Discussion: Offensive Names on theCrag

  • Started: 8 months ago on Thu 25th Jun 2020

Public discussion This is a public discussion in Release forum.

started this discussion 8 months ago.

Offensive Names on theCrag

In recent weeks theCrag received a multitude of requests to change offensive climb and area names. As climbers we probably all have seen insensitive, hurtful, misogynistic, homophobic and transphobic, racist, sexist and other demeaning route and cliff names. There should be no room for this in our sport, or in our world.

However, it is also important to understand that theCrag as an information source is not responsible for the naming of cliffs or routes but reflects the choices made by those responsible (who this is might vary from country to country).

While theCrag's Code of Etiquette always foresaw the option to replace and hide offensive names, we rarely had to make use of it. Recent events and the subsequent discussions obviously brought the issue to our collective attention and also changed the level of sensitivity on the topic.

Please understand that we have no means to review all names and thus rely on the community to make us aware of offensive names.

Once this happens, theCrag applies the following procedures until further notice:

  1. If an offensive name is reported to us and we agree with the assessment, we will change the name of the route or area to "Sanitise review" and copy the offensive name into the name field for offensive names (the AKA name with the tag offensive).

  2. If the person responsible for the name (e.g. first ascensionist) proposes a name change to a non-offensive name, this name change will be applied and the old name kept in the offensive name field for historical reasons (note, the offensive name is NOT displayed).

  3. If we don't hear from the person responsible or the person responsible does not want to change the name, we respect any proposal made by a local authority like a regional advocacy group for a non-offensive name. If this is not happening, the name will remain "Sanitise review" until a new proposal is being made.

  4. If the person responsible does not want to change the name because they think it is non-offensive, we expect the person responsible to provide a publicly readable explanation for the name, preferably in the route description to avoid future issues. If the explanation is deemed non-sufficient, point 3 takes effect.

Obviously the best way forward for everyone would be that responsible persons propose or execute name changes. If you do so, please make sure to copy the offensive name into the AKA field ad tag it as offensive.

We kindly ask you to avoid "editing wars" - changing names back and forth. This might result in the suspension of your account.

Rather make use of the forum functionality and have honest and open conversations about names that are being perceived as offensive or to discuss new route names. Obviously not everyone has the same background and sensitivities, so please stay polite and forgiving as this will be the only way forward.

Last but not least we ask you for your patience as the increase of requests has put certain strains on our capacity.

Thank you for your understanding and for using theCrag!

Monty Curtis replied 8 months ago.

Is there some way of making an overall "profile" setting that allows the offensive names to be displayed? A bit like Netflix - I can have a child or an adult account and it displays differing content.

We all watch TV and movies with adult content - it just comes with a warning. Make it a choice not hard censorship. I'm especially concerned if you are suddenly removing simple swear words from route names.

Will search functionality display the offensive name? There are print guides with the old route names - and if people are trying to locate these routes on your database to "tick" them it needs to display them if they are specifically searched for. Again - a simple option "show me the bad names" needs to be available as a search function.

Secondly - have you spoken to someone who actually works in censorship? This is a very real job - any television station has multiple "censors". You need a document with clear guidelines of what is acceptable and what is not and examples.

Josiah Hess replied 8 months ago.

+1 with Neil. Censorship should be a choice. If someone is likely to get offended by route names on thecrag they should be able to flick a button in their settings, or perhaps have censorship as the default setting which a user can change.

Taner replied 8 months ago.

Monty Curtis , you raise a good question about the search, maybe that could be explained, will searching for the offensive name cause the route to show up in the search results? And if so, will it do it transparently, i.e. still not show the offensive name?

I think the child/adult switch misses the point though. Maybe unless that setting makes it very clear that it was a former name (not just an AKA name), e.g. "Super happy fun route (previously knows as I don't like change)". Otherwise the old name tends to stick. Worried about breaking things? It will work itself out, ask the post office what happens when a gazetted name changes. The suburb I lived in changed names, a year later people got used to it, a few years later (or the time between guidebook editions in this context) people start forgetting the old name existed.

Also, censorship is nowhere near as clear cut as it is in TV and advertising (where there are rules per country, limited content creators, requirement to pass the censor). On the web, you have to manage things in realtime, and you have content coming in from potentially every end user.

replied 8 months ago.

Monty Curtis thanks for your comments. What you indicated is our long term goal - set the level of "rating" you want but this is far out at the moment.

The whole point with the AKA offensive name field is that it is searchable and will display the route even though you don't see the offensive name in the first place. This is why we ask everyone to make use of this field and not simply change the name in the name field.

To your second point, this is a clear no. We are new to this. So far we had only isolated cases and we left it mostly to the community to find a solution. This is what we are hoping for now as well. If something is perceived as offensive by someone but it isn't we hope that the responsible person comes up with an explanation (like you did) and everyone is happy or, if it is offensive that the responsible persons also sees it that way, maybe after pubic discussion and changes teh route name (we had one of these cases that made the press in Mexico not so long ago). My personal opinion is that the climbing community is new to this and many mistakes will be made. Look at the article today on Rock and Ice and the comments on Facebook - not knowing why something is named in the way it is often leads to strange results - this is why we hope people step up and let the community know...

replied 8 months ago.

I think the name of a route reflects the personality of the first ascensionist, his creativity and often the sense of humor. I wouldn't personally give a route an offensive name, but I think censorship on a rockclimbing site, is out of place. Unless a name is THAT offensive and the climbing community asking for removal. Just my 2c.

Adrian Woodcraft replied 8 months ago.

I think cristian gonzalez has just put his finger on the crux of this issue, which is that if censorship is on a sliding scale (and it undeniably is)... where on the scale will thecrag set its slider?

What I've read so far seems to indicate that they're being as liberal as they can be and making a brave attempt to accommodate as many opinions and points of view as possible.

Yep! They're feeling their way forward into the unknown... as they have successfully done in so many issues before this one.   Monty Curtis has raised a good point about searchability... and Ulfi has given equally as good an answer.

So, obscene, profane, anti-social names will be preserved for those who can't survive without them, history will be preserved, and parents who want to introduce their school-age children to online crag or route research will be able to do so knowing that the moderators have also taken their valid concerns into consideration.

As Ulfi says, they're new at this, feeling their way, and it may take some time to perfect, but thecrag is also the most open, consultative, and eventually consensus-directed social forum I have ever experienced anywhere. Perhaps "Censorship" is too harsh a word for what they are trying to achieve?   Perhaps providing information on a need-to-know basis is a more accurate and less divisive term for it?

What Ulfi has described, and I believe is working to achieve, really IS a system for letting each individual user decide how much information he or she needs to know.   It can't get any better than that!

Adrian Woodcraft replied 8 months ago.

And Cris, I also fully agree with your comment about sense of humour. Climbers do seem to have a unique, and at times excruciatingly funny, sense of humour, which surfaces in route names and time-and-again in comments on the forums.

It would indeed be a pity if this was suppressed.   It would be a travesty if it was supressed for something as trivial and irrelevant to real life as political correctness.

Jef Van Alsenoy replied 8 months ago.

Hi Ulfi, thanks for the valuable input. You refer to a case in Mexico, would you care to post some links to an article or something like that? I'd like to read more on it (can be in Spanish).

replied 8 months ago.

It seems like a reasonable process for reasonable people. I bet this will apply to very few routes in the end. Thanks Ulfi !

Nicolas Descloux replied 8 months ago.

Thanks for the link Ulfi, i actually never faced any situation like this so far and therefore never even thought about this kind of controversy, but this article raises an interesting point in a very clever way !

Jef Van Alsenoy replied 8 months ago.

Thanks for the link Ulfi, I climbed a lot in the region and came across many routes that fall into this category. Most are mentioned in the R&I article.

The area around Monterrey will be very prone to this review policy, will this mean that if someone starts reporting offensive names there will be a lot of routes named "Sanitise review"? I'm thinking crags like Cola de Caballo, Potrero Chico, etc. Shouldn't we introduce a number system per crag?

Adrian Woodcraft replied 8 months ago.

Sanitise review 1,

Sanitise review 2,

Sanitise review 3,


Sanitise review n...

Jef Van Alsenoy replied 8 months ago.

Yeah, that's what I mean Adrian Woodcraft

replied 8 months ago.

Yeah, this is what it will be but we will rely on the community to bring them up - especially in foreign languages and other cultures as it is super hard to understand. Would you have thought that "40 acres and a mule" is offensive? See here:

Monty Curtis replied 8 months ago.

If I search for a so called "offensive" marked name - it does not display this name in the results list. It only displays the new santizied name. That is a problem as the name can be totally different to the original (for example Andrews Route) and it is not apparent it is the same route. People use current print guides (with the original names) most of the time - then they log on here to tick the route. They need to be able to find it.

replied 8 months ago.

Monty Curtis we are aware of this limitation - you see "quite surprising" search results sometimes if you don't know about AKA. We have this on the list of technical improvements to tackle due to all these name changes. Don't know yet how to solve / display it but we will do something to make it clearer.

Adrian Woodcraft replied 8 months ago.

"40 acres and a mule"?   I clicked on the link, but didn't find any specific reference to it.   Adrian.

replied 8 months ago.

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Taner replied 8 months ago.

I would call it just being a respectful human being, left or right. Why are you making it political Andrew ?

Freddie Chopin replied 8 months ago.

Adrian Woodcraft - see this article linked in the description for more info.

While I could understand some name changes (for example all the vulgar or sexually-related names are just plain stupid IMO, as well as the names which clearly fall under "sexist" or "misogyny" or "racist" categories), the things mentioned in this particular article seem to be just ridiculous. Unless someone makes NIN and Prodigy to rename their songs, then what difference does it make to rename the route in a niche sport when comparing that to songs of internationally known music bands? Especially when the authors clearly explained that the names they gave were explicitly NOT meant as racially (or otherwise) offensive? When will someone propose to rewrite history books, removing all info that slavery ever existed? For me connecting "happiness is slavery" with "I support slavery" is really a BIG stretch...

This political-correctness-nonsense will surely end when the routes will just be labeled with letters (route a, route b, route c, ...) or dates of first ascent only. Numbers (route 1, route 2, route 3, ...) would be easier, but numbers would clearly suggest some hind of hierarchy, which would be considered as offensive by the SJW...

Freddie Chopin replied 8 months ago.

Another great example - shouldn't we rename "Action Directe" now? [sarcasm] Glorifying [/sarcasm] terrorist groups responsible for murdering many people doesn't sound like a good idea to me...

My point is - once you agree to the SJW demands, they don't stop. They want more. With enough creativity, every name can be considered offensive.

replied 8 months ago.

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replied 8 months ago.

Freddie Chopin, I updated the index for 'Ten Sleep' because the route setters decided to do so. If you want to argue about the change get in contact with them and point them to my change and ask about a statement. Individual changes should be discussed in the affected crags forum or the corresponding stream event.

Taner replied 8 months ago.

Freddie Chopin Isn't that a deflection tactic, i.e. moving the goalposts to a hypothetical? I think a middle ground needs to be reached, e.g. "rename the needlessly offensive ones that you can't justify with all any context, like 'flogging a dead faggot'". Once a balance is found, there will naturally be more demands to other FAs to acquiesce, but they won't be as fiercely sought after as they are now. The fact that this debate is drawing so much attention suggests the balance is out of whack.

If there is one thing I wish people would stop doing in all this debate, is picking the low hanging fruit. What I mean is people who look at a list of 50 questionable route names, and then say "but a few of those 50 are ok because it's music". Maybe they are ok, and I think I agree, some don't need changing. But it misses the crux of the issue, that a lot of names are excessively harsh, and are damaging to the community as a whole.

Also think not just about what offends who, or what right someone has to be offended. Even if you don't think someone ought to be offended by something, or that you too have been discriminated against in your life and you therefore think you understand all the nuances of the issue. Think also about implications that are hard to see at face value, e.g. how we appear to outsiders. Yes, there was a time when climbing was counter-culture and it was cool to be all "fuck the system" and "who cares what person X thinks", but we are now dealing with a mainstream activity that has to deal with important negotiations that threaten access to many of the places to do our favourite activities.

Freddie Chopin replied 8 months ago.


> What I mean is people who look at a list of 50 questionable route names, and then say "but a few of those 50 are ok because it's music".

C'mon... "Happiness is slavery" offensive? Really? If the route would be named "slavery is happiness", then sure, but it's not. Even if I did not read that novel (which I did not) or did not know this song or band (I actually do), then I really think that the only offensive thing here is the word "slave". Funny fact - some years ago some people complained to the tech companies that the hard drives have a jumper to select "master" or "slave" mode and it offends them. Please... This is ridiculous...

And "Happiness is slavery" is not a low hanging fruit - this is the main name mentioned in the article. It is also not "few of 50", because in this whole article about that particular crag I would say that "few of 50" maybe were really offensive, not the other way around.

> Isn't that a deflection tactic, i.e. moving the goalposts to a hypothetical?

Did anyone complain about the names like "happiness is slavery", or are we now proactively changing the names out of fear that they might offend someone somehow somewhen somewhere? This is the end goal that SJW are working towards - for you or anyone else to avoid any topic that can be even considered to be controversial, out of fear that it may offend someone.

> Yes, there was a time when climbing was counter-culture and it was cool to be all "fuck the system" and "who cares what person X thinks", but we are now dealing with a mainstream activity that has to deal with important negotiations that threaten access to many of the places to do our favourite activities.

I would argue that climbing is still "niche" when compared to most other sports, like biking, jogging, football or whatever you can see on TV or read in the news.

> Also think not just about what offends who, or what right someone has to be offended. Even if you don't think someone ought to be offended by something, or that you too have been discriminated against in your life and you therefore think you understand all the nuances of the issue.

Can't agree. When you think about it that way - anything can be offensive to someone. Therefore "fixing" this for everyone, or even just for "majority", is not possible. You say that I'm exaggerating, and you would be right. But where do we (or "they") draw the line? Where does it stop? You say that when the claims become ridiculous, they won't be implemented and the balance will be reached. But isn't "happiness is slavery" or "40 acres and a mule" (a clear historical reference) ridiculous and not-offensive? Sure, the "slavery wall" is offensive and that should be changed, but why these two particular route names?

I did a quick search (;

Can this name be considered offensive? Should we change it? Maybe we should even pretend that this:

actually dit not happen by changing these names too?

I hope you see my point (;

To reiterate - I'm all in favour of changing the names that are considered to be offensive by majority (or majority of the affected, for example by most women) or "clearly offensive" (like the "tinder pussy" from the other article, or things like your "flogging a dead faggot" example, or "slavery wall"). But if someone is triggered by all uses of word "slave", no matter the context, then sorry, but this is ridiculous. I'm partly biased here, because this nonsense has already reached (again) tech industry and similar ridiculous claims are being made, some of which are even getting implemented, like the most recent plan to avoid the word "master" as the name of the main git branch on github.

Taner replied 8 months ago.

> C'mon... "Happiness is slavery" offensive? Really?

Yeah, that's what I meant by a reference to music. I think that name is fine.

> And "Happiness is slavery" is not a low hanging fruit - this is the main name mentioned in the article. It is also not "few of 50", because in this whole article about that particular crag I would say that "few of 50" maybe were really offensive, not the other way around.

Ah ok, I see what's going on.
We're looking at two different lists. I was looking at the list floating around facebook. That one had things on the level of "kkk bitch, fat faggot, shoot it and root it, etc.". The "ten sleep" article contains some rather tame names in comparison.

> Can't agree. When you think about it that way - anything can be offensive to someone.

I see your point, hence why I think a middle ground needs to be sought after. We shouldn't suggest anything remotely offensive be changed.

> Mein Kampf

> Holocaust

Pfft... that's fine. I hate the names because it sounds like school kids thinking they're so edgy. But rename them? No way. Maybe it's not even just immaturity, maybe there is some context that makes it a semi-clever route name?

Again, I'm just saying a line needs to be drawn somewhere. I apologise profusely for having this written down, but could you imagine someone putting a route next to "holocaust" called "gas the lot of em", or worse, "gas the [slur plural]". That crosses the line, right?

> But if someone is triggered by all uses of word "slave", no matter the context, then sorry, but this is ridiculous.

Again, true. Apparently someone who flaunted their life as a sex slave named a few of the questionable routes for some more food for thought. I'm starting to think our stance on this topic is actually not that different!

> [...] like the most recent plan to avoid the word "master" as the name of the main git branch on github [...]

lol, I'm in the field and have heard of that. I actually don't care what they do with the change, it's a win win for everyone, if you or anyone doesn't think the change is necessary because of [insert social issue here], just think of all the keystrokes you save!

edit: the middle ground argument works for the github thing too. If they force renamed everyone's master branch to unicorn, and then blocked anyone from renaming their branch back, then cue all the outrage. But that's what I mean by insane hypotheticals, we're reaching a middle ground. Change the default name to something sensible, and make it easy to change it back to "master" if you prefer. My guess is we or at least the next generation in 10 years time will look at git history on wikipedia or an old codebase and say "wtf does master mean, like a master key or something, it doesn't make sense haha"

Adrian Woodcraft replied 8 months ago.

Thanks for the link Freddie Chopin and Marc dM...

...but who or what are SJW?

And, referring to some earlier comments, I agree that it SHOULD be about respect, and I assume most of us wish it was. But, especially in the wider world, it IS unfortunately about control of language, identity politics, cultural relativism and Gramsky hegemony.   Some of the things about which "offence" is claimed are absolutely absurd and I am incredulous that so many people and large corporations fall for it, cave in to it, have so little moral fibre or critical discernment that they go along with it or even actively support it, instead of making a stand for tolerance and common sense.

A recent example: People all over the world have fallen into step behind the "Black Lives Matter" movement, and rightly so.   But when one man flew a banner behind an aeroplane declaring that "White Lives Matter" mass media, social media and the corporate world exploded with outrage at the "disgusting racism". The poor bloke even lost his job over it!   IDENTICAL messages; the only difference being the colour. Why was one a noble humanitarian movement in support of human dignity and the other a disgusting and embarrassing racial slur - for which other people felt it necessary to apologise?

George Orwell had his finger on it in his book "Animal Farm" (which should be compulsory reading for all high school English classes). The pigs taught the sheep to bleat "Four legs good; two legs bad!"... until the pigs learned to walk on two legs. Then they taught the sheep to bleat "Four legs good; two legs better"... and not one single sheep realised they were chanting anything different.

Should I be banned from calling a new route "Pigs Might Fly" because some clown with too little else to think about might decide it is a derogatory reference to a Police helicopter? Should I just change the route name to "Police Helicopter" in the first place? It might have been what someone said to me about my chance of sending the route, before I made my first attempt. Outcome: subsequent politically correct name bears no relevance at all to original context. Or to what thought was in my mind as I reached the top of the climb.

Freddie Chopin replied 8 months ago.

Adrian Woodcraft:

> ...but who or what are SJW?

It's an abbreviation for Social Justice Warriors. I assume that calling them that way is in itself also offensive. In this case these would be people who are triggered by any phrase that contains the word "slave", no matter the context.

Adrian Woodcraft replied 7 months ago.

Ah! Thanks for the clarification.   A.

replied 7 months ago.

I'd like to put this one up for broader discussion - not only the "I will change everything I want because I'm morally right" attitude, but also how the name needs context to be understood (or shouldn't it?): - not because I want to be right in that discussion, but because it seems to be a good example of the issues pointed out above. I just don't know what is right here.

Freddie Chopin replied 7 months ago.

> how the name needs context to be understood (or shouldn't it?)

If anyone disregards the context, then the whole thing gets extremely simple. Admins just run a SQL query to replace all uses of "slave", "master", "black", ... with "xxx" and the issue is solved, world is forever a better place and everyone lived happily ever after. But for real now - if the name consists of more than one word, then the context seems to be essential - after all it is a phrase, not a random combination of words used as a password.

> "I will change everything I want because I'm morally right"

Typical SJW attitude. Whenever you try to discuss with them, they quickly resort to the old "you're evil, I'm good, therefore I'm also right".

replied 7 months ago.

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Simon Li replied 7 months ago.

Roo, this slippery slope argument doesn't get us anywhere. You could make this argument about not changing anything, ever. As a product of the last "great Leap forward", I would call this a small step in the right direction.

I 100% agree we should be granting equality for all, and that requires actually doing something.

Your thought experiment suggests that "white people" in power better learn from their mistakes before "xyx people" get in power next and repeat history the other way around. Do something before it's too late, because one day it will be. Right now we're asking for equality not revenge. Tick Tock.

Tectonic Mann replied 7 months ago.

This world is a very offensive place.

replied 7 months ago.

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replied 7 months ago.

I have stayed out of this discussion until now. My personal view is that some racist and sexist climb names need to be changed. However I saw a “ sanitize review” for a route at the Lair called “ shoot it”. This does not imply violence to humans, it’s not racist, nothing on the wall suggests it’s a theme. “Shoot” can have innocent connotations, though the picture in my mind was a shot kangaroo. There are Potentially more offensive names on the wall Than this one. The steps outlined for resolution seem hard to follow. Are you saying if a group of Nowra climbers form an advocacy body to suggest the name is alright it can be reinstated? This just seems farcical in this instance.

replied 7 months ago.

Vanessa Wills the original route name was "Shoot it and Root it" - please let us know if you think this name is ok. As we state in our policy, we are happy to keep names reported as offensive if the FA gives an acceptable "non-offensive" explanation for the name.

Simon Li replied 7 months ago.

I kinda like the idea of having a popup lightbox that provides the original name and the historical context behind it to "explain" why it was why it was in a very neutral tone. I believe that might be the right balance to strike here.


  1. don't marginalise anyone

  2. preserve history as much as possible while respecting point 1

  3. don't take sides

Ulfi - think of this as an opportunity. It's a huge advantage you have over paper guidebooks, lead the way here.

Max Stein replied 7 months ago.

Pretty sure, there are stupid and ignorant, sometimes even offensive names. However, only as of the use of special words, maybe even phrases, mostly it's more than hard to decide. Sometimes it would be necessary to know, what was thought and intended during designation.

Perhaps the name is provided in order to start or keep awareness of a situation, a problem, a historical fact?

Maybe it just should be occassion for considering of meaning, background and possibly abuse? Should it possibly force even to start a short research in order to do opinion forming on basis of the results yourself? Maybe it is a positive meant provocation?

Who knows and who would be suited to be judge at all!? Even voting would not be a really good idea!

You never will be able completely to prevent wrong understandings and misinterpretations. However, censorship and a police for thoughtcrimes is a problem for its own. Personally I think, even a broader use of requests for explanation and justification also means a very general suspicion to potentially everyone.

However, sufficient rules already exist

Gavin replied 7 months ago.

Well done to the crag team here.

Clearly this issue is now much bigger than a small website like As such the rules suggested allow us to flexibly keep up with the fast moving issue, whilst avoiding knee jerk responses.

I for one think that these rules strike a very fair balance and will allow for debate before permanent changes.

replied 7 months ago.

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Alan K replied 7 months ago.

If I put up a new route I'm naming it 'Sanitize review'

Tim Mayer replied 7 months ago.

This sounds like the book 1984, where history is being rewritten to suit the regime. Maybe you guys could start rewriting the classics (books), as there are some real shockers out there (sarcasm). SJW’s, finding more things in the world to ruin. I’m so disappointed with this. I’ve put 3 decades into this sport, and now I wished I had quit, before I had to see this happen. There is a SJW at my work, that thinks we shouldn’t have the right to risk our lives, going rock climbing. How does that make you feel? This slope is very slippery

Matt Hunter replied 6 months ago.

Just to clarify for people, most people who claim to be offended are not upset by the words. They are upset because they commanded you not to say them and you dissobayed. My guess is that it isn't children seeing swear words that is bothering the climbing sjw folk, it is that these names remind them that people out there dont support their authoritarian campaign.

Here are some naming options.

Slack wives bladder, Nutless camsexuals, Locker up, Hexonormativity

Time to charge up the Milwaukee 12V.

Rob Medlicott replied 6 months ago.

I like this guy ^^ But yes, Makita 18V should be your go to...

Sam May replied 6 months ago.

I was just listening to Rob LeBreton on the Baffle Days podcast, saying how the next generation of climbers has to erase tradition, and challenge and upset the older generation to move the sport forward.

I guess he was thinking a maybe few harder new routes, and not this eh?

Someone claiming "they are upset because they commanded you not to say them and you disobeyed?" is the least self aware, most brain-dead thing I've seen this week, and that's saying something at the moment. It's the OPPOSITE; you're telling US what to say, and we're declining. Once again. Go start your own route database website, go print your own guidebook. Stop telling TheCrag team what they have to print. THAT is the opposite of free speech.

Matt Hunter replied 6 months ago.

I think that you are missing one of the biggest issues of internet usage today. That is the issue of publisher vs platform. when you say that we are telling you what to say and that you are declining, you are acting as though you are a publisher and that you are being forced to enter or say these climb names.

If you claim that the crag is a platform where other people are entering climbs that exist in the real world regardless of the existence of the crag then you are in fact being a platform and it is not you who are saying these names.

Sites that pose as platforms for people to share information freely, especially those acting as a register and then claim that they own or control that information are playing a bait and switch game.

Maybe I am reading you incorrectly but your comments suggest that you would totally support the Baker who refused to bake an explicitly gay wedding cake. Except that in this case, the crag is not so personally invested but is simply supplying the facilities for registering a cake that was baked elsewhere.

I fully support your right not to publish or say anything you don't want to. But just decide if you are a publisher or a platform.

Climbing happens out on the rocks, not on social media forums.

Simon Li replied 6 months ago.

It's funny how if you say something about the oppression you are a SJW. If you protest silently you are part of "cancel culture". So in which way, shape and form is it ok to continue this discussion?

You want to have a debate about the differences between a publisher vs platform now? I'll have your debate your way if you list all the arguments we must go through before we talk about racism, sexism, homophobia, misogyny and the rest of it. So glad we have an all powerful white arbiter of truth in this thread to straighten things out.

Leith replied 6 months ago.

Unfortunately, the funniest jokes are often very offensive which is fine as long as everyone hearing them is on board for that.

The recent ABC article that features Emma Horan explains the route name situation really well!

Leith replied 6 months ago.

The Junkyard Cave in Sydney is probably a good example of bolters that may regret their route name choices, as these were done far more recently than the Nowra routes.

Personally, I'm a fan and advocate of comedic free speech and don't find any route names that offensive seen in that light. Or in the context of occa aussie culture. e.g. I think comedians like Rodney Rude have their place.

But, in comedy the audience gets to choose whether they want to be a part of it.

Route names are different with the separation between the intended direct and unintended indirect audience very blurred.

I'm not going to argue with anyone that says they are offensive though. That'd be taking the piss...

Adrian Woodcraft replied 6 months ago.

Good comments Leith.

Matt Hunter thanks for making clear the distinction between publisher and platform. I found that personally helpful because I am in the process of building several internet platforms.

However, where we might disagree is that if I OWN the platform, I also decide the policy. I decide what does and does not go on MY platform. No apologies; no compromise. I will succeed or fail on the acceptance or otherwise of my policy. If I attract a big enough community who agree with (or at least tolerate) my policy, I will succeed... and anyone who WON'T accept my policy can go somewhere else.

Does this also make me a publisher? Or do my policies merely reflect the PURPOSE for which the platform was constructed?

The Crag is certainly a platform, and an excellent platform at that. But it is also consistent with my view of ownership of a platform that the owner has the right to determine platform policy. If that makes them a publisher (and in this case I doubt that it does) why can't the same entity wear both hats? In my view they are not necessarily mutually exclusive.

Matt Hunter replied 6 months ago.

Adrian, You bring up what is perhaps the crux of the argument. That is platform policies.

They need to be clearly specified and then adhered to not only by the users but by the platform itself.

If people clearly see the policies of a platform and decide that they want to join, then they need to abide by them or leave.

If however, someone is within the guidelines and then has their comments / climbing names removed then that is acting as a publisher.

An example might be if the policies say that all swearing, vulgar and sexually explicit climb names will be partially obscured so that some c**t doesn't get offended, then people will expect to have that done. However, if there was for instance a climb named "Bitch! Dyke! FagHag! Whore!" which would obviously be an issue but a moderator were to decide that this is in fact ok because it was a political statement against conservative censorsip then this would not be enforcing the policies. The above happened recently and even someone just a few comments above, who appeared very negative about my comments against politicaly based censorship was fully onboard with reinstating this climb name. If there was also a climb that was named "Milo Yiannopoulos' Dangerous Faggot Tour" (a rebellion against far left censorship) which had its name not allowed, then this would show that someone was making publishing decisions not based on the observable policies and was rather making decisions based on an undisclosed political bias. The Milo climb is only hyperthetical. For now.

So, yes, the owner determines policies for sure, but if they are not upfront and honest what those policies are then that is a deception.

A some point, even with things you own and create and put everything in to, once you invite others to also be a part of it and put in their own time and effort, you have to take a step back and let the machine run itself. Let your babies grow up and face the world. Almost every writer of every TV show or movie faces this because they too would never happen if not for a larger collaboration and compromise of ideals.

Matt Hunter replied 6 months ago.

I would like to clarify that when I stated that the above happened, regarding the climb "Bitch! Dyke! FagHag! Whore!", I wasn't implying that theCrags policies were as I stated in the above example. I believe that the new policies are something around people taking offence which I think is both an unclear and moving target that allows for the subjectivity of the example given.

Adrian Woodcraft replied 6 months ago.

Matt Hunter Heey, thanks for an excellent answer   Well explained, clearly stated and with good metaphors and examples.   I agree with you 100%.

James Kell replied 5 months ago.

It’s called free climbing, not monitored climbing.

Please keep it free. They removed some comments above. If they are spam then fine. If the removed comments are someone giving a point of view that a moderator does not agree with then this is certainly not fine.

Doped Si replied 5 months ago.

Hi Ulfi, hopefully you're still getting notifications for this thread.

In relation to matching old names against new when searching, can a displayed AKA name show the initials of the old name so it's obvious that it's the same route? You could even add a tag to indicate that it's a deprecated name.

There are still going to be a few that causes problems due to cunning linguists, but I think it may help those of us who have been using those names for a while match up the new ones.

A belated thanks for helping address this issue.

Adrian Woodcraft replied 5 months ago.

Doped Si Clever play on words!

replied 5 months ago.

Doped Si thanks for asking, yeah we still get one or the other name reported.

I'm not sure I follow your thoughts but with the last release we have introduced changes to how search results are displayed. You now see AKA names in search results (unless they are offensive) so you know why somehting is displayed - if you search for an offensive name explicitly, it is also displayed in the search results.

Does this address your question?



Doped Si replied 5 months ago.

Ulfi, I think you've found a good balance - I hadn't realised you'd updated the site to show the name if it was specifically searched for. Thanks again for your work on this. Dave

replied 5 months ago.

After having collected a few months of epxerience and following consultative discussions with several groups theCrag proposes to put the following "Naming Policy" in place. This policy - in most aspects - reflects our current way of working and puts them in words to avoid disputes and misunderstandings. For those interested we post it here for comments and review. It will later be included in the official list of policies on theCrag.

We would like to thank ClimbingQT's and everyone else participating in this discussiopn - publicly or in private - for their help with this policy.


The purpose of this policy is to reduce and manage the use of insensitive and offensive terms in route and cliff names to foster a community in climbing that is more inclusive. Insensitive and offensive terms includes, but is not limited to, anything that is: abusive, misogynistic, homophobic and transphobic, racist, sexist. This policy is intended to address route and cliff names and is not intended to criticize the person responsible.


Globally, first nations people and traditional custodians have experienced a loss of their lands, resources and cultural identities as a result of colonialism. theCrag pays respect to traditional custodians and acknowledges that land was never ceded. Although the names of routes and crags hold no official authority, names are a form of recognition which create cultural meaning and what we share online inevitably influences our understanding of these places.


This policy will apply to all names on theCrag and is relevant to those who created those names including moderators, guests and members. This policy applies to all names on theCrag regardless of when they were created.


‘Person responsible’ refers to the person who either named the route or crag and in most circumstances refers to the first ascensionist. ‘Offensive’ names may be words or phrases that have the potential to cause harm, disrespect or insult to a person, group or community. ‘Local authority’ may refer to a regional advocacy group or climbing peak body.


Users may report a name they deem offensive. This can be done by emailing Once a report has been made theCrag will discuss internally whether or not the name is deemed offensive. A name will be considered based on the words and phrasing of the name alone. Historical context and inside jokes will not be considered. If the name has been deemed not offensive the name will remain as is and the outcome communicated to the reportee and the report is closed. If the name has been deemed offensive theCrag will change the name of the route or area to "Sanitise review" and add the original name in the AKA field. The person responsible will be contacted in the first instance to discuss the reported name. If the person responsible cannot be contacted within 30 days theCrag will start a forum discussion to inform the community about the change and request proposals for new names within a reasonable timeframe (30 days). If a group such as this is not identified, theCrag will seek advice from it’s diversity and inclusion partners. Following discussion with the person/group theCrag will provide an opportunity for this same person/group to propose a new name. This decision must be made within 30 days. The new name, considering it is not offensive will be applied and the old name kept in the offensive name field for historical purposes (the offensive name is not visible unless explicitly searched for). If the person/group does not wish to change the name they may provide a publicly readable explanation for the name, preferably in the route description to avoid future reports. If the explanation is deemed non-sufficient theCrag will discuss next steps with its diversity and inclusion partners. If a name has been changed and at a later point in time the responsible person is identified they may recommend an alternative name considering it is not offensive. In supporting our commitment to diversity and inclusion, theCrag’s internal decisions and moderation of route and crag names will maintain zero tolerance for homophobic, transphobic, sexist, racist or ableist names of any kind. If there is debate around whether or not a name is or isn’t of this nature, we will request further information from the person responsible (see 8.2). If the person responsible is not contactable we will seek advice from theCrag’s diversity and inclusion partner. There is currently no restriction on the number of times a name can be changed or reported, however ‘editing wars’ where a name is changed in a back and forth manner should be avoided and may result in suspension of user accounts.

Monty Curtis replied 5 months ago.

This is confusing. You say historical context and inside jokes will not be considered - but then ask for person/group to provide a "public explanation for the name". You also state you "will request further information from the person responsible" - again this is asking for context.

Monty Curtis replied 5 months ago.

Also "If the person/group does not wish to change the name they may provide a publicly readable explanation for the name, preferably in the route description to avoid future reports" - but you have already changed the name at this point to "Sanitise review" so any explanation in the route description will make no sense. To me it appears the only input you want from the first ascentist who named the offensive route is a new route name to replace the old one. The judge and jury about whether it is offensive or not is all done behind the scenes and in advance of the broader climbing community knowing there is a problem.

replied 5 months ago.

I second both Neil's points. Isn't context everything, and publicising that context so all can understand?

replied 5 months ago.

Also how does one nominate as a diversity and inclusion partner?

Monty Curtis replied 5 months ago.

Just something else to consider - if a name is reported as offensive - is this name/phrase to be cleansed across the entire platform? I notice that some names that have been marked/changed at crags such as Nowra are still in existence on thecrag at other world crags. As an example "Red Skin" has been changed at Nowra but still exists at three other crags. It would be good if this change was consistently applied as, in thecrag's own policy above, it states "This policy will apply to all names on theCrag". It seems there is a lack of willingness from admins on thecrag to actually be proactive about identifying these types of names - and instead relies on piecemeal user generated complaints and only applies it one by one. It's not hard to type the worst into the search bar and come up with a list of results across the world. If thecrag is genuinely concerned about these types of words (rather than just being reactive to bad publicly) they need to be proactive and fair in the application of these changes.

Matt Hunter replied 5 months ago.

May I suggest that if the FA doesn't cave in to changing a name, that the crag simply remove the climb. It isn't their climb to rename. It wasn't their time, effort or expense and, the FA may not have even been the one who entered it onto the web site.

Feel free to contact FAs to see if they want to change the name, but then either report the real name, hide the real name for reasons of "Hurty Words", or leave it out completely. But you don't have the right to change the name to something decided by a group of political activists.

Matt Hunter replied 5 months ago.

Perhaps it would be a good idea to provide the list of climbing names that have been changed so that we can see it in action, out in the open.

It may also be useful for people to post hypothetical names in this forum to see what the "Diversity and Inclusion" partners think of them.

replied 5 months ago.

One thing I miss is how this deals with differences in culture. For example: Facebook and friends do their best to force US morality on the world, which is pretty frustrating for groups with a different culture. Deciding what can and cannot be said for the whole world is disrespectful in itself.

Adrian Woodcraft replied 5 months ago.

Not to mention downright arrogant!

Adrian Woodcraft replied 5 months ago.

Matt Hunter I agree with everything you've said - EXCEPT the suggestion that the.crag should remove the climb. As you said, they didn't put in the effort or the expense. nor do they have the right to exclude a climb from listing because the FA is a cranky, unreasonable p * * * *   who refuses to rename it. Excluding a legitimate climb for any reason would be a contradiction of the Crag's very purpose!

It seems clear that the Crag's administrators don't want to become puppets of the "Diversity and Inclusion" Brigade, anyway. They have made this clear by consulting their community and welcoming often difficult-to-reconcile inputs from their community about what is most acceptable to that community.

If agreement cannot be reached between FA and community about an acceptable name, using a very neutral descriptor like "next climb to the right" or "1992 multi-pitch on east face", with the original name (that someone didn't like) in an OPTIONAL AKA field, seems like a pretty good compromise to me. Obscenity and vulgarity are removed from public view, history is preserved, and everyone who needs to know which route is being referred to has access to the original information, to eliminate ambiguity. The mere fact of putting a name into a click-to-reveal AKA field is a fairly clear expression of disapproval in itself.

I don't like censorship myself, and I have nothing but contempt for political correctness, but I also think naming should be done with courtesy and consideration for all subsequent users. That's a dilemma for me because the two poles are very difficult to reconcile. I suspect I'm not the only one who wrestles with this problem.

As for "Perhaps it would be a good idea to provide the list of climbing names that have been changed so that we can see it in action, out in the open"...   this reminds me of the public service memo that was passed around an office, instructing employees to "erase their initials and initial the erasures". ;-)


Matt Hunter replied 5 months ago.

Adrian. I agree with not removing the climb, but I was more just trying to make the point that since it is their site, hiding the name or removing the climb is really their choice, but that renaming something not theirs isn't.

Regarding "Out in the Open", I had a good idea for a better procedure.

1- The person makes the complaint and gives their justification for why they want someone to rename their climb.

2- The crag approves it and it appears on a page for this purpose where everyone can see the following.

a) The person who is compaining

b) Their justification for why it should change

c) The number of metres of climbing that they have established

d) The number of logged metres on climbs that they have established.

e) Links to any other naming complaints they have made.

3- We get to discuss it such that the FA can see how people really feel. BTW. some FAs might have died.

Some might see the displaying of the complainant's details in the same way as forcing a sexual assult victim to confront their attacker, thus discouraging the reporting of crimes. However, it is nothing of the sort. The person making the complaint is not a victim. They are actively making a complaint about something that they received for free. If the complaint is reasonable such as "Do we really want our kids to be seeing names like 'blank her in the blank with your blank' then I see no shame in raising that issue and I doubt there would be any backlash. If you believe something then don't hide behind a keyboard.

This process would aid in 3 ways. Firstly, it would let us know how often it is happening rather than it sneaking by in the shadows. Secondly, we get to discuss it amongst actual climbers. Thirdly, it might encourage a "Put up or shut up" attitude both regarding their arguments and their contribution to the world of climbing.

At the least, it will take the smell of activism away from it.

Lamπ[tm] replied 4 months ago.

Lamπ[tm] replied 4 months ago.

And there is a "Mein Kampf" in the czech part of the Elbsandstein. Even in one of the countries that suffered most under the NS

replied 8 weeks ago.

This comment has been removed.

ImCaseyJames replied 8 weeks ago.

The only individual with the authority to name a route is the one who saw it and sent it. If you are offended by route names, you should just send more firsts and name them what you want. I personally am going to send as many firsts as I can and name them things that are very not PC, purposefully. My original goal was to climb things no one has climbed but you have added solid fuel by claiming authority over others where you have no right to do so. Now I just want to name things like fat girls dont climb or maybe Hitler was right. I have a plethora. Maybe you should climb it before me if you dont want me to name it. Good luck.

ImCaseyJames replied 8 weeks ago.

The only way I would see any renaming being even somewhat acceptable, would be if some sent the route free solo with no prior knowledge of the climb whatsoever and faster than the original first ascent. Even then though it was not their find, their idea or anything that is actually theirs pertaining to the route.

replied 8 weeks ago.

Ulfi I noticed reading through the proposed policy that ableism was mentioned in the policy section but not in the purpose, so maybe add that in there for consistency?

ImCaseyJames replied 8 weeks ago.

I wonder how many routes were put up by the group of complainers.

replied 7 weeks ago.

This thread reminds me times before 1989 in the Czech republic. The route names had to be "politically correct" and "not offend a comrade". It ended up the official name of e.g. "Hurá na Husáka" had to be just "Hurá" (Husák =former communist president) but everybody knew the real meaning...

Czechs even erected flags on certain sandstone towers to stand against oppression and for free speech. In today's democratic Czechia, naming of a route is entirely free will of the first ascenter.

The czech climbing authority ČHS does not rename any routes - not even the offensive examples as "Úplnej čůrák Salaba" (=total di** < name >) and neither TheCrag should take authority to do so.

The decision about name acceptance shall be done by the local authority and TheCrag shall only reflect it in the databse.

Georg Kretzschmar replied 7 weeks ago.

I agree. While I'm all for choosing sensible route names, it is certainly up to the local climbing community to sort out such issues. And history and local culture does come into play here. TheCrag has no role in naming climbs. People who are offended should get in touch with the respective climbing community.

Adrian Woodcraft replied 20 days ago.

A few random comments and responses:

"... In supporting our commitment to diversity and inclusion, theCrag’s internal decisions and moderation of route and crag names will maintain zero tolerance for homophobic, transphobic, sexist, racist or ableist names of any kind... "   This list should also include "blasphemous".   REAL tolerance and respect requires that whether we agree with them or not, other people's faith has a right to be respected.

"I wonder how many routes were put up by the group of complainers."   Matt Hunter's proposed list adequately (and very properly) addresses this.

What is offensive about "Fat girls (or boys) don't climb"?   In most cases it is simply a fact.   It does not "body-shame" anyone, or accuse any specific person of being overweight.   Or even imply that there is anything wrong with being fat.   So... name rejected; not offensive enough; go back to your dark, defiant, angry room and think of something effective.


Monty Curtis also objected to the apparent (but non-existent) inconsistency of removing an "offensive" name from one crag, but not following up by removing it from ALL crags - everywhere in the world.   WHOOOOPS, Monty!

(i) The Crag has NOT set out to be pro-active in changing or removing names.   It has proposed a policy for responding to specific individual complaints.   If the complaint is in response to ONE route on ONE crag, then that is what they are proposing to respond to.   If someone else (who actually climbs there) finds the same name offensive at a crag on the opposite side of the world, then it is up to that person to initiate the process with respect to that crag, by lodging a completely separate complaint... to which The Crag will presumably respond in the same way as it did to the first complaint.

(ii) What is "offensive" in one part of the world may very well NOT be offensive in another.   The gritstone in the UK Peaks District must be some of the most abrasive climbing rock in the world.   If an inadequately clad climber slips, they WILL end up with red skin... or worse!   In such a context if the cost of a first ascent to the FA was a lot of abrasion or blood loss, no-one - who actually climbs there - is going to be offended if he or she calls the climb "Red Skin".   Other climbers at that crag will immediately appreciate and understand the significance of the name.   So it is absurd to suggest that because someone somewhere in the world complains about the name of a route at a crag (no matter how GENUINELY offensive it might be) The Crag should take it upon itself to change that name on EVERY other crag in the world.

If I am still capable of doing so in another six years' time, I intend to put up another first ascent somewhere and call it, "Octagenarian Gasps and Grunts" because I am SURE a first ascent at the age of eighty WILL be occasioned by a lot of gasping and grunting.   Now ask yourself this: what is my response likely to be if some woke idiot SJW complains that my route name is "ageist" or "demeaning to senior citizens"?   Am I likely to agree to change it because some ignorant, silly little twerp who has never met me is "offended" by it?   Not bloody likely!

ImCaseyJames replied 20 days ago.

I find it ridiculous that people feel rightfully entitled to change another or control them or anything that is not theirs. Especially absurd in an area where they did not do something themselves but feel compelled and justified to not only critique the outcome of someone else's efforts and choices but to change them, with or without consent. I wholey disagree with controlling someone else no matter how offensive. I would only feel compelled to control another if they were legitimately negatively affecting or restraining someone's physical well being or natural rights. With freedom comes consequence like tolerance of things you dont like. Gotta let people do their own thing, can't run around stopping them, even if you dont like it. It's not offensive language that's holding anyone back, that's for sure.

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