A Fair Dinkum Guide to Australian Climbing Terminology

Hurts Arapiles

Australians have made relatively short work of bastardising the English language, and whilst our forebears from Old Blighty might be able to comprehend our slurred utterances, citizens of other nations often find the task difficult. Put simply, Australians should probably come with subtitles.

The climbing community has contributed to this problem in its own particular way, having created novel turns of phrase which would baffle a local, never mind an international guest. For the sake of cordial international climbing relationships, I present this extremely concise and entirely factual glossary of Australian Climbing Terminology.

A command given when the leader has clipped into the anchor with a personal fall arrest device such as a sling, daisy chain or PAS. Equivalent to the American command “In Direct”.

Cheers mate, I’m safe.”

Abseil or Abseiling
The technique of descending rope/s using a friction device. Germanic in origin, literally meaning “down rope”. Also known as “Rappelling”.

“Is it a walk-off or do we have to abseil the whole bloody thing?”

A hex-headed machine bolt used for protection on many older sport climbs. No fixed hanger, so BYO bolt plates.

“Fuck, I hate carrots.”

A chalk bag, so named for it’s obvious pouch-like appearance.

“Strewth! I’ve left me marsupial at home and it’s 45 degrees in the shade!”

Bob Hawke
Rhyming slang for chalk.

“Can I pinch some Bob Hawke? My marsupial is empty.”

Harry Holt
Rhyming slang for bolt.

“Mind giving me a spot before I clip the first Harry Holt? It’s a bloody carrot.”

Tie me kangaroo down
To build an anchor, usually with traditional gear.

“Hopefully just over that bulge I can find a ledge to tie me kangaroo down.”

Lara Bingle
A key hold, often located at the crux, which is exceptionally difficult to locate.

“Where the bloody hell is the Lara Bingle?!”

An onsight.

“Did you hear that Alex bradmanned a 27 the other day?!”

A flash.

“Well, it was only because I saw where you fell that I was able to bradbury it.”

Brown Snake
Rhyming slang for flake.

“Just layback off that brown snake.”

**CAUTION** If used in the same sentence as “flake”, you should assume reference to an actual Brown Snake.

“Fuck me! There’s a brown snake behind that flake!”

Alf Stewart
A person (or persons) guilty of retrobolting, so named because anyone who partakes of this dubious pursuit is a “flaming galah”.

“Better charge up the Makita! Some cheeky Alf Stewart has put 6 new bolts in the Caves Route!”

Smashed Avo
A trad rack.

“You’d be able to afford a home loan deposit if you didn’t spend so much money on your smashed avo.”

A barndoor.

“Yeah, it’s a bastard of a move. Every time I try it, I do a barnesy.”

When you repeatedly announce to your belayer that you are about to fall, but you don’t.

“Mate, you must have said “falling” at least 4 times on that pitch. I’ve never seen anyone farnesy that many times and still tie his kangaroo down!”

Sydney Property Market
Sandbagged. Horrendously overvalued.

“That can’t be a 13! It’s harder than paying the mortgage for a three-bedroom house in the Sydney property market!”

Bunnings Snag
A classic, something you really must do if you’re in the area.

“Oath! Watchtower Crack is an all-time bunnings snag.”

Dingo ate your baby
A piece of gear that your second is unable to retrieve and will therefore need to be abandoned.

“Sorry mate, that red camalot is welded. I think the dingo ate your baby.”

Ned Kelly
Top Roping. Legend has it that Mr Kelly did a spot of top roping in Melbourne Gaol toward the end of his career.

“I don’t think I want to do it on lead, but I reckon I could Ned Kelly it.”

Spill Motion
A very, very hard route. Just like our Prime Ministers, you’ll find yourself dropping off quite regularly.

“Yeah, The Janicepts is pretty tough, but Echo Crack is a bloody spill motion!”

If I’ve missed any important Australian climbing terms, feel free to contribute to this list in the comments.

Ryan Siacci, Esq.
April 2019

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