Here is an example where someone climbing strictly on the ridge would encounter a vertical section:

enter image description here

What do you call this feature?

  • 2
    Pretty hard to tell from that perspective just how 'vertical' it is up close.
    – Jon Custer
    Sep 20, 2023 at 14:53
  • @JonCuster It starts at 60-70 deg., but the top 20 ft. is vertical with some overhang. I bypassed it to climber's left. Sep 22, 2023 at 2:23

2 Answers 2


I would call it a "step" just like you have done.

There is historical precedent for this, with the most famous one being the Hillary Step at 8,790 m (28,839 feet) on Mount Everest named after Sir Edmund Hillary, who, along with Tenzing Norgay were the first known people to climb it in their 1953 ascent of Everest.

  • 1
    The Hillary Step came to mind to me as well. From Into Thin Air it's not a trivial piece of work given the altitude. Sep 20, 2023 at 7:56

Features like this are also sometimes called a Gendarme

  • 4
    Wouldn't a Gendarme imply a pillar/pinnacle, rather than a step?
    – bob1
    Sep 21, 2023 at 1:22

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