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Representing route topo by line or area?

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 timparkin 27 Jun 2020

I was looking at 3D topo representations (see thread posted previously to this) and after climbing at Polldubh on one of it's more densely climbed crags and becoming quite confused about where routes went and what was in or out (not helped by the SMC photo swapping Tea Boy and SW2) I thought a line is really a poor way of representing a climb, although probably the only clear way on a piece of paper. With the web, where we can show each climb one at a time, I thought perhaps an area or band showing what was 'in' might be better. Here's my attempt at this for SW Buttress. I'd hope to layer this over a 3D graphic (see note at bottom or previous thread). 

http://static.timparkin.co.uk/swbuttress

Here's the 3D model (CPU intensive - probably won't work on some phones)

https://sketchfab.com/3d-models/glen-nevis-polldubh-sw-buttress-00aed71b34a74f50ad35e27591d1967c

Thoughts?

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 Mark Davies PK 27 Jun 2020
In reply to timparkin:

Without meaning to be negative, lines on photos in books work fine as far as I am concerned. Isnt the most interesting point of climbing actually working out the intricacies for yourself?

Post edited at 18:19
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 Mark Davies PK 27 Jun 2020
In reply to timparkin:

I do wonder if climbers' obsession with 'smart' phone technology will ultimately end up with a sat nav set up for approaching, selecting and actually climbing the route.

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 john arran 27 Jun 2020
In reply to Mark Davies PK:

> Without meaning to be negative, lines on photos in books work fine as far as I am concerned. Isnt the most interesting point of climbing actually working out the intricacies for yourself?

I think the difficulty of that approach is that it doesn't allow for the growing number of eliminate lines, particularly in bouldering, which sometimes could be very hard to describe/specify by text alone. I'm not a fan of climbing such things but I can see the advantage of an area-based rather than line-based approach for those that are.

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 timparkin 27 Jun 2020
In reply to Mark Davies PK:

> Without meaning to be negative, lines on photos in books work fine as far as I am concerned. Isnt the most interesting point of climbing actually working out the intricacies for yourself?

Absolute - in fact that's the only way that could have worked really. However, we now have photos instead of line drawings. 

Where do you draw the 'line' ? Were drawings taking the fun out of discovery? Were photos a step too far? Is using GPS evil?

Personally, I prefer Ed Grindley's drawings to the photos from either of these but the photo is useful to identify the crag as well but that depends on the artist.

Post edited at 18:46
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 timparkin 27 Jun 2020
In reply to Mark Davies PK:

> I do wonder if climbers' obsession with 'smart' phone technology will ultimately end up with a sat nav set up for approaching, selecting and actually climbing the route.

They already do. The SMC book has map coordinates that you can use your GPS directly from. UKC has photos that often show the climbers gear showing placements. You can watch videos on YouTube of people climbing the route.  Interviews with  climbers describe the grade of boulder problem into a font grade runout and point out broken holds. 

There are even forums online that people can browse on their phones and ask pertinent (or 'im-') questions.

The great thing is, you can ignore it all if you like!

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 Kevin Woods 27 Jun 2020
In reply to timparkin:

This is awesome. Looks really smooth. I did similar a year or two ago with the Ben and Creag Mhor Bhrinicoire (of all places...) Never got much beyond a semi-filled in point cloud, just enough to export and get it on Sketchfab.

I also wondered about using these visualisation with route lines; the ability to click on them etc.

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 pec 27 Jun 2020
In reply to timparkin:

Maybe we could go even further and actually paint all the permissable holds on each route in a different colour so then all the people who only climb indoors because they can't work out which holds to use (yes, I've actually overheard someone say that) can discover the spirit of adventure, discovery and self reliance that underpins our sport. Or maybe not.

A few years ago I tried to use a 2 inch high black and white line drawing to climb a 13 pitch route in Norway. After struggling to make much sense of it for the first few pitches I put the book away and just followed my nose which turned out to be much easier and more fun.

At some point you have to learn to use your brain.

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 timparkin 27 Jun 2020
In reply to pec:

> Maybe we could go even further and actually paint all the permissable holds on each route in a different colour so then all the people who only climb indoors because they can't work out which holds to use (yes, I've actually overheard someone say that) can discover the spirit of adventure, discovery and self reliance that underpins our sport. Or maybe not.

> A few years ago I tried to use a 2 inch high black and white line drawing to climb a 13 pitch route in Norway. After struggling to make much sense of it for the first few pitches I put the book away and just followed my nose which turned out to be much easier and more fun.

> At some point you have to learn to use your brain.

And I agree - sometimes I want to do that, sometimes I want to know I'm on the same route I've read about or had  recommended, sometimes I don't want to end up in a chossy dead end in the mountains. Choice is good (hence why we have photo topos instead of just book descriptions). People climb for different reasons and I presume this means they may have different requirements.

p.s. I still like the idea of walking up to a crag without any guide and just trying out what looks interesting. Finding out what I've climbed later may be something I'd like as well.

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 apwebber 27 Jun 2020
In reply to timparkin:

There are certain times I would have absolutely killed for GPS coordinates for a boulder or route. Nothing like traipsing around a bracken covered tor getting bitten by ticks, trying to follow someone's crappy attempt at a map. Nowadays we all have GPS in our pocket there's really no reason every single entry on ukc shouldn't have coordinates.

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 ianstevens 27 Jun 2020
In reply to apwebber:

Agreed. If people would prefer to tarps round a bog all day in the spirit of "adventure", then just don't use the GPS.

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In reply to timparkin:

If you need telling what holds are in, it's a shit route.

The other day I got lost on route. Why did this happen? I didn't bother to read the description.

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 timparkin 27 Jun 2020

> If you need telling what holds are in, it's a shit route.

Top out of Rhapsody? 

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In reply to timparkin:

> Top out of Rhapsody? 

What?

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 timparkin 27 Jun 2020
In reply to Jon Stewart:

It’s virtually eliminate with an obvious top out you don’t take etc. Hence it’s shit? I’m just working out which obvious classics need reassessing. 

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In reply to timparkin:

> It’s virtually eliminate with an obvious top out you don’t take etc. Hence it’s shit? I’m just working out which obvious classics need reassessing. 

I'm not qualified to assess the quality of that route, but if I had what it takes to climb at that level, then no, a short direct finish to a route in an urban shithole wouldn't be where I'd direct my efforts. Great if it's your local project and you're making a historic contribution to a significant venue on your home turf - there's no knocking it.

But in terms of personal inspiration, eliminates at Dumby isn't really the well I draw from when considering quality routes I'd like to climb. 

Post edited at 01:00
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 Kevin Woods 28 Jun 2020
In reply to Jon Stewart:

> I'm not qualified to assess the quality of that route, but if I had what it takes to climb at that level, then no, a short direct finish to a route in an urban shithole wouldn't be where I'd direct my efforts. Great if it's your local project and you're making a historic contribution to a significant venue on your home turf - there's no knocking it.

> But in terms of personal inspiration, eliminates at Dumby isn't really the well I draw from when considering quality routes I'd like to climb. 

Have you climbed at Dumbarton? Half of West Scotland's climbing contingent hangs out there regularly, and not because it's a shithole.

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 Wild Isle 28 Jun 2020
In reply to timparkin:

I write and publish climbing guidebooks in British Columbia. The terrain can be complex and below treelike... well, forested which can make locating crags tricky. In my recent editions I've added GPS coordinates for all the crags. In the past I used hand drawn topos. But now have gravitated to lines on photographs. Drones have become invaluable for this as they allow vantage points that get around the trees and the craned neck perspective of photos taken at ground level.

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In reply to Kevin Woods:

Another vote in favour of Dumby.

Its a crag of contrast. Most definitely urban, but with a heart of gold. Locals have always been chatty, friendly and keen to show you around. The rock type lends itself towards fantastically subtle and intricate climbing, even if it is covered in graffiti (which it isn’t now anyway). Finally, when the sun comes round in the evening the whole place lights up with a warm, summery glow which reflects off the Clyde giving you a magnificent sunset.

A shithole it most certainly isn’t, or at least if it is then so is Millstone (which - dare I say it - has much less character than Dumby does).

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In reply to Kevin Woods:

> Have you climbed at Dumbarton?

Got out of the car to have a look. 

> Half of West Scotland's climbing contingent hangs out there regularly, and not because it's a shithole.

Because it's convenient! It's a major urban venue, so of course it's both popular and scruffy. I'd climb there if I lived in West Scotland - where else would I go, apart from some other dogshit quarry?

There's not much point in having an argument about whether places like Avon and Dumby are shite or not, cause I can see the appeal for locals, but considering that I don't live near them, I'm never going to climb at them when I can go to the mountains or sea cliffs instead. 

Post edited at 09:42
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 timparkin 28 Jun 2020
In reply to Jon Stewart:

So given you think all climbs should be blatantly obvious, what do you do when there are two lines that go near each other, one in a crack and one on a face but they're within reach? The crack isn't clearly defined so how do you know what parts of the crack offshoots are in according to the person who first climbed it? Or are you happy to just make it up? Nothing wrong with just guessing but some people might want to know with a bit more clarity. 

http://static.timparkin.co.uk/smc-polldubh-swbuttress.JPG

e.g. Your climbing SW Diagonal, one of the classic small crag traverses in Lochaber. What does it mean to climb the crack? Can you use holds above it? Can I traverse underneath it? Do I have to keep one hand on the crack at all times? If I'm tall enough can I walk along the ground (or is one cm above OK if I keep my heels up?) Can I use protection well above it where the crack has none? Is anything  OK as long as I  end up at the top left of the crag?

All this probably seems over-analytical but are you just making up your own climb if you don't know? This doesn't really matter if you're just having fun (which we had in buckets) but when two people compare what they did and imagine the FFA behind them tutting, you can see where I'm coming from? (I know you probably won't). 

I'm quite happy to just move onto the next climb but as these thoughts went through my head while climbing and then when I was making the model and wanted to annotate it, they came up again, I  thought they might be relevant. 


 

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In reply to timparkin:

How do you define what's' in' an area and can you have overlaps?  It's  just a thicker line! ? A line for the general line of the route + a description works for the vast majority of routes and even without ie sport topos, still generally works. 

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 timparkin 28 Jun 2020
In reply to Bulls Crack:

> How do you define what's' in' an area and can you have overlaps?  It's  just a thicker line! ? A line for the general line of the route + a description works for the vast majority of routes and even without ie sport topos, still generally works. 

I agree, but it’s the not generally I’m talking about and it’s precisely because there are overlaps in routes already that i’m Interested. I can live without it and obviously will have to but just like when photos were introduced someone had to ask “is it useful?”

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 timparkin 28 Jun 2020
In reply to Bulls Crack:

> How do you define what's' in' an area and can you have overlaps?  It's  just a thicker line! ? A line for the general line of the route + a description works for the vast majority of routes and even without ie sport topos, still generally works. 

https://www.ukclimbing.com/forums/rock_talk/roaches_-_diamond_wednesday-721294

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In reply to timparkin:

I am not paying you for plugging the thread I started 😁

Edit: for your next project, I know it's a bit more complicated, but a 3D view of Carn Dearg buttress on the Ben would be rather excellent.

Post edited at 17:04
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 timparkin 28 Jun 2020
In reply to Michael Hood:

> I am not paying you for plugging the thread I started 😁

> Edit: for your next project, I know it's a bit more complicated, but a 3D view of Carn Dearg buttress on the Ben would be rather excellent.

Completely agree, I think it should be easier in many ways but just take a bit longer. Finding a day when there is low wind and nobody around to annoy would be the biggest challenge

I'll probably camp overnight to do that one.

Tim

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 Nathan Adam 28 Jun 2020
In reply to timparkin:

In reality, half the routes on that buttress are so eliminate they shouldn't really have been recorded as new routes and are a bit pointless. Much of the buttresses at Polldubh are the same and will only create nightmare situations for future guidebook writers and editors in not really knowing what uses parts of other routes and what doesn't. An example of this is Resurrection and its left hand variant, Revelation which is so close to the parent route (1m or less the whole way!) that it's useless recording it as new and should really only ever have been mentioned as a variant in the guide.  

In regards to not knowing what holds to use on such small pieces of rock, past experience would be my answer rather than chunking bigger lines together. If it feels like HVS,5b then you've probably used the right holds, if it feels harder then you've probably not used enough. This is only made harder to decide when people add tiny variations to lines which are so close together that it's a struggle to know what's in and what's not, those routes really don't need to be recorded. 

I'd also argue that Tear is definitely not 4c ;)

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In reply to timparkin:

Occasional vagueness v the vast majority

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 timparkin 28 Jun 2020
In reply to Nathan Adam:

Agreed - I was talking to Dave Cuthbertson about it and he wondered whether Tea Boy should have  been added (and Look No Book as well, presumably). Then again Tee is pretty odd as well (VS 5b with no gear until after  the crux ?) and that's one of the Mike Hall originals with SW2. He also mentioned Resurrection/Revelation issues (I was there last week and wondered how  two climbs can sit there? Are you supposed to  ignore the crack for protection?)

Tear is not 4c in  reality but I'd argue that the single move is now pretty close to 4c with polish (if scratch is 4c next to it anyway, which seems easier than that single move to me). I don't have enough experience to say for sure, Cubby didn't correct me though - mind  you he's far too polite.

I think half the problem is trying to work out what the lines on the photo are supposed to represent. It gets confusing when you have four guides for the same crag showing completely differently. e.g. the following compares  the SMC with Ed  Grindley's book (red is Ed,  yellow is SMC). 

http://static.timparkin.co.uk/grindley-vs-smc.jpg

The final parts of SW2 (5b) in Grindley's follows the big crack and Scratch  (4c) follows the small  crack. I presume in reality you'd use  the  big crack for Scratch as it's sitting right next to  your hands but this would have meant have the two lines showing the route overlapping. 

You'll have to excuse me, this is me discovering all this for the first time and I presume pretty soon the usual route is 'ah f*ck it, I'll read the description and work it out for myself'.

I was hoping that there might be a better way 

Tim



 

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 timparkin 28 Jun 2020
In reply to Bulls Crack:

> Occasional vagueness v the vast majority

It must just be the crags I'm climbing, happened in Norway too

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