Discussion: Topos -- how to add a variant

  • Started: 7 weeks ago on Mon 7th Jun 2021

Public discussion This is a public discussion in World.

started this discussion 7 weeks ago.

Topos -- how to add a variant

(I couldn't find a forum associated with the help I guess this goes here.)

Many routes have variants, and in many places they are just listed in the route description as such -- it doesn't make sense to create a new route for variants, especially short ones.

So, is there a way to add the line for a variant to a topo without adding that variant as its own, separate, route? (Nothing on the help pages or the route-topo video seemed to mention this.)

Mark Gamble replied 7 weeks ago.

Hi David,

I've preferred the approach of just putting in the variant & leaving the main or original route topo as is.

Some, I've noticed, prefer to put in the entire variant, ground up.

replied 7 weeks ago.

You missed my point -- both your suggestion, and the example topo have the variant listed as a separate primary route. That is exactly what I don't want to do.

Among other things, this distorts the route count for a crag.

replied 7 weeks ago.

Or perhaps, I wasn't clear.

I don't want the list of routes to be:

4 Route Name

5 Route name, direct

6 Route name, easy variant

I want to have:

4 Route name



This route has a couple variations possible:

A) It can be climbed with a direct start at grade N+1.

B) The crux bulge can be avoided by traversing right a couple meters, but risks a bit of an extra pendulum fall, at grade N-2.

But, still have a way to draw those variations on the topo. (As many guidebooks do for variations.)

Mark Gamble replied 7 weeks ago.

Hey David,

Yeah, I see your point. However, we'll have to agree to disagree re "it distorts the route count for a crag."

I'm sure the tech guys here on will be able to help you out.

replied 7 weeks ago.

As I known, variants of a route as you requested would be a new feature.

南极熊 replied 7 weeks ago.

not sure how much developmental time this would take but it sounds like a good feature suggestion

replied 7 weeks ago.

In my opinion, adding a variant as a new route is an acceptable workaround while not having a "variants feature".

And I don't know if there are so many benefits from implementing such a feature over what is already possible. After all, this would add another level of complexity into route management and probably affect many places.

PS: I'm one of those drawing variants ground up, Mark Gamble , because that's what you actually climb when you climb a variant. =)

replied 7 weeks ago.

I'm with Dominik on this one. At what point is it a variant? A route could share one or two bolts with another or start at the same place, its still a different route. In most cases I find that the routes are different enough (grade and style) and having separate routes makes sense. That's my two cents.

replied 7 weeks ago.

Thanks for this discussion. As stated above, variants would add a level of complexity we do not want to introduce. Deciding when a route is a variant and when not is just one of them.

In the end it is a decision by the user who contributes what he wants to do and it is very similar to the topic of short multi-pitch routes (eg 2 pitches) where you can climb to anchor one or 2 in one go. Are these 2 routes or one with 2 pitches?

We find the best guidance is to consider the ticking of the route. What is climbed more frequently, what is "easier" to find and tick. Also, variants have often different route history, so if you want to reflect that correctly, it is also easier to have separate routes.

Therefore we typically suggest to create a separate route, especially if the grades differ between the variants. An example I have in my mind is here: (Tough Enough). Even so it differs in just one pitch these are distinct routes.

Hope that helps, cheers

Cormac Tooze replied 7 weeks ago.

I'm with Dominik, I create: 'Route X' 'Route X-Direct' 'Route X-Variation' e.t.c. The suggested option seems too complicated.

I draw it as follows: Check Original route & it's variation

I also like to place the 'number label' on each independent line and not the start/ bottom. Makes it clearer.

replied 6 weeks ago.

Cormac Tooze, thanks for the suggestion to place the number labels separately - I'm going to start doing that.

replied 6 weeks ago.

You can even place the number label in several places if needed. Sometimes this makes sense.

replied 6 weeks ago.

Ok, thanks everyone -- it is clear that I wasn't just missing something in the interface, but that this can't actually be done without creating full new routes.

In my experience with guidebooks, very often variants are listed as part of the main route listing -- and often a different style of line on the topos (e.g. main line is solid of a colour, variant is dashed). I can completely understand if trying to represent that in a data model would be more difficult or complicated.

I was thinking it might be some sort of a node-menu (or point-type menu) item, "add variant starting here" then you draw a (likely dashed or dotted) line that then merges back in to the original line later. Hove-over for the line would be something like "Route Name (variant)".

replied 6 weeks ago.

David Gibbs you can still do the dotted line and put the "new" number on the visible part of the line - the variant section so to speak...

isra17 replied 6 weeks ago.

Note that this could also be quite useful for bouldering where there are often sit/stand variant at different grades. Some people end-up logging an ascent on the original route while proposing a somewhat erroneous grade.

replied 6 weeks ago.

isra17 , that was discussed in the forum a while ago.

I can't find the post now, but from memory the consensus was to either put sit/SS/SDS/stand in the route name (as Cormac Tooze suggested in this thread) or use tags.

It is confusing to see ascents with wildly different grades though. Would clearer descriptions solve this for most people?

joljols replied 6 weeks ago.

I agree with the majority here, i.e. that it is fine to add the variant as a new route. If the name has something in it to indicate it is a variant, that will be clear to the viewer, and by drawing on the same route line, only adding or changing the necessary points, the variant will be very clear. One nice simple thing that could be added though is a tickbox that asks if it is a variant of the main route, such as when somebody changed/added to the original route. That should be quite easy to integrate and could even be used for easy filtering, such as when you don't want to count variants towards the the total route count for a crag.

replied 6 weeks ago.

Something that would help reduce clutter in many topos would be a variant/linkup filter. It should be possible to tag a 'route' with variant or linkup or stand / sit or whatever.

With those tags attached to the routes an options when viewing topos to hide only those routes would be great.

There are some crags I've viewed that have so many link ups and variants it's hard to tell what the original routes are, especially when they all have unique names.

eg. Wedderburn Cave

I think having the variants of each climb with separate identity on the crag will keep things like Grade AI "working" and have very little impact on existing crag pages.

replied 5 weeks ago.

This comment has been removed.

Mark Gamble replied 5 weeks ago.

Hmmmm. A troll? An anti-bolting rant on a thread about route variants by a climber who hasn't climbed anything.

replied 5 weeks ago.

I don't see what about this is a 'rant'. They're being pretty nice and helpful it would seem. Probably a misguided answer to this thread: *Edit: On the other hand, that second link I'm seeing only now...

replied 5 weeks ago.

It's a spam bot again, the post is made up of sentences from other posts.

replied 5 weeks ago.

We removed the account - thx

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