The NRAC Board of Directors has approved a process by which questionable route names in and around the New River Gorge will be addressed. In crafting this process, we believe we've created something that is fair and heavily weighted toward dialogue with first ascencionists, but that also provides an extreme-circumstances path by which NRAC might advocate for name changes without FA consent.
That process is here:
If a route name comes to our attention as being potentially offensive to historically marginalized people, we’ll undertake the following steps:
1. NRAC's JEDI committee will decide if the route name in question should be escalated further into the process.
2. If necessary, the committee will collect survey data on the name—how many people in the affected population agree it’s offensive? How offensive is it to them? Survey data will help inform the committee's decision making process.
3. If the committee votes by simple majority that the name is actionable, it will collectively decide what the best course of action is.
4. If that decided-upon course of action is to advocate for a name change, then who’s the most appropriate person to contact the first ascencionist? That person will reach out to the FA.
5. If the FA agrees to change the name, the committee will support their efforts to do so in a manner that is non-discriminatory.
6. If the FA expresses consent to change the name, but is uninterested in doing so themselves, the committee will present name suggestions to guidebook authors/Mountain Project admins.
7. In either case (5 or 6), the committee will keep records of the change, inform guidebook authors and MP admins, and follow up to ensure name changes have occurred.
8. If the FA refuses to change the name, the committee will present options to the full NRAC BOD, including but not limited to doing nothing, requesting route description edits or advocating for name changes without FA approval.
9. The NRAC BOD will vote on the options.
10. The committee will compose a simple statement to present to Mountain Project and the guidebook author/publisher informing them of NRAC's position.
There are several route names in the process right now. Some were not escalated past number 1. Several were—and we are working to open dialogues with FAs now.
We are all stewards of land once held by indigenous people. Our respect for them, as well as for justice, equity, diversity and inclusion in climbing must be present in everything we do.