Your One-Stop Shop for Climbing Beta!

Your One-Stop Shop for Climbing Beta!

Each week (except during the summer), Lightning 100’s Team Green Adventures climbs indoors at Climb Nashville. This is one of our best intro-to-Team-Green events because it packages a great workout with a fun social atmosphere. The best part? You get to choose your own level of difficulty. Are you afraid of heights? Pick a point on the wall and only climb that high. Instead of working towards more difficult routes, you can work towards reaching greater heights.

If one of the reasons you haven’t climbed with us yet is because you aren’t sure what to do, the first thing you should know is that you don’t need to know anything! Climb Nashville staff and a Team Green trip leader will help get you into your harness, explain the route rating system, and get you through your belay lesson. From that point forward, the more often you come, the more you’ll learn!

But, to help ease your mind, this three-part blog post will help explain some climbing tips, tricks, and lingo that might help you rock on!


Belay: The process of pulling the rope through a device, so your climber is secure to the wall. All new climbers at Climb Nashville will go through the belay lesson (which is free on Team Green climbing night!). Climb Nashville also has “auto-belay” routes, which you don’t need a partner for.

A belay device, via

Lead Climbing: The climber will clip their rope into bolts along the way, using carabiners. The belayer will “give out slack” to the climber so they have enough rope to clip into the bolts. Climbers who want to lead climb indoors need to pass a lead certification course.

Top Rope: On these routes, someone has already done the lead climbing, and has removed the carabiners on their way back down. The rope is anchored at the top and both sides of the rope dangle freely. The climber will tie into one side, and the belayer will tie into the other. The belayer, in this case, will “take up the slack” as the climber progresses upward.

Bouldering: No rope is required. Boulder routes are technical routes, in which the top of the route close enough to the ground so the climber can simply drop onto a padded mat. If the drop is too much, you can down-climb to a more comfortable spot.

Traversing: Climbing horizontally instead of vertically. Climbers can use this technique as part of their vertical route, or they can traverse all around the gym as a way to get in a great upper body workout without getting more than a couple of feet off the ground. This is a great alternative for those who are scared of heights!

Crux: This term describes the most difficult part of any route.

Beta: Another word for “information” or “tips.” Some climbers like their buddies to share beta along the way, while others prefer to figure out the route on their own.

Pumped: When your arms become so fatigued that you can actually see the blood pumping through your veins. Rest long enough to allow the blood flow to slow down.

Rest Position: Resting in the middle of a route does not mean you have to stop completely. In fact, you don’t need to remove yourself from the rock at all. Give your muscles a break and let your joints do all the work. Find a good hand hold, then straighten your wrist, arm and shoulder to hang from the rock. Drop one arm away from the wall and “shake it out.” Then, repeat on the other side to shake out the other arm. This is the same position you’ll use when reaching behind you to access your chalk bag.

rest position
Just hanging out in rest position, via

Dyno: Just like dynamite, sometimes you just need to explode from your current position to the next. It’s a leap of faith, but if you believe in yourself you’ll likely make it! If not, your belayer will stop your fall.

Barn Door: A slightly embarrassing outcome from misjudging your body’s center of gravity. Your arm and leg swing away from the wall, just like an open barn door.

Slab: A mostly vertical rock wall.

Overhang: A rock wall where gravity is a huge disadvantage! You’ll be climbing under the wall when you’re navigating an overhang.


Jug: A refreshing find on any route! A jug is a great big awesome hold you can wrap your entire hand around.

Check out that jug, via

Crimper: A not-so-refreshing hold, but hey… it’s better than nothing! Your finger tips are in a crimped position, and your forearm is getting one heck of a workout!

Crimping, via

Match: If there’s room, you can put both hands on the same hold. From there, you can either search for more hand holds on either side of you, or try to get your feet to higher foot holds.

Cross-Over: When you’re on a route that starts to go horizontal instead of vertical, and there is no room to “match” your hands, you can instead cross one arm over the other. This technique is very common when “traversing.”

An arm cross-over, via


Smear: Sometimes there is literally no foot hold around at all. That’s OK! You can put the sole of your shoe flat against the rock wall and push. It’s not a long-lasting option, but if all you need is enough leverage to get your hands to the next hold, this will certainly do the trick!

Flag: If your next hold is too far to one side to reach without compromising your center of gravity, you can prevent a “barn door” situation by sticking one foot out in the opposite direction that you’re reaching for.

Close that barn door with a flag, via

Heel Hook: When you leverage your foot above your waist and hook your heal onto a hold. This little trick is especially helpful on overhanging routes.

Drop Knee: The name is a bit misleading. The completed position does look as though you’ve dropped your knee, but in reality you’ve raised your foot in a backwards position. It can come in the form of a backwards smear (on a side wall) or a toe hook (onto a foot hold).

Drop knee, via

Swap Feet: Much like it sounds, when you’ve run out of foot holds in your current position you can simply swap your feet with a little hop, and see if there are more foot hold options on the other side of your body.

This might seem like a lot of information, but there’s no need to remember it all. The best way to learn is through experience! If you’re ready for an outdoor rock climbing trip, Climb Nashville offers those too. Before you climb, check out Team Green’s Rock Climbing Checklist to make sure you have everything you need!

Until then, we look forward to seeing you indoors next Tuesday!

– Keeley (Team Green’s Director)

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