Climbing And Cross Country Route Terms

Terms commonly used to describe climbing and cross country travel routes have been roughly defined as follows:

Arête—a narrow, steep ridge.

Chimney—a steep, narrow chute with approximately parallel walls.

Chockstone—a rock wedged usually into a chute or gully at the bottom.

Chute—steeper than a gully, and often subject to recurrent avalanches of rock or snow.

Col—a high, steep pass. A rounded col is often called a saddle.

Couloir—a chute which has or is likely to have ice or snow.

Crack—a narrow separation between rock faces varying from about one foot to a tenth of an inch or less.

Face—a steep side of a mountain, which may vary from a slope of about 40° to a vertical cliff.

Gully—the broadest and lowest angle of depression that grooves the mountainside.

Notch—about the same as col.

Pass—the lowest or most convenient point at which a long ridge can be crossed.

Ridge—a high divide extending out from a peak.

Scree—a heap of loose stones or rocks.

Slope—a side of a mountain gentler than a face.

Summit—the highest point of a peak.

Talus—a sloping heap of broken rocks and stones at the foot of a cliff.