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Climbing vocab in German

Climbing vocabulary for rock types in German

Climbing vocabulary for rock types in German

Today’s vocabulary lesson is rock types in German for all you. You can’t get far in climbing without discussing your favorite type of mineral, whether pocketed limstone, gorgeous granite or supernaturally geometric basalt columns. I’ve sadly yet to climb basalt but hope to change that soon with an eventual goal of Devil’s Tower of course. But back to the rock:

German climbing vocabulary for rock types

EnglishGermany
graniteder Granit
limestoneder Kalkstein
sandstoneder Sandstein
basaltder Basalt
buntsandsteinder Buntsandstein
gneisder Gneis
quarziteder uarzit
rhyoliteder Rhyolith
gritstoneder gritstone
schistder Glimmerschiefer
dolostine / dolomiteder Dolomit

As always, an exhaustive list in German only is available at Wikipedia and you can all posts in this series under the GermanVocab tag.

Schwabenbruch – Word of the Day

Schwabenbruch – Word of the Day

Via reddit user jojoo commenting on a picture I posted of Donautal, comes a new (to me) German climbing word: Schwabenbruch. It means “Swabian choss” and describes the soft limestone of the Swabian Alb (Schwaebische Alb) locally known to be rather chossy.  I can definitely confirm based on the several crags I’ve visited such as Stuhlfels and Schreyfels where you’d think the popularity and frequent climbing would ensure little loose rock.

Let’s take the word apart. Schwaben means Swabian(s) (e.g. die Schwaben – the Swabians) and bruch in this specific context means choss. The adjective is bruechig. It’s another great example of the German language’s ability to form incredibly specific words.

German climbing vocabulary for movements

German climbing vocabulary for movements

Today’s topic for German climbing vocabulary focuses on movements and action. Smearing, liebacking, heel hooking and jamming are all gibberish to most English speakers, because of course they don’t climb. Finding those words in a school book or dictionary can be even tougher for German learners.

Jargon is always tough and best learned by doing. I’ve stuck to constantly asking people at the gym or crag and reading German books on the subject. It’s a great way to expand both vocabulary and understand its use in context.

So let’s see how to describe the most common climbing moves and actions in German.

German climbing vocabulary for movements

EnglishGermanExample:
to climbkletternIch klettere gern / I like to climb
to fallfallen / stuerzenich bin immer beim letzten Zug gefallen/gestuerzt - I always fall on the last move
to lead (climb)Vorstieg klettern / vorsteigenKannst du Vorstieg klettern oder nur top rope? - Can you lead climb or just top rope?
to follownachsteigenWillst du vorsteigen oder nachsteigen? - Do you want to lead or follow?
to top rope (climb)top rope kletternIn Deutschland ist top rope klettern eher ungewoehnlich - In Germany, top roping is actually uncommon
to clip (a quickdraw into a bolt)eine Exe einhängenAlso ordentlich strecken und die Exe einhängen / So reach and clip the quickdraw.
to clean (a route)abbauenIch klettere zuerst, und dann kannst du nachsteigen und abbauen / I'll climb first and you can follow and clean the route.
to smear / smearing (n)auf Reibung stehen / das Stehen auf ReibungStehen auf Reibung heisst ohne Tritt, d.h Fuss direkt gegen die Wand - Smearing means not having a foot hold, i.e. your foot directly against the wall
to stemstemmenIn der Verschneidung musst du viel stemmen / You've gotta stem a lot in the dihedral
to lieback/laybackpiazenPiazen versteht man das Klettern auf Gegendruck / Liebacking means climbing using opposing force
to jamklemmenFuer Risse musst du klemmen lernen - For cracks, you have to learn to jam.
to heel/toe hookSame as English, also "hooken" sometimesDer Heelhook ist eine Tritttechnik fuer Fortgeschrittene - Heel hooking is a technique for advanced climbers.
to rap / rappelabseilenBeim Schreyfels musst du abseilen. / At Schreyfels you have to rappel.
to tie insich einbindenErstmal einbinden und dann losklettern - First tie in and then start climbing.
to give slackSeil gebenBeim Clippen musst du schnell Seil geben - When clipping you need to give slack fast
crack climbing (n)risskletternRissklettern findet man haeufiger in den USA als in Deutschland - Crack climbing is more common in the US than Germany

As always, an exhaustive list in German only is available at Wikipedia and you can all posts in this series under the GermanVocab tag.

German climbing vocabulary for walls and routes

German climbing vocabulary for walls and routes

Next up in our series of German climbing vocabulary are words and phrases you can use to describe walls and routes.  After all, a route is more than simply holds. it could be overhanging, steep, less than vertical, slabby or have a roof.  I’ve continued to try and use real, natural examples of words that you may hear someone say or read in a guidebook. I feel they are more useful than a very short, simplistic sentence.

So let’s dive in:

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German climbing vocabulary for types of holds

German climbing vocabulary for types of holds

One of the first problems you encounter in a new sport, is learning the jargon and German climbing vocabulary is no different. After returning to Stuttgart, I found myself easily speaking German, but unable to describe a route in terms of say jugs, slopers, then a pinch and a tiny crimp. Additionally, after searching online, most of the multilingual dictionaries I found were geared towards mountaineering.

That means you can easily find the word for crampons (die Steigeisen), but not for crimp (die Leiste).  To remedy this, I struck up a conversation with someone at the gym and got my answers. He also turned into a cool climbing partner! So the next time you’re at the gym or on the rock and  stumbling to describe the route, try the following:

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