29 votes
Accepted

What is "Isolation" and "Prominence" in mountain terms?

Isolation and prominence are the two key criteria to classify a peak as an independent mountain. To understand the meaning I like the visualization from the German Wiki where "Dominanz" means ...
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  • 12.1k
27 votes

What is the difference between a Canoe and a Kayak?

The general answer is: A canoe is a boat designed or refitted to be paddled with a one sided paddle, usually while sitting on either a raised bench or one or both of your knees. A kayak is a boat ...
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  • 1,893
24 votes
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What do the climbing terms "Redpoint", "Pinkpoint", "Flash" and "Onsight" mean?

The two terms specifically refer to the finer aesthetics of Lead Climbing, in which a climber will either create intermediate anchors using gear (referred to as traditional climbing), or will use the ...
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  • 2,702
24 votes
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What is the difference between a Pass and a Col?

Both words refer to the same topography, which is a saddle point. The land goes up in two opposite directions, and down in the two other opposite directions. To me at least, a col is just this basic ...
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  • 21.3k
23 votes
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What's the difference between frontcountry camping and backcountry camping?

Front country is a rarely used term; it would only be in contrast to backcountry. Backcountry camping means that you are not near the road or in a developed area. Typically sites can only be reached ...
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  • 11.7k
20 votes

What do you call a small backpack? (so I can search for it)

You can find smaller backpacks called daypacks but regarding the actual activity they are mostly around 25-35 litre. Smaller packs are often used for biking, trailrunning and as climbing backpack. The ...
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  • 12.1k
20 votes
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Where does the name Deadman come from in mountaineering gear?

imsodin's explanation (it's a heavy object you bury in the ground, like a dead body) seems very plausible. Just to add some history to it, here's the earliest use of the term listed in the Oxford ...
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  • 3,692
20 votes
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What's the difference between a fjord and a fjard?

I think Wikipedia article on Fjard has a very good explanation: Although fjards and fjords are similar in that they are a glacially-formed topography, they still differ in some key ways. Fjords are ...
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20 votes

Is the correct term Canada Goose or Canadian Goose?

According to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, the name is Canada Goose. The big, black-necked Canada Goose with its signature white chinstrap mark is a familiar and widespread bird of fields and ...
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  • 22.4k
19 votes

What is the difference between a Pass and a Col?

Pass and col are synonymous. Col is French whereas the word pass has entered the Germanic languages (German word is Pass). The word col entered English usage because of anglophone mountaineers in ...
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  • 26.1k
19 votes

What is a 'Whitecap' and why should I be concerned about boating in them?

White caps are named for the white caps at the top of waves. White caps are sign that the wind is picking up and that the weather conditions are getting worse and look like this at low wind levels. ...
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18 votes
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Is there a difference between a hiking trail and a backpacking trail, including if it's the same piece of land?

While there's a lot of overlap, a trail that can't possibly lead to anywhere to stay the night is unlikely to be called a backpacking trail, as backpacking implies multi-day trips carrying sleep gear ...
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  • 23.2k
18 votes

Is there a difference between a hiking trail and a backpacking trail, including if it's the same piece of land?

Hiking is a superset of backpacking. A backpacking trail can be used for hiking, since that's how you move along the trail while backpacking too. Any trail specifically stated to support backpacking ...
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  • 21.3k
17 votes

What do you call the criss-crossed elastic strap on this Northface backpack?

According to the features list for The North Face Men's Borealis Pack, that is called a: Front elastic bungee for external storage
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  • 8,620
17 votes
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Difference between a "path" and a "footpath"?

A path indication on the map means that when the mapper mapped it there was physically a path on the ground. It gives no indication as to who is or is not allowed to use that path. The brown ...
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17 votes

What is the difference between back country camping and front country camping?

Front country is when you go camping in an established campground that is usually reached by car. While backcountry camping is when you go camping in the backcountry getting to the non established ...
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17 votes
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What does it mean for a caliber to be flat shooting?

Bullets follow a parabolic arc as seen below, Image Source As you can see the yellow line is a bullet fired from a longer barrel which results in a higher velocity and thus less drop over distance. ...
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16 votes

What do you call the criss-crossed elastic strap on this Northface backpack?

That's simply elastic cord threaded through tie out loops on your bag. It's used to lash everything that can't fit inside your bag (extra layers/jacket), things that you don't want inside your bag (...
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  • 53.1k
16 votes

What's the difference between an oar and a paddle?

According to Wikipedia, a paddle is held by the person and an oar is connected to the boat in some manner, such as a rowlock.
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16 votes
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What's the difference between an oar and a paddle?

There are a few fundamental differences between oars and paddles. One main difference is the position of the user relative to the direction in which the vessel is moving. Oars are used to propel the ...
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16 votes
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What is a nose-hooked carabiner and why is it dangerous?

To put it simply, it is when the nose of the carabiner gets hooked onto something, which reduces its strength dramatically. This happens by preventing the carabiner gate from closing and keeping it in ...
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15 votes
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Is there a difference between Trail and Fell running?

I think the main difference is probably in British vs American (/rest of the world) English. Fell is a particularly British term referring to areas such as the Lake district that does not really have ...
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  • 7,069
15 votes

Terms for different parts of a mountain

I have come-up with a hand-run sketch, may or may not be accurate. But I have tried to translate the local terms we use, and I have pick-up the terms in English that came closest in terms of meaning. ...
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  • 31.5k
15 votes
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Does "Sport Climbing" refer to bolted climbing outdoors only or both indoors and outdoors

You (arguably) are right. I would even approach it the other way around: Should there be another description for outdoor lead climbing on bolted routes. "Proof": Climbing on artificial holds has ...
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  • 21.5k
14 votes

Where does the name Deadman come from in mountaineering gear?

The DMM device you linked to is as far as I know the only product that has this name officially, but a dead man anchor is a general term for what is in mountaineering also called a t-slot anchor. In ...
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  • 21.5k
14 votes

What is the difference between back country camping and front country camping?

Charlie has given you an excellent summary of the difference between the two, focused on the difference in exertion and time to reach them, and the amenities to be found at each. There is another ...
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  • 22.4k
13 votes
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What are opposite and opposed carabiners?

This is what a diagram of opposite and opposed carabiners looks like. The gates are on opposite sides and form a X when laid over the top of each other. The purpose of doing this is to make it ...
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13 votes
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What determines whether the young of a cat is called a kitten or a cub?

It depends on whether the cat is a member of the Panthera (cubs) or Felinae (kittens). This Panthera is the big cats, The British taxonomist Pocock revised the classification of this genus in ...
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13 votes

What is a 'Whitecap' and why should I be concerned about boating in them?

As well stated in another answer, whitecaps (the white tips of waves) are a visual indicator of local wind speed over the water. Just wanted to add emphasis that whitecaps, as an indicator of wind, ...
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  • 3,466
12 votes
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What is the warning call for falling rocks in your area?

North America English Canada / United States "ROCK!" (pronounced /rɒk/) French Canada "ROCHE!" (pronounced /ʁɔʃ/) Europe European Alps "CAILLOU !" (pronounced /ka.ju/...

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