/ Ape Index

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davidalcock - on 09 Oct 2013
I had always assumed this referred to those climbers with huge shoulders and arms and teeny-weeny legs. After a conversation with one John Cook, I realise it is armspan/height ratio. My question is: how can it possibly be relevant? Surely tallness and shortness both have their advantages and disadvantages. This is obviously one of the most pressing questions known to mankind, but still... My AI is 1.05415, or 3.75" btw. Do I win a novelty toy or something?
Muel - on 09 Oct 2013
In reply to davidalcock:

Makes a big difference, because you can reach holds that are further away...

Mine is over 4", but my Dad's (the sod) is 7".
Calder - on 09 Oct 2013
In reply to davidalcock:

Just +0.6" (1.008) for me. Seems I've got a new excuse :)
davidalcock - on 09 Oct 2013
In reply to Muel: But what if you're 4'2" with an AI of 5" compared to someone 7'9" with an AI of -2"? My pet bonobos really need to know.
turtlespit - on 10 Oct 2013
Probably only relevant when sharing route beta with climbers of a similar height. I'm 6'0" with a neutral ape factor. If somebody who was the same height as me, but with a +4" ape factor had to make a really reachy move on a route, I'd likely be looking for a different way to do that move.
Jonny2vests - on 10 Oct 2013
In reply to davidalcock:

It doesn't do Apes any harm.
Jonny2vests - on 10 Oct 2013
In reply to Muel:
> (In reply to davidalcock)
>
> Makes a big difference, because you can reach holds that are further away...
>
> Mine is over 4", but my Dad's (the sod) is 7".

+7" is absurdly big, I am doubtful. +4" is already pretty big.

For some perspective, check out Theo Merrin's wall at his home in Boulder where some pretty big hitters have been measured up:

http://i1.wp.com/climbingnarc.com/wp-content/images/b8ceb37ae053_7463/ApeOMeter.jpg
999thAndy on 10 Oct 2013
In reply to davidalcock:
A bigger AI means that you have more body where it matters for climbing.
puppythedog on 10 Oct 2013
In reply to davidalcock: It matters to me, I'm 5'9" with a minus 2" ape index :-( this means that I have to climb up to holds others cannot reach. Where I seem to be more naturally gifted than my tall reachy compatriots is on really closed in powerful positions where my hand is not far from my feet on an overhang for example.
1poundSOCKS - on 10 Oct 2013
In reply to davidalcock: 5' 6 1/2" (and I need the 1/2!) with a -2" ape index. Doesn't seem to make much difference on limestone generally, but gritstone and indoor is more heightist. I avoid most routes with the reachy symbol in Rockfax, although I did manage Lancashire Wall at Stanage (due to having the definitive guide and not knowing).
Jonny2vests - on 10 Oct 2013
In reply to 1poundSOCKS:

It's not really about height (I'm much shorter than you) and absolute reach, it's about a bias in your body that enables all kinds of climbing movements, irrespective of rock type. A bit like an actual Ape, it's well named.
1poundSOCKS - on 10 Oct 2013
In reply to Jonny2vests: Pardon?
highclimber - on 10 Oct 2013
In reply to davidalcock: My theory is that While a +ape index (arms longer than you are tall) can make a difference on some moves, I believe that the ration between leg/torso length has a greater bearing on what moves can be considered easy/hard for two different people.
Jonny2vests - on 10 Oct 2013
In reply to 1poundSOCKS:
> (In reply to Jonny2vests) Pardon?

I meant 'ape index' is well named. Is that the bit you meant?
1poundSOCKS - on 10 Oct 2013
In reply to Jonny2vests: Sorry, just when you said "it's", I'm thinking you meant ape index, was initially thinking you meant "climbing". I do know what it is (ape index), despite the badly disguised rant/excuse about why I fail on gritstone so often (and get burnt off by all the lanky youfs at the indoor wall).
tom_in_edinburgh - on 10 Oct 2013

If the ape index is a ratio then why is everyone putting " after it like it was a length in inches? If it's a ratio of lengths it's dimensionless.
1poundSOCKS - on 10 Oct 2013
In reply to tom_in_edinburgh: I've always heard people talk about it in inches, so maybe I don't know what it is. My armspan is 2 inches shorter than my height.
DubyaJamesDubya - on 10 Oct 2013
In reply to tom_in_edinburgh:
>
> If the ape index is a ratio then why is everyone putting " after it like it was a length in inches? If it's a ratio of lengths it's dimensionless.

It's easier.
johncoxmysteriously - on 10 Oct 2013
In reply to tom_in_edinburgh:

>If the ape index is a ratio then why is everyone putting

It's not a ratio. I have no idea what the OP is talking about; either he doesn't know what 'ape index' refers to or he is fabulously inarticulate.

I very much doubt that a large AI is particularly an advantage. It's good for reaching further, not so good for locking off or pull-ups. It would be mildly interesting to see a statistical analysis of whether top climbers tend to have positive or negative AIs.

jcm
fraserbarrett - on 10 Oct 2013
In reply to davidalcock: it's important because the trunk of the body is where most of the weight is. A large ape index gives more reach for a small amount of weight. Therefore it improves the reach/power/weight relationship in a positive way.
Blue Straggler - on 10 Oct 2013
In reply to tom_in_edinburgh:
>
> If the ape index is a ratio then why is everyone putting " after it like it was a length in inches? If it's a ratio of lengths it's dimensionless.


The index itself is not a ratio. It can be expressed as a ratio though. It can also be expressed as an offset. Some are giving the ratio, some are not. Those who are not, are listing the offset in inches. Some are listing both. Although with a height and an offset, you can work out the arm span and therefore the ratio, if you so wish.

So if you were 5'9" and had an arm span of 5'10" the ape index is 1.0145 if expressed as a ratio, or we can say that the ape index is +1" if expressed as an offset.
tom_in_edinburgh - on 10 Oct 2013
In reply to Blue Straggler:
> (In reply to tom_in_edinburgh)
> [...]
>
>
> The index itself is not a ratio. It can be expressed as a ratio though. It can also be expressed as an offset.

OK. That makes sense.
johncook - on 10 Oct 2013
In reply to davidalcock: As the John Cook in the OP here are my stats, 6ft tall, AI either 1.0625 or 4.5". A positive ape index can be useful if you know how to use it. Flexibility helps this use. It is good on reachy routes, but in chimneys and under roofs can be a disadvantage. Because my arms and legs are long, and I am flexible enough to use my AI, I can outreach some crux moves, and bridge where others cannot.
I have a friend who is taller than me, with a bigger AI, but because he has very muscular shoulders and is inflexible he cannot reach as far upwards as I can.
Pull-ups and lock-offs are harder as a result of the long levers involved.
I have been known to climb 'short', as two of the ladies I used to climb with were short and always complained about my reach. Indoors I was not allowed to reach further than they could, which worked wonders for my footwork.
All this still does not mean that AI has any relevance to how good a climber you are!
davidalcock - on 10 Oct 2013
In reply to johncoxmysteriously: "Fabulously inarticulate"... I might nab that for my tombstone.
Nick Russell on 10 Oct 2013
In reply to johncook:
Indoors I was not allowed to reach further than they could

I know that game... When I used to set at a uni bouldering wall the rule for height dependence was "if you can touch it with your elbow, it's within reach"
Ramblin dave - on 10 Oct 2013
In reply to Nick Russell:
Suggest that in return they should climb with a weight belt and a few extra kilos to make up for all that extra flesh and bone that you're lugging around and aren't allowed to use.
GridNorth - on 10 Oct 2013
In reply to Ramblin dave:
> (In reply to Nick Russell)
> Suggest that in return they should climb with a weight belt and a few extra kilos to make up for all that extra flesh and bone that you're lugging around and aren't allowed to use.

Agreed. The price for height is weight and even though height is sometimes handy, lack of weight is ALWAYS and advantage.
jcw on 10 Oct 2013
In reply to johncoxmysteriously: Interesting juxtaposition of inarticulate as in fables.
Jonny2vests - on 10 Oct 2013
In reply to johncoxmysteriously:

Not sure what's in them, but there are papers discussing ape index in climbing, see references on the ape index wiki page.
Dandan82 - on 10 Oct 2013
In reply to davidalcock:
I've always wondered what the ape index of an ape is...
HeMa on 10 Oct 2013
davidalcock - on 10 Oct 2013
In reply to johncook: Cheers John, that pretty much sums it up. At 5'9" I find it goes one way or the other. I think if I could wave a magic wand, I'd wish for more compactness and a lower centre of gravity over reach. Good to meet you the other day.

jcm: I'm struggling to think of any famously incoherent characters from myth or fable, but I have a suspicion you fancy yourself as Thersites.
ByEek - on 10 Oct 2013
In reply to Muel:

> Makes a big difference, because you can reach holds that are further away...

But then as Joe Brown put it "If you can't reach a hold, simply climb up to it". The exceptionally talented Lynn Hill (5'2") also makes no excuses for her height sighting dainty hands as a considerable advantage when climbing some of the harder routes.

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