In collaboration with outdoor adventure experience site 57Hours, a recent SNEWS survey asked readers just one question: Have you ever encountered a [climbing] route name that you consider to be racist, sexist, discriminatory, or otherwise offensive?
91 percent of the voters responded with “yes, several times.” Only 4 percent answered “no, and I wasn’t aware of the problem.”
57Hours, which works with mountain and climbing guides to organize adventures, put the same question to their guides, and 84 percent responded that they had, at least once, encountered an offensive climbing route name.
We’ll not republish some of the most offensive here, but suffice it to say, if you aren’t a climber and therefore unfamiliar with the, um, frat boy, or really, middle school level of vulgarity that many climbing route names us, there a plenty of route names that would make the most well-versed in curses squirm. Some because of their sexual crudeness, others because of racial epithets.
57Hours’ survey went a bit further and included mountain bike trail names too, with more probing questions.
43 percent of respondents said they feel that women and BIPOC climbers and bikers could be deterred from participating in outdoor activities because of offensive route names. 75 percent said those names should be changed.
To examine the survey results in greater detail, head to 57Hours.
Photo: Fionn Claydon