Printed from: http://braemoor.co.uk/crolles/vocab.shtml on 24 Jul 2024
Copyright: © 1998 - 2024 John Gardner

Réseau de la Dent de Crolles, Chartreuse

French Caving Terms

This is a list of French terms often found in route guides, and on rigging topos and surveys, together with their translation. Don't forget that words also take meaning from the context in which they are used. I would like to thank Gilbert Bohec and Dagobert L'Ecluse for looking over the list, and for their comments and suggestions, and Martin Barnicott for his suggestions. Other comments are also welcome.

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A
ABOn a rigging topo, indicates an anchor requiring an abalakov hook
AboutissantLeading
AccèdeReaches, accesses
accèsAccess to
AccrocheurGrabby, catchy
Actif, activeActive - with flowing water
AFOn a rigging topo, indicates a drilled anchor
AffluentInlet
AgrèsRigging e.g. ropes, ladders
AllongéFlat-out, as in crawling
AllureAppearance
AmarrageAnchor point
Amarrage abalakov (AB)Abalakov anchor
Amarrage forée (AF)Drilled anchor
Amarrage naturel (AN)Natural anchor point (e.g. chock stone)
AmontUpstream, uphill
ANOn a rigging topo, indicates a natural anchor point (e.g. chock stone)
AncrageAnchor (for rigging)
Anneau de cordeRope belay loop
ArroséeWatered (as in wet pitch!)
ArgileClay
ArgileuxClayey
Au dessousBelow, beneath
Au dessusAbove, overhead
AvalDownstream, downhill
B
Baïonnette (en)One or more sharp bends in a passage – committing in a small passage
balisebeacon, waymark, taped
Bas(se)Low
bassin d'alimentationDrainage basin
BaumeDialect name for a cave
BéquetNatural belay
BiefCanal, pool
BitoniauNatural belay
Bloc coincéJammed block
BoueMud
BoueuseMuddy
BoucleLoop, circuit
BoyauCrawl, gut, low tube
BrocheResin anchor
C
COn a rigging topo, rope (as in C35)
CaillouxStones, pebbles
CaillouteuxStoney
CalcaireLimestone
CanotDinghy
CarrefourCrossroad or junction
CascadeWaterfall
CDS nComité Départemental de Spéléologie, where n is the department number
ChatièreA small awkward passage, or squeeze (literally, cat flap)
CheminéeA rising shaft, generally not very wide
Choux-fleursCauliflower-type deposit on walls – tends to be abrasive
ClocheUsed to describe bell-shaped shafts, or air-bells in sumps
Coincé(e)Jammed, trapped, stuck
CoincerTo jam (as in pull-back rope)
CollecteurStreamway (not necessarily active) ('Grand Collecteur' = 'master cave')
ColmatéClogged, choked
ColmatageClogging
ColorationDye test
ConcrétionStalagamitic formations
Conduite forcéePhreatic passage
ContrebasBelow
Corde (C)Rope
Corde d'assuranceLifeline
CordeletteCord (typically 6mm) or sling, typically used for belaying and deviations
Couche stalagmitiqueFlowstone
CornicheLedge
CoupeCross section (survey)
Coupe développéeExtended cross section (survey)
Coups de gougeFlow markings
CouléeFlowstone
Coulée barrageFlowstone obstacle
Courant d’airCurrent of air, draught
CPOn a rigging topo, use previous rope (corde Précédente)
CreusementDig
CrueFlood
D
DénivellementVertical development (from highest to lowest points in a cave)
DéveloppementLength
DiaclasePassage associated with a vertical joint or fissure
DésobstructionThe clearance of an obstacle in the passage
DésobstruéeExcavated, cleared (une entrée désobstruée)
DolineShakehole
dynOn a rigging topo, Dyneema
DynamiteBlasted
E
EOn a survey, indicates a climb up
EauWater
EboulisRocks/boulder choke
ÉchelleLadder
ÉcoulementFlow, as in water
ÉcroulementCollapse
EffondrementCollapse
EmprunterTake, as in route
EquiperTo rig (pitch, traverse line, etc.)
En arrièreBehind
En faceFacing, in front
EnjambantStraddling
EntréeEntrance
EntrecoupéeInterspersed
EscaladeClimb
ÉtiageLow water
ÉtroiteTight
ÉtroitureA narrow but passable passage
ExsurgenceResurgence
ÉventOverflow passage, or fossil overflow passage
F
FaibleSmall (as in passage)
FailleFault
FalaiseCliff
faux-plancherFalse floor
Fiche d’équipmentTackle list
Fils de ferTraverse cables
FistuleusesStraw stalactites
FondBottom
ForêtForest
FossileFossil (used to describe passages)
Fractionement / fracRebelay
FrottementRub point (ropes)
G
GalerieNormally a commodious passage wider than it is high
GenouillèresKnee pads
Glissant(e)Slippery
GouffrePothole (usually starts vertical)
GrotteCave (usually starts horizontally)
GraviersGravel
H
HumideDamp
I
InférieurLower ('galerie inférieur' = 'lower passage')
ItinéraireRoute
J
JetDrop (as in pitch)
Joint de stratificationBedding between two layers of rock, bedding plane
JonctionJunction
L
LacLake
LaminoirBedding plane passage
LapiazLimestone pavement
LibreFree - call used to indicate 'Rope free' when off a rope
LisseSmooth, holdless
LongeCows tails
LucarneRock window
M
Main courante (MC)Hand line, traverse line
Mât d’escaladeMaypole, climbing pole
MarmiteDeep circular pool (usually in a stream passage)
MCOn a rigging topo, indicates a hand line, traverse line
MéandreMeandering passage often requiring traversing
Mène, menerLeads, to lead
MousquifCarabiner
MousquetonCarabiner
N
NoeudKnot
O
OrageThunderstorm
OppositionTraversing, typically in meanders
P
POn a survey indicates a pitch, with depth
PalierLanding, stance
ParcoursJourney, route
ParoiWall
ParpaingA large precariously poised boulder
PendulePendulum ('pendule à -10m' = pendulum at -10m)
Perd dansDisappears into
Perte d'eauLoss of water, water sinks
Peu deFew
PlafondCeiling / roof
Plan d’eauWater table
PlancherFloor
PlaquetteHanger
PlongeurDiver
PontonnièreChest high waders with shoulder straps
PorcheLarge entrance
ProfondeurDepth
ProlongationExtension
PuitsPitch
PouliePulley
PurgerTo clear debris from pitches
Q
QueuterPinch out, become too small to progress
Quatre pattesOn all fours (crawling)
R
ROn a survey indicates climb down, with depth
RampeSteep slope
RaideSteep / bold
RamperTo crawl
Ras du solGround / floor level
RappelAbseil
RelaisA place on a pitch where it is convenient to rebelay – e.g. ledge
ReliéeConnected, joined, linked
RemonterClimb back up to
RemontantUp ('galerie remontant' = 'ascending gallery')
RemplissageBlockage fill in fossil phreatic passages
RessautClimb (generally downwards) - may require equipping
RéseauCave system
RognonsChert nodules
RuisseletSmall stream
S
SOn a rigging topo, indicates a spit anchor
SableSand
SablonneuxSandy
SalleChamber
Sapins d'argileSediment towers (mud towers etc.)
SangleNylon sling
ShuntBypass (alternate passage)
SilexFlint nodule
SiphonSump
SkifCarabiner
SolGround, floor
SourceSprint / resurgence
Sousunder
SouterrainUnderground
SpéléoCaving, caver
Spit (S)Bolt
StrateStratum - layer of continuous homogeneous sedimentary rock
SupérieurUpper ('galerie supérieure' = 'Upper passage' or 'passage above')
SurcreuséOver-deepened (associated with a trench in the passage)
SurcreusementOver-deepening (associated with a trench in the passage)
SurplombOverhang
SurplombantOverhanging, overlooking
T
TerreuseEarthy
TalwegThalweg. The line of a valley floor - typically used for dry valleys
TobogganSlide or chute, as in steep passage, often slippery
Topo(graphie)Survey
TraverséeTraverse through a system, through trip
TrémieBoulder choke
TreuilWinch
TronçonSection (as in section of a cave)
Trou souffleurDraughting hole / blowhole
TuyauTube, passage with a circular cross section
V
Vagues d’érosionFlow markings
VasqueBasin, pool
VirageBend
VireLedge
VoûteArch (shape of passage roof)
Voûte mouillante / rasanteFree-dive, or duck