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/ Why "time" in climbing comps?

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gravy - on 24 Aug 2018

While I think that using "time" as a marking criteria in lead and bouldering comps is rubbish (I think its the third or forth rank behind "countback") I understand it when a climb has been completed (ie there's a top).

I think in this case you could argue the "better" climber was the one that struggled less and got to the top faster.

However, in a lot of situations, the stalemate that "time" resolves is produced without a top.  In this case it makes absolutely no sense to me because the system rewards, "the first climber to fall off", and makes it tactically advantageous to give up quickly at a stopper crux rather than trying to work it out.  To me the better climber (all other things considered) might be the one that falls off last.

I realise this is a fairly trivial and inconsequential observation but ranking the first climber to fall off over all others seems wrong!

 

 

 

Offwidth - on 24 Aug 2018
In reply to gravy:

Are you sure that's true?

Luke90 on 24 Aug 2018
In reply to gravy:

Have you got an example of this actually occurring? Or is it just a theoretical problem?

In any case, I doubt that giving up deliberately and falling off would be a good tactic very often, if ever. It's only going to take a few seconds to have some kind of go at the next move and if you stick it, you're instantly ahead of anybody that fell off at the spot you were previously in. Dropping off deliberately seems like a gamble with very poor odds to me, especially as competitors won't have much idea where others got to or how quickly.

What it probably does alter is the balance of reward between faster, riskier climbing and slower, safer methods. I'm sure that's by design to increase the perceived watchability. (Riskier/safer in the sense of chance of failing rather than actual danger, of course.)

gravy - on 24 Aug 2018
In reply to Offwidth:

Reasonably sure - the IFSC rules aren't super clear but the relevant bit is here:


If the tie relates to any competitors in joint first, second or third place following their attempts on the
Final route, the relative ranking of these competitors will be determined by the climbing time for
each (lower times are better); or

I'm sure I've seen variations used in this to determine lots of results in other comps  (actually I don't think it applies to bouldering (my mistake, excluding "speed" was my intention in the OP)).

I've definitely seen "the climber that fell off first" get a higher ranking than the "one that tried harder" (all other things equal) and I've definitely seen this be used to rank climbers beyond the first three places despite the IFSC rules applying solely to the first three places.

 

ianstevens - on 24 Aug 2018
In reply to gravy:

Surely the implication is to tie to the extent that time is the way they are separated, they have to have reached identical points in identical goes? In which case it seems reasonable.

Offwidth - on 24 Aug 2018
In reply to gravy:

I thought time only applied to acheiving zone or tops. In any case it makes no tactical sense to jump off quickly assuming others won't make the zone.

Luke90 on 24 Aug 2018
In reply to gravy:

Can you actually give a specific example, rather than just saying you've definitely seen it? I'm sure there have been ties that were broken by a time determination but I suspect that in most cases the faster climber gets to the critical move more quickly, rather than getting there at the same time and then falling off more quickly. In general, the time incentive seems more likely to reward fast climbing throughout the route, rather than giving up easily at difficult moves.

I guess you could fix the incentive by breaking the tie based on what time the climbers got to their high point, rather than what time they fell off. That would be very difficult to implement without video review though.

You seem to be suggesting that ties should be broken by handing the win to the climber with the longest time?

For the record, having looked up the IFSC rules, the time is the second level of tie break. So for your scenario to occur, two climbers would have to:

  1. Get to exactly the same hold in the final, with both or neither of them scoring a plus by using it to make progress
  2. Have previously scored exactly the same in qualification

Only after that would time come into it. Even if that happened, the faster winning climber would probably have climbed faster in general and won because of that, rather than by giving up and falling off quickly. I'm sceptical that you've seen this happen. Again, can you give an example?

Post edited at 12:27
Luke90 on 24 Aug 2018
In reply to Offwidth:

I think he's talking about lead, not bouldering.

Offwidth - on 24 Aug 2018
In reply to Luke90:

Won't the count back in lead be to stable use of individual holds (or holds + if moving off them) ...the same idea with much lower chances of time being a deciding issue?

http://worldclimbing2016.com/en/competition-en/rules

Post edited at 12:25
Luke90 on 24 Aug 2018
In reply to Offwidth:

Holds used and pluses for moving off them is the primary scoring method, rather than the countback, no? I might have misunderstood you.

Edit: Perhaps my previous post was unclear. I've edited it again.

Post edited at 12:28
Offwidth - on 24 Aug 2018
In reply to Luke90:

No it was me being unclear, I fully agree with your earlier edited post.

gravy - on 24 Aug 2018

Just for clarity:

I'm talking about lead. 

The general rule seems to be "if everything else is equal then the shortest time wins".

This rule works for me iff all routes were topped.

This rule doesn't work for me if the relevant (timed) routes was not topped because I don't think "faster == better" in this case (actually I don't think "slower == better" either).

My feeling is this rule should be scrapped and if it comes to this margin then the climbers should draw.

Unless the relevant routes were topped I don't think this rule is any better than tossing a coin.

tom_in_edinburgh - on 24 Aug 2018
In reply to Luke90:

> Only after that would time come into it. Even if that happened, the faster winning climber would probably have climbed faster in general and won because of that, rather than by giving up and falling off quickly. I'm sceptical that you've seen this happen. Again, can you give an example?

I've seen it happen once in a junior competition.   One climber struggled to the crux move pretty much pumped out and made an immediate move towards the next hold before falling. It was enough to get the + but nowhere near touching the next hold.  Another climber climbed smoothly up to just below the crux, noticed the next section of the route was harder and there was a rest available and stopped to have a shake out.  They then made a pretty good attempt at the crux move and caught the next hold but were not judged to control it.  So both got the same score on points and the first climber won on time.

The countback rules for some of the esoteric cases in junior comps are also pretty much equivalent to tossing a coin.

But they need to get a clear result for the first three places or they'd need extra trophies just in case there was a tie and there isn't time in the day for a bunch of climb offs to decide it.  If you do enough comps it will balance out.

 

Luke90 on 24 Aug 2018
In reply to gravy:

I can't see the IFSC going for a rule change like yours that reduces their chance of getting a clear winner.

I also don't see why you think completing the route quickly is superior to slowly but getting to a high point quickly is equal to doing it slowly. If we're rewarding speed, why only do so at the very top?

Yes, it's possible to envision a scenario where somebody loses by spending ages hanging around trying to figure out a crux before falling and somebody else falls off the same move instantly. It seems unlikely to happen very often though. If somebody has enough energy left to hang around that long and somebody else doesn't then 9 times out of 10 the one with the energy to hang around will be able to figure out the move, or at least score a plus for their attempt.

When it comes to tops, it's also possible to imagine one climber flailing their way up the route at speed and getting to the top hold by the skin of their teeth whilst another climbs slowly, elegantly and in control. I'm not sure from your other arguments why you'd be happy to reward the quick time of the flailing climber. Though I also don't think that scenario is very likely. It might happen very occasionally but 99 times out of 100 the out of control, flailing climber will fall off much earlier and people will normally get to the top or the high point faster than their competitors by reading the route better, being stronger etc.

gravy - on 24 Aug 2018

I can only repeat what I said before more slowly!

I can accept that (maybe) splitting tops by speed there might be a reasonable argument for faster == better.

I'm not convinced that "falling off more quickly" == better when there isn't a top. tom_in_edinburgh's example is exactly what I'm talking about - it sounds like the less good climber won.

I actually think speed is poor way to decide things in either case. However it is defensible in the case of tops and indefensible without. I'm sure I've seen it used to split packs beyond 3rd place in some comps and this is just arbitrary.  An improvement (but one that is hard to measure outside world cup type events) would be the time taken to reach the high point with any subsequent time not being counted.  That would, at least, be rational, consistent and not penalise "trying".  Personally I'd like to see time removed from the scoring.

If time is required to separate tops then the route setters have cocked up.

gravy - on 24 Aug 2018

On a related note having seen comps where the result hasn't been decided by who got highest for various reasons I wonder if there is room for a high jump type comp where they set a spread of routes all the way up to impossible for everyone. 

You get a number of lives (falls), the comp starts with the easiest climb and keeps going until everyone fails.  Like high jump you choose what difficultly to start climbing, once you've had 2 falls you stop and that position is your score. If you haven't used your 2 lives you are free to climb as many routes as you like.

The person that tops the hardest route wins.  If the hardest top is drawn then the person that got the highest on the hardest non topped route wins.  If this is a dead heat then the person that got there with the fewest lives used wins.  If it is still a dead heat then it is a draw.

 

(There is a "jump off" system in high jump akin to the penalty shoot-out but this would just test fatigue in climbing.)

Luke90 on 25 Aug 2018
In reply to gravy:

> I can only repeat what I said before more slowly!

Or, alternatively, you could not be condescending and make an attempt to actually respond to what I've said.

Perhaps provide an actual example of your scenario occurring in an adult IFSC World Cup event, since you claim you've seen it many times but that seems very unlikely.

> An improvement (but one that is hard to measure outside world cup type events) would be the time taken to reach the high point with any subsequent time not being counted.

And if you actually bothered to read what I said rather than just repeating yourself, you'd see I already suggested that would get around your problem (though would probably require video review to implement).

gravy - on 25 Aug 2018
In reply to Luke90:

It's not supposed to be condescending but you seem to be hearing "a" and I'm saying "b".

I've not said I've seen it many times and I've not said I've seen it in IFSC comps. 

I am, saying it is part of the IFSC rules and I am saying I've seen time used to split climbers in competitions including beyond the first three places (and each comp is entitled to make its own rules).

I am saying it makes no sense to me (except, perhaps in the case of "tops" and even then I'm sceptical).

It would appear that we agree on that "time to high point" is better than "time to fall" but impractical, however, I think "time" is simply a poor measure to use (like ranking dead heats in the 100m sprint based on sock colour) so it should be removed from the scoring.

 

gravy - on 10 Sep 2018

In case of doubt:

The now silent Olympia World still resounds with the thunderous applause that pushed Jessica Pilz to the top. When she reached it, only one climber was left: Janja Garnbret. The reigning World Champion cruised to the Top and the time was then the only factor deciding who will be the new one. Being the fastest, Jessica Pilz became the new World Champion.

My view is that competitions should be able to access routes that are hard enough to split the ranking without recourse to time.

 

Phil Anderson on 11 Sep 2018
In reply to gravy:

> My view is that competitions should be able to access routes that are hard enough to split the ranking without recourse to time.

I'm not clear with what you're saying here... Are you just expressing wishful thinking, or are you suggesting that setting routes that would achieve this is possible, but for some bizarre reason the competitions don't do it? 'Cos that seems pretty unlikely to me.

I think it would be incredibly difficult to construct a route where everyone failed at a different place according to ability.

 

 

 

gravy - on 11 Sep 2018
In reply to Phil Anderson:

I'm just saying split the pack with a super final, if this fails call it a draw.

"First to fall off" definitely isn't "better¨,  "first to the top" is largely irrelevant. Highest wins, if they all reach the top make them climb something harder.

It would mean setting more routes and maybe not using them all _but_ the fine calibration of route setting problem would go away.

The high jump analogy is quite useful - you don't set bar height and then divide the pack that gets across by measuring the run up speed - you keep raising the bar until you've only got one winner.

nacnud - on 11 Sep 2018
In reply to gravy:

What your asking for is basically logistically impossible. You want to have a whole other wall set ready to go, but hidden from the competitors, just in case both competitors fall off in the same place and have the same count back scores. 

gravy - on 11 Sep 2018
In reply to nacnud:

It is definitely technically and logistically possible - I doesn't matter if they see it and read it during the inspection period or during their first climb - a bit like inspecting all the boulders at the beginning instead of having four separate inspections.

Usually there's spare routes in most comps (for instance the men's routes in this case) - it's definitely doable.  Some might say "resting periods" but sod that, give the medal to the one that has more left in the tank,  give them 10 mins - time for the audience to get a beer, a commercial break and put them back on the wall.


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