Definition of arête in US English:



  • A sharp mountain ridge.

    • ‘The left side of the arete has excellent delicate climbing.’
    • ‘When I caught up with Bryan, he was gingerly backstepping along a knife-edge arête.’
    • ‘I stayed on the arête, reaching its top by daybreak.’
    • ‘I came of age on John Muir's trail, climbing sharp arêtes, domed cliffs and the U-shaped valleys between.’
    • ‘Mature alpine landscapes exhibit many of the ‘classic’ features of glaciation, including troughs, hanging valleys, truncated spurs, and narrow arêtes rising to narrow rock peaks.’
    • ‘We will be more or less following the edge of the arête to the top, we are on the less than vertical side and because the other side of the arête is way overhung we will have major air below us all the way to the top.’
    • ‘The first is a rope climb down into a pool which culminates in a nasty little overhang; this is followed immediately by a superbly rigged rope-climb down an arête; and the third is a three metre climb.’
    • ‘To the south are tremendous views of the Grey Corries and the great bulk of Ben Nevis, showing its best side, the north-facing Corrie Leis with the arête of Carn Mor Dearg on its eastern side.’
    • ‘Frank puzzled over the moves on the arête as well but, without the threat of crashing onto the edges below, he was less hesitant than I had been.’
    • ‘One of the routes mentioned has quite an exposed move round an arete high up which wouldn't suit every beginner.’


Early 19th century: from French, from Latin arista ‘ear of corn, fish bone, spine’.