Friday, 13 August 2010

The Swedish Climbing Federation has gone mad!

If I did not know better I would have guessed that it was a April fools joke gone bad or that the Chairman of The Swedish Climbing Federation was on a intoxicated bender but its a fact. The Swedish Climbing Federation has via its chairman announced in National media that "they" the Federation will release a name policy for climbing routes. Offensive names shall be banned!

Interesting enough the chairman of the Swedish Climbing Federation has no board approval for this policy initiative. And at least two board members are disputing the proposed naming policy. From a technical point of view one can argue that the chairman has no right what so ever to start implementing or working on a policy unless told to do so by the general assembly.

All this after a local socialistic political activist wants to shut down a crag in Stockholm after finding the route names offensive. The theme on the crag is referring to Nazism. One of the routes is named Hitler. The description is "Short and evil".

First of all The Swedish Climbing Federation has nothing to do with the naming of routes and should have much more important things to devote its time to. The names appear only in a printed topo not on the crag. The topo is protected by the laws ensuring freedom of speech. Where is the world coming at when politics will decide route names?

Route names is a integral part of a creative process when putting up new routes. It can in a way be seen as a way to participate in the public debate commenting on what's going on around us but also as a prank. Good or bad. The political argument to close the crag is that the names marginalize the Natzi regime we all grew up to despise. If one buys that argument how can the world accept Charlie Chaplin? Shall we ban his mocking of Hitler? Shall we return to book burning?

A fun detail is that the climber finding the names offensive and who alerted the national media is carrying the family name Hess. I hope for her sake she is not related to