Self-described as "a woman of color, web developer, and climber," Melissa A. F. Utomo recently made waves by creating a proposal that asked the popular rock climbing resource Mountain Project to reconsider many of the offensive route names on the platform. Utomo calls for names like "Lynch Mob" (Colorado), "Slant Eyes" (South Dakota), and "Full Retard" (Colorado) into question.
Utomo proposed that the site adds a flagging option that would allow users to report offensive route names. This would allow the route names to be addressed on a case-by-case basis. Her proposal included mock designs of the button placement and code that could be used to help implement the change.
On July 1, Nick Wilder of Boulder-based Mountain Project announced that flagging a name is now possible. Some offensive names have already been changed on the site, including the renaming of "Slavery Wall" (Wyoming) and its many slavery-themed route names. The wall is now referred to as "Downpour Wall" on the website, following suit with changes in the greater climbing community.
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This is posted on the @tensleeprockranch bulletin board. I’m sure we have all traveled to climbing areas and seen insensitive, hurtful, misogynistic, homophobic and transphobic, racist, sexist and other demeaning route and cliff names. There is no room for this in our sport, or in our world. Recent BLM and other efforts have brought this to our collective attention, and the discussions, realizations, and resulting changes are long overdue. I’ve been having conversations on this topic over the last few months and am happy to see the overwhelming support for this type of change. Thank you to everyone who has spoken with me and helped me to better understand and realize how wide spread this is. These honest and open conversations are the path forward; for this and so many other challenges. Please help to spread the word about these name changes and encourage other areas, route developers, and guidebook authors to make similar changes as needed. Unfortunately I cannot afford to reprint my Ten Sleep guidebook to reflect these changes, but all of them (and any other changes that occur) will be reflected in the next edition of the book.
While some discriminatory route names have been changed, many continue to exist, including the three mentioned at the beginning of this piece, as of July 31: "Lynch Mob" (Colorado), "Slant Eyes" (South Dakota), and "Full Retard" (Colorado).
See Melissa A. F. Utomo's full proposal here.