Eek! I have no vocabulary!
This weekend I traveled to El Chorro (“the Spurt”) in southern Spain to do some rock climbing. Two days before I went, I realized that I knew very little Spanish climbing vocabulary. Communication between climbing partners is important, and often you are 30 meters away from your partner, so you can’t be explaining the idea with gestures or flipping through a dictionary. I fired off an email to a former housemate, who is a climber and used to live in Cuba and Chile. He kindly replied with some translations, which you can see below. In the end, I climbed with some English people, so the Spanish wasn’t necessary. Still, I’m happy to have the expressions. Some are the same (bouldering), while others are recognizable from English but different (You’re on belay = Te aseguro ≈ I secure you; Give me slack = Dame cuerdo ≈ Give me cord).
Some key expressions
Estoy buscando un compañero de escalada.
Ir de primero / escalar de primero
Te aseguro / te doy seguridad
Coge cuerda / tensame