What’s in a name?

August 5, 2019
What's in a name? Chimera Climbing Tunbridge Wells

Why Chimera? We often get asked where our name came from, so it was about time we set the record straight…

There are three reasons we chose Chimera. The first has to do with our ties to the local area. The hardest top-rope climb in the South East of England is on the Southern Sandstone, at the Tunbridge Wells crag High Rocks, and it is called ‘Chimera’.

In the three decades since it was established, this beautiful, enigmatic and austere line has had just a handful of ascents. Some of the best climbers in the country have pitted themselves against it and come up short.

The second reason is that bouldering itself is chimerical, which the Cambridge English dictionary has listed as “a hope or dream that is extremely unlikely ever to come true.”

That’s not to say climbing is hopeless – far from it. But as climbers, we achieve a grade and immediately want to better it. We want to climb harder and harder, to push ourselves to the limit of what we are capable of. The boundaries are constantly being raised – from Fred Nicole’s Dream Time in 2000, to Daniel Woods’s Hypnotized Minds in 2010 and on to Burden of Dreams in 2016, finally sent after approximately 4,000 attempts by Nalle Hukkataival. Just what it is actually physically and mentally possible to dream and project and eventually climb is constantly evolving thanks to the dedicated, single-minded few.

In the pursuit of a hard boulder-problem, the climber is continuously chasing an illusion, it’s a mirage, a distant oasis that they can never reach. A boulderer can spend years training to achieve enough strength, agility and power to be able to finally send their project. They throw themselves, time and again, at an insignificant and insubstantial piece of rock, until their fingers bleed and their joints ache. It becomes all-consuming, and the result is nugatory in the greater scheme of life. They finally send their dream, they top out on the bloc to momentary elation, before they immediately look to next hardest thing.

The third, is that the Chimera from Greek Mythology was a formidable beast that could not be attacked from the front or from the rear, and it took the son of a god to destroy it. Sometimes, when we dream of reaching the pinnacle, we look at the hardest problem on the wall and realise there is no way of starting it – if you can’t do the first or last move, how can you even begin to project and attack the beast?

We wanted a name that encapsulated resilience, strength, the pursuit of excellence; that expressed the transitory nature of climbing, and that also had a tie to the regional climbing community. Chimera was it.

Why Chimera Climbing Tunbridge Wells

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