Complexity of grades respective logging of ascents #304

MelwinQ opened this Issue Sep 14, 2011 · 8 comments


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I think we touched this matter already in a recent eMail, however, I'd like to sum it up and add some more aspects. This is quite a nasty mess, but if one day you should run out of things to do ;-)

Grades can be more complex than currently implemented:

  • some guidebooks use something like "6a+/6b" or "6ab" suggesting some intermediate grade
  • jumps are an accepted means of reaching the summit in some areas*. Jumps a rated using plain integer numbers from 1 to 6. A route may comprise both a jump and regular climbing.
  • differerent style means different grade, requiring respective logging of ascents / a route may be 6a+ (5+ A0) / a multipitch route may be climbed partially / a route may be rated VIIa RP VIIc, meaning that it is VIIa dog and VIIc redpoint* / (sections of) a route may (have to) be climbed by "boosting"* (dunno if thats the correct word, ie supporting the climber by providing human hand- or footholds - no aiding). Grades are then often reported like VIIa (VIIc), meaning that with boosting it is VIIa, completely free VIIc.

*these may seem very exotic, but these pecularities can be found in at least three major area (Sächsische Schweiz -Germany; České Švýcarsko - Czech; Meteora - Greece), with each having several thousand climbs.

@brendanheywood member

All grades are internally stored as a fine grained grade between 0-500 and each grade system maps onto a range within that. The system already handles "6a+/6b" as 'somewhere in the range covered by both '6a' and '6b'. It's pretty smart with that.

@scd member

This is a pretty good to do list. I think what is missing from this list is a nice user interface for doing what we propose.

I think we will have to extend the ascent table to have the same capability as grades in the routes table. We could go the other way and make it a softer textual display and use the internal score for level of difficulty?

You also mentioned a couple of extensions to our rating systems for routes that we should put in when we have time, in particular jumps and boosting is something I was not aware of.

I'm not so sure that I want to change the grade for a tick type like Dog, but we have to do this for Aid tick type.

@cgome member

I love it! There's some stuff there I've never heard of.

My $0.02 worth below. Won't double up on what Brendan and Simon have already added.

Jump grades- brilliant!

Boosting. In a way this sounds similar to boulder problems with sit start variants? With sit starts if it changes the grade usually people add it as a separate route eg

--Traverse V0
--Traverse (Sit Start) V2

Partial ascents of multipitch routes is quite a can of worms but we will need to open it at sometime

Ultimately it would be good to get to a prettier solution that having to create a different route for every variation (eg maybe the notion of a route node that has variants nested beneath it?)

Check out routes 36-40 (Ozymandias variants at Buffalo Gorge)- not pretty...

I'm struggling to get my head into a mindset where the same route could be a different grade depending on the style in which it was climbed, where could this end- a different grade for each style? What about different grades based on gender, height, ability level of the climber ??

But if it's accepted practice across several major areas we'll have to nut it out...

With pretty much all the cases outlined (except the jump grades), a workable, but currently fairly well-hidden, hack at the moment is to log an ascent using the principle grade then open and edit the ascent and give it a different grade. You could then note the reason for the change in the comment. We could increase the visibility of the 'Edit ascent grade' option- maybe even make it available during the 'add ascent' process?


  • Route A is a Grade VIIc but I dogged it so when I log my ascent I change my ascent grade to VIIa and dog as the style
  • Route B is a multipitch with the crux at the end but I only did the first 2 (easier) pitches then rapped off so I log an ascent then change my ascent grade and put 'First 2 pitches only' in the comment
@cgome cgome closed this Sep 14, 2011
@scd scd reopened this Sep 14, 2011

@Campbell: Surely grades can also depend on wheather conditions and the amount of chalk left in your bag ... ;-)

Anyway, logging an ascent in the correct way is one thing (which is already possible I understand - great!). The other side is displaying difficulty information correctly in a guidebook-sense. It can make a lot of difference to me to know there is a 5+ A0 bail-out from this 6c+, when being on pitch 6 late in the afternoon. So I'd welcome that this information can somehow be associated if possible.

@cgome member
@scd member

The ascent logging side of things is done. It seems as though there are three other issues raised here which we probably need to keep live:

  1. Add Jumps rating system (do we want to do this, or just add it to the route description)?
  2. Presentation of alternate grades for a route. We currently have the registered grade, but also may have alternate grades (eg 24 or 21 M1) as grade contributions. We need to develop a policy for dealing with this before we do any system changes.
  3. Policy for dealing with multiplying variants (now that we have the ability to do ascent linkups and pitch one only ascents, this may alleviate a lot of the pressure here).

My preference is to make some quick policy decisions on the above three things. Anything that cannot be resolved immediately should be created as a separate issue so that we can close this issue (as the core of this issue has been resolved).

@cgome member
@scd member

It looks like I can close this issue. Brendan, please reopen if you disagree.

@scd scd closed this May 30, 2012
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