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40+ Useful rock climbing phrases: Our guide to climbing jargon

Our guide to useful rock climbing terms

Rock Climbing: A type of climbing that involves ascending rock formations, often using climbing gear such as ropes, harnesses, and anchors.

Rock climbing can be a dangerous sport if you don’t know the proper safety procedures and communication can be critical to safety. Make sure you are aware of the following rock climbing phrases before you attempt to climb:

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Important rock climbing phrases

Buddy Check: Before you start climbing it’s important to do a buddy check. This involved checking each other’s harness, knots, ropes, helmet and carabiners are all attached, and secure and everything is ready for the other person to climb.

On belay” or “On belay, climb when ready” This is said by the belayer in order to let the climber know that they are ready and the climber can begin climbing.

Climbing!” This is said by the climber as they begin their ascent and is said in response to “On Belay”

Take!” This is shouted by the climber to their belayer in order to indicate that they would like to take a break or are about to fall off.

Slack” This is shouted by the climber if they want more slack in the rope. This could be because the belayer has the belay plate locked off and is not paying attention.

Safe” This should only be shouted by the climber when they are securely attached to the belay point and ready for the belayer to be taken off. This is a safe word in climbing and should only be used when the climber is secure and fastened to the belay.

Off belay” This is shouted by the belayer to let the climber know they are no longer being belayed. This must only happen after the climber has called “Safe

The climber then gets himself and becomes the belayer and the belayer becomes the climber. Then the calls are repeated again starting with “On belay”


These few rock climbing phases above will be enough to know if you are heading out climbing and will keep you safe. The phrases below are not critical to having a good time on the rock, but knowing them can be useful when talking about climbing or your friend is telling you to “Dyno to that Jug


Types of Rock Climbing

Useful rock climbing phrases


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