UKC

Are shorter female competition climbers getting a fair deal

New Topic
This topic has been archived, and won't accept reply postings.
 rocky crag 11 Sep 2023

Having watched the recent Bern world cup and Koper IFSC competition I couldn't help notice how the boulder problems at Bern were set to favour taller female climbers over say 1.6m and some were virtually impossible for the climbers down at 1.54m. In the recent Koper womens lead final everyone was looking forward to a show down between Janja and Ai Mori only to find that the final moves on the wall were incredibly height dependent. Janja completed the penultimate moves statically at full stretch then brilliantly completed the final huge dyno to top out but for Ai Mori she could not reach the penultimate crimps that Janja stretched too. If she had she would have been left holding tiny crimps with no foot support making the final dyno impossible even for someone of her incredible ability. As competition climbing becomes more remote from the real thing with all its multiple dynos, leaps and twists to please the crowds, is there any point in female climbers below 1.6m trying to compete.? 

How could better fairness be achieved?

25
In reply to rocky crag:

> How could better fairness be achieved?

If by fairness you mean climbers having an equal chance at success on a route regardless of height or, by extension, body shape in general then I don't think it will ever be fair - I'm sure route setters do the best they can.

There is nothing to stop, say, a 5'5" male competing in the high jump he's just unlikely to top the podium.

4
 Lankyman 11 Sep 2023
In reply to rocky crag:

> How could better fairness be achieved?

Platform soles?

1
OP rocky crag 11 Sep 2023
In reply to planetmarshall:

Yes, thats a fair comment, I can think of loads of sports that height makes a huge difference to success, there are not many tall female gymnasts but also not many short high jumpers for example. It just seems a bit of a shame to write off the less tall female climbers from competition climbing because in the real world of climbing some of the best climbers in the world have been shorter female climbers eg Lynn Hill and some of the best competition climbers have been less than 1.6m tall but competition sport seems to now be eliminating such great talents from competing which will be a loss to the sport and the women who enjoy competing in it.

1
 Rob Parsons 11 Sep 2023
In reply to rocky crag:

Organize the activity in height divisions.

5
 RX-78 11 Sep 2023
In reply to rocky crag:

So did you see the bouldering where she could hardly reach the first hold and spent the whole time just jumping up trying to grab it?

In reply to planetmarshall:

> There is nothing to stop, say, a 5'5" male competing in the high jump he's just unlikely to top the podium.

Unlike high jump, there’s nothing innate about comp climbing that means short people are automatically disadvantaged. Since the very first comps, routes have been set that don’t disbar short people (except on rare occasions) so if this is becoming more common then that is a retrograde step.

Post edited at 21:04
3
 Marek 11 Sep 2023
In reply to rocky crag:

> How could better fairness be achieved?

It can't. The problem is that you cannot define "fair" in any global or absolute sense. Any attempt to increase any local definition of fairness inevitably introduces more unfairness somewhere else. You choose to identify height variation as a 'problem', but what about other characteristics? Finger strength? Yes, that's trainable in the sense that height isn't, but there's still a significant genetic component that is fixed (as is the body's response to training). Parental income & motivation? That's another big factor in children sport performance. A source of unfairness we have to "fix"? Where do you stop?

9
 Jon Read 11 Sep 2023
In reply to Marek:

Surely the answer is in the setting, and ensuring a talented group of setters with a variety of heights and 'strengths'. 

In reply to rocky crag:

Growth hormones ?

1
 john arran 11 Sep 2023
In reply to rocky crag:

The routesetters' task is to make each problem possible at a roughly similar grade for all climbers in the event. It's an entirely manmade situation and quite unlike anything found on rock, or indeed in any other sport that I'm aware of.

Usually the routesetters do an incredibly good job in achieving this goal but nobody is perfect, and you can be sure that when a problem disadvantages shorter climbers rather than taller ones, the difference will be much more apparent.

1
 Ian Patterson 11 Sep 2023
In reply to rocky crag:

> is there any point in female climbers below 1.6m trying to compete.? 

Given that the female climber below 1.6m in question was second this weekend (ahead of many taller climbers) and is the current world lead champion this question appears to answer itself very easily in the affirmative.

I'm not sure I particularly agree with your analysis of the final route on Saturday but even if those moves were a bit harder for Ai Mori can we be certain that there weren't other moves that were easier with her small fingers and light weight.  Janja and Ai are by some distance the two best lead climbers currently so the idea that Ai is particularly disadvantaged by her height seems pretty unlikely to me.

 Offwidth 11 Sep 2023
In reply to rocky crag:

I watched the full finals coverage of most recent world comps and when they interviewed setters they always said they set the problems such that there are no clearly unfairly reachy moves. Personally I'd guess if you want a '50:50 chance showdown' you would currently need to set to deliberately disadvantage Janja. In a few years time things will have flipped. Let's see what the Olympics bring as that (assuming Ai continues to improve and isnt injured) will be approaching the transition. I just think we are lucky to witness this level of talent.

Post edited at 23:22
OP rocky crag 11 Sep 2023
In reply to RX-78:

I think everyone noticed that. It was striking that some of the shorter climbers like Ai Mori couldn't get started on the problem because they couldn't reach the start even with a jump, while the taller competitors cruized past these moves.

7
In reply to rocky crag:

This was so painful to watch.  I’m amazed that Ai Mori is able to keep such a cool head and focus on the next boulder, route or comp.

OP rocky crag 12 Sep 2023
In reply to Tyler:

Historically height doesn't seem to have played much of a part in the success of female climbers either on real rock or in competitions. There have been plenty of short women who have competed right at the very top of the sport.

Maybe its the need to set routes that show dynos and leaps for entertainment value that is making some of the difference

2
OP rocky crag 12 Sep 2023
In reply to Ian Patterson:

At Bern world cup Ai Mori demonstrated she was the best female lead climber in the world during the competition. But for the Olymics the competition is combined Boulder and Lead. In boulder Ai Mori got less than half Janja score because as others have said Ai Mori could simply not reach many of the boulder holds she was too short. This being the case Ai Mori can never beat Janja at the Olympics unless something is done about the route setting. It doesn't matter how good you are, if you can't reach the holds, you can't send the route. Koper showed this, Janja and Ai were reached the same holds in the semis but in the finals the penultimate move was a huge reach to crimps, followed by a huge dynos, this greatly favoured the taller climber and made sure Ai was not going to top out.

15
 james1978 12 Sep 2023
In reply to Rob Parsons:

And weight divisions also.

I might stand a chance in competitions if there was a heavy weight category! 

 ianstevens 12 Sep 2023
In reply to Tyler:

> Unlike high jump, there’s nothing innate about comp climbing that means short people are automatically disadvantaged. Since the very first comps, routes have been set that don’t disbar short people (except on rare occasions) so if this is becoming more common then that is a retrograde step.

This specific example is an n=1 situation - across the whole season it's pretty balanced IMO.

2
 Lord_ash2000 12 Sep 2023
In reply to rocky crag:

Some body types are just better at certain sports than others. It's why you won't see many short professional basketball players for example. 

In climbing, being overly short is obviously going to cause some problems with reach. But also being overly tall will cause issues with bunched moves and the fact you'll be heavy even if slim.

From a setting perspective, they should be aiming the moves to be best suited to an average height male or female, those who differ from that average significantly may struggle or occasionally benefit, it's just the way it goes. 

1
OP rocky crag 12 Sep 2023
In reply to Lankyman:

I remember them well, everyone was tall in those days 😂

In reply to Lord_ash2000:

I think the setters should be setting for a a range of size of climbers, within the typical height and spans of the competitors.  But because of the combined format, putting a single boulder where it is physically impossible for a short competitors MUST be avoided, at all costs.  Making one boulder impossible means that a short climber winning combined is next to impossible.

There's a difference between something being more difficult and it being impossible.

1
OP rocky crag 12 Sep 2023
In reply to john arran:

This is an interesting point, a move may be set that is easier to perform for a shorter build but the taller person will always be able to reach the holds, so the move is still viable for them. But visa versa is not true, when you set a move so a tall person can reach the hold but a short person cannot the move is viable for the tall person but impossible for the short person.

9
 Ian Patterson 12 Sep 2023
In reply to rocky crag:

> But for the Olymics the competition is combined Boulder and Lead. In boulder Ai Mori got less than half Janja score because as others have said Ai Mori could simply not reach many of the boulder holds she was too short. This being the case Ai Mori can never beat Janja at the Olympics unless something is done about the route setting. 

Have had a quick review of the bouldering at the world champs to refresh my memory.  Looking at the bouldering finals it could be argued that they had some reachy moves , particularly the slab, even so Brook Rabatou (158cm so below your 160cm limit and only 4cm taller than Ai) got the bronze.

On the combined bouldering 2 problems looked to have longer/dynamic moves.  Problem 2 with the coordination through to the pocket and problem 4 with the move to the sloper between the 5 and 10 points.  Ai failed to do these but Brooke flashed those moves on both, and on problem 4 she did it multiple times without ever looking like it was particularly hard or reachy. Brooke finished in 2nd in the bouldering section of the combined ahead of 4 climbers who were  162cm or taller.

While Ai may have a slight disadvantage due to height in bouldering it looks more to me on these problems that she lacked the dynamic power required - given her slight build maybe this isn't that surprising.   She isn't currently anywhere near as good at bouldering as she is at lead based on her results this year and I think it's a real stretch to say that this just because of her height.  Btw the way I think Ai is a great climber and real talent and I really enjoy watching her in lead comps.

Obviously it's up to the route setters to try to not make  problems height dependent but climbers also need to develop the strengths and skills required and maybe short climbers need to emphasise power and dynamism but they may also have some advantages in doing this (witness Simon Biles who is 142cm).

In reply to rocky crag:

Yes. I don't know why this is a concept that so many seem to have failed to grasp.

I admit I didn't watch it as not into comp climbing, but if Ai Mori is 5'0" that's comparable to making something impossible for any guy at 5'6" and below (though those are based on being 3" shorter than UK average height, apparently in Japan it's pretty similar).

Post edited at 19:29
4
OP rocky crag 12 Sep 2023
In reply to Ian Patterson:

Good analysis Ian, some fair points made there, it made me go back and watch it again too. Brooke climbing was superb, pleasure to watch. Nevertheless two inches taller equates to three to 4 inches additional reach which is a lot when you are at the limit of your reach.

Ai may be weaker at bouldering than she is lead but if you look at the other short climber in the Bern combined final Jain Kim, she is the same height as Ai but very powerful and got no where in the boulding, yet on the lead wall was third just behind Janja and Ai Mori.

5
OP rocky crag 12 Sep 2023
In reply to Jon Read:

Quite a lot of people have identified that setting a "fair" route is largely down to the skill and assessment of the route setter.  I am sure all route setters would say they take height into account when setting routes. But this allows a huge amount of judgement and discretion to route setters about what is a fair route. If there are no parameters to judge the route against and no checks and balances to assess the setting of a route, then there is no quality control of route setting. This inevitably leads to variability in the quality of the fairness of routes and makes them potentially subject of the conscious and unconscious bias of route setters. The sports seems to need some decent quality control procedures.

Its pretty straight forward to produce a 3d digital map of a rock wall and place the holds on the map and compute the reaches. In the first instance that could be used as a check as to the feasibility of the route for everyone. It would take minutes to run the check once the software has been created.

A suitably qualified referee could add real value to the process, someone like Lynn Hill, a past champion able to assess a route for fairness and with enough experience of real outdoor rock climbing to ensure the routes reflect real rock climbing (as much as it is possible to do on an artificial wall)

A further step but again very feasible would be to use the digital map of the route in a simulation model with climbers of different heights and typical limb ratios to check the relative forces climbers would need to exert to climb the route and assess they are all within a reasonable band. Again once the software was created the simulations would take minutes to run. 

Leaving everything to the judgement and discretion of the route setter also leaves them potentially open to conscious and Unconscious bias. I am sure we can all see the dangers of Slovenian route setters, setting routes (consciously or unconsciously) in a Slovenian competition that may favour  a Slovenian athlete. Is a system in place to prevent these conflicts of interest ? . Its natural for a route setter to want to put some big moves and large dyno leaps into the end of the route to give it a spectacular finish but does this desire to create the spectacular finish make them pay less attention to the need to keep it feasible for short people

Technology has brought some huge benefits  to refereeing and umpire decision making, maybe it could do some good for the world of climbing competitions. The input of past champions on route assessment could bring some immediate improvements in the quality control system, with the technology improvements to follow. 

19
In reply to rocky crag:

I think you're wildly underestimating the difficulty and complexity in putting together software like that. I'm sure something could be thrown together but it wouldn't be any kind of perfect objective arbiter of fairness. In fact I'd be utterly confident that it would be far less meaningful than the judgement of a group of experienced route-setters. It's easy enough to map holds in space and calculate the distance between them, but how are you going to account for the angle and quality of the holds? The materials and friction? The momentum carried in from previous moves? The use of completely different beta? The complexity is vast. It's probably got a lot in common with the kind of problems that companies like Boston Dynamics have spent countless millions trying to solve to make their robots pull off dynamic movements.

OP rocky crag 13 Sep 2023
In reply to Luke90:

creating the digital map is really straight forward its done all the time in engineering. From that establishing the viability of reach again should be relatively straight forward, which would go along  way to checking the fairness of a route. It would take more work to calculate a relative indication of force for given geometry of person but should be quite possible without excessive effort and cost. At this point no characteristics of the holds are required as the model would not be trying to calculate absolute force of movement. I agree if you try to do that, the model would be much more complex but that is not needed to simply establish fairness of a route. 

So what I am proposing is a relatively simple model that will provide route setters with a tool to run a quick check on the fairness of the route they are planning to set.

16
 Rob Parsons 13 Sep 2023
In reply to rocky crag:

> creating the digital map is really straight forward its done all the time in engineering. From that establishing the viability of reach again should be relatively straight forward, which would go along  way to checking the fairness of a route. ...

> So what I am proposing is a relatively simple model that will provide route setters with a tool to run a quick check on the fairness of the route they are planning to set.

Write the tool yourself (someone has to). And then sell it to the organizers. Shouldn't be too difficult.

In reply to rocky crag:

> creating the digital map is really straight forward its done all the time in engineering. From that establishing the viability of reach again should be relatively straight forward, which would go along way to checking the fairness of a route.

Sure, I acknowledged that much was feasible. But if all you're going to use it for is placing limits on distance between holds, you might as well just use a stick! And limiting reach in that way would be an absurdly blunt instrument.

> It would take more work to calculate a relative indication of force for given geometry of person but should be quite possible without excessive effort and cost.

At this point, the program is already getting quite complex. Bodies are not simple systems where you can solve a couple of easy equations and get a full understanding of the biomechanics. And I would argue this is the absolute bare minimum for the program to do anything meaningful at all.

> At this point no characteristics of the holds are required as the model would not be trying to calculate absolute force of movement.

But you could go to any climbing wall in the country and instantly pick out an easy route with long reaches and a desperately hard route with short reaches. Looking at reach without considering the holds or any of the other complications I mentioned (which was already a very non-exhaustive list) simply doesn't tell you anything of value.

There are a very limited subset of moves where pure reach is required and there's no alternative beta or dynamic options. For those moves alone, it might make sense for route-setters to specifically take into account all competitors by placing some hard limits on the reach required. But no realistic computer program within the means of the IFSC is going to be able to make the judgement calls about which moves fit into that category. By and large, we need to just let route-setters use their judgement and experience while taking into account the different competitors.

 Offwidth 13 Sep 2023
In reply to rocky crag:

>I am sure we can all see the dangers of Slovenian route setters, setting routes (consciously or unconsciously) in a Slovenian competition that may favour a Slovenian athlete

This is getting silly. Routes are not set by the hosts, they are set by the IFSC team under strict rules that are required to take into account the physiology of the specific athletes involved.

https://www.ifsc-climbing.org/index.php/news/670-ifsc-publishes-list-of-off...

https://cdn.ifsc-climbing.org/images/Website/Resources/IFSC_RSs_Guidelines_...

The only obvious area I can see with concerns around host federations is around diet (eps RED-S) since IFSC medical staff have resigned over this and leading athletes have spoken out.

1
 Ian W 13 Sep 2023
In reply to rocky crag:

> Good analysis Ian, some fair points made there, it made me go back and watch it again too. Brooke climbing was superb, pleasure to watch. Nevertheless two inches taller equates to three to 4 inches additional reach which is a lot when you are at the limit of your reach.

> Ai may be weaker at bouldering than she is lead but if you look at the other short climber in the Bern combined final Jain Kim, she is the same height as Ai but very powerful and got no where in the boulding, yet on the lead wall was third just behind Janja and Ai Mori.

Jain Kim has always been a stronger lead climber than boulder. Just look back at her record over many years. And reach involves several more factors than height (how much of the height is above the shoulder - Ondra is over 6ft but lots of it is neck -, how flexible the shoulders are, how close to the wall the static arm can hold the climber, can the climber "pop" for the hold, which part the hand holds which part of the hold.....etc etc). I can remember many comps where complaints were made about the reachiness of routes/problems, only for the top step of the podium to be occupied by Shauna Coxsey , who was more often than not the shortest competitor .......

 Ian W 13 Sep 2023
In reply to rocky crag:

> Quite a lot of people have identified that setting a "fair" route is largely down to the skill and assessment of the route setter.  I am sure all route setters would say they take height into account when setting routes. But this allows a huge amount of judgement and discretion to route setters about what is a fair route. If there are no parameters to judge the route against and no checks and balances to assess the setting of a route, then there is no quality control of route setting. This inevitably leads to variability in the quality of the fairness of routes and makes them potentially subject of the conscious and unconscious bias of route setters. The sports seems to need some decent quality control procedures.

You clearly have no idea how route setting takes place at IFSC comp.......perhaps read up on it, or reach out to someonelike Percy at the Climbing works.

> Its pretty straight forward to produce a 3d digital map of a rock wall and place the holds on the map and compute the reaches. In the first instance that could be used as a check as to the feasibility of the route for everyone. It would take minutes to run the check once the software has been created.

> A suitably qualified referee could add real value to the process, someone like Lynn Hill, a past champion able to assess a route for fairness and with enough experience of real outdoor rock climbing to ensure the routes reflect real rock climbing (as much as it is possible to do on an artificial wall)

See above. Each comp has a head setter for that purpose. And it would-be hugely unusual for a head setter to be from the host country. The problems are designed, set, tested, modified, refined, tested again for suitability. Can't always be 100 pc perfect, but they dont often get it wrong.

> A further step but again very feasible would be to use the digital map of the route in a simulation model with climbers of different heights and typical limb ratios to check the relative forces climbers would need to exert to climb the route and assess they are all within a reasonable band. Again once the software was created the simulations would take minutes to run. 

> Leaving everything to the judgement and discretion of the route setter also leaves them potentially open to conscious and Unconscious bias. I am sure we can all see the dangers of Slovenian route setters, setting routes (consciously or unconsciously) in a Slovenian competition that may favour  a Slovenian athlete. Is a system in place to prevent these conflicts of interest ? . Its natural for a route setter to want to put some big moves and large dyno leaps into the end of the route to give it a spectacular finish but does this desire to create the spectacular finish make them pay less attention to the need to keep it feasible for short people

Just no. Janja has been at the very top for about 5 years now, and has won more comps in that time than all others combined. If a comp was set with the specific aim of disadvantaging her as much as possible, there's every chance she'd still win. If you haven't seen her live you won't know exactly good she actually.

> Technology has brought some huge benefits  to refereeing and umpire decision making, maybe it could do some good for the world of climbing competitions. The input of past champions on route assessment could bring some immediate improvements in the quality control system, with the technology improvements to follow. 

And it is, but in the area of judging / scoring. Setting relies on way too many variables.

Post edited at 10:02
 Jenny C 13 Sep 2023
In reply to rocky crag:

Working at a climbing wall, it always amused me how many users complained about reachy routes when the setters were often well below average height. (Ok yes, Zippy can pretty much get his foot up to his earlobe and stand up on it, but even so he isn't exactly tall.) Many apparently reachy routes can be overcome with good technique and flexibility - of course the grade should reflect the fact that beginners will often lack both, whilst for harder routes even tall climbers won't get anywhere without them.

Moves that rely purely on reach are bad setting. As a spectator watching the creativity of how a climber tackles the move is part of the enjoyment and as a climber it's disheartening to be stopped by a physical barrier you can't train to overcome.

In reply to rocky crag:

> So what I am proposing is a relatively simple model that will provide route setters with a tool to run a quick check on the fairness of the route they are planning to set.

Speaking as a professional software engineer with expertise in this area, what you are suggesting, whilst not impossible, is vastly more complex than you have described (how, for example, will you model the difference between a static and dynamic movement and how will you enumerate the different ways in which a move can be performed?). Even if such a system were considered to be useful, it's implementation would likely be far beyond the budget of the IFSC.

In reply to rocky crag:

The answer is simple  amend the route for each to take into account the climber’s ape index, leg height etc etc so the difficulty is exactly the same for each climber no matter their physical characteristics.. implementing this simple answer might be a bit trickier😀

1
 Marek 14 Sep 2023
In reply to JimR:

> The answer is simple  amend the route for each to take into account the climber’s ape index, leg height etc etc so the difficulty is exactly the same for each climber no matter their physical characteristics ...

All of them? Or just height? Pity the poor 'giraffes' out there! Perhaps ape index? But that not compatible with height! Weight?

Why stop at 'physical'? Climbing has a large mental component too. How about compensating for lack of motivation?

 Fishmate 14 Sep 2023
In reply to rocky crag:

Mori is clearly disadvantaged in Bouldering but also clearly not in lead, this much is obvious. Like most people on this thread, I don't have a solution but the following link may be of interest to those with thoughts about the role height and reach plays in climbing.

A study of 650+ climbers revealed that the two least determining factors affecting the grades climbed outdoors are height and reach.

The variable with the greatest effect was 'time spent on rock'.

The study can be found here: https://www.projectdirectcoaching.com/blog/whatmetricsmatter

Enjoy!

 Marek 14 Sep 2023
In reply to Fishmate:

> The variable with the greatest effect was 'time spent on rock'.

At the risk of nit-picking: I'm sure you meant to say 'correlation' rather than 'effect' (aka causation).

In reply to Marek:

> All of them? Or just height? Pity the poor 'giraffes' out there! Perhaps ape index? But that not compatible with height! Weight?

> Why stop at 'physical'? Climbing has a large mental component too. How about compensating for lack of motivation?

Surely the objective is to get the person with the most ability (skill,mental and physical strength & flexibility ) to win. Therefore creating a level playing field for each player should help to achieve that. In horse racing they handicap by adding weight, maybe thats an alternative

1
 C Witter 14 Sep 2023
In reply to rocky crag:

The setters know the dimensions of the competitors. If they set a move too reachy for Ai and perfect for Janja, the question becomes one of deliberate bias.

And Janja is so good, she doesn't need the setters to deliberately take out her competition.

Post edited at 16:41
4
 Moacs 14 Sep 2023
In reply to Lord_ash2000:

> Some body types are just better at certain sports than others. It's why you won't see many short professional basketball players for example. 

> In climbing, being overly short is obviously going to cause some problems with reach. But also being overly tall will cause issues with bunched moves and the fact you'll be heavy even if slim.

> From a setting perspective, they should be aiming the moves to be best suited to an average height male or female, those who differ from that average significantly may struggle or occasionally benefit, it's just the way it goes. 

This.  Where do you stop trying to cater for all parameters?  I Mean I could be world female lead champion if it was adjusted for weight, talent and gender...

Actually one of the nice things about climbing is that it's always a leveller.  I'm tall...but heavier, centre of mass is further from the wall on steep ground, and my limbs are long so the moments on them are large.  Someone short has a reach disadvantage but better leverage and will find single leg push ups from crouch easier.  We'll find different routes more or less hard.  Comp setters just need variety

In reply to JimR:

> The answer is simple  amend the route for each to take into account the climber’s ape index, leg height etc etc so the difficulty is exactly the same for each climber no matter their physical characteristics.. implementing this simple answer might be a bit trickier😀

If you could somehow precisely scale the holds and routes to each individual climber's height, it would just favour the smaller climbers because they naturally have a better strength to weight ratio (the reason why the best climbers tend not to be tall).

In reply to Robert Durran:

Handicap them by adding weight .. as said above

 henwardian 15 Sep 2023
In reply to rocky crag:

> Having watched the recent Bern world cup and Koper IFSC competition I couldn't help notice how the boulder problems at Bern were set to favour taller female climbers over say 1.6m and some were virtually impossible for the climbers down at 1.54m.

Lets break this down then:

Problem 1: Ai has no problem, must be ok for 1.54m

Problem 2: Ai fails but Zelia tops it, Zelia is 1.58m, now there's no saying for certain that 4cm doesn't make it much harder, but is a pretty small difference and when Zelia is moving up to the zone hold, she looks just as locked out and struggling for momentum generation as Ai and when Ai does go up, it doesn't look like she has any trouble reaching the distance of the zone, just trouble getting fully over her left foot and catching it in control. My take home from this is that Les Francaise are slab masters and that's why they did so well on this problem vs everyone else (except Janja who is ofc brilliant at everything - oops, giving away my bias here!).

Problem 3: It's big explosive combination dynos relying on whole body movement and power generation (and precision). Personally I think this kind of stuff is crap but it's absolutely not a question of height. If you need any evidence beyond the obvious, Zelia basically completes the problem, just not quite managing to generate enough momentum to latch the final hold.

Problem 4: Powerful dynos again, but not combination dynos. Zelia actually latches the finish hold but can't hold the swing. If anything, you might actually argue that the start of this problem _favours_ shorter climbers because the feet are starting so high up and close to the hands that shorter competitors will be able to get weight over their feet for the launch generation by the legs more easily.

In every problem, the clear difference, at least afaics, is that Ai lacks the explosive power that is so much a part of bouldering (talking about relative to the other athletes ofc).

Correlation does not equal causation. Just because Ai is short and she did not do so well does not mean that one causes the other (just as well really, it would be terrible for comp climbers if they shrank every time they didn't do well in a comp...).

> In the recent Koper womens lead final everyone was looking forward to a show down between Janja and Ai Mori only to find that the final moves on the wall were incredibly height dependent. Janja completed the penultimate moves statically at full stretch then brilliantly completed the final huge dyno to top out but for Ai Mori she could not reach the penultimate crimps that Janja stretched too.

When I read this, I thought "hmm, that's not what I remember when I watched that", so I had a look back and I really can't agree with what you are saying here. When Ai falls, it is because her hand peels off one of those bad penultimate crimps, true, but both her feet are still on the footholds - she isn't dynoing, she is making a lunge/snatch for the hold. It's not possible to say for certain but everything in the video suggests that the difference is that Janja is just stronger/had more left in the tank - cutting loose going into the last section, shaking out a few moves below the top, looking more relaxed clipping the penultimate clip... the signs are all there.

The final move was a big dyno but I saw no evidence that the footholds would have been too far away for Ai if she had got there, she is known for being weak at big dynos but this isn't related to her height, it's just a feature of her climbing, each climber has their own strengths and weaknesses and looking at Ais frame, I am not surprised that explosive power is not one of her strengths - she is shaped like a wiry sport climber, not an explosive boulderer.

> is there any point in female climbers below 1.6m trying to compete.? 

The problem with a bombastic question like this is it completely ignores the fact that Ai came second in the lead. She didn't crash out in a heat or semi-final, she came very close to topping the route, beat everyone except Janja and just a year ago actually did beat Janja in, hmm, 2 or more? lead comps. It's pretty clear that shorter female climbers can compete and win handily.

> How could better fairness be achieved?

As the commentators say during the competition, the setters have measurements for ape index, height, etc. for all the top competitors and they tie themselves in pretzels trying to make sure the competition doesn't favour tall climbers.

"It's easier for tall people" is about as tired, over-used and predictable a complaint as exists in climbing. There are times when it's true of course and times when it might be true/is debatable, but seeing it trotted out about climbing comps where there is no evidence of it at all is, frankly, depressing.

3
 alx 15 Sep 2023
In reply to henwardian:

AI Mori appears to not have a single fast twitch muscle fiber or any leg strength. There has been a couple of times on the lead wall this season where a vertical jump was required and she failed to generate any height. 

8
In reply to alx:

I’m sure she can train and improve her explosive power but often, as a shorter climber, it’s harder to generate any initial momentum when already at full stretch.  Having a couple of cm wiggle room to bend your legs and/or arms, can make a huge difference to how far a climber can move dynamically.

In reply to henwardian:

> "It's easier for tall people" is about as tired, over-used and predictable a complaint as exists in climbing. There are times when it's true of course and times when it might be true/is debatable, but seeing it trotted out about climbing comps where there is no evidence of it at all is, frankly, depressing.

Here’s an example of an obvious difference in difficulty, on a comp move.  https://youtube.com/shorts/exdfN4XG0ho?si=98b1LwCnzIgFPeYh

 Ian W 15 Sep 2023
In reply to afx22:

> Here’s an example of an obvious difference in difficulty, on a comp move.  https://youtube.com/shorts/exdfN4XG0ho?si=98b1LwCnzIgFPeYh

And that's where good setting comes in. Note that Janja and Ai used a completely different sequence to achieve the top, anddidnt even need to fully stretch.........

Janja could have used the same sequence as Ai, but would have been uncomfortably "squashed", so the setters have actually taken their builds into account and provided different means to top for different competitors on the same problem.....

1
In reply to Ian W:

> Janja could have used the same sequence as Ai, but would have been uncomfortably "squashed", so the setters have actually taken their builds into account and provided different means to top for different competitors on the same problem.....

That is only any good if both means are of comparable difficulty, which looked very far from the case.

 henwardian 15 Sep 2023
In reply to afx22:

> Here’s an example of an obvious difference in difficulty, on a comp move.  https://youtube.com/shorts/exdfN4XG0ho?si=98b1LwCnzIgFPeYh

I'd agree that this example does look easier for the tall. It's a bit unfortunate that we only get Janja and Ai though - what comp was this? If we could see the other competitors on this problem, would it show any other solutions? Is it possible to dyno to the last hold and kick the feet across to the left?

If there are another 6 or 8 examples across the season that look as clearcut as this then I'd agree that the setters need to be more careful about how they set with reference to competitor heights, if this is a one-off then I don't think it is indicative of anything really.

To clarify the part of my post you quoted; I was referring to the climbing comps referenced by the OP, it wasn't a blanket statement about all climbing comps ever, because I've obviously only watched a few comps.

1
 henwardian 15 Sep 2023
In reply to Ian W:

> And that's where good setting comes in. Note that Janja and Ai used a completely different sequence to achieve the top, anddidnt even need to fully stretch.........

> Janja could have used the same sequence as Ai, but would have been uncomfortably "squashed", so the setters have actually taken their builds into account and provided different means to top for different competitors on the same problem.....

I think you need to look a little closer at what Ai actually does. The "hold" she uses with her left hand is a tiny screw hole that is designed to stop the hold spinning, not to be a hold in itself, it is not a "screw on" as described by the commentator who is clearly making a little mistake there. I refuse to believe that the setters ever considered that someone might hold this, let alone actually intended it.

 john arran 15 Sep 2023
In reply to henwardian:

I suspect this is one of those (few) occasions where the routesetters got it wrong. What might have happened is that they took care to make sure that Ai had a big enough span to reach between the holds, but maybe didn't take into account that when doing so she wouldn't be quite high enough to use her whole span.

In reply to henwardian:

There have been quite a few instance through the season - maybe 10 or so obvious ones.  The worst instance was a boulder final where Ai was trying a dyno, maybe first or second move, and she just couldn’t get close to sticking it.  It was so painful to watch for the whole 4 minutes allotted time.

I think it’s more obvious this season because Ai has consistently made finals (boulder and lead).

There are a load more videos on YouTube.  Just search search ‘Ai Mori short’.  You’ll see instances where she’s done an amazing job of finding alternative sequences and some where she and other short climbers have been at an obvious disadvantage.

2
 john arran 15 Sep 2023
In reply to afx22:

If you go cherry picking on the internet, don't be surprised if you find cherries.

In reply to afx22:

> The worst instance was a boulder final where Ai was trying a dyno, maybe first or second move, and she just couldn’t get close to sticking it. It was so painful to watch for the whole 4 minutes allotted time.

Ok, but haven't you ever seen an average height or tall athlete get shut down hard by a problem that just doesn't suit them? I have some limited sympathy with your point if there are moves that can only be done statically, with no alternative beta available, where the reach is simply greater than someone's proportions but if you're expanding to "any move Ai can't do is unfair" then you've lost all credibility.

> I think it’s more obvious this season because Ai has consistently made finals (boulder and lead).

Yet she's only 19. The people rigging the system against her had better up their game if she's doing that well!

> You’ll see instances where she’s done an amazing job of finding alternative sequences

Isn't that the point? Search for "breaking the beta" on YouTube and you'll see examples of all kinds of athletes finding unexpected sequences to avoid moves that don't suit them. It's a feature, not a bug.

 Ian W 15 Sep 2023
In reply to henwardian:

> I think you need to look a little closer at what Ai actually does. The "hold" she uses with her left hand is a tiny screw hole that is designed to stop the hold spinning, not to be a hold in itself, it is not a "screw on" as described by the commentator who is clearly making a little mistake there. I refuse to believe that the setters ever considered that someone might hold this, let alone actually intended it.

Ai doesn't need to use the higher of the two orange circular volumes / holds; she uses the screwhead to "progress" backwards along the route, then easily gets the top. Janja sticks to the higher hold to move to the top hold, so two possible sequences to get the top.

The screwhead positioning was careless. No doubt the setters' - and indeed the JP /tech delegates report would have mentioned it, as it shouldnt have been in play at all.

 Ian W 15 Sep 2023
In reply to Robert Durran:

> That is only any good if both means are of comparable difficulty, which looked very far from the case.

Doesn't matter. There are often different sequences used, some there as intended by the setters, some not intended by the setters. It's up to the individual climber to find what works for them on that particular problem . There are no style marks, no difficulty factors or ratios as in for e.g. diving, there are just tops zones and attempts.

In reply to Ian W:

I think you may have missed my point. I was talking about, say, a method a short climber has to use being very much harder than the taller climber's method which is impossible if short. 

 Ian W 15 Sep 2023
In reply to Robert Durran:

> I think you may have missed my point. I was talking about, say, a method a short climber has to use being very much harder than the taller climber's method which is impossible if short. 

Oh, I get what you mean, it will often be that a certain sequence is harder for some climbers than others. But that's part of the game. And in this case (yes I know, sample size1), there's more than one way to the top. What we should also not forget is that the setters have to separate the very best from the very very best. Not easy.

 john arran 15 Sep 2023
In reply to Ian W:

> There are no style marks, no difficulty factors or ratios as in for e.g. diving, there are just tops zones and attempts.

And for that may we be truly thankful! For therein lies the difference between objective sport and judged performance art!

In reply to john arran:

I get what you mean about cherries and the internet.

This year, Ive been able to watch all of the world cups, world champs, euros, etc. for both boulder and lead, on YouTube.  It’s really been evident how height and setting has been a factor, some of the time.  It’s most notice when you compare Ai and Janja.  Brooke Raboutou was hindered a few times as well.

There have been instances where shorter climbers just haven’t been able to do a move, or a.move has taken many attempts to dial in, while taller climbers have generally stuck those moves first go.  I can’t recall seeing any taller climbers being too tall for any single move.

So, I had this view before I went searching for cherries.

1
In reply to Luke90:

> Ok, but haven't you ever seen an average height or tall athlete get shut down hard by a problem that just doesn't suit them? I have some limited sympathy with your point if there are moves that can only be done statically, with no alternative beta available, where the reach is simply greater than someone's proportions but if you're expanding to "any move Ai can't do is unfair" then you've lost all credibility.

I can’t recall seeing this in the comps I’ve been watching but I’ve seen it plenty of times in real life.  Taller climbers being bunched up, especially on sit starts is a common example.

> Yet she's only 19. The people rigging the system against her had better up their game if she's doing that well!

I’m not saying anything is rigged but I do think some of the setting has been off on occasion.

> Isn't that the point? Search for "breaking the beta" on YouTube and you'll see examples of all kinds of athletes finding unexpected sequences to avoid moves that don't suit them. It's a feature, not a bug.

Agreed.  I love watching comp climbers find their own way.  I get a buzz myself when I break the obviously intended beta myself.

1
 john arran 15 Sep 2023
In reply to afx22:

Taller (and therefore usually heavier) climbers will find almost any non-reachy move marginally harder. If you're x% heavier and pulling on holds that are proportionally y% smaller, you're going to have a harder time of it.

It won't be obvious because rarely will it be critical, but neither can it be ignored when considering relative potential advantage.

I do think that no single move should be massively harder for shorter climbers such that it's effectively impossible for someone that height to do it by the expected method, but if an occasional one requires a bit more strength or dynamism than it does for taller climbers, and if some shorter climbers fall off as a result, I don't think that's necessarily unreasonable.

 Ian Patterson 15 Sep 2023
In reply to afx22:

Is this still going on!?

In the IFSC rankings for this year out of the top 10 in boulder and lead 6 out of the 20 places are taken by climbers under 160cm, 1 out of 20 places is taken by climbers over 165 cm (approx median height for women).  What should we make of that?

Post edited at 23:30
 henwardian 16 Sep 2023
In reply to afx22:

> There have been quite a few instance through the season - maybe 10 or so obvious ones.  

At this point, you really need to evidence this stuff. I'm sorry too say this but this sort of statement really feels like when Trump says "people are saying" and what he really means is "I think X but I want to present it a widely held/evidenced opinion".

> The worst instance was a boulder final where Ai was trying a dyno, maybe first or second move, and she just couldn’t get close to sticking it.  It was so painful to watch for the whole 4 minutes allotted time.

Was it the Bern one where she couldn't do the dyno to the yellow pocket on the first move? Because if so, I already covered it above as an obvious case of lack of explosive power, not lack of height.

> There are a load more videos on YouTube.  Just search search ‘Ai Mori short’.  You’ll see instances where she’s done an amazing job of finding alternative sequences and some where she and other short climbers have been at an obvious disadvantage.

I just went and did this with several different variations of what you suggested and it threw up basically no clips purporting to show Ai being too short, just lots of clips of her climbing really well.

If there are at least 10 times Ai was too short this season, give me 3 or 4 clips that actually show this together with which come they're from so we can actually see how other climbers did the problem.

 henwardian 16 Sep 2023
In reply to Ian Patterson:

> Is this still going on!?

> In the IFSC rankings for this year out of the top 10 in boulder and lead 6 out of the 20 places are taken by climbers under 160cm, 1 out of 20 places is taken by climbers over 165 cm (approx median height for women).  What should we make of that?

Oh my god, you are right!

https://ourworldindata.org/uploads/2019/06/distribution-1-775x550.png

PROOF that the IFSC is CANCELLING tall climbers!

I want more reachy moves _STAT_.

 Marek 16 Sep 2023
In reply to henwardian:

> At this point, you really need to evidence this stuff...

Asking for 'evidence of X' is just asking for confirmation bias, which is what I suspect we're seeing here.

 Shani 16 Sep 2023
In reply to john arran:

> Taller (and therefore usually heavier) climbers will find almost any non-reachy move marginally harder.

And by extension, no point being able to reach a hold if you can't pull on it when you get there. Ergo, reaching a hold is only half the problem!

In reply to rocky crag:

In the World Cup in Koper GB Climbing had only one female athlete and that was Molly Thompson-Smith and I remember Ian Andrew Dunn telling us in the BMC Coaching Children workshop that Molly and Jim Pope were small because they were born late in year.  

Jim is 146cm and Molly is 159cm.

Sav 

3
In reply to Mountain Spirit:

I'm pretty sure I'd have noticed if Jim Pope was 4 foot 10!

edit: according to the IFSC site he's 167cm - a shade under 5'6".

Post edited at 19:48
 Rob Parsons 16 Sep 2023
In reply to Mountain Spirit:

> ... I remember Ian Andrew Dunn telling us in the BMC Coaching Children workshop that Molly and Jim Pope were small because they were born late in year. 

Eh?

In reply to thebigfriendlymoose:

> I'm pretty sure I'd have noticed if Jim Pope was 4 foot 10!

> edit: according to the IFSC site he's 167cm - a shade under 5'6".

Yes you are correct

https://www.ifsc-climbing.org/index.php?option=com_ifsc&task=athlete.di...

Greek Cypriot Megos

In reply to Rob Parsons:

> Eh?

Let me clarify.

He was talking about born In the later months for example September, October etc.

Bearded TR

2
In reply to Rob Parsons:

> ... I remember Ian Andrew Dunn telling us in the BMC Coaching Children workshop that Molly and Jim Pope were small because they were born late in year. 

> Eh?

Being born late in the academic year is a factor in who's successful in school-age sports - often kids who are selected for teams and elite coaching schemes are riding the advantage of being developmentally older than most of their year group. In the UK, the advantage would be for kids born in September and October.  It obviously would have no effect on the size the kids eventually "max out" at.

Post edited at 20:01
 henwardian 16 Sep 2023
In reply to thebigfriendlymoose:

> Being born late in the academic year is a factor in who's successful in school-age sports - ... It obviously would have no effect on the size the kids eventually "max out" at.

Except that it turns out that when you are born in the year _does_ affect the height you max out at

https://entertainment.ie/trending/the-month-youre-born-may-actually-effect-...


New Topic
This topic has been archived, and won't accept reply postings.
Loading Notifications...