Going Viral: New Climbing Routes Open in Washington DC

Something I did went viral…

at least in the micro-climbing community I have access to. Not much of an impact really, but interesting to be part of this strong social current that takes ideas and sweeps them into popular culture.

Yesterday on January 6, 2021, Trump Supporters, who are now referred to as Domestic Terrorists, laid siege to the most sacred government buildings in our nation’s capital in an act that is now referred to as an attempt at sedition. They were seemingly aided by police and it was a violent and destructive assault which resulted in 4 deaths and the interruption of a constitutionally mandated process to transfer power from one administration to the next. Literally unprecedented, literally unbelievable.

It was in this a historic moment for the United States that a picture came across my news feed which didn’t really register right away. Aghast at what was happening to our democracy, one could excuse this oversight, until I turned to my fiance and asked her to come over to share the image.

Trump Supporters, now identified by practically every media as “domestic terrorists,” were not just pouring into the Capital’s House and Senate, they were SCALING, CLIMBING, AND BOULDERING THE BUILDING ITSELF. Hoping for humor to dilute this moment of insanity, I joked that “when I said I wanted more people to get into climbing… this is not what I meant.” My fiance then asked me if my friend Beau approved of their technique and… my caption for the image above was born.

I swiftly took to the internets, navigated to my favorite climbing groups and instantly posted the joke (point of note that Reddit’s climbing community instantly removed the post, sad!). Instantly, and I mean instantly, the likes and comments came pouring in. Some people were understandably frustrated, but the significant majority of people laughed and liked the post, adding their own hilarious comments to the snowball.

But wait, that’s not all.

Well, without ever meeting any of the people in the vibrant and often snarky climbing community, that someone delivered…

 

Right now there is a route posted on the most comprehensive American climbing website called Insurrection, rated a V1, with an accompanying humorous description. While I certainly appreciate the mod’s generosity in allowing the route, the post, and the joke to reach so many, I definitely understand if this is swiftly taken down. So, if you want to see it, I recommend heading over to Mountain Project to witness this conjunction of politics and climbing in all of its glory while it is still up.


If not me, then someone else

I’ve never really had a post that jumped out of the starting gate like this and delivered so much engagement. Definitely, it does not really benefit any of the humanitarian projects I started, or anything meaningful really (besides stroking my ego). In fact, I am already preparing for the inevitable “you call that viral?! pfft!” However, I do feel that humor is a vehicle that we can all use to both acknowledge and denounce catastrophic events in our collective history. This is certainly one we are all still wrangling with, and honestly I have already witnessed many, many other similar jokes, memes, and colorful versions of this joke.

So, if not me, then already others would take this direction. It does not mean we can ignore or forget about what’s going on, but it is certainly one way to get everyone talking about it without instantly resorting to tribalism, total polarization, and other ineffective methods that ultimately divided us all to the place we arrived at yesterday.


With that in mind, please consider how climbing became this vehicle yesterday, and how this activity has an uncanny ability to impact a larger world in ways we cannot imagine. We did this very thing in Iraq, a place where climbing was but a dream merely years ago. We started the first climbing school in Iraq in history, and we could use your help. Please consider making a donation, as we have already made so much progress, but there is a long way to go!


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