I’ve been reporting on climbing news for awhile, and there’s one plug-n-play sentence I write that irritates the baby-shit out of me
“Blah-Blarma made the Blah ascent of Blahzation (5.15blah).”
What bothers me about this sentence structure isn’t the climber/route name or its depressing interchangeability. I don’t mind reporting about first ascents of great routes—and I don’t even mind reporting about the same route again when it’s inevitably repeated (big deal!) by the less motivated and more sponsor-hungry.
The thing that bothers me most about this familiar go-to sentence is the word “made.”
Made is a perfectly fine, useful word, even if it is technically more boring than watching mixed climbing. However, other editors here always tell me that I need to spice up the sentence by replacing “made” with something like “fired,” “blitzed” or “nabbed.”
Even the freakin’ interns are jumping on the anti-“made” bandwagon. It’s a mutiny.
Is it really that much more interesting to read about someone “nabbing,” as opposed to “making,” an ascent? Of course not, because it’s climbing news that isn’t about You and therefore not interesting.
Further, I have never understood how someone could “fire” an ascent. It’s rock climbing, not pottery. We use quickdraws, not kilns! Hellfire!
“Made” is suiting, I think, because it inhabits the most trivial part of the sentence. In fact, almost any verb would “work.” Don’t believe me? Let’s take some (no longer) recent climbing headlines, infuse them with random words and see if they still make sense:
“Patxi Usobiaga has LEAP-FROGGED an onsight of Home Sweet Home (5.14b/c).”
“‘Strong’ Steve McClure has DIVORCED the third ascent of Rhapsody (E11).”
“Nico Favresse has FARTED the second ascent of Cobra Crack (5.14c), Canada.”
Who wants to read about someone MUSHROOM-STAMPING a flash, or VOMITTING a redpoint when they could just as easily read about someone MAKING it?
That reminds me. I need to go FIRE my project—the one I can’t send. It’s fucking FIRED!