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What Does Your Pyramid Look Like?


Original Post
Ryan Malloy · · Worcester, MA · Joined May 2014 · Points: 1,192

In the context of climbing at different grades of difficulty, the quantity of routes that a climber has completed is often described as a pyramid -- wide at the bottom, but very few stones at the highest level. This is helpful to think about when training. If your goal is to send a climb of grade X, it makes sense to have a few climbs of grade X-1 under your belt first.

Here's my bouldering pyramid so far. To avoid making this a contest, I will leave out the actual grades, and I would encourage others to do the same.

Peak grade X: 1 climb
X-1: 0 climbs
X-2: 6 climbs
X-3: 5 climbs
X-4: 10 climbs (3 flashes)

I don't have reliable data for X-5 and below. Only now do I realize how wonky my pyramid is. Not a smooth progression at all.

eli poss · · Durango, Co · Joined May 2014 · Points: 456

you're thinking too much. Just go climb and have fun. screw the grades

ViperScale . · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Dec 2013 · Points: 235

One of a Kind Climb - 1
Why are we on this - 2
Chossy Crap - 12
Really Cool Feature - 22
A Normal Climb - 44
Cool Feature - 53

snowdenroad · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jun 2007 · Points: 40

I'll bite..

Over the last 3 years, in descending difficulty:

??b = 1 redpoint
??a = 3 RP, 2 TR
??d = 3 RP, 1 TR
??c = 5 RP, 2 TR
??b = at least 15 RP
??a = at least 30 RP

Luc Ried · · Batesville, AR · Joined Mar 2014 · Points: 440

Hardest to easiest or recent climbs.

...b-1
...a-2
...d-4
...c-1
...b-6
...a-a dozen or more

You definitely are over-thinking in my opinion. Just go have fun and try hard

Eric Carlos · · Chattanooga, TN · Joined Aug 2008 · Points: 40

Routes

X.d - 5
X.c - 4
X.b - 22 - one flash, one onsight
X.a - 47 - one onsight

Bouldering

(X) - 3
(X-1) - 3
(X-2) - 13
(X-3) - 50ish - a few flashes

Marco Dees · · New Paltz · Joined Dec 2013 · Points: 50

One thing I'm really surprised by is the low number of flashes at 2-4 grades below peoples' limit.

At least for bouldering, I will often flash problems 2 grades below my hardest grade. Maybe that means I'm not projecting hard enough.

Eric Carlos · · Chattanooga, TN · Joined Aug 2008 · Points: 40
Marco Dees wrote:One thing I'm really surprised by is the low number of flashes at 2-4 grades below peoples' limit. At least for bouldering, I will often flash problems 2 grades below my hardest grade. Maybe that means I'm not projecting hard enough.
I would agree with that on both parts. Go project more.
Charlie S · · Ogden, UT · Joined Aug 2007 · Points: 1,601

Pyramid?

Whoops...

All climbs:

5 years of route tracking

Climbs that matter (redpoint, flash, or OS):
Personal progression

Didn't bother to remove the ratings because honestly, they're nothing to brag about.

Note that for ascents that "matter," the pyramid shape is a little more defined.
Markuso · · Fernie · Joined Jan 2016 · Points: 95
Charlie S wrote:Pyramid? Whoops... All climbs: Climbs that matter (redpoint, flash, or OS): Didn't bother to remove the ratings because honestly, they're nothing to brag about. Note that for ascents that "matter," the pyramid shape is a little more defined.
Wow, that's a hell of a spreadsheet! I'm curious how you have the rest of your climbing spreadsheets set up to link to that... I'm interested in setting something up like that.
Charlie S · · Ogden, UT · Joined Aug 2007 · Points: 1,601
Markuso wrote: Wow, that's a hell of a spreadsheet! I'm curious how you have the rest of your climbing spreadsheets set up to link to that... I'm interested in setting something up like that.
It's actually in Microsoft Access. I was bringing Excel to its knees. PM me if you want it and I'll send it your way.

Access has a pretty tough learning curve, but is very powerful from a data management and visualization standpoint. If you're looking to make calculations and functions, however, Excel can't be beat.
Jon Nelson · · Bellingham, WA · Joined Sep 2011 · Points: 4,675

Though not as detailed as Charlie's above, an easy way to view one's bouldering curve is to register at Track Your Climb and click in your data after each session:
trackyourclimb.com/

Eric Carlos · · Chattanooga, TN · Joined Aug 2008 · Points: 40
Jon Nelson wrote:Though not as detailed as Charlie's above, an easy way to view one's bouldering curve is to register at Track Your Climb and click in your data after each session: trackyourclimb.com/
I am going to check into that as I have tracked every gym and outside climbing day since spring 2010.
Markuso · · Fernie · Joined Jan 2016 · Points: 95
Charlie S wrote: It's actually in Microsoft Access. I was bringing Excel to its knees. PM me if you want it and I'll send it your way. Access has a pretty tough learning curve, but is very powerful from a data management and visualization standpoint. If you're looking to make calculations and functions, however, Excel can't be beat.
Thanks for the offer, don't have Microsoft access unfortunately and doesn't look like google drive has a database program. Looks awesome though.
Jon Rhoderick · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jul 2009 · Points: 850

13a- 1 about 40 goes
12d- 1 about 20 goes
12c- 9 fastest in 4 goes
12b- 9 3 done second go
12a- 24 5 done second go
11d- at least 4-5 flash/onsight

This is the pyramid of someone who can remember moves pretty well and isn't that good at onsighting. The 13 I did was pretty much my anti style but really fun. I climbed 4 12cs last year and nothing harder, this year I'm going to try and do a few more 13a's. I was pretty much in the same spot for 12a about 2012, I did lots of easier climbs and it took me a while to break into the grade. So much of it is mental and believing that you should be trying routes rated 5.whatever.

Charlie S · · Ogden, UT · Joined Aug 2007 · Points: 1,601
Markuso wrote: Thanks for the offer, don't have Microsoft access unfortunately and doesn't look like google drive has a database program. Looks awesome though.
Open Office has a database program which may work:
openoffice.org/product/base…

However, I can't verify its compatibility.
Arlo F Niederer · · Colorado Springs, CO · Joined Mar 2009 · Points: 460

The progression pyramid was described in great detail in a 1993 book "Performance Rock Climbing" by Gale Goddard and Udo Neumann.

They advocate that you advance when you have a "stable pyramid" of grades easier than your maximum climb. By stable they mean the number of climbs successfully completed doubles for each easier grade:

X. 1
X - 1: 2
X - 2: 4
X - 3: 8
X - 4: 16

aikibujin · · Castle Rock, CO · Joined Oct 2014 · Points: 294

Trying hard and having fun is not mutually exclusive with the nerdy joy of tracking things and making a grade pyramid. I don't boulder outside enough to have a bouldering pyramid, but I do have a sport onsight pyramid and a sport redpoint pyramid. I tweak my pyramid a little though, I only track climb I've done within the last 12 months, and instead of multiplying the goal route number by two when dropping a grade, I add two to the goal route number. So ideally my pyramid would look like:

X: 1
X-1: 3
X-2: 5
X-3: 7

I do this because I feel that I haven't hit the actual top level of my pyramid yet, for example the two hardest redpoint I've tried in the last 12 months only took me 2 tries and 3 tries respectively. So I think I can probably raise the top level of my pyramid if I can get the rest of my pyramid filled quickly.

Currently my sport redpoint pyramid looks like this:

X: 2
X-1: 1
X-2: 5
X-3: 2
X-4: 10 (all onsights)

My sport onsight pyramid looks like this:
Y (X-2 from my redpoint pyramid): 1
Y-1: 0
Y-2: 10
Y-3: 2

I stopped tracking at the Y-4 level because I think I should focus more effort on trying to onsight at the Y-1, Y, and maybe Y+1 level.

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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