Climb Steepness

Climbers care about surprise roofs, slabby boulder problems, and much in between. A easy-to-eyeball index of climb steepness would be nice for many climbers. Aside from a climb's rating, there's little that affects your experience more than a climb's steepness. I can't climb slab and It's too steep are common refrains.

The goal is to convey the impression of steepness within a single climb and between climbs.

For testing, we'll use a diverse selection of well-known climbs:

The Silhouette

Old Man on the Mountain Jane Austen's Silhouette

Connected Lines


This fails for steep climbs. The awkward rough edge is that it's too similar to the profile of a wall. For a vertical climb, it will look just like and match the cross-section of a wall. However, for a traverse, it AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH


It's not immediately obvious which side of the line you're climbing on.




The idea here was to be a bit more compact and produce a predictable size.

Obvious issues revolved around segments similar levels of steepness; They overlap and hide each other. It's also hard to see context within a diagram. This visualization fail entirely when there are multiple small to medium segments defined.

Burst (with opacity and ring)

Adding a ring at the outside edge, and making the rays of the "burst" opaque can help show context.

This offers almost-negligible improvment.

burst (adding pointers)

burst (pointers to ticks)

burst (tracking overhang)

this is far too busy.

burst (at the edge)

this isn't a particularly effective visualization, but its biggest failure is that it abandones any information about the sequence of a climb. The takeaway here was that sequence must be preserved.


Target (with rings)

the downside here

Shaded Bar


somewhat similar to hillshade

topo equivalent?

could this exist?

drawbacks and benefits this is hard to create accurately, but very easy to consume as a compairson between many climbs on a page.