Does anyone know if there's a technical term for the rope/method which climbers / mountaineers use to tie themselves together (i.e. climbers tie in, then if one falls the others self-arrest to prevent being pulled off / stop the faller from falling further than the rope allows).

  • 1
    Everything I've seen in the last five minutes seems to suggest it's called rope. Curious to see if someone comes up with something here.
    – SocioMatt
    Oct 2, 2012 at 17:05

2 Answers 2


Wikipedia has an article about rock-climbing gear that answers this (a search for mountaineering gear also leads to the link). The important part is here:

Ropes used for climbing can be divided into two classes: dynamic ropes and low elongation ropes (sometimes called "static" ropes). Dynamic ropes are designed to absorb the energy of a falling climber, and are usually used as Belaying ropes. When a climber falls, the rope stretches, reducing the maximum force experienced by the climber, their belayer, and equipment. Low elongation ropes stretch much less, and are usually used in anchoring systems. They are also used for abseiling (rappeling) and as fixed ropes climbed with ascenders.

The article also provides a link to the Wikipedia entry on rope, with a specific section on rock-climbing ropes, which basically says the same thing.

In all of this, along with a plethora of other sites, I cannot find a technical name for rope used in mountaineering or rock-climbing, although it appears sometimes "belaying rope" is used. The closest I have found are dynamic and static ropes. To reiterate, dynamic ropes are more elastic and exert less force on a falling climber; static ropes are used in anchoring systems because they have much less stretch.

The method for anchoring a climber is called belaying, which is a technique to limit the distance a climber may fall by having a partner anchor them with a rope. Wikipedia says:

Belaying refers to a variety of techniques used in climbing to exert friction on a climbing rope so that a falling climber does not fall very far. A climbing partner typically applies the friction at the other end of the rope whenever the climber is not moving, removing the friction from the rope whenever the climber needs more rope in order to be able to continue climbing.

In a technique where multiple climbers are tethered together in less steep climbs, the method is a combination of self-arrest and crevasse rescue:

Teams of two to five climbers tie into a rope equally spaced. If a climber begins to fall the other members of the team perform a self-arrest to stop the fall. The other members of the team enact a crevasse rescue to pull the fallen climber from the crevasse.


In Italian there is the term "Catena di assicurazione" that I can literally translate in "Belaying chain" where "chain" does not mean "a series of linked metal rings"1 but it means "a sequence of items", the items are:

  1. Climber
  2. Climbing harness
  3. Rope (and knots)
  4. Anchor(s)
  5. Belay device
  6. Quickdraw(s)
  7. Carabiners

One of the the key of this model is to pay attention to the mixing of "rigid" item (like for example a metal made one) with "elastic" item like the so called "dynamic ropes".

1A chain can be indeed used as a part of an anchor.

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