carabiner with a closed section or captive pin that promotes proper load alignment. It maybe locking or non-locking.

Screwlink: (also known as a Tube Nut Connector, Quicklink or Maillon). Various shaped metal connectors with an opening closed by a threaded sleeve.

Note: Two opposed non-locking carabiners (e.g. 2 snap links with opposite gate orientations) in some circumstances may offer an equivalent level of security as a screw gate carabiner.

Contact rescue: a rescue requiring an activity leader to manoeuvre to the persons actual location to physically assist them.

Dynamic rope: a specially constructed kernmantle rope that is somewhat elastic under load. The elastic ‘stretch’ under load is what makes the rope ‘dynamic’. (Also see static rope.)

Fall factor: is the ratio of the height of a fall (h) (measured before the rope or lanyard begins to stretch) and the rope or lanyard length available to absorb the energy of the fall (L). It is used as a representation of the severity of a fall when arrested by a belay system. It is calculated by (h) divided by (L).

Fall height: The vertical distance between the climber’s or abseiler’s lowest body element and the surface beneath.

Fall zone: The surface that can be hit by a climber or abseiler falling.

Feature: a part of a natural surface or artificial surface.

Flash flooding: is flooding in a localised area with a rapid onset, usually as the result of relatively short intense bursts of rainfall.

Minimum Breaking Strength (MBS): is the magnitude of a load that may permanently distort or damage equipment but not cause it to break. (Refer appendix 3 – equipment load ratings).

Master Anchor Point: (also known as Focal or Power Point) The main connection point of an anchor constructed from multiple anchors or pieces of protection providing increased security through redundancy.

Multi-pitch: a section of a natural surface or artificial surface that to ascend, traverse or descend, progress is made by using more than one pitch and establishing belay systems mid route.

Natural surface(s): the geologic structure and flora that forms a cliff or steep face.

Non-actively participating: a participant that is waiting to but is not currently doing the activity.

Pitch: a section of a natural surface or artificial surface that requires no greater than one length of rope to ascend, traverse or descend. (Also see multi-pitch and single-pitch.)

Safety Factor: the ratio between the Minimum Breaking Strength (MBS) and Safe Working Load (SWL) to provide a safety margin. It is expressed as a ratio, example 8:1. (Refer appendix 3 – equipment load ratings).

Safe Working Load (SWL): is the magnitude of load that does not permanently distort, weaken, damaged or break equipment and includes a safety margin. (Refer appendix 3 – equipment load ratings).

Screwlink: (refer connector).

Single-pitch: a section of a natural surface or artificial surface that requires no greater than one length of rope to ascend, traverse or descend.

Spotter(s): a person or persons who are spotting.

Spotting: a support process provided by a person, or persons, who offer physical protection of the head and upper body of a person should they fall.

Stated Strength: the magnitude of load that is either the Minimum Breaking Strength (MBS) or Safe Working Load (SWL) marked on equipment or listed in manufacturer’s literature. (Refer appendix 3 – equipment load ratings).

Static rope: a specially constructed low stretch kernmantle rope, that has low elongation under load. The low elongation or ‘stretch’ under load is what makes the rope ‘static’. (Also see dynamic rope.)

Top belay: Belaying a climber or abseiler from the top of a pitch.

Waiting areas: a location in which to wait prior to undertaking the activity, where it is reasonable for a person to not be required to use equipment to protect them from a fall from height.

Also, refer terms and definitions from Part I – Core Standard.

 

Abseiling glossary

Abseiling: descending vertical or near vertical natural surfaces or artificial surfaces using ropes and descending friction devices to manage the decent. It is also known as rappelling.

Abseiling assistant guide: is an Assistant Leader with some of competencies of an Abseil Guide and is able to lead participants in parts of an abseiling activity.

Abseiling guide: is a Leader able to lead participants throughout an abseiling activity.

Abseiling instructor: is a Leader able to teach participants to achieve the skills and knowledge required to participate in an abseiling activity independently.

Bottom braking: The controlling of the descent of an abseiler by the belayer applying tension to the descent rope thus increasing the friction through the descent device.

Forward abseiling: abseiling while facing towards the ground.

Rappelling: see abseiling.

 

Climbing glossary

Bouldering: A form of climbing activity, limited in height and for which fall safety can be achieved by the provision of an impact absorbing system, by a spotter providing control of a fall or by a combination of these measures.

Climbing: ascending, traversing or descending vertical or near vertical natural surfaces or artificial surfaces. (Also see rock climbing).

Climbing assistant guide: is an Assistant Leader with some of competencies of a Climbing Guide and is able to lead participants in parts of a climbing activity.

Climbing guide: is a Leader able to lead participants throughout a climbing activity.

Climbing instructor: is a Leader able to teach participants to achieve the skills and knowledge required to participate in a climbing activity independently.

Lead climbing: where the climber ascends a pitch while periodically attaching their rope to fixed or removable protection.

Rock Climbing: ascending, traversing or descending vertical or near vertical natural surfaces. At times also used to describe climbing on artificial surfaces. (Also see climbing.)

Sports climbing: lead climbing where the belay system relies on permanent fixed anchors for protection. (Also see traditional climbing)

Top-rope climbing: climbing where the belay system has its anchor or anchor system at the top of the pitch and uses either a top belay or bottom belay.

Traditional climbing: lead climbing where the belay system relies on anchors for protection that the climber places during the climb. (Also see sports climbing).

Via ferrata climbing: climbing where the safety system does not use a belayer and relies on a series of permanent fixed anchors that limit the distance a climber can fall.

 

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