Sunday, September 02, 2007

Road to Zion

Jody (back in autumnal black-powerstretch-ninja-mode) does the second ascent of "Road to Zion" (VS 4c/5a).

I haven't done a climbing post for ages, so here's one. I climbed a new route yesterday at Haukkakallio. I had tried to climb it onsight last weekend, but it had been too dirty and the crack that the route follows too choked with mud, so I cleaned it on abseil but didn't have time to try leading it, hence I was dead keen to return to this weekend. The actual climbing went well, it was hard enough to be interesting but not so hard that I couldn't do it.

Anni through the quickdraws on "The Constant Gardener" (HS 4b).

For any non-climbers reading: once you have done a first ascent, you can name the climb - so I had to think of a name. I'm off to Israel in a few days, so I thought that something Biblical would be good - in future years it will help me remember when I did the climb. There are many, many climbs in the UK of a certain age - normally from the 1950s and earlier - that have biblical or classically inspired names. They point to both a higher level of church going, and of a more classical education of those times. I'm rather embarrassed that when I did routes like Agag's Groove in Glencoe, or Via Dolorosa at the Roaches, that I didn't even get the Biblical references in their names. If you are a mid-grade climber (most routes of that grade had been done by the 1960s) in Britain and you actually check on Wikipedia where the name of the climbs you have done, come from it will teach you many things that perhaps we should have learned in Sunday School or English literature lessons.

Jody storming the "Battlements" (VS 4c). English Tony looks on.

So I was trying to think of a good Israel-connected name; I like the word Zion, very classical - lots of poetic and literary resonance, but alone it seemed a bit to short. The phrase "Road to Zion" came to mind, although I couldn't remember why - maybe because it sounded like the movie "Road to Perdition" which I enjoyed. So when I got home I googled the phrase and the first thing that comes up is the Damian Marley song of the same name, which must be the reason the phrase was first in my head. As Damian's father, Bob, wrote the most famous song ever about climbing cracks (we're jammin', we're jammin', we hope you like jammin' too... of course its about climbing!) this was a good start, but when I saw that "Road to Zion" is from an album called called - wait for it - "Welcome to Jamrock" I had found the perfect name.

The song is 'politically conscious', as it is called in the genre, as well - attacking Mugabe. Zimbabwe has been on my mind recently. Mugabe might be evil, but I've never heard him called stupid - yet even with just an A-level in economics, I can tell he simply doesn't get supply and demand - hence an economy running at nearly 10,000% inflation. So dissing Mugabe just makes the song better. Check it out below.

1 comment:

Tony and Anni said...

We should also have climbed it as we will be going to Zion (National Park, Utah) this fall and it would have been good jamming practice. Perhaps there is still time.