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A Letter to the Editor

Dear Ed,

Reading last years article on the successes of people despite them being cavers, I was suitably amused with the subject lateral to caving activity, so here's a bit more ...

This then concerning the subtle criteria for choosing names for caves and parts therein being different to that used by climbers for routes and parts thereof, I suspect the last word in each case has something to do with it.

The trends in cave names appear to be dominated by geographical detail or locations whilst points therein are referred to more often than not by hydrological or descriptive attributes.  For the most part names of climbs follow the same rules.  The main exceptions in each case appear to be 1. a strong vein of humour both blasphemous and tongue in cheek for cave systems and 2. fictional futuristic and fantastic for climbing routes.  A dodgy speculation here may be that while the climbing fraternity are more often than not performing in pairs, caving is undertaken (pun intended) by larger groups which leads to a more prolific dissemination of humour in the socialising 'apr├Ęs descendre'.  Further dodgy speculation leads to the three Fs in route names of climbs pandering to spectator attention, their public is suitably awed as it were, this is something that caving, by its very nature, cannot enjoy.

I accept that several other factors are at work here, for instance cave names have the opportunity to describe more dimensions rather than being dominated by verticality, individual moves on climbs can be bloody desperate but not very different from the stamina sapping characteristics of a long caving trip, the terminology must therefore spring from some other source.  This leads to a most dodgy speculation that the lack of an audience in caving has been instrumental in the generation of aforementioned blasphemous annotation.

In conclusion then, it appears to be the public's fault.. .. as was thought all along!! Any more ideas anyone ... ???

            John King.