Rock climbing


Civis Illustris
I'm trying to find appropriate terms for rock climbing. It's a relatively new sport that has only reached its modern form in the last couple of decades and so it's not likely to have many Latin terms for it. So far, I've found the terms montium ascensor and oribates (or oribata, -ae) from the Greek ὀρειβάτης, literally mountain-ranging. Vicipaedia uses this word for Edward Hillary.

A rock climber (who is quite different from a mountain climber, or a mountaineer) is given as petrobata, -ae.

But I need a verb for climbing, for use in instances like 'I'm going climbing tomorrrow'. Greek already has a rare verb from which the Latin is derived (πετροβατέω - I climb rocks). But Latin can't use the Greek verb here of course. I'm left with a term for the climber, but not a verb for what he/she does...

I could use scando and ascendo of course, but I was thinking that it'd be better to mirror the Greek and form a compound Latin verb, from which I can form a noun for rock climbing. Trouble is, I don't know how to make a Latin verb. I'd really appreciate any help you could spare on this.


Civis Illustris
Re: Help with neologism

I don't see any problems with a compositum of scandere, too (or even the simplex).


Civis Illustris
Re: Help with neologism: rock climbing

Scandere specifically means to climb a steep height, with exertion, and has the idea that both hands and feet are being used. so no new word is needed.
Cautes are crags, so:
scandere cautes
scandere rupes
would do the trick.


New Member
Re: Help with neologism: rock climbing

ascendō is from ad (“[up] to”) + scandō (“climb”)
descendo is from des ("down") + scando
so perhaps saxscando, saxscandere from the stem of saxum "wall of rock" + scandō “climb, mount”


Civis Illustris
Re: Help with neologism: rock climbing

However, Latin is not Greek, so making new words like this in Greek might be acceptable, in Latin, compounds formed this way, if I am not mistaken, are rarely formed. The Latin verb as it stands is perfectly adequate to the task.


Staff member
Re: Help with neologism: rock climbing

We have adjectives saxifer, saxificus, saxifragus, and saxigenus -- "rock-bearing, rock-becoming, rock-breaking, and rock-born."
Also the noun saxiperium...."bag (boot?) of rocks."

There are no verbs that I can verbs spring to mind composed of a noun and another verb....


Civis Illustris
Montium ascensor and montium ascenstrix are probably best.

You could coin a new word for "rock climbing," but it would have to be a denominative verb. Noun stems really don't connect directly onto verb stems (this is different from implied syntactic compounds like animadvertere).


  • Saxum and ascendere making saxascenda, "rock climber" (like scriba from scribere or honoripeta from honor and petere);

  • Saxascenda making saxascendo -are, "rock climbing."


Civis Illustris
Awesome Diaphanus! Thanks. Do you know how I could make a verbal noun out of saxascendo?

Rufus Coppertop

New Member
If you add the suffix tor/sor for masc or trix for feminine to the supine stem, you create an agentive noun in the third declension.

ascensum is the supine stem here, so ascensor can mean "climber" with ascensoris as the genitive, ascensorem as the accusative et c.

Manus Correctrix

I don’t like all this jamming of words together in Latin.

The Græcisms seemed much better.

Petrobata (m./f.) — rock-climber
Petrobatica [ars] (f.) — rock-climbing
Petrobaticus/-a/-um (adj.) — related to rock-climbing
Petrobaticam facere (v.) — to practise rock-climbing
Scandere/ascendere (vt./v.i.) — to [rock-]climb (once the context has been established via use of the other terms)