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MOUNTAINEERING TERMINOLOGY | Glossary n. 4

Free climbing - climbing style that features the progression of the climber on the wall using only parts of the body, normally hands and feet (fitting specific climbing shoes) and sometimes even the whole body. This style does not exclude the use of equipment such as ropes, harness, nuts and friends, but they are only used for safety, to avoid injuries in the event of a fall. There are different types of free climbing, the best known and practiced is the redpoint, that is the climbing of a route after a certain number of attempts to trace the best sequence of movements.

Bivouac - in classical terminology, it is a camp structured to spend the night outdoor while on the alpine arch indicates an unguarded structure, which does not offer the typical services of huts but normally remains open all year, which serves as a shelter for mountaineers, especially at high altitude. A particular type of bivouac is the one built by the climber in the absence of ledges or resting points on the wall: then a particular hammock (portaledge) is fixed to the wall allowing to rest and sometimes to spend the night.

Bouldering - a particular discipline of climbing, which consists of the progression on boulders (huge masses or stones), born in the mid-seventies. It consists of climbing for a few meters, on natural or artificial boulders, to solve sequences of a few movements called the problem. The resolution of the problem is the very objective of bouldering. Usually, the climbing phase takes place in free style, with large specific mattresses on the ground that protect against impacts in the event of a fall.

Ledge - point of a rocky wall that is configured as a particular protusion, usually flat, that does not follow the vertical profile of the rock. They are used in particular for trails (on moderate slopes) and as resting point during the climbing (on overhanging walls).

Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS) - this is a particular pathology caused by the non-adaptation of the organism to the change in altitude. It generally arises above 2500 meters of altitude, and is due to the lack of oxygen in the air, a consequence of the lower atmospheric pressure (inversely proportional to the altitude). The symptoms are varied and include exhaustion, headache, nausea, vomiting, joint pain, insomnia and others. In severe cases, altitude sickness can lead to the formation of pulmonary or cerebral edema, potentially fatal if not treated in time. It is possible to reduce the risk of the occurrence of these pathologies by following an acclimatization program and reducing speed and pace of the ascent.

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