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Route naming etiquette


Original Post
zibircut · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Mar 2013 · Points: 10

Folks, question. If an old route that has had just top rope bolts, and you have bolted it up for lead, is it ok to name it?

Justin Barrett · · Russellville, AR · Joined Mar 2016 · Points: 85

I'm ignoring the principles of sending ethics and FA's, I don't know enough to say if bolting this route was OK or not. This kind of argument falls under the terms of plagiarism in a way. Remember, you can't claim something else as your own.

But, I would say no if the route originally had a name. If you did your research and it came up that there was no official name or route, just two random anchors, then I'd say sure?

zibircut · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Mar 2013 · Points: 10

The top anchors were installed over ten years ago, and no information is forthcoming from the original route setter. What is a reasonable time to wait for the original route setter?

I understand this is a grey area, as the work of the subsequent person who has now created a lead line, also has influenced the nature of and flavour of the climb.

rain cloud · · the abyss (kansas) · Joined Aug 2013 · Points: 195

Just call it unknown#1 etc. Move on. Are you writing a guidebook or something?

Justin Barrett · · Russellville, AR · Joined Mar 2016 · Points: 85

To Wait? I mean if you tried every option to try, find, and contact the person who set it, and that came up with nothing, then I'd say you're good.

I'd just make a note in the description of the route about the little history before you bolted it.

Jon Nelson · · Bellingham, WA · Joined Sep 2011 · Points: 4,675

If it has been top roped, then it probably already has a name.

And if it is an "old route", as you said, it sounds like it has been climbed and named. The official name should be that which it was originally given.

If it was originally climbed via different holds, or a significantly different style, then the new way can be called a variation and named as such.

s.price · · PS,CO · Joined Dec 2010 · Points: 1,348

Tough to answer. If it had already been named then no. The only reason you could have to justify a new name would be ego. And that is not a good reason.

If your itchin to name a route find your own line, put the work in and call it what you will.

At my backyard crag Piedra Canyon there were a few lines with anchors at the top but not bolted or doable with gear when we started developing there. I spent quite a bit of time tracking down who had placed the anchors and getting their opinion on equipping the routes and naming them. One has the original name Southern Cross. The few others the person did not care or could not be found.

Piedra is sort of a backwater climbing area without much history passed on until MP.

Where are you doing this? Respect the history of the area.

Marc801 C · · Sandy, Utah · Joined Feb 2014 · Points: 65

Yet again, if you feel you need to ask on the net........

zibircut · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Mar 2013 · Points: 10

Appreciate your responses. Helps form an evolved perspective. Admittedly some of it is some frustration that the original top rope route setters aren't forthcoming, and probably some (subconscious) ego. Not that we don't have opportunities to create new lines and routes.

Yes, we are developing Bangalore, India. It has seen 60 plus new routes and 100 plus pitchesin last two years. And we are hoping to complete the guidebook soon. Very little on mountain project at this time, but soon. Right now most route data is either stored at Bamgalore Climbers Facebook group page or Bangalore Climbing Initiatives' Facebook page.

zibircut · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Mar 2013 · Points: 10
Marc801 wrote:Yet again, if you feel you need to ask on the net........
Know perfectly what you mean!
David Gibbs · · Ottawa, ON · Joined Aug 2010 · Points: 6

Traditions on this vary.

There are definitely historical instances of climbs that were first done on aid, later being re-named after the first free ascent.

But, generally, if a climb has an established name, then it is best to leave it with that established name.

If it doesn't, then it may be reasonable to give that climb a name.

Ted Pinson · · Chicago, IL · Joined Jul 2014 · Points: 190

On the topic: what if a route is unnamed but described in a guidebook. Do you leave it as "route #62"?

Marc801 C · · Sandy, Utah · Joined Feb 2014 · Points: 65
Ted Pinson wrote:On the topic: what if a route is unnamed but described in a guidebook. Do you leave it as "route #62"?
Pretty much.
Tradgic Yogurt · · Unknown Hometown · Joined May 2016 · Points: 55

I'm really surprised the response so far. Consulting with other people about points of etiquette before acting is quite the opposite of an exercise in ego.

So far, as I understand the OP,

  • The TR FA party was consulted and declined to give a name.
  • The FFA party was consulted and declined to give a name.
  • There are a lot of poorly documented routes and recent development in the area.

This means that functionally the routes don't have names. With at least 60 routes around, naming them "Unknown #1", "Unknown #2", ..., "Unknown #N+1" is unlikely to result in a useful guide. I'd say it's perfectly acceptable for the OP to name them, even if the name changes later (look at Black Gold in Clear Creek Canyon, which name is not the original).

For the sake of diplomacy, perhaps the OP could suggest a possible name to the FA and the FFA parties ("For All Intents and Porpoises" ? ). If the FA and the FFA parties still decline to assign a name, it's open season for the OP.
kenr · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Oct 2010 · Points: 11,633

What's the harm in a route having two names?
So make it public with your chosen name, and decide later what to do if some second older name emerges.

Lots of climbs in Europe have multiple names.

I can think of streets in the U.S. which have multiple names -- even for the same block of the same street. Indeed both names are posted on the official sign at each end of the block.

Anyway it's just a name.
The name of an inanimate climb, not a conscious human person.
. (Come to think of it, even real human persons can have more than name).

. (Not clear if a climb even qualifies as a "thing").

The climb does not know or care what its name is. Or how many names it has: one or two or zero.

The important thing is, Do people climb it?
Do they climb it again? or at least recommend it to other people?

Ken

Justin Barrett · · Russellville, AR · Joined Mar 2016 · Points: 85
kenr wrote: The name of an inanimate climb, not a conscious human person. . (Come to think of it, even real human persons can have more than name). . (Not clear if a climb even qualifies as a "thing"). Ken
You don't know what the climb identifies as! Far as you know, it could be sender-fluid. It may be a top rope today, but a sport climb tomorrow.

#triggered
Allen Sanderson · · Oootah · Joined Jul 2007 · Points: 1,135

Top rope routes that have a name and are subsequently lead are not renamed. Routes that have were previously aid routes that are later freed are often given a different name to distinguish between the aid and free variations. Example East Face of the Washington Column aka Astroman.

For the OP if the route has a name it stays. If not while those who established it have declined to give it a name and there were no other known leads (i.e. solo / trad) and you did the bolting as well as lead ascent then I would say name it and state to the affect of:

Foobar, previously an unnamed top rope establish by Donald Drumpt subsequently bolted and lead by Johnny Come Lately.

Edit to note Don's comments below. That due diligence should be done as well.

Don Morris · · Denver, CO · Joined Jun 2007 · Points: 1,228

Who says he led the first ascent? Could the first ascent have been trad with bolted anchors on top? Could the first ascent have been free solo with the first ascensionist realizing this will make a nice top rope route for those less inclined to solo? This is the second time I have read about a 'modern' climber who thinks they are first ascensionist material on someone else's line. They have no sense of history, and have a poor view of what men and women were capable of accomplishing in the past. Call the route unknown.

Mark E Dixon · · Sprezzatura, Someday · Joined Nov 2007 · Points: 549

Whatever you call the route in the guidebook is probably what most people will end up calling the route.

There is no "rule" about route names. I'm not even sure there is a uniform custom here in the US, much less one that applies worldwide.

If you treat the original route developers decently and as you would wish to be treated, then your conscience will be satisfied and they are more likely to share information about future routes and other areas they may have developed.

It's your book, so you get to decide how far you are willing to tolerate their lack of responsiveness.

Calling the routes "Unknown this and that" is a disservice to your readers.

Ryan-G Gittins · · San Diego · Joined Oct 2006 · Points: 30

If it's already been a top-roped why worry about naming it. Save you good names for your FA

Doug Hemken · · Madison, WI · Joined Oct 2004 · Points: 5,597

If you have done your due diligence, but it has a secret name, you can't be expected to call it by that secret name. Call it something other than "anonymous unnamed route #62."
If people later realize that it had a better name, they will use that name.

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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