Topo tips

Once you've read the How to make a Topo guide and had a go at making a few topos, these tips will help you with making your topos really great.

  1. Ordering routes
  2. Variant routes
  3. Different routes share a common belay or sector
  4. Topo lines get twisted/tangled

1. Ordering routes

We've done quite a bit of work so that ordering and numbering of routes on topos and within tables all gets sorted out automatically.

In general topos look better if routes are ordered from left to right on the site, so that the numbers run from left to right on the topo.

Screencast 1: How to resequence routes

The order of the routes linked in the topo is independent of the order in the cliff, boulder or area that they come from. The order of the route in a topo should always be from left to right even if the guide is ordered differently (eg sometimes a guide might be ordered from right to left) - see the section below 'Twisted and tangled'.

The reason for this is that photos in many cases don't match the 'natural' order. In a guidebook you might have two boulders side by side and the problems are ordered clockwise around boulder 1 and then boulder 2. A photo however might show just the north side of both boulders.

2. Variant routes- Direct starts, alternate starts, etc

When a route has a direct start/finish or an alternate start/finish, it is best to draw the topo line for the whole route.

This gives us greater flexibility in how and where routes are displayed.

Figure 1: Don't do variants like this.

Figure 2: Do variants like this.

3. Different routes share a common belay or sector

Sometimes two routes follow the same path for a while or share a belay. We've designed the topo tool so that shared points and sectors 'snap' together. This locks the routes together for the bits that they share and means that the topos will display properly at different sizes.

Screencast 2: Snapping together

(NB:Sometimes the snapping isn't perfect, try dragging above and left of the point you want to snap to. We'll make this better in a future release.)

4. Topo lines get twisted/tangled

Sometimes on a topo with lots of routes the lines can get tangled like this.

Figure 3: A tangled topo.

Figure 4: An untangled topo.

Most of the time tangled topos can be fixed by ordering the routes from left to right.

This is because the topo tool assumes that all the routes will be linked in order from left to right. Even if the routes in the area are described and ordered differently, eg right to left, or something more complicated with multipitch routes, the routes linked to each topo should be order from left to right as they appear in the photo. If no routes share segments of each other then the order doesn't really matter.

When a route has multiple variants order the routes first by where they start, left to right, and then by where they finish. (ie. Routes that all start at the same point should be ordered L-R by where they finish). Here is an topo with routes that split and merge:

Illusion Buttress

Sometimes the routes can be more complex and intertwine and cross each other. In these cases the same rules apply. One exception is bouldering routes or climbing traverses where the route shares a hold or segment but the two routes are in opposite directions. At the moment the tool assumes all routes with a shared segment head the same direction so may have some weird results. We hope to fix this in a future release, in the mean time just don't 'snap' the routes together.