Discussion: Multipitch route length

  • Started: 5 weeks ago on Fri 18th Jun 2021

Public discussion This is a public discussion in World.

Mark Gamble started this discussion 5 weeks ago.

Multipitch route length

I've noticed on a couple of multipitch routes (Black Orpheus & Zeitgeist) here in Australia, the total route length is bloated.

On other multipitch routes, it's an accurate sum of the individual pitch lengths.

Is this a built-in accounting logarithm?

replied 5 weeks ago.

Hi Mark, I think there's a rounding algorithm in the background that applies when routes are longer than 100 m. See here:

Mark Gamble replied 5 weeks ago.

Thx Christoph.

Hmmm, been noted for approx. 1yr now.

replied 5 weeks ago.

The question is really if we want rounding or if it creates more confusion. What are your thoughts?

replied 5 weeks ago.

The pitch lengths are rounded 90% of the time, anyway. Many guide books tend to round up to the next 5 meters in order to prevent people from bringing ropes that are too short. And having a route length of, say, 182 m, looks oddly specific (and is most certainly wrong). So for me, rounding is fine, but there might be a better way of presenting it? "~450 m" comes to mind.

Monty Curtis replied 4 weeks ago.

I vote no for rounding. Why have the opportunity to enter accurate data - then just ignore it?

replied 4 weeks ago.

Oh, I opened that issue. Remove the rounding please

replied 4 weeks ago.

Monty Curtis you have a point, but maybe better presentation could provide both a rounded figure and the exact sum?

Evan Wells replied 4 weeks ago.

In lieu of humans accomplishing such a feat? Should they really be looking at a multi?

replied 4 weeks ago.

Evan Wells As I said, my issue with exact numbers is mainly that they are most likely wrong, so the number conveys false accuracy. I suspect this was the reason for implementing this in the first place, not to spare poor climbers from doing some compex maths in their heads.

replied 4 weeks ago.

Wait, addition is complex maths now?

Mark Rewi replied 4 weeks ago.

Yeah for sure man… don’t forget most of your fingers and toes will be holding onto something! And shit, how hard are two times tables to make sure you don’t lower off your rope and neck yourself (of course throw in 8% static elongation with subtle variation either side of your anchor and it starts to look a wee bit like something that at least requires high school… but one suspects that you probably shouldn’t run it that close)… which is why it was rounded no doubt to start. My 2c having climbed lots of multis (they’re my favourite) is that pitch lengths are usually out by 5-10m (and not just occasionally more)… so listing anything with more accuracy than 5m is wishful thinking at best. Glad there are so many of us with sufficient time to argue one of the truly most trivial of points.

Mark Rewi replied 4 weeks ago.

But yes… multis are almost always shorter than listed… except when you get lost 🤔

replied 4 weeks ago.

Oh boy, you should fix your irony detectors. Of course it‘s not complex maths … that was the point.

Serge Longueville replied 4 weeks ago.

I haven't seen anyone spending time accurately measuring pitch or route length other than guestimating how much rope slack remains until one reaches the mid-mark of one's rope like I do with my 70m rope. And I would agree with Christoph's point that rounding upwards is a safety measure to avoid accidents.

Evan Wells replied 4 weeks ago.

But route developers always round up. Monty posed a fairly simple question.

replied 4 weeks ago.

If developers are already rounding up, and the algorithm is also rounding, that's creating an even larger potential error. I'd vote for no rounding. I'd rather have the potential to have accuracy than guaranteed inaccuracy.

replied 4 weeks ago.

On tricky multipitches, the experienced climber has always rope to spare to avoid an epic.

Mark Gamble replied 4 weeks ago.

I would argue that it does add randomity to a multipitch. Not critical on a sports multipitch, as one is going from bolted belay to bolted belay, but on a trad multipitch, it might get ambiguous.

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