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Route Sorting - MP wants your opinion
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Site Landlord
Jun 2, 2011
After many years of displaying routes in alphabetical order, we're finally going to build a system that allows routes to be sorted and displayed Left to Right (or Right to Left). This will be a big help when finding a route, especially when using the upcoming mobile app.

We have a migration plan and sorting tools coming soon, so many (most?) areas will be sorted after we release the tool.

The big question is what to do about new route submissions: do we REQUIRE new routes to be sorted properly?

Our concerns:
If proper sorting is required, the site as a whole will be more useful, but new route submissions may go down (if the submitter doesn't know the location), or the user may enter the route in the wrong position, which can very frustrating for the rest of us.

If proper sorting is NOT required, displaying routes will be a bit messy: there will be some routes listed alphabetically, then another group that are sorted Left to Right (or R to L). But on the other hand, we won't have raised the burden on new route submissions.

So, MP users, what do you think?
Nick Wilder
From The Bubble
Joined Jan 1, 2005
1,461 points
Jun 2, 2011
YEAH! I'm VERY excited for the routes to be listed like this!

I think it would be great to have the option of putting it in order, or if you are putting it in and don't know where it goes in realtion to other nearby lines, add it to a list in the area that other MP users can then put in order. Maybe the lists need to be more free form so that routes can be added and moved as necessary, especially if an area is under heavy devolpment. You might get routes popping up in between eachother every day!
From Colorado Springs, CO
Joined Dec 21, 2009
25 points
Jun 2, 2011
I like the idea of putting the routes in order. If someone does not know where the route fits, they probably should let someone else post. What about bouldering areas? Would each boulder be treated like a crag and have routes in order? Eric Whitbeck
Joined Mar 27, 2006
205 points
Jun 2, 2011

Could there be a function that allows us (users) to move a route into is properly sorted order if the person who adds the route doesn't know where it should be at a crag?

In any case it sounds like a great addition to the site. Thanks for the hard work!

Brad Brandewie
Joined Apr 29, 2001
2,820 points
Jun 2, 2011
First of all, many thanks for undertaking this project! Anything that helps one find particular routes would be most appreciated.

Regarding the specifics of how to best handle this, how about assigning all climbs at a particular crag a number or letter, based on relative position (left-to-right in the US, anyway). Then, either a large beta photo with the actual routes superimposed with their designations and/or a diagram/map/drawing of the crag (à la guidebooks) would make it easy to find a climb. If a new route goes up (or is at least described) between a couple of existing ones, its designation could reflect that (e.g. if numbers were used and a there was a new route between 7 and 8, it could be 7.1--variations could use letters, like 7a).
Joined Apr 23, 2010
0 points
Jun 2, 2011
I would stick with alphabetical. People can make maps with the locations, or have it so you can personalise if you want it location or alphabetically listed. There is something to be said for buying the damn guidebook instead of everybody always staring into a gadget 24/7. M Sprague
From New England
Joined Nov 9, 2006
4,747 points
Jun 2, 2011
Is there a way for the route location(and therefore placement in a list) to be determined by consensus like YDS grades or star ratings are done now? That way it can be modified after posting and amended if there was a mistake or as new routes are added.

Another general issue that I would like to see addressed is that of "zone" designation within a particular climbing area. Many of the current zones, are too small when trying to use the mini guide feature. Wouldn't it be great to be able to combine areas to create a not so 'mini' guide?
Matt Lisenby
Joined Sep 12, 2008
445 points
Jun 2, 2011
Maybe don't require a sort order when you submit it. When the routes are listed, do the routes first with a sort order, then have a an [hr] tag to separate the unsorted routes? John Farrell
From Phoenix, AZ
Joined Jan 26, 2009
15 points
Jun 2, 2011
Yes! Mojo Stylee
From Ft. Collins, CO
Joined Dec 13, 2010
20 points
Jun 2, 2011
Ideally offer both sorting options, but I would love sequential sorting. New routes should be sequential also. Peter Pitocchi
Joined Oct 4, 2009
25 points
Jun 2, 2011
Lot of work. Every area will have to be gone over to make sure they are in proper order. This will take someone that actually knows an area or areas real well to make sure every route is in order. This will have to be done to every area on MP for it to work right.

If you do decide to do this; then yes make it a requirement that new routes are listed properly.

good luck!
From Tacoma, Toyota
Joined Sep 11, 2008
1,348 points
Jun 2, 2011
Don't require it, it can be sorted out proper if wrong, by the admins. Tradoholic
Joined Apr 17, 2004
10,900 points
Jun 2, 2011
This is likely to run into problems. We discussed this years ago at some or meeting. There are many crags where L->R doesn't work. Routes cross, there are multiple layers/strata, second /nth pitches that are independent of lower layers. Example - Eldorado Canyon.

It may generally work for simplistic crags like N. Table Mt, but even there it runs into problems at times...the far right side of the main cliff, where routes share starts or finishes.

So, net-net, I would not require it. Square peg, round hole.
Leo Paik
From Westminster, Colorado
Joined Jan 1, 2001
22,015 points
Jun 2, 2011
Great idea, you might want to consider providing editing rights to authors of area pages... they often have the most accurate and up to date info. regarding route ordering. This would also allow for area specific conventions for ordering to convey the details unique to each area. For example ordering for Eldo would look very different than ordering for Castlewood Canyon. Kirk Miller
From Golden, CO
Joined May 13, 2003
1,335 points
Jun 2, 2011
Great idea. I wonder if it will work?
What I think could work is the by-order sorter on the crag page up front of the routes page. that way you get a LtoR climbs order when you look at the crag info. You could also LIST climbs for which no entry is yet made, but have it appear on the Crag page for reference so people looking at the crag can see that their route is 'the second route left of the dihedral' even if it is the only line actually entered. Maybe you can figure out an elegant way to do this.
I also think a faq on ordering should determine the sequencing. IE: all variation finishes shall be listed left most to right most downhill to uphill or whatever... After all, some crags go LtoR some RtoL depending on which way the trail arrives at the crag!
Tony B
From Around Boulder, CO
Joined Jan 1, 2001
21,610 points
Jun 2, 2011
My vote is to require it. I think those who submit route data will adjust to the new requirement. Nathan Scherneck
From Portland, OR
Joined Nov 15, 2009
1,695 points
Jun 2, 2011
Leo Paik wrote:
This is likely to run into problems... crags where L->R doesn't work. Routes cross, there are multiple layers/strata, second /nth pitches that are independent of lower layers... So, net-net, I would not require it. Square peg, round hole.

Agreed with Leo. Some other issues:
- Free-standing pinnacles with routes on all sides, e.g. the Maiden. How do you define the "left-most" or "right-most" route?
- Areas where routes are scattered across different formations, e.g. some alpine areas.

Maybe you could require it for areas where it makes sense, but allow exceptions on an area-by-area basis.

JLP wrote:
To Leo's point... Maybe some of these cases should be split into more different areas. IMO, the #1 weakness to the database is locating the route. Sorting L-R would be huge, even with a few incorrect exceptions.

Agree that in some cases it would help to split areas, but it's counterproductive if the result is dozens of sub-areas each of which has only one or two routes.
Martin le Roux
From Superior, CO
Joined Jul 16, 2003
129 points
Jun 2, 2011
I've read what appears to be an attitude that ends up sounding something like "There will be problems, but the Admins can take care of it."
Well, how eager are they to do so??? I, for one, am not quick to vote that someone else has to work harder in a volunteer position. Nick and the Admins can work this out on their own, but the crowd should realize that this is a factor.
Tony B
From Around Boulder, CO
Joined Jan 1, 2001
21,610 points
Jun 2, 2011
PS- maybe roll this out for a single area as a beta test to see how it works and then perfect and replicate it widely or drop it if it doesn't work. Rather than pick the easiest area there is to do it (IE Table) or the hardest area to do it (the central ramp area between T1 and T2 in Eldo) pick a moderately difficult area that won't make it look easier than it is, but also won't be the hardest work first. Tony B
From Around Boulder, CO
Joined Jan 1, 2001
21,610 points
Jun 2, 2011
Great idea, one of the most difficult things about Mountain Project is figuring out where the route is at a crag. At places with many routes at the walls (Indian Creek, Shelf) this will be a great benifit.

The admins for New Mexico (Tony & George) have already done this by using a number scheme before the route name. If a new route is established it is easy to incorporate with decimals.

Here are a few examples:
Cochiti Mesa North Cliffband
The Dungeon Main Wall
Socorro Filet de Papillon Wall AKA Dirt Wall

In general I say require the new route submissions to be sorted. At most continuous cliff areas this is fairly easy. However this may not work so well for bouldering areas, so maybe test things out at some easier cliffs first.
Shirtless Mike
From Denver, CO
Joined Mar 1, 2006
4,935 points
Site Landlord
Jun 2, 2011
Good feedback so far everyone.

The "area containing multiple formations" is definitely a challenge, and one I hadn't thought of. For example, it would be difficult to REQUIRE new routes to be sorted in an area such as this... (containing multiple boulders).
Andy Laakmann
From Bend, OR
Joined Jan 1, 2001
1,805 points
Jun 2, 2011
I think this will be helpful, but maybe a different solution would be better.

Personally, I think there should be an overview topo or 2, maybe one for where the cliff is located/how to get to it from a car, and another that actually shows the routes. Perhaps you could set this up as the first link available to click on, and people with approach info, sketches, or photos could stick overview/topo info there.

I love the MP site and the ability to track down info, but pictures that show where routes are (picture topos) or hand drawn topos should be given top priority on the main page for that areas climbs, or at least in a non-route link of its own. To condense that info into one area would be super-helpful.

Right now, imo, MP is good, but still not as good as a guidebook due to having to sort through individual route names to try to find an associate topo photo or sketch that will help clue you in as to where routes are relative to each other. And even then there is no guarantee.

Just my thoughts.
Pete Spri
Joined Jun 1, 2009
115 points
Jun 3, 2011
Sorting sounds like a really good idea, as I think the way these routes have currently been listed has one of MP's biggest drawbacks compared to just having a guidebook.

I think it would be great if you could allow any user to sort it if they see errors, in wikipedia fasion. That would cut down on Admin work, and overall inaccuracies if it were easy for anyone to fix. And yeah, require sorting, because this way it can be fixed later if it's messed up.
Colby Wayment
From Ogden, UT
Joined Dec 1, 2001
620 points
Jun 3, 2011
I'm all for this idea... and also realize some of the difficulties involved. I'm thinking of the difficulties of sorting an area like The Monastery near Fort Collins.

It seems reasonable to me that the admin of an area should be able to establish the rules for sorting an area. The default (automatic) ordering for an area can just be alphabetical. But if the admin can establish a reasonable ordering criterion then he can disable the automatic sorting and manually put the routes in the "proper" order.

Yes, require sorting of new routes. Allow a submitter to set a "provisional location" flag. If the submitter doesn't know for sure then they set the flag to indicate that this is a "provisional" location... and the admin can be notified, who can place it more correctly. Other members should also be able to see the flag, 1) so they know the location may not be quite right and 2) add comments about the proper location if they think they know for sure.

As for the comments above about routes crossing, etc. I don't think that matters. It's the starting location of the routes that matters for the ordering. The route description will indicate if it crosses other routes or shares anchors, or if the upper pitches merge/split.

One confusion might be routes that don't start on the ground. I'm sure I've seen some descriptions like this (but can't think of an example right now): "Climb P1 of XXXX, then head left up the right facing dihedral instead of continuing up the right leaning crack." So then it would be up to the person who adds the route and the admin to "sort it out". I'd suggest that these kinds of routes go directly after the route with which they share a starting pitch.
Jon Lachelt
From Fort Collins, CO
Joined Feb 2, 2007
0 points
Jun 3, 2011
Really, the main thing we as a group need to do is put the time into contributing route topos that show the cliffs and what lines are what. That is usually a lot trickier and requires more dedication to do, so it's not getting done as often or as well as just individual route descriptions. Stich
From Colorado Springs, Colorado
Joined Jan 1, 2001
1,230 points
Jun 3, 2011
M Sprague wrote:
I would stick with alphabetical. People can make maps with the locations, or have it so you can personalise if you want it location or alphabetically listed. There is something to be said for buying the damn guidebook instead of everybody always staring into a gadget 24/7.

Joined Sep 27, 2006
305 points

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