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Chockstone Forum - General Discussion

General Climbing Discussion

Author
Origins of climbing lingo

ambyeok
25/10/2010
1:48:53 PM
Heading back from the crag I was thinking about the origin of the word "pitch". Initial guesses centered around the concept of 'pitching a tent', perhaps from early alpine style origins. Some googling reveals that a pitch is considered the length of a rope, but that seems like a newish concept. The earliest sense of the word was said to be "to drive a stake or pole into the ground". Perhaps this refers to a piton belay?

So the challenge to all you bomber pro wannabes is to give me a definitive, unarguable and 100% gospel of truth explanation of the origin of the climbing term "pitch".

ambyeok
25/10/2010
4:33:35 PM
Ok, this challenge is now open to non-bomber pro wannabes. Anyone bored enough to reply is now free to do so without recrimination.

gnaguts
25/10/2010
4:46:44 PM
pitch is for a pole driven into ice and snow, as this was the belay at the time.
the pole was the state of the art ice protection in the days gone by, when the rope was tied around the waist and the leader would plant the long staff into the snow and then sit/straddle the pole therefore gaining the purchase necessary to perform a waist belay.

many other terms come from a naval/sailing and boating background to belay means to tie/lash something to the deck of a ship to prevent it being swept overboard.

hit the deck, yard on a piece of pro, flake a rope etc.

hope this helps

ambyeok
25/10/2010
4:59:12 PM
All is solved. Thx.
prb
25/10/2010
5:06:45 PM
On 25/10/2010 ambyeok wrote:
>Ok, this challenge is now open to non-bomber pro wannabes.

There can't be many of those around.

I suspect our word came from its meaning "to fix firmly" or "to make secure", eg. you can pitch stones in mortar. Cricket wickets are actually "pitched" 22 yards apart. It may have been used originally in the Alps in the sense of setting up a belay, and evolved into the meaning of the noun and verb we use today.

MisterGribble
25/10/2010
5:13:00 PM
What's a belay?

ambyeok
25/10/2010
5:15:18 PM
A belay is what you set to avoid pitching off the mountain in the event your 2nd falls.

Edit: That doesnt make any sense whatsoever. Maybe I should shut up.

Edit: Maybe that does make sense. Sh*t, I dunno (0.o)
ET
25/10/2010
8:03:12 PM
On 25/10/2010 ambyeok wrote:
>A belay is what you set to avoid pitching off the mountain
>in the event your 2nd falls.

I think MrGribble was referring to Jammin's nautical terms... which if you wiki it gets you
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Belaying_pin
hargs
25/10/2010
8:21:51 PM
On 25/10/2010 ET wrote:
>I think MrGribble was referring to Jammin's nautical terms...

I dunno, I was thinking Mr Gribble was a boulderer.erer.

MisterGribble
25/10/2010
9:24:42 PM
Mr Gribble is a veteran of many a belay, oh yes, but what is the origin of t'word 'Belay'

It sounds French to me, a bit like abseil (!!!?)
Wendy
25/10/2010
9:47:38 PM
On 25/10/2010 MisterGribble wrote:
>Mr Gribble is a veteran of many a belay, oh yes, but what is the origin
>of t'word 'Belay'
>
>It sounds French to me, a bit like abseil (!!!?)

the french are "en relais" and they must pick up americanisms as much as we do, because one can "rappeler" or "fait un rappel"
hargs
25/10/2010
10:21:14 PM
Belay is Old English, I believe, literally "to lay", as in to lay something down. On ships, when you put a rope down it's best to "make it fast" -- same goes for climbing -- fast being short for steadfast, which comes from an old Germanic/Norse root meaning "firm."

(And my apologies, MisterGribble, dint mean nuttin by it.)

MisterGribble
26/10/2010
7:22:20 AM
On 25/10/2010 hargs wrote:
>
>(And my apologies, MisterGribble, dint mean nuttin by it.)

You can hold my rope, anytime!

Superstu
26/10/2010
7:36:40 AM
On 25/10/2010 MisterGribble wrote:
>It sounds French to me, a bit like abseil (!!!?)

Abseil is German. Ab is down, off. Seil, rope. Geddit? Simple teutonic logic.

So next time you are descending into the Grose with handholds and footholds flying everywhere, remember to mumble in your best Sergeant Shultz accent.... I know NOOZZINNK!
Karl Bromelow
26/10/2010
7:38:26 AM
This is an informative description of the origins of the word belay as a climbing term:

http://www.takeourword.com/TOW178/page2.html

ambyeok
26/10/2010
9:23:05 AM
On 25/10/2010 MisterGribble wrote:
>Mr Gribble is a veteran of many a belay

Quite right Mr Gribble. Twas not my intention to sully your good name Sir, just a trifle wordplay born of boredom and mischief.

MisterGribble
26/10/2010
10:04:52 AM
The Devil makes work for idle hands to do..

but you can still handle my hawser to make up for it....

There are 17 messages in this topic.

 

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