As a kid it was thrilling to peal the rigid top off of a new box of Crayons just to dig through the vibrant, waxy rows of artistic freedom in search of the most outlandish color names. I always wondered who was lucky enough to have THAT job!?! Someone with a witty sense of humor and an affinity for tasty treats is my guess. “Macaroni and Cheese”, a memorable favorite. And who could resist the bright chartreuse green hue of “Inchworm”?
Now, in the era of adulting, I still find the same excitement and wonder surrounding the amusement of names given to many of the rock climbing areas and routes we explore. It’s one of those quirky things about the climbing culture that I will always appreciate. 10% thanks to the thick irony and abundant hilarity of the names themselves. 90% thanks to the fact that each time I giggle at one of the off-colored names (and yes, that pun was intended!), it lets me feel just like a kid again.
Like recreating a little game from childhood, I find myself dreaming up what each wall will look and feel like before reaching its base, often making for a moderately comical approach. So when this weekend’s objective was set on the Chuck Norris Wall, you can imagine the slew of round-houseing, martial arts ridiculousness I conjured up. And again, I wonder who on earth was fortunate enough to not only come up with the name, but to stumble upon this secluded alcove of spires situated in the Northeast Quadrant of Devil’s Head just over an hour south of the city.
In a way, this route naming culture is my modern day equivalent to childhood Crayola merriment. Only nature produces the rows of hues I love to dig through. And I know, no one was hired to be out here, discovering these amazing places, putting in the work to make and maintain an accessible train, or drill and clean bolt after bolt. A thankless job, no doubt – but one I fantasize about just the same as I did over those Crayon-naming individuals who will themselves remain forever anonymous.
With the help of a trust worthy guide, RakkUp, and the humorous alliterations drawn from Mountain Project’s description – “plenty of single pitch pebble pinching” – dancing around in my head, this weekend’s trek out to the crag with incredible friends was a simple reminder. As I get older and connect with the outdoors more often, I realize the experience has become less about the place and more about the feeling. And I just can’t help but think of those darn Crayola’s…
If Chuck Norris was a crayon color…I think he might be a leathery tanned shade of umber, but I know for certain he’d be in the limited edition box.