New routes: Montagu, Silvermine, Rocklands

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New routes: Montagu, Silvermine, Rocklands

Post by Keith » Wed Nov 15, 2006 7:14 pm

Re: The route database thread (I have started a new thread because that thread was way too long)

Fortunately, Carl Kritzinger was smart enough to realise that a collaborative approach is required for keeping a record of the latest routes and crags.

Carl set up what has now become WikiClimb: This is a website that you can edit (like Wikipedia).

Recently, Mathew Price has moved the wiki to a faster, smoother running server.

Climbers who want to climb new routes: Go to to find or add info.

For those who want to find out who's the best, compile pie charts, bitch about grades, and so forth: you may have to go elsewhere.

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Post by DouglasWard » Wed Nov 15, 2006 10:50 pm

Keith, if my interpretation is correct, the WikiClimb does not qualify as a route database. There is no data object \"route\". Would it be possible to implement this?

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Post by Keith » Sat Nov 18, 2006 7:20 pm

Doug, WikiClimb may not be a database in the technical sense of the
word, but it does have important benefits:

1. It already exists.

2. The wiki format does not constrain you to predefined fields. For
example, if your guide book omits the important fact that a route
requires a 70m rope, you can easily add this info to the wiki, and
possibly prevent people from killing themselves.

If you aim to achieve too much, then you will achieve nothing. The
most important thing is to be able to find routes and climb them (surely?).
Bells and whistles are nice, but they increase the likelihood that
the project will require too much time and effort and never get off
the ground.

WikiClimb will aid people like Justin who compile PDF guides that
are probably prettier than printing out the WikiClimb page.

I suggest the following approach: Add all your info to WikiClimb.
Email Justin or post on this forum if you think it is a significant
contribution. When somebody has the time, an updated PDF guide or
even a guidebook can be produced.

Maybe we can even convince Justin to move WikiClimb to the ClimbZA website!

As you pointed out in the previous thread, the key is to keep it
simple. The wiki does not require you to register or to add the
information via another party. Since adding information is very
easy on a wiki, climbers will not be discouraged from doing so.

So to whoever is reading this message: why not go to
WikiClimb right now ( and add a
small piece of information, just so you can see how easy it is to
make a small contribution. If WikiClimb sees a lot of traffic, then
it will be possible to build an online guide quite quickly. If it
doesn't see much traffic, then it will still work, it will just be a
bit slower. It is certainly faster to type in route descriptions
than it is to put up new routes.

(On Friday, Mathew Price updated the wiki to the latest version of
MediaWiki which is even more flexible than the old one.)

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Post by Guy » Mon Nov 20, 2006 9:37 am

Hi Keith

We're talking about 2 different things. Wiki is an online guide - which is completely different to a DB.

I think that the DB will be very useful for people wanting to find routes to climb - once they've found them, they can then consult a guide (online or book or whatever). In an ideal but unrealistic world, the DB and the guide would be coupled - but this is just not going to happen.

Therefore, I suggest that we (not sure who this poor bastard is) build a simple DB to record all routes.

My 2c says that the following fields would be useful:

Area - eg Cape Peninsula
Crag - eg Underside
Sector - eg Faithless Wall
Route name - eg Tarantula
Grade - eg 28 (none of this slash grade nonsense like 28/7c/5.12d/E6 6c/IX/27)
Quality - eg a 3 star system 0 = shite, * is ok, ** = good, *** = excellent

With this info - someone planning a climbing trip could search for (say): all 3 star, grade 25's in Montagu and the DB would return the route names, crags and relevant sectors.
There's no point being pessimistic, because it probably won't work

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Post by Grigri » Mon Nov 20, 2006 11:35 am

That makes perfect sense, leave the finer details (maps, topos, gear, accomodation etc) to be put into a guidebook. Then whoever is editing the actual printed guidebook for a certain area/style can at least expect some small return for their efforts (and small it is, guidebooks do not make much money at all, certainly not enough to justify the time that goes into them).

A DB is far preferable to the wiki style thing in terms of usability. By keeping the entries simple it also allows some small chance that the thing will actually get done (anyone who has been involved in editing a guidebook knows just how much research and work is involved!). Even then open source collaborations tend be haphazard in their development, it would help to have someone steer and drive the project, otherwise the chances of a successful and complete DB evolving are slim.

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Post by tygereye » Mon Nov 20, 2006 1:41 pm

Check out for an example of a database

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Post by Guy » Mon Nov 20, 2006 4:03 pm

The Crag is kind of a DB - but it's really clumsy. I go back to earlier points - we just need a simple list of routes that can be sorted in various ways - that can be updated easily and regularly.
There's no point being pessimistic, because it probably won't work

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Post by callumd » Mon Nov 27, 2006 7:32 pm

would this be an example of what is desirable?


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Post by Guy » Tue Nov 28, 2006 11:19 am

No, no, no, no. That is really horrible DB. Try what I did. Assume you want to go to Spain and climb at El Choro - it then wants you to enter a route or a crag or a buttress (none of which I know). So it has tons of info - none of which can be accessed.

What we want is a query mechanism that is very flexible. EG I want to be able to search on El Choro, grades 8b to 8c+ (yeah right), 2 stars and above. Just think of either planning a trip or doing all the 25's (say) in an area.
There's no point being pessimistic, because it probably won't work

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