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How To Plan And Find Climbing Routes

Profile image Adam M.
Sep 23
General Climbing
Navigate the world of climbing routes with confidence. Learn how to find, read, and plan your climbing projects effectively.
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Exploring new climbing routes begins with knowing where to find reliable information and resources. Here is a concise guide to planning and finding climbing routes.

Article Contents

Where Can You Find Information About Climbing Routes?

The Climbing Community

The climbing community is a very open and helpful community, ready to give a hand where needed, and to share information on just about anything climbing-related. This is especially true for beginners just starting out in climbing who want to learn more about how to get started.

This makes the climbing community a valuable resource. You can learn about new routes through:

  • Local Climbers: Chat with local climbers at your gym or crag for firsthand insights.
  • Online Forums: Climbing forums and social media groups often share route information and experiences.

In addition to learning and discovering new routes and crags, you can also get beta from the community. Unless it's a new route that was just discovered, there will most likely be someone who can give some beta when you are in need.

What Key Elements Are Found in Climbing Route Descriptions?

Understanding the elements in climbing route descriptions is essential for route selection and preparation. It helps get a clearer picture of what to expect and how to mentally prepare to approach the climb.

Understanding Route Information

A standard route description typically includes:

  • Route Name: The name of the climb for identification.
  • Grade: The difficulty rating, providing insights into the climb's challenge.
  • Length: The route's height or pitch count.
  • Protection: Details on required gear and protection placements.
  • Beta: Tips and strategies for climbing the route successfully.

How Do You Interpret Climbing Route Grades and Difficulty Ratings?

Climbing route grades are a universal language, but understanding them requires some knowledge. Different countries have different grading systems, some even mix between multiple ones. Having a basic knowledge of these grading systems can help you better prepare and know the difficulty of the routes.

Understanding Climbing Grades

  • Yosemite Decimal System (YDS): Common in the United States, it uses a decimal system (e.g., 5.7, 5.10b).
  • French Grading System: Used in Europe, it combines numerical and alphabetical ratings (e.g., 6a+, 7b).
  • Bouldering Grades: Utilize the V-scale (e.g., V3, V7) for boulder problems.

What Tools and Resources Can Aid in Route Planning?

Planning your climbs requires access to the right tools and resources. These tools and resources are normally free to use, but some, such as guidebooks, may cost a little.

Route Planning Arsenal - Essential Resources

  • Guidebooks: Climbing guidebooks provide comprehensive route information for specific areas.
  • Online Platforms: Websites and apps offer route databases, reviews, and interactive maps.
  • Local Knowledge: Local climbers and route developers offer valuable insights.

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Are There Safety Considerations When Selecting Climbing Routes?

Safety should be a top priority when choosing climbing routes.

Consider the following safety aspects:

  • Risk Assessment: Evaluate the route's difficulty and any potential hazards.
  • Gear and Protection: Ensure you have the necessary gear and protection for the climb.
  • Weather Conditions: Check weather forecasts, especially for alpine and multi-pitch climbs.
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