The Philosopher’s Wall

One of my pipe dreams is to gain access to some previously unclimbed rock wall, and work to put up a series of original routes.  Ideally the grades would range from very easy to nearly impossible.  It wouldn’t be the bolting or first ascents that I would be after though.  This vision is based solely on the enjoyment I would get from naming the wall and the routes.  I would name this hidden gem The Philosopher’s Wall, and each route would be named after a different philosopher.  The difficulty of the route would correspond with the difficulty of each philosopher’s work.  And the enjoyment of the route would correspond with the enjoyment of the work as well.  A fun moderate route could simply be called The Mill.  The hardest route could be called Hegel.  There could be an open area where one just makes up their own route called The Existential Abyss.  The crux of some of the routes would be named after philosophical dilemmas.

I could imagine getting to the crux on Schopenhauer and trying to work through The Hedgehogs Dilemma.  On Chalmers, there could be two cruxes…The Easy Problem and The Hard Problem.  There could be a traverse called Philippa Foot, and the crux could be called The Trolley Problem, it would be a route that finishes on the same anchors as The Judith Jarvis Thompson

Yes, yes, yes!  I would love to climb on Wittgenstein’s Ladder, a route in which you can recognize the right beta, but realize that in the end it just won’t work.  The Problem of Personal Identity will cause the climber to question whether or not the person who started the route is the same person who completed the route. The Prisoner’s Dilemma will put the climber and belayer into a position where they are forced to choose who is to climb first, and then recognize that the rational choice may not always be the best choice.  While climbing through Zeno’s Paradox, the climber acknowledges that there are an infinite number of ½ way points between the start hold and the anchors at the top of the route, and then conclude that even if they make it to the anchors, perhaps they haven’t actually moved at all.  And of course, The Liar’s Paradox.  The Liar’s Paradox is especially good for climbers who may exaggerate the truth about whether or not they have actually sent a route at all. While we’re at it, there might as well be a route called Ockham’s Razor, where there are different options, but the simplest route is clearly the best!

I would name the approach Intro to Philosophy, and the exit would be called The Road to Larissa.  It’s an exit that causes much uncertainty about whether or not it’s the right way, but ultimately ends up taking you exactly where you need to be.

I wouldn’t object to a small campground just off the trailhead of Intro to Philosophy.  We could host a weekly symposium and BS about philosophy on a nightly basis.  We could have a general store to sell camp amenities, climbing gear, and philosophy books.  Maybe even rent a few Walden-like cabins to the bougie climbers who prefer a bed and a roof over a sleep pad and a tent.  Once a year we could co-host a conference/climbing competition with the Ralph Waldo Emerson Society, focusing on unique topics regarding the protection of the outdoors.

This is a pipe dream so while we’re at it, why not throw in a vineyard.  People like wine, and we already have a store, so why not?  Wine Knot? Wineott?  Those are pretty good name options for the wine at The Philosopher’s Wall, Campground, General Store, and Winery.  Welcome to my dream!


26 Replies to “The Philosopher’s Wall”

  1. You do realize that you have just twilight zoned back to proto history where Adam was given the right to name things? In the naming he attained partnership in and responsibility for creation. Just an observation…

    Liked by 3 people

  2. This is brilliant! 😁 Your quest for “…some previously unclimbed rock wall…” (that isn’t a crud heap) has a delightful Don Quixote quality about it. 😉 If you find such an place, I’d vote for adding a route named Schrodinger’s Superposition (yes, yes, not a philosopher per se, but what is quantum physics without philosophy?). This route could exist (or not), be climbed (or not), be climbed simultaneously by a live and dead climber, be climbed by a cat, etc., etc. Something to think about…🤔

    Liked by 5 people

  3. I love this. I’m sitting here thinking of names for routes, and I guess if you found a hole at the very top you’d name it the (drum roll) Heidegger

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Alas, I read Thoreau, and ditched my gear at the base to simplify my life, and went off to my cabin.
    Good luck with your dream! If ever I return to civilization I’ll look it up.

    The Philosopher’s Tale

    Two dreams dreamed
    Within my mind,
    One at the fore
    And one behind and
    Being unable to realize
    Two dreams at once, I
    Put my efforts into dreams
    Of the working-man’s kind.

    These dreams fulfilled,
    I set them down as is
    Tradition when you wear
    That stately crown, grey hair,
    And as I looked around
    I saw growing from the ground
    These tender shoots of that
    Sequestered dream
    And heard the sound
    Of the blue jay’s call and
    Gazed upon the sunlight beam
    And marveled at the many
    Dreams yet to be found.



    Liked by 2 people

  5. Brilliant idea! What about a Marcus Aurelius route? Or just a Stoic route? You can’t change the route or the rock, but you have a duty to climb … and not complain.

    Liked by 1 person

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