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Gear Guy

What’s The Protocol For Naming a Route After Yourself?

I think it would be cool to name a route after myself ... What is the protocol for getting my name up there in bright lights?

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I’ve noticed that certain routes are named after the first-ascent team. There’s the Bachar/Yerian, the Steck-Salathé and, further afield in the Alps, the Bonaiti
Pillar and the Gervasutti Pillar. I think it would be cool to name a route after myself … a way of achieving immortality. What is the protocol for getting my name up there in bright lights?

—Lee Byrd, Chicago, Illinois

The <em>Gervasutti Couloir</em>, not to be confused with the <em>Gervasutti Pillar</em>, in the Alps. Gervasutti was so great, he gets two routes named after himself. Photo: Guillaume Ledoux.” title=”The <em>Gervasutti Couloir</em>, not to be confused with the <em>Gervasutti Pillar</em>, in the Alps. Gervasutti was so great, he gets two routes named after himself. Photo: Guillaume Ledoux.”><b>You can always follow </b>Giusto Gervasutti’s lead and fall and die on<br />
    the route. But that can backfire if the name doesn’t take. Gervasutti, aka “The Hardest,” got his namesake by being one of the finest alpinists of<br />
    his day, revered in life and death. A route attempted and expired on by a nobody like you would go down as <em>This is Where the Idiot Rapped Off His Rope</em>    or something less flattering.</p>
<p>The smoothest approach is to establish your route, then sit back. Don’t name it. Let someone else deify you. The <em>Bachar/Yerian</em> is a good example<br />
    of this technique’s success. Technically, Bachar didn’t name the <em>B/Y</em> after himself and his partner Dave Yerian. He put up the line, then waited<br />
    for people to ask him what it was called.</p>
<p>“Ah man, don’t really have a name,” Bachar said, blond hair flowing magnificently in Tuolumne’s heady air. “Haven’t given it much thought …”</p>
<p>Genius! </p>
<p>After enough of that, people just referred to the most righteous dojo this side of Dresden as the <em>Bachar/Yerian</em>. You should note that Bachar possessed<br />
    a Vulcan-like mind meld, capable of planting nuggets of thought into people’s fertile upper pastures. He was also an iconic climber of his day, his<br />
    name rolling easily off the tongue, while I’ve already forgotten who you are.</p>
<p>I actually tried the <em>B/Y</em> technique once up at Smith Rock. About 25 years ago, I cleaned and bolted a sweet new line, then booked it home<br />
    without telling anyone a name. A few years later when the guidebook came out, I eagerly thumbed to my route. Instead of strumming my lips in awe<br />
    at <em>Gear Guy</em> (5.12c), I was assailed by <em>Choss in America</em>.</p>
<p>To put it nicely, a loser like you can forget about naming a route after yourself. If your aim is immortality, there is hope. Scientists are busily developing<br />
    digital immortality, where they copy and store all your memories and personality in a durable medium such as a computer. After your physical container<br />
    dies, the computer takes over and you are again cognizant, able to chat and Tweet on the Internet for time eternal.</p>
<p>Frankly, I’d rather die. Gear Guy has spoken!</p>
</p>
<p><em>This article originally appeared in </em>Rock and Ice <em>issue 212 (September 2013).</em> </p>


        

        

        
        
                          
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