Challenge Course Terms


Episode 78: Join the High 5 training team for an educational discussion about challenge course terminology.  Words and the framing of terms have a direct impact on the way participants experience the challenge course. After years of teaching and training participants on challenge courses, our team has arrived at some impactful conclusions to…

  • Help bolster your knowledge
  • Enhance safety and learning on your course
  • Inspire the “thinking practitioner” mindset for all

In a round-robin format, podcast host Phil poses multiple questions to the team to get their input on various challenge course terms they hear often in the field. Some terms they find confusing and misleading.  While other terms they note to be psychologically uninviting for participants.  In rare cases, they find terms verging on unprofessional. From terms related to gear such as knots and carabiners to terms that help frame activities, the team covers a lot of ground.

List of questions covered in this episode:

  1. Which term is the most appropriate, backup knot or safety knot and why? What are the pros and cons of each term and is there an alternative term to use that is more descriptive?
  2. What’s the difference between the terms double stage locking, auto-locking, super safe locking, triple stage locking carabiners? What should a practitioner know about the different stages of locking carabiners?
  3. Is it best to use the term “falling” or “lowering” with participants when they begin their descent from an element while on belay?
  4. Are there some abbreviations for gear that you should think twice about using?
  5. Is it helpful to teach knot tying with stories or to use descriptive terminologies such as loop, bight, working end, and standing end?
  6. What is the appropriate term for a harness, a sit harness, or a seat harness?
  7. Do you prefer to teach belay skills using the PBUS (Pull. Break, Under, Slide) technique or the V to the knee 1-2-3?

References mentioned in this episode:

Vertical Playpen Podcast Sponsor

This VPP episode is sponsored by Atomik Climbing Holds. To find out more about their products, and the climbing holds we use at High 5, click here.