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ARTICLE: 2010-2019 - The UKC Climbing Decade in Numbers

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 UKC Articles 09 Jan 2020
Stats of the Decade Collage As we begin the new decade, it can be interesting to see how things changed throughout the last decade. Andy Ovens and Paul Phillips have designed multiple interactive charts to make sense of what happened on UKC between January 2010 and December 2019. From 2.5 million messages in our forums, over 5 million logged ascents, and more than 100,000 photos uploaded, thank you for contributing, and helping to make these graphs look amazing!

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 Owen W-G 09 Jan 2020
In reply to UKC Articles:

Nice. I like a nice stat attack.

But does the chart "Average number of messages per post in each forum" really need three decimal places for each data point?

 afx22 09 Jan 2020
In reply to UKC Articles:

Interesting stuff!

I'm curious about how outdoor grades are changing over time, espcially the average grades - excluding those at the top end and those who only occaionally climb.

 Fiona Reid 09 Jan 2020
In reply to UKC Articles:

Some nice graphs in there, could you possibly tell us what software etc you used to generate the graphs please?

In particular how did you generate the Heat map plot of where folks climbed?

Feel free to pm me if that's more appropriate. 

 Ander 09 Jan 2020
In reply to UKC Articles:

It's thought provoking that Limestone is the most popular rock, but the absolutely overwhelmingly most popular routes are on Grit.

 GrahamD 09 Jan 2020
In reply to afx22:

That's average grades of those that keep UKC logbooks.  Many climbers, especially occasional climbers, do not.

In reply to Fiona Reid:

We used Google Chart (a JS library) for most of them. The pie chart/bar graph interactive chart that breaks-down climbing disciplines vs popularity throughout the decade used D3.JS.

The heat map at the top uses Leaflet.JS mapping with a heatMap layer of all the climbed regions per year.

All the data came from our database.

 Will Hunt 09 Jan 2020
In reply to UKC Articles:

But which were the most downvoted posts? I feel like I could be a contender.

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 Will Hunt 09 Jan 2020
In reply to UKC Articles:

And yes, as mentioned above, it would be really interesting to look at things like:

How often do people go climbing outdoors - i.e. how many casual climbers vs avid climbers are there (or at least using the logbooks).

How have standards changed over the decade? For me, I've gone from predominantly being a trad climber to doing more bouldering and sport. I've improved vastly as a boulderer. My max trad grade has improved a bit, but it only ever really came as flashes of (for me) glory as opposed to consistently higher performance. So my average trad grade has probably not changed that much.

Other than that, nice one for doing this. Really interesting to see. I was most surprised to see how much more popular sport climbing was over the winter even than bouldering. That amount of sport climbing is clearly being done mainly overseas - I had no idea the sheer volume of winter sun climbing travel that must go on.

Post edited at 15:48
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In reply to UKC Articles:

The map seems to need a bit of tweaking. There are several logged climbs in the middle of the South Atlantic, but not a single one in Sweden or Norway? I'm pretty sure a few people have logged climbs on Lofoten in the past decade.

 sheelba 09 Jan 2020
In reply to Ander:

Because a lot of the limestone is sport routes it skews the results quite badly. I might climb 5 routes in an evening of sport but only one in a day on mountain multi-pitch. If you judged it by ‘time spent climbing on the rocktype’ I suspect others would be much higher. My own logbook is skewed in a similar way. Also presumably sport climbing is much less concentrated on particular routes. 

In reply to HakanT:

> The map seems to need a bit of tweaking. There are several logged climbs in the middle of the South Atlantic, but not a single one in Sweden or Norway? I'm pretty sure a few people have logged climbs on Lofoten in the past decade.

Hmm, yes, and barely anything in France or Switzerland including Chamonix! Something definitely odd there. 

Alan

 afx22 09 Jan 2020
In reply to GrahamD:

> That's average grades of those that keep UKC logbooks.  Many climbers, especially occasional climbers, do not.

Agreed. 

It would still be interesting to compare those that do.  It must be the best database of such info (maybe worldwide).

 John Kelly 09 Jan 2020
In reply to UKC Articles:

Most popular routes might not be accurate, Middlefell buttress reported in logbook to have 2293 ascents but doesn't make the table  (it would be about 5th from bottom,  bottom of the table is Fluted Column with 2196 ascents), is it to do with style of ascent?

Post edited at 22:33
 tomsandison 10 Jan 2020
In reply to Fiona Reid:

Looks like spotfire to me. If it isn’t I know you can certainly replicate it with that platform. 

 DaveHK 10 Jan 2020
In reply to UKC Articles:

I'm going to launch a career as a social media influencer off the back of my 'most upvoted message of the decade'.

This time next year I'll be a millionaire...

1
 Fiona Reid 10 Jan 2020
In reply to Andy Ovens - UKC and UKH:

Thank you much appreciated

I've been doing something similar with the data from all the hills I've climbed over the past 18 years so was curious as to what you'd used. 

In reply to John Kelly:

> Most popular routes might not be accurate, Middlefell buttress reported in logbook to have 2293 ascents but doesn't make the table  (it would be about 5th from bottom,  bottom of the table is Fluted Column with 2196 ascents), is it to do with style of ascent?

The figures on the graph are for the last decade only. But I am not sure how you got your figure of 2293 for Middlefell Buttress (D) since it appears to be all time to be 2790. Not sure what the decade figure is but, based on other routes, it would appear to be roughly 1/3 of total ascents were recorded before 2010 which would probably mean that MF didn’t make the list.

Alan

 Chris Craggs Global Crag Moderator UKC Supporter UKC Supporter 10 Jan 2020
In reply to UKC Articles:

All very interesting and great graphics. Any chance of separating “most prolific climbers” into, two groups, one of which is roped climbs only? 😀

Chris

In reply to Chris Craggs:

That's a good idea Chris! I'll add that to the page today.

In reply to Chris Craggs:

I think I know why you wanted the disciplines split Chris  The post will be updated shortly with the results.

In reply to HakanT:

Sorry about that, should be fixed now!

 Alex Riley 10 Jan 2020
In reply to Andy Ovens - UKC and UKH:

I’d like to see the real juice.. who did the most routes last year...

 Jamie Brown 10 Jan 2020
In reply to UKC Articles:

I was expecting to see the the "most prolific climbers" list pretty well represented in the "most prolific boulder" stats, then realised that these are a duplicate of the winter climber stats.

In reply to Jamie Brown:

Oops, fixed now

 remus 10 Jan 2020
In reply to Andy Ovens - UKC and UKH:

> Oops, fixed now

Looks like the bouldering numbers are the overall numbers now?

In reply to remus:

Sorry guys, I gave Andy the wrong data before. Should be sorted now. Robin is still #1 but Bolehillbilly moved up to #2.

 John Kelly 10 Jan 2020
In reply to Alan James - UKC and UKH:

Doh, missed the decade thing 

Thanks

John

 petegunn 11 Jan 2020
In reply to UKC Articles:

Is there another couple in the top 10 for busiest climbers? Davinamo and myself make it in 😆 

Quite proud I'm in the top 5 for Trad, Bouldering and Winter, just my sport climbing letting me down! But living in Carlisle probably isn't the best. Will have to get down to Bram Crag!

In reply to UKC Articles:

The most popular rock (limestone) and the most popular routes contradict each other. 

Is this due to sport climbing holidays? 

The most popular routes list is saddening, to my knowledge, there is only one none grits tone route on the list. Are users really that lacking in imagination. 

3
 Luke90 11 Jan 2020
In reply to Presley Whippet:

> The most popular routes list is saddening, to my knowledge, there is only one none grits tone route on the list. Are users really that lacking in imagination.

What a weird interpretation. Surely it's more that the major gritstone areas have more people living within easy reach of them than other rocktypes and that grit tends to be short so you can get more routes in per day (and, by the same token, more teams up a particularly popular route).

In reply to Luke90:

Yep, if you live in Sheffield or Chesterfield, or thereabouts, grit is slightly closer than limestone, I guess it's true for Manchester, Leeds, Birmingham and the cities and towns around them also - that's quite a chunk of the UK population.

Grit gets soloed a lot too, on a nice summer evening at Stanage you'll see lots of competent folk out soloing route after route. I can't think of many limestone crags where you can do that. On my birthday a couple of years ago I soloed 45 mini routes, none much harder than severe, and it only took me a couple of hours. Even banging out the 4s and 5s at Horseshoe I couldn't get close to that many in a similar time (I don't think there are that many easy routes either!). 

And then, of course, there is lots of talk and coverage of grit, so new climbers or non-locals all want to come and have a go too. A bit like Ben Nevis or the Northern Corries taking a huge chunk of Scottish traffic.

In reply to TobyA:

Although quick-hit soloing ticks would contradict the findings - lots of ascents making gritstone a more popular rock. I think here it is lots of ascents of specific routes on certain very popular gritstone crags - remember there aren't that many gritstone crags in the world, and there is a lot of limestone.

There is something odd though since it doesn't look like soloing figures have been recorded on the most popular route graph or, if they have, they aren't appearing as soloing. I'll ask Andy to take a look.

Alan

Post edited at 16:12

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