What is a good day of climbing? Can you rate it?


Original Post
Jon Nelson · · Bellingham, WA · Joined Sep 2011 · Points: 4,670

We have long rated individual pitches and boulder problems, but how about rating the entire climbing day?

On a recent trip, my partner Nicola M- came up with the 'Century System' in which the goal is to have a 'century day', which is 100 or more CS points in the day. A nice feature of this system is that anybody, regardless of climbing grade, can get a century day. We started using it immediately. As it may be useful to others, I am passing it on here.

The Century system:

Assume, just as an example, that your basic climbing level is 5.9, meaning that pretty much anytime, you can cleanly get up a 5.9 pitch (even after a long break). Then 5.9 is your 'base level'.

- Then, for every 5.9 pitch you climb without hanging on the rope (lead, follow, TR, even if you repeat the same pitch), add 10 pts to your score for the day. Ditto if you cleanly downclimb the pitch.

- For a 5.10 pitch, add 20 pts; for a 5.11 add 40 pts, doubling as you go up each full grade.

- Conversely, for every 5.8, add half the points, or 5 pts, for a 5.7 add 3, 5.6 and below add 1.

- For every hang, subtract 10 pts until you are back down to your base rating. (E.g., for a base of 5.9, doing a 5.11 with 1 hang is 30 pts (40-10), while doing it with 10 hangs is still 10 pts.)

- To award for mileage, add 10 pts for every 10 pitches done. (Or every 10 boulder problems, if you are bouldering.)

If your base level is 5.10, then shift the point scale accordingly. Apply the same system to your bouldering V-grades. Even add the bouldering to the roped stuff if you do both in the same day.

A century day is to get 100 pts. Keep a running average of the score for your climbing days, and aim to stay above 100. If you are staying above 150, then perhaps your base level is too low. Bump it up one grade.

On the website trackyourclimb.com, Steven Shimizu uses a different scale for rating the day. His system may be more logical effort-wise, but this system is simple enough to track in your head. Pretty much all you are doing is adding and subtracting 10s (unless you are doing easy pitches).

Nick Goldsmith · · Pomfret VT · Joined Aug 2009 · Points: 440

You should take up golf....

Em Cos · · Boulder, CO · Joined Apr 2010 · Points: 5

For me, a good day of climbing is any day out on the rock.

Did you climb rock?
Did everyone return home in basically the same condition they left in?

You had a good day.

Add 1,000 points for post climb beers.

Greg Maschi · · Phoenix ,Az · Joined Oct 2010 · Points: 0

I think there are far too many numbers in climbing already.

Jon Nelson · · Bellingham, WA · Joined Sep 2011 · Points: 4,670
Nick Goldsmith wrote:You should take up golf....
How so?
I tried it once, and it was fine, but do not see the connection here.
JK- · · SLC · Joined Nov 2012 · Points: 58
Greg Maschi wrote:I think there are far too many numbers in climbing already.
+1,000

Too much goes into a day of climbing to rate it objectively. At least for me. Starting with the goal for the day: If I went out to climb hard, cruising a bunch of stuff in my range isn't really a good day. But if I went out just for a fun activity with friends or some exercise it's a great day.

Was fun had? Were goals met, or at failed at valiantly? Did everyone survive mostly intact? If three yeses (yessi?), probably a good day.
Jon Nelson · · Bellingham, WA · Joined Sep 2011 · Points: 4,670
Em Cos wrote:For me, a good day of climbing is any day out on the rock. Did you climb rock? Did everyone return home in basically the same condition they left in? You had a good day. Add 1,000 points for post climb beers.
I agree. Just getting out with other folks on the rock is satisfying. And sure numbers can be a bit tiring.

But I think we all tend to feel better about doing more pitches near our limit than just going out and drinking beer.

If one is the type to pursue improvement, then they may appreciate this system or tweak it to their interests. Others, can ignore it.
Em Cos · · Boulder, CO · Joined Apr 2010 · Points: 5
Jon Nelson wrote: But I think we all tend to feel better about doing more pitches near our limit than just going out and drinking beer.
Eh.... you're gonna have to speak for yourself on that one.
Nick Goldsmith · · Pomfret VT · Joined Aug 2009 · Points: 440

If you need a rateing system to tell you if you had a good day climbing then perhaps you should go play golf instead of cluttering up the crags... Lots of rules, dress code, formality, order...... Numbers actually mean something....

Leroy Fielding · · Salt Lake City, UT · Joined Jun 2004 · Points: 5
Em Cos wrote:For me, a good day of climbing is any day out on the rock. Did you climb rock? Did everyone return home in basically the same condition they left in? You had a good day. Add 1,000 points for post climb beers.
Exactly! +1
Jon Nelson · · Bellingham, WA · Joined Sep 2011 · Points: 4,670
Leroy Fielding wrote: Exactly! +1
It's actually quite refreshing to hear that there are a few pure-minded climbers here who don't chase numbers, climbers to whom one pleasant 5.2 pitch on nice stone means just as much as nailing a few new 5.12s.

I'm different though. I can recall very early in my climbing days the desire to get a 'half-dome day' (20 pitches of 5.10), and then finally doing one in the mid-80s. And I still remember it as one of my best days out. At any rate, if the century system spurs a few others to push a little harder, then I'm happy. For what it does, it is relatively simple. Others can happily ignore it.
Nick Goldsmith · · Pomfret VT · Joined Aug 2009 · Points: 440

I can't say that I have never counted pitches in a day, vertical ft in a day, number of First ascents in a year or number of climbing ,skiing and sleeping in the van days in a year but I shure as shit never needed a scoreing system to figuer out weather or not I had a good day climbing..

Nolan Huther · · Clarkson University · Joined Dec 2014 · Points: 602

I seriously expected this post to be from a millenial when I read the title, and I am a millenial...

Mark E Dixon · · Sprezzatura, Someday · Joined Nov 2007 · Points: 549

I'm with Em.
If nobody ends up at the ER or the morgue, then as long as I'm climbing, it's probably going to be a pretty good day.

Mark E Dixon · · Sprezzatura, Someday · Joined Nov 2007 · Points: 549
Dave Schultz wrote:Wow ... tons of hate on this idea. Why? I think its interesting. A unique way to see how BIG your day is/was. I like it. Will I calculate it every day or make a big deal of it, no ... but it is a cool concept. All these people bashing this idea are probably just butt-hurt that their numbers all suck, but still tell themselves that they have a good time climbing the same old easy ass shit. Imagine if NASCAR had a 65 mh speed limit, that would get old real fast. I'm not with Em, keep her out there in boulderado.
Disagreement doesn't equal hate.
Gavin W · · Surrey, BC · Joined Feb 2015 · Points: 178

I think this is an interesting concept in terms of comparing days, although it seems like the scoring system places an emphasis on easy climbs. Sounds similar to the scoring system for 24 Hours of Horseshoe Hell tbh.

Personally, however, I rate my climbing days by the subjective feel of the routes I was on. I've redpointed 5.8s that I was more proud of than a 5.10b onsight that I did a few days later, just because of how the route felt.

Em Cos · · Boulder, CO · Joined Apr 2010 · Points: 5
Dave Schultz wrote:Wow ... tons of hate on this idea. Why? I think its interesting. A unique way to see how BIG your day is/was. I like it. Will I calculate it every day or make a big deal of it, no ... but it is a cool concept. All these people bashing this idea are probably just butt-hurt that their numbers all suck, but still tell themselves that they have a good time climbing the same old easy ass shit. Imagine if NASCAR had a 65 mh speed limit, that would get old real fast. I'm not with Em, keep her out there in boulderado.
Nobody is "hating on" or "bashing" the idea, just sharing our own viewpoints, answering the question asked by the title of the thread. I found the conversation rather interesting, moreso because of the varying viewpoints presented. I find other people's perspectives interesting, not a cause for hate, and disagreement is healthy, not threatening. Apparently it is threatening to you, though- or you would be able to be "not with Em" without also wishing I could be "kept" far away from you.

Fortunately for me, it is not up to you or anyone else on MP to "keep" me anywhere. Don't worry though, I live here of my own free will and am planning to stay a while. Lots of great climbing to keep me busy. So if it comforts you to know I'm far away, then take comfort. I'm willing to bet though, that there are people in your very own neighborhood whose opinions may differ wildly from yours on any number of topics. Probably best to just stay inside, lock your doors, and stay away from the internet. Just to be safe.
Jake Jones · · Richmond, VA · Joined Jul 2011 · Points: 1,420

For me, sending something that I was scared of, or that I've fallen or hung on multiple times is worth a lot. I know what you're getting at Jon, and I think it's a good idea as a way to quantify, but it's just not for me. Typically when I head out with friends I have three classifications of routes I want to do.

A) Classics that I've done before and know I can do if I'm in the area.

B) Goal routes that are at or near my limit and hope to surprise myself on.

C) Hard routes that are super aesthetic, very difficult for me and that I generally have to talk myself into trying.

Regardless of what happens, if I get on any of the above, I'm having a great time. One day last spring I was able to do all three in a short day and almost flash something I thought was out of my realm. I did five routes that day with some of the best partners I've ever had. That day was the best day climbing I've ever had. I think chalking it up to just numbers would detract from what the day really meant.

Ben Walsh · · Louisville, CO · Joined May 2016 · Points: 5

If you get enough points do you give yourself a sticker?

Tradgic Yogurt · · Unknown Hometown · Joined May 2016 · Points: 55

I use vertical feet, but only in the gym and only to estimate if my endurance is increasing.

Anything else is pointless :D.

Old lady H · · Boise, Idaho · Joined Aug 2015 · Points: 265

Okay, so I'm one of those who would have terrible scores. Fortunately I don't give a shit about the numbers, or I'd have to just jump OFF the cliff!

Jon, it does seem an okay scoring system, if that's what you enjoy, but my immediate thought was that it would be really tough if the partners aren't pretty evenly matched, as less skilled climbers end up belaying rope guns a lot more often than the other way around.

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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