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By Ben Bruestle
From Pueblo, CO
Mar 19, 2006
Right on Leo,

Finally the missing link from cb.com has been restored. Ice definitely needs to be a distinct and separate area from the rock areas in MountainProject. The way the site was, if it was my first time to visit it, I would be hard-pressed to find the ice the way it was hidden among the rock areas. Thanks for simplifying the site. A huge step in the right direction. What do the rest of you knucklebangers think?

Ben

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By Andy Laakmann
Site Landlord
From Bend, OR
Mar 20, 2006
Racked and loaded... name that splitter behind me?...
It would be nice to get some broader feedback on this.

There are actually few issues that should be discussed:

  • I agree the Show Routes dropbox wasn't obvious (at least to find ice). But once you found out what the dropbox did, was it difficult to find ice climbs? If so, why?

  • What about areas that have shared approaches and descriptions? Is the information duplicated in both the rock side AND the ice side?

  • What about other destinations? For instance, Grand Teton National Park has lots of rock routes, some mixed routes, and just a handful of pure ice climbs. Do we separate out the ice climbs into their own section there too? If not it becomes a bit inconsistent... i.e. someone browsing Colorado goes into an Ice section there, but in GTNP they browse the standard database.

My feeling is the "Show Routes" concept should be improved and more obvious (for instance mini tabs for Rock and Ice on top of the side navigation bar) rather than have all the areas split up.

Obviously both methods can be used, no harm in having multiple ways to find information, but my main concern is that the organization (where things are located) will be different between states and destinations.

Andy


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By Ron Olsen
From Boulder, CO
Mar 20, 2006
In the cow pasture below the Tre Cime de Lavaredo,...
Andy Laakmann wrote:
My feeling is the "Show Routes" concept should be improved and more obvious (for instance mini tabs for Rock and Ice on top of the side navigation bar) rather than have all the areas split up. Obviously both methods can be used, no harm in having multiple ways to find information, but my main concern is that the organization (where things are located) will be different between states and destinations. Andy

One way to improve "Show Routes": only show the areas that have routes of the desired type; if the route count of a particular type is zero, then don't show the area at all. This would give ice climbers a "Table of Contents" that just shows ice routes, without having to put all ice routes in a separate high-level area.

Also, use checkboxes to pick what to display, rather than a pull-down menu allowing only one choice. In particular, it would be good to be able to display ice and mixed routes simultaneously.

One problem: there are several new areas in Colorado that describe ice climbing but don't have any routes (Lake City, Lake City Ice Park, Ute Ulay Mine). These should show up when someone wants to see ice routes, even though there aren't any ice routes present. Maybe have a tag on an area to flag it as an ice area?

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By Andy Laakmann
Site Landlord
From Bend, OR
Mar 20, 2006
Racked and loaded... name that splitter behind me?...
Ron Olsen wrote:
..... One problem: there are several new areas in Colorado that describe ice climbing but don't have any routes (Lake City, Lake City Ice Park, Ute Ulay Mine). These should show up when someone wants to see ice routes, even though there aren't any ice routes present. Maybe have a tag on an area to flag it as an ice area?


That's the exact reason why we show the areas that have zero count.

One idea is to move all the stuff that has >0 count to the top of the list.

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By Ron Olsen
From Boulder, CO
Mar 20, 2006
In the cow pasture below the Tre Cime de Lavaredo,...
But if Lake City were part of the Colorado organization instead of being under "Colorado Ice & Mixed", how would an ice climber know to look there? "Show Routes" wouldn't come up with anything in red.

The big complaints that Colorado ice climbers have:

1. Ice routes are hard to find.
2. Ice routes are "lost" among the "clutter" of rock routes.

Item 1 can be addressed by a better interface to "Show Routes" (ice & mixed tab, checkboxes to display ice & mixed routes, etc.)

Item 2 can be addressed by

a) Modifying "Show Routes" to (optionally) display only areas containing routes of the selected type(s) (e.g. ice, mixed, rock, trad, ..). Also display areas flagged with the specified type(s) if there are no routes in the area.

and

b) Modifying "Show Routes" to (optionally) display only routes of selected type(s). (Have checkboxes for Display all routes, Display selected routes).

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By Leo Paik
Administrator
From Westminster, Colorado
Mar 20, 2006
There were many problems created when we lumped Rock & Ice/Mixed info together in the CO section. This is not obvious unless you play on both sides of the freezing temperature line. Only some of which you've both outlined above. It just felt like we weren't getting anywhere, I got enough activation energy from other ice climbers to get over the hump & try this. Ice climbers are generally quieter folks...unless you get something like a bolt on an ultra-classic line like Ames Ice Hose.

One point for Colorado specifically is that most areas don't have both rock & ice routes. These are a minority. Information differs for rock vs. ice/mixed days/approaches/beta. Maybe a handful like in RMNP (e.g. Hallett Chimney, Smear of Fear, Alexander's, Field's Chimney, Wrecking Ball, Crazy Train, the prior ice routes on Widow & Vampire, Eldora Chimney - for those idiots who climbed with no ice ;), Helen Hunt Falls area, Cracked Canyon...) but these are still different in ice vs. rock times. Maybe it's different in the Tetons. I've only done summer ice up there.

Remember, most of this stuff started in Colorado with climbingboulder.com and expanded. Local climbers should have input on local scenes. I don't think I should have much input in Teton climbing MP.com stuff since I've only done a handful of routes on rock and on ice as a visiting climber.

Still with the drop down box, select ice climbs, you still have to sift through lots of rock routes. That was only one problem that didn't seem to bother rock climbers. If the crampon was on the other foot....

Part of why you get some things in partly is that it takes time for folks to contribute things. Sometimes, we trickle in info so that we don't step too far. I've done that in the past. So, you may get ice areas and no routes for a while. Also, Lake City, Ulay, Lake City Ice Park just got added in the last day or so. If we unmotivate ice/mixed climbers to visit this site, they will add less info, the quality of the site drops...which it seems to have done since the changeover from climbingboulder.com.

Respectfully, I can see your points, Andy, but isn't this supposed to be a site for climbers? addressing the needs of climbers?

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By Ron Olsen
From Boulder, CO
Mar 20, 2006
In the cow pasture below the Tre Cime de Lavaredo,...
Leo Paik wrote:
Still with the drop down box, select ice climbs, you still have to sift through lots of rock routes. That was only one problem that didn't seem to bother rock climbers. If the crampon was on the other foot....

See the proposal I made in my previous post. If the "Show Routes" feature is modified per my proposal, a user could specify that only the areas and routes of the selected type(s) should show up in the sidebar. So a climber interested in "ice & mixed" routes wouldn't have to see any rock-only areas or rock routes in the sidebar listing; there wouldn't be any sifting required.

This would allow keeping ice & mixed routes in the same geographic hierarchy as the rock routes, and hide rock routes and rock-only areas from the ice-climber's view.

Areas that have both ice and rock climbs (Boulder Canyon, Clear Creek Canyon, RMNP, Rifle, ...) would need two description sections: one for rock; one for ice. I don't think ice climbers would mind have to skip over the rock info in an area description to get the ice info.

The Colorado page should also be expanded to include two overview sections: one on rock, one on ice, covering the entire state.

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By Leo Paik
Administrator
From Westminster, Colorado
Mar 20, 2006
Respectfully, Ron, that would only address one issue. Further, the feedback I've received from ice/mixed climbers indicates the pull down/tab concept is not entirely intuitive to ice/mixed climbers. Also, the feedback I've heard is that I've heard is that ice/mixed climbers do mind having to skip over the rock info.

John, sport, trad, bouldering, even some aid can be done with largely the same equipment. I sometimes do all 4 of those on one day. Even if I do ice/mixed and then rock on one day, I have to totally switch over gear. E.g. It scares the stuffing out of me to climb 5.8 in big boots. I already have one messed up ankle.

Further, we already have a non-geographic section under CO that folks seem not to be annoyed with. It is the Alpine. That section is based upon type of ascent rather than any geographic location. BTW, I think it is a great idea to have Alpine, too.

Again, I don't think one state has to do something just because another state is different. Heck, look at the databases, there are plenty of differences between states. BTW, I'm not a debater, I'm a climber.

Oh yeah, I'm not against having parallel solutions going and seeing which ice/mixed climbers like better. But, if you sound in, you should be an ice/mixed climber, otherwise, you're just a debater.

Colorado Ice & Mixed does have a start of an overview section for CO begun just yesterday.

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By Ron Olsen
From Boulder, CO
Mar 20, 2006
In the cow pasture below the Tre Cime de Lavaredo,...
Leo Paik wrote:
Respectfully, Ron, that would only address one issue. Further, the feedback I've received from ice/mixed climbers indicates the pull down/tab concept is not entirely intuitive to ice/mixed climbers. Also, the feedback I've heard is that I've heard is that ice/mixed climbers do mind having to skip over the rock info.

Since the rock info we're talking about is only on the area pages, that issue could be solved by putting the ice-climbing section of an area page before the rock-climbing section.

Leo Paik wrote:
Further, we already have a non-geographic section under CO that folks seem not to be annoyed with. It is the Alpine. That section is based upon type of ascent rather than any geographic location. BTW, I think it is a great idea to have Alpine, too.

If all Alpine routes were characterized as "Alpine" in the route description, then they too could be put under the same geographic hierarchy as everything else, instead of being in a separate high-level Alpine area. I'd like to see Snow/Alpine Ice climbs handled this way too.

The enhanced "Show Route" capability we've been discussing would allow users to filter things to see only Alpine areas and routes, nothing else. I'm sure Andy can implement a UI that's intuitive and easy to use, for rock climbers, ice/mixed climbers, and alpine climbers.

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By George Marsden
Mar 20, 2006
I have to add my vote of support for the change Leo made. It is definitely easier to find the ice routes now. As the site moves forward it would be great to see multiple ways of finding the same information. It sounds like a bunch of the folks in this thread have some good, well thought out ideas and I am excited to see what solutions come up.

Thanks for all of your hard work,

George Marsden

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By John McNamee
Administrator
From Littleton, CO
Mar 21, 2006
Artist Tears P3
I added a link to this forum and a brief news item on the Colorado home page to try to generate some feedback.

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By Jason Himick
From Boulder, CO
Mar 21, 2006
Future Goal
I like what Ron is saying about using check boxes as that would allow folks to list multiple types of climbs. Let's say I want to go to RMNP and spend the weekend doing some aid and alpine ice... I simply go to RMNP and check the aid and ice boxes and I'm on my way planning. I also like the idea of the list showing only the climbs relevant to the type selected. If I want to see the alpine climbs throughout Colorado, or any state for that matter, why show me all the other types of climbing? Should ice be broken down into ice and alpine ice? Seems like it would be a nice feature but not necessary. Seems like a mixed category is definitely in order.

I'm not a fan of 'Alpine' or 'Colorado Ice & Mixed' being a part of the areas list. Yes, it's another means of accessing information but I think it's unnecessary and could lead to confusion.

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By Eli Helmuth
From Estes Park, CO
Mar 23, 2006
Eli on the FA of Grizzly (M9) at the Den.
My vote would be to keep the ice and mixed climbing section separate from rock. It seems easier to divide them because I'm never looking for both at the same time.

There is almost no such thing as alpine ice in this state or the Rockies for that matter- I see the AI rating on lots of climbs here but neve is not the same as AI. The alps, Cascades, AK, Canada, and the Big Ranges have many AI routes but I think everything that was AI (i.e. Black Ice Couloir)in the Rockies is about melted out or really just firm snow or not. A true AI route should probably be listed in the ice and mixed section.

Maybe pure snow and scrambling routes should be put in a mountaineering category? I see alpine climbing as being technical (pitches) and mountaineering as less technical (not really pitched climbing, more like 3rd, 4th class.) Alpine rock (5th class) fits into the rock category. Mixed into the ice and mixed category, and everything else into mountaineering?

I certainly see folks swinging two tools and front-pointing with a rope between them on occasion when I'm kicking steps in a 40-degree snow couloir (that I just skied!) with my new-to-climbing clients and calling it AI3 M3? Lots of interpretations of what is "technical". I suppose that is a different story.

My 2 cents worth...

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By Caelan
From Dysfunctional, CO
Dec 11, 2006
Since this thread has been dead for almost a year, I don't know if it's much of an issue anymore, but I thought I would speak up anyhow.

I think having Ice & Mixed separate from the Rock section is essential. The guidebooks out there keep Ice separate for a reason. Sure, there is the occasional area that has both Rock in the Summer and Ice/Mixed in the Winter, but there will always be exceptions.

The approach is a much bigger deal in the Winter than the Summer, so it would make more sense to clump all of the Ice/Mixed routes together while considering the approach. Also, you can not identify certain summer features in the winter, and vice-versa. They are 2 very different animals. Caging them together could be disasterous!!

Example: It's very annoying filtering through Rossiter's Boulder Canyon GuideBook looking for the Ice Routes when 95% of the routes are Rock.

Mind you, I'm super stoked he put them in there, and I totally understand why he did not take the effort to separate them (too much time, money etc.). MP is an electronic database, however. It is much easier to go in and edit things here than in a hardcopy book. Now I can just click "CO Ice & Mixed", click "Boulder Canyon" and BOOM, I don't have to drown in all of the Rock Climbs I did in June.

Mountaineering: It would be nice to separate Mountaineering/Snow Climbing routes from "Ice & Mixed", but I don't know enough to say where that line is. Perhaps someone more experienced could draw the line.

Cheers!

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By ClimbandMine
Dec 16, 2006
Ron Olsen wrote:
If all Alpine routes were characterized as "Alpine" in the route description, then they too could be put under the same geographic hierarchy as everything else, instead of being in a separate high-level Alpine area. I'd like to see Snow/Alpine Ice climbs handled this way too.



Noooooooooo!!!!!!!!!!!!!

MP lost users in Colorado because the comments got buried so the "wild west" fun disappeared, and because EVERYTHING, like ice routes and conditions (hence this topic) got hard, if not impossible, to find. We don't give a crap about routes in JTree on a daily basis, and if we did we could go to climbingJT. Now its just one more layer to dig through if you don't have shortcuts.

There's too many bloody top level areas in Colorado, many insignificant, to find anything anymore. Don't move the Alpine routes. You'll just lose more users.

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By Ron Olsen
From Boulder, CO
Dec 16, 2006
In the cow pasture below the Tre Cime de Lavaredo,...
Dave Loring wrote:
There's too many bloody top level areas in Colorado, many insignificant, to find anything anymore. Don't move the Alpine routes. You'll just lose more users.

Dave,

Try using the Search box. It will get you to a desired route or area very quickly, even if you don't know where it is located.

Click on "Advanced" Search and use the route finder. One search will show you all the ice routes in Colorado (or any other area) grouped by name, area, difficulty, or rating.

FLAG
 
By Andy Laakmann
Site Landlord
From Bend, OR
Dec 17, 2006
Racked and loaded... name that splitter behind me?...
Dave Loring wrote:
Noooooooooo!!!!!!!!!!!!! MP lost users in Colorado because the comments got buried so the "wild west" fun disappeared, and because EVERYTHING, like ice routes and conditions (hence this topic) got hard, if not impossible, to find. We don't give a crap about routes in JTree on a daily basis, and if we did we could go to climbingJT. Now its just one more layer to dig through if you don't have shortcuts. There's too many bloody top level areas in Colorado, many insignificant, to find anything anymore. Don't move the Alpine routes. You'll just lose more users.


Dave,

For what it is worth, a few points are worth mentioning:

  • The "layers" of Colorado came over as-is from climbingboulder.com. The admins, based on user feedback, chose to reorganize it somewhat - and there are actually FEWER top-level areas than before in Colorado
  • If you add Colorado as a favorite, it is the exact same number of clicks as before to find something in Colorado (or just click Colorado on the homepage)
  • If you ever typed in climbingboulder.com - colorado is already added as favorite automatically
  • The comments aren't buried at all - simply use What's New - Comments to see all the newest comments - and if you have Colorado as a favorite, you can restrict them to Colorado. cb.com had a similar page, and that was the only way to see all the new comments
  • Ron's point is a good one - with search you can find anything in two clicks.
  • Ice condition reports are one-click away if you click Recent Conditions on the homepage and have Colorado as a favorite.

So how does that behave any different than the old CB.com? Everything is one click away, just like it was on cb.com. Yes, JTree is on the homepage, but you don't have to click it.

Also - there is a little used feature that makes "browsing" alpine/ice/boulder/whatever routes very simple. Go to Colorado, and select the type of route from the "Show Routes" box on the left. Areas with matching routes, and the route count, are shown in red. You can no browse seeing all matching route types highlighted.

I apologize if this sounds defensive, but before I go about changing or "improving" stuff - I really like to understand the nature of the problems user's are experiencing.


Andy

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By ClimbandMine
Dec 17, 2006
Andy Laakmann wrote:
I apologize if this sounds defensive, but before I go about changing or "improving" stuff - I really like to understand the nature of the problems user's are experiencing. Andy


Didn't mean to get you all defensive. But why "improve" something if it already works just fine? Don't fix it if it ain't broke.

RC.com changed their whole interface, and a whole flcok of users jumped ship over to Supertopo. I rarely surfed it, now I never touch it. Many of us who discovered CB.com in the early days and added many of the routes, and had a lot of fun in the flame wars, rarely do much if anything on MP. There's been 4 posts on the forum in the last day. Why?

ITS NOT FUN.

Its sanitized. Comments take work to find. They are't on the front page (the Colorado front page). No one updates ice conditions - users have gone elsewhere.

There's nothing fundamentally wrong with the structure. But all MP is, is a database. Is that all you want it to be? Or do you want it to be a community (even a slightly dysfunctional community) like CB.com was?

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By Andy Laakmann
Site Landlord
From Bend, OR
Dec 17, 2006
Racked and loaded... name that splitter behind me?...
Dave - I do want to say I appreciate your feedback. My responses are simply for the sake of discussion.....

Some users have gone elsewhere, of course, but >3x as many users are using MP.com as did the combination of all the c*.com sites, so they must be finding something they enjoy or find useful.

MP.com is about the route database and people's experience on routes - that was the goal of the old C*.com sites and continues to be the goal of MP.com. Supertopo and RC.com have forums well covered. The rate of contributions (including comments) to the route database is way higher than before. But the old sites never had forums, that's why the forum culture grew up at rc.com and supertopo. The MP.com gets way more forum posts than the old CB.com site, because there wasn't a forum there - people simply posted random stuff on routes.

Forums are, ultimately, secondary to the route experiences on mp.com. And I don't think that's bad. Do climbers really need another huge, national forum site? I don't think so. Climbers need a good route database to share their experiences and that's what we attempt to achieve. If people use the forums, great. I still surf Supertopo and RC.com and enjoy them both.

I scratch my head when you say everything is hard to find... 99% of users seem to tell me things are substantially easier to find than on the old site. Everything you asked for is one click off the homepage... how is that any different than it was before? It may be different sure, but I'm not sure what you mean by harder. Everything was one click off the old homepage too...?

Of course, this is all a relatively moot point. Myke was going to pull the plug on the old site, so there wasn't a choice anyways but to do something. It wasn't a matter of fixing it. It was going to be executed. And nobody was stepping up to manage 10 sites.....

Don't get me wrong, I totally appreciate your feedback. But to improve mp.com I need to understand, specifically, how it is harder to find things.

As for it not being "fun"... you can find plenty of flame wars already in the forums if that's what you want.... :) But do we all really need another flame war forum if rc.com has it so well covered?

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By John McNamee
Administrator
From Littleton, CO
Dec 17, 2006
Artist Tears P3
I tend to think ice climbers are a shy bunch and tend to keep ice conditions to themselves so that they don't get the masses converging on one place. Today there is one such report thanks to Rodney:

"Went up Mills Lake area on Saturday, December 16, 2006. Great ice in everywhere--- lots of parties on the more popular routes (e.g. All Mixed Up).

Floatation nice off trail, but main trail(s) are packed out nice. Looks like a very good year anywhere up Loch Vale or Black Lake."

Ice report

By the way great skiing conditions yesterday at Vail Pass (North Side) if anyone is interested..

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By Caelan
From Dysfunctional, CO
Dec 17, 2006
I think Front-Range Ice-Folk are "selfish", "tied-down" or "lazy". I fit into one of these categories more often than not. I don't want everyone jumping on the Ice Stash I took the time and effort to seek out (especially if I intend to return in the near future). There just isn't enough Ice to accommodate the Front Range Population.

Then there is the M-F/9-5 crowd who wants to know the conditions before they commit to a trip to say, Vail. I can not blame this crowd, except they have money, so suck it up and bring your skiis if the ice looks like shit.

Then, there are those who just don't want to go Hike if they have the time. Eh, we all have our off days, but if you don't get out and see what the conditions are like, you'll never stick w/ Ice Climbing. Furthermore, if you do get out enough, you probably know enough about Ice to make a good guess about when things will be in, unless they are an ephemeral type of route, like Necrophilia for example.

It's the exact opposite case in the SW. There's enough Ice to last a Lifetime down in Ouray/Silverton. So, folk probably don't update conditions there for a couple reasons:

1) There is almost ALWAYS *something* to climb (from Dec to Mar)
2) skywardmountaineering.com usually has an up to date conditions report for the SW.

Up here (Front Range), it's too scarce to report unless you don't intend to climb it again.

I will post conditions if I've been there and do not intend to return (at all, or in the near future). Otherwise, I keep it to myself.

FLAG


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