Getting Better at Routefinding

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bdloftin77
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Re: Getting Better at Routefinding

Post by bdloftin77 »

123tqb wrote: Wed Sep 15, 2021 2:31 pm To clarify, routefinding to me involves both the ability to choose a line by sight and feel, while being able to reference maps/descriptions/etc. for beta. So while it's incredibly relevant to be able to choose the Class 4 line through Class 5 cliffs by sight, proper research is still within the definition. Thanks for all the advice!
While I was on the 14er quest, I often printed out route description pictures from this website, along with bringing GPX tracks. The pictures were super helpful, especially for the more difficult routes (Bells traverse, Crestones traverse, etc). I know others have mentioned this, but I just wanted to give it extra emphasis. If you're trying to follow a certain route "to a T" through difficult territory, a picture is worth a thousand words for sure. Granted, this only works for routes that have extremely detailed beta, but it is helpful. Looking at other sites for beta is also helpful for non-14ers (listsofjohn, peakbagger, summitpost, etc). Exploring and finding my own route is fun, but sometimes if I just want to efficiently get to the summit and back, following good beta is the way to go.
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supranihilest
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Re: Getting Better at Routefinding

Post by supranihilest »

mtree wrote: Wed Sep 15, 2021 9:51 am Sorry to say, but either you're really good at it or you're not. You can get better with practice, but you'll never be great. Just one of those things. Kinda like math.
This is self-defeating discouragement and not even advice.
Going with someone - especially FOLLOWING them - does little. You learn nothing. That's THEIR logic, not yours. And following them is akin to following a trail. Mindless.
Going with a buddy or group, great for route finding. But do you learn anything? No.
You're right, teachers aren't a thing.
Just a good way to break down a route... hopefully.
Breaking down a route is a pretty good way to identify patterns that you can use to route find in the future.
Taking multiple pictures, etc. Useless. How does THAT teach you route finding? It just helps you navigate without having to think with you're mind. Like reading a map with pics.
Patterns.
The only way to learn is to actually do it yourself. See what works for you. Hopefully you'll get better. If not (and there's no shame in that) rely on great photos, maps, GPS, etc. to get you where you need to go. After all, getting up and back is the end result. If you're not a great route finder just accept it for what it is. I'm sure there are other things you're great at. After all... "a man's has got to know his limitations."
He's asking for advice, not "you suck and will always suck".

Thomas, others have posted great responses in this thread. Some highlights include DeTour's, Otina's (bergsteigen), Kiefer's, and Ben's (bdloftin77). Listen to them and not mtree. Route finding is largely intuitive but not 100% and you can improve your skills and apply logic and personal history to your outings. Practice, practice, practice.
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mtree
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Re: Getting Better at Routefinding

Post by mtree »

supranihilest wrote: Wed Sep 15, 2021 3:26 pm
Thomas, others have posted great responses in this thread. Some highlights include DeTour's, Otina's (bergsteigen), Kiefer's, and Ben's (bdloftin77). Listen to them and not mtree. Route finding is largely intuitive but not 100% and you can improve your skills and apply logic and personal history to your outings. Practice, practice, practice.
In your hurry to post all my snippets you missed my point, but thank you.
Ignore the drivel and get out there for yourself. Its the only way to learn. You might get better. You might not. At least you're still out there. Route finding is one of those "intuitive" things.
- I didn't say it was your fault. I said I was blaming you.
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supranihilest
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Re: Getting Better at Routefinding

Post by supranihilest »

mtree wrote: Wed Sep 15, 2021 3:41 pm
supranihilest wrote: Wed Sep 15, 2021 3:26 pm
Thomas, others have posted great responses in this thread. Some highlights include DeTour's, Otina's (bergsteigen), Kiefer's, and Ben's (bdloftin77). Listen to them and not mtree. Route finding is largely intuitive but not 100% and you can improve your skills and apply logic and personal history to your outings. Practice, practice, practice.
In your hurry to post all my snippets you missed my point, but thank you.
Ignore the drivel and get out there for yourself. Its the only way to learn. You might get better. You might not. At least you're still out there. Route finding is one of those "intuitive" things.
Ah yes, my... hurry... to respond to a 100 word post from... 6 hours ago. So hurried. Much rush.

Maybe you should try being more clear, then you wouldn't have to blame half the people in the thread for not understanding what your point is.
mtree's "cheeky" signature wrote:- I didn't say it was your fault. I said I was blaming you.
:roll:
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mtree
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Re: Getting Better at Routefinding

Post by mtree »

Well... that's what happens when you don't read all the instructions.
- I didn't say it was your fault. I said I was blaming you.
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SchralpTheGnar
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Re: Getting Better at Routefinding

Post by SchralpTheGnar »

Interesting thoughts, I’ve never used pictures for routefindinf before but love my gpx tracks, but only recently started using them, spent the first 20 years of my life mostly lost but eventually finding my way. The one thing I would always ask myself was which route would a big horn sheep take because they always take the sickest line that goes.
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DeTour
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Re: Getting Better at Routefinding

Post by DeTour »

Since we’ve defined research as a part of routefinding, may I suggest to OP: dig into trip reports in addition to route descriptions. I used to rely entirely on route descriptions and a little map study (although I used the wrong maps, another topic). Eventually I learned the added perspectives of studying multiple TRs really helped. The 14ers.com route descriptions are a phenomenal resource, but one person’s input no matter how well researched and investigated can only go so far.

I consider Bill’s route descriptions to be the top authority on 14er routes, but some TRs will offer some variations to consider, and/or different perspectives on the some of the same critical spots. Some TRs are written like route descriptions (examples: FCSquid’s fine contributions about Capitol and Snowmass S Ridge.)

Tips on using TR’s for research: filter for months with similar conditions for when you plan to climb. If you’re a summer climber, filter for say June through October, or even July-September. If you’re considering an alternate route, search for that text. Look for reports with a lot of photos, comments, and Likes. But take into account that older TRs were before the heyday of social media and had tighter restrictions on quantity of photos. There are some real gems in the older TRs, such as USAKeller’s TR on Ellingwood’s SW ridge or Bergsteigen’s description of Kit Carson from South Colony Lakes.

Roach offers some valuable nuggets about trailheads, a broader range of alternate route, interesting maps and some fun reading. But he doesn’t give much detail on any specific route, a necessary result of addressing hundreds of routes in a single guidebook.
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Re: Getting Better at Routefinding

Post by Jorts »

Yeesh. How'd this thread go so sideways?
123tqb wrote: Tue Sep 14, 2021 1:20 pm I am finding that my routefinding skills are seriously lacking.
There's a lot of good advice on here but I'm curious what specifically you find lacking with your route finding?
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bdloftin77
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Re: Getting Better at Routefinding

Post by bdloftin77 »

Jorts wrote: Thu Sep 16, 2021 5:11 pm There's a lot of good advice on here but I'm curious what specifically you find lacking with your route finding?
+1!
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Re: Getting Better at Routefinding

Post by Rainier_Wolfcastle »

Experience leading is certainly a step in the right direction. But in my opinion, digging into the layers of route finding difficulty and peak type can help one learn here in CO. Just a general progression…not necessarily aimed at original poster.

Most of us that get out a lot from this site work through a similar progression. Starting with 14ers… when they get to the few class 4 14ers, you study the wealth of beta, probably print out the step by step pics that Bill has shared with us. To learn, don’t just follow the stranger in front of you, try to figure out what looks right to you…then compare to pics with the arrows…intro to route finding 101. Probably by the end of the hard 14ers, you will find yourself less reliant on the pics…but having so many people and and worn paths, makes it “mostly” easy.

Now moving on to centennials and there is a hair less data and traffic…and for some, the difficulty seems to go up a notch. If one makes it through, they have now probably learned a few…”well I won’t do that again” or “I made it, but that didn’t match the route description” lessons. 201 passed. Hey, now you have done some low class 5 on purpose…where knowing the difference can help you know when you are in class 4 vs 5.easy.

Now start trying random 13ers or 12ers…some have great route descriptions. Some might have simply, as Bergie stated, “it goes at class 4”. Now a person is really learning. Don’t be constantly afraid of being on/off route…you often will never get anywhere. But also don’t be stubborn and climb just cause you can…cause coming down when you are tired or in a hurry can ruin your day. Keep your senses, don’t ever be too stubborn to check your gps when things seem really off or be too lazy to backtrack, even if you will have to regain a few 100 feet. Both things I had to learn the hard way…just fortunately not the really hard way. You will learn there are patterns or features to look for…bypasses, ledges off the ridge, now stay one ridge, steep scree that works, some that doesn’t, gullies that are good/bad, if everything moves…probably not the way people have gone…etc….

And yes…some people have much better instincts for route finding then others.

Safe travels!
Shawn
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123tqb
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Re: Getting Better at Routefinding

Post by 123tqb »

I'd say it's mostly just me getting off-route without realizing it. I feel like I tend to pick lines that look "easiest" to me but tend to be the opposite.
Sometimes you don't think it be like it is, but it do.
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Re: Getting Better at Routefinding

Post by DArcyS »

Selecting the right route is an issue of probability where sometimes you're right and sometimes you're wrong, and luck really doesn't have too much to do with experience. However, with experience comes better climbing skills, so perhaps more routes will work, thus increasing the probability your guess on the route works. As an extreme example, Alex Honnold would probably be an expert at route finding on Colorado's 13ers and 14ers. Or maybe his skill set allows him to make a lot more routes work no matter what his guess as to the route.

Perhaps the most important aspect of route finding is knowing when to back off given your climbing skills and trying to find an easier way. You can let your ego push you through a crux, but if safety is your primary concern, backing off is probably the better decision.
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