Whats in a name?

A good name adds something to a climb. It isn’t just a way we can tell two climbs apart, or figure out what’s what at the crag.

I mean there’s something far more engaging about Professor Wigginsworth’s Chunder Bucket  compared to some 16 (5.8) at Barrenjoey, which would you rather climb?

Here is my (totally biased) list of the Best and Worst climb names around, and a brief explanation of why they are so good. (or bad.)

The Best

The Fear, 17 (5.9)

A multi pitch sea cliff on the now illegal to climb at North Head near Manly in Sydney. This name is fantastic. It sums up the route and its famous move(leaning straight out and off the belay onto some sandy holds) perfectly. A legendary route and a legendary name. Just watch this clip of an ascent in 1992.


Punks in the Gym, was 32 (5.14a)

Put up by Wolfgang Gullich in 1985 at the time this was the hardest route in the world. Even since being chipped (dropping it to 31 according to some) it’s still legendary. The name here is a fantastic nod first to the old attitudes of the old trad climbing scene but also a look forwards and almost a challenge to the next generation of climber, raised in the climbing gyms and getting strong to put up the new hardest routes in the world. This name tells a fantastic story of the revolution climbing was about to go through.


The Gift (That Keeps On Giving ), Mount Bradley

Mark Twight, Steve House and Johnny Blitz’s alpine climb on Mount Bradley. apparently a lot of people shorten it to just “the gift” and Mark Twight hates that because not only is it the name of a sport climb, it makes it seem like the route was easy. The name is in reference to the long arduous struggle up Mount Bradley they climbed the 3000’ route over 3 days “in March 1998 – real Alaskan winter – with temperatures dipping to -30-degrees F”. By the time they finished the climb, they had endured some serious suffering. And the name sums it all up nicely. Like the Fear, this name summarises the emotional feeling that the route left the first ascensionist’s with, a fantastic quality for a climb name.

Passport to Insanity, 28

You just have to see a photo of this route and the name makes sense. It must be breathtaking in real life.


All chalk and no action

Sometimes a fantastic pun is all you need for a great climb name.


Eat my Spinning Blades of Steel, Motherfucker

With a name this intriguing you have to want to climb it. I like that this name is rude, but at the same time isn’t pointlessly simple and rude. Also whether or not people like it it leaves options to be cleaned up for a guide book.


Duelling Biceps

A play on the duelling banjos concept and another famous two pitch Sydney sea cliff. The first time I heard this name I thought it was great one, even before I knew nothing about the route.

Honourable Mentions

Witness the Fitness

Blue-veined Custard Chucker

These sandwiches are excellent

Caroline Face of Mt.Cook : The Clit route

The Worst


I can get using an acronym for a long climb name. But this one is a tongue twister.

I can get naming a climb after your club, but three? This is a fantastic line at Mount Piddington, with a measly name.


An easy (18) roof at a local crag (Narrabeen slabs) climbs like this exist everywhere. This one has even been marked. It’s a fun line, and hundreds of people have climbed it by now if not thousands, why doesn’t it deserve a name?

In situations like this I think it would be perfectly acceptable for te guidebook author to name the climb, asking the first ascensionist’s approval where possible.


This is a dumb name. I hate it, a terrible way to start naming the bouldering problems in your backyard Mullins. I can only assume Mullins named it that cause its under his pool and his imaginary pool boy is named eduardo. (long story)

Hotel California

I’m going to cop a bunch for this, but I’m just not a fan of climbs that are just named after song, especially famous songs and routes like this one in the Blue Mountains.

Naming in Whitewater

Rapids in Australia, in New South Wales at least seem to be rarely named, and when they are its isn’t publicised much in guidebooks.  Those that are named tend to have names like “gnashing jaws of death” even if they aren’t that bad at all.

The best named rapid I’ve come across so far would have to be “Gentle Annie” and grade 4+ rocky rapid at the exit of a gorge on the snowy river. Most people portage Gentle Annie, case well she isn’t that gentle.

I’d like to see more named rapids in Australia, it feels like naming a climb is a great way to encourage creativity and people to do new stuff in an outdoor sport.


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