Monday, May 01, 2006

Points Days

There's a thread on Front Range Bouldering speculating about who's done the most boulder problems in a day (a French guy apparently did over 500 on a well-dialed circuit at Fontainebleau), and that got me thinking about "points days." The concept is simple: Add up the grade of each route (or problem) you do for the day's point total. So, for example, yesterday I climbed six short routes at Eldo with a group of friends: 5.8, 5.9, 5.10a, 5.9, 5.9, 5.11c. Points for the day: 56. If you do a multipitch route, you can count each pitch separately; I suppose you could assign a fraction to letter grades (5.11c = 11.75), but c'mon, this is just a game. Or is it?

I remember people in the Gunks back in the '80s trying to amass big points days—the closely spaced routes at the Gunks made it one of the few crags good for this sort of thing in the pre-sport climbing era. (Joshua Tree was another). 100 points at any crag is a big day for most climbers. Think about it: That's 10 pitches of 5.10 or 13 pitches of 5.8. Not extreme, especially at a sport crag, but most people will have lost a bit of skin by the end of the day. It's much harder to amass 100 points in bouldering: That takes 10 V10 problems or 20 V5s. According to a post on Front Range Bouldering, Andy Raether once did more than 100 problems at Hueco Tanks from V0 to V4 in half a day. Hmmm... how many points do you get for a V0? At roughly the equivalent of 5.7 or 5.8 climbing, it's not exactly nothing. Suffice to say that Raether must have scored at least 200 on this skin-burning outing.

Just for kicks, I added up Tommy Caldwell's two free routes in a day on El Cap last fall. It's not precise, because I don't know exactly where Tommy linked pitches (he did 51 total pitches between the Nose and Free Rider, compared with the 65 guidebook pitches). But even if I'm off by 10 or 20 points, the total adds another perspective to his landmark achievement: I put it at around 538 points.

1 comment:

graham crackers said...

Rich Romano did birthdays for a long time. His definition of birthday is # of years = # of miles run, # of routes per crag, at each crag in the gunks (call it seven...). He skipped a couple of years, but I know that he did something in the upper thirties and also in the lower forties.

So, as I understand it, it was 42 miles on the bike, 42 pitches at the bayards, run to millbrook, 42 pitches, run to nears, 42 pitches, run to trapps, 42 pitches, run to skytop, 42 pitches, run to bonticu, ..., and then to lost city.

I heard--but haven't actually asked him (wondering why, i will this week or next)--that he did about 48 miles of running and 290 or so pitches.

Here's the kicker: have you seen his rack? We're talking 3 aliens, four nuts and some grundge...

But, I guess if you're ready to lead 290 pitches of 5.10 in a day, well, who knows what gear you really need. (oh yeah, rich apparently didn't count any non 5.10!)