Climbing Gym Logbook- Serious


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Trad climber
Asia, Indonesia, East Java
Topic Author's Original Post - Oct 14, 2012 - 04:45am PT
Wow, can't believe I am even considering this, but here goes.

My climbing gym caters to large Korean, Japanese, and Chinese community here. Even our Indo-Chinese parents fall in this category.

These parent have been placing kids in various extra lessons for years, things like Kumon Math. To make our gym more appealing, we have been giving certificates of completion when our youth have certain Skills.

Climber Level 1 can tie the figure eight, put on harness and shoes, know the commands, and can come down a top-rope. Complete 10 routes any grade. (hanging ok)

Climber level 2, level 3

than on to Top-rope climber 1,2,3,

Advance climber 1,2,3

You get the Idea. Parents would like the kids to keep and maintain a standardized logbook. Trying to figure out how to format these logbook pages.

Basically, kids need to keep track of how many routes they climb, the grade, and the area of the gym they are located in. Wall 1, Wall 2 etc.

Any advice welcomed.

Obviously, the more visually appealing it is, the better.

I know, I know, what has climbing come to.


I'll post this on another site too, but thinking this site will be more helpful.


Sport climber
Oct 14, 2012 - 05:29am PT
I guess this is a troll, but a few words. Since this is kids - do not focus too much on the results, focus on giving them the mental tools that will help them grow better on their own. Give them a lot of different climbing experiences.
Some possible questions to answer in the log book after each training (kids age 12 and upwards can do this):
 What did I like best to climb today? Which climb gave me the best feeling? For what reason?
 What was the most important thing I learned today that will help me become a better climber?
 What did I do today that will help the other kids to become better climbers? (A question meant to contribute to a learning environment. Combine competition and cooperation.)
 If I should start today's training again now - what would I do differently?

Trad climber
Asia, Indonesia, East Java
Topic Author's Reply - Oct 14, 2012 - 06:12am PT
Actually, or unfortunately, it's not a troll. I really am looking for a way to have these kids keep track of what they climbed in the gym. Including the actual routes.

As a former Middle School Teacher, I love your questions. They look like some of the reflection questions I would often encourage my students to do. Always interesting to see what a student gets out of a situation or lesson.

In this case, the kids I am dealing with are younger, 7 years old to 11 years old is the program range.

Guess I am looking for a logical way to record the routes because they have to complete a set number of routes before they can go to the next level.

Your question will definitely help with other aspects of the program, that's for sure.

In some ways, I wish this was a troll.

Trad climber
Oct 14, 2012 - 08:13am PT
Hi Guangzhou how about having the kids draw or take photos of the prospective routes they will complete as they move through the levels.

just an idea. If I think of anything else I will post up. Hope to see you in Cebu someday.

Peace Eric

Trad climber
Oct 14, 2012 - 11:30am PT
Develop an app or have one developed for you. I am sure there are many ubergeeks here who would love to do the work.

Social climber
Joshua Tree
Oct 14, 2012 - 12:41pm PT
There's a gym in Riverside that used to have a touchscreen system called ascent tracker or something, with the idea of logging your routes/problems. You might check with them (Threshhold climbing, although they no longer use the system, they might even have written the software.

As you might imagine, continual clouds of chalk dust and chalky hands + touchscreens = no bueno.

Gym climber
Oct 14, 2012 - 01:53pm PT
I'd think the trick is to keep the difficulty of the climbs out of the equation. You don't want to discourage a youngster because they can't climb as hard as others, but they still have the motivation to climb as many routes as others.

All we climbers know, it ain't the grade that makes for fun, but the entertainment comes from the psychical movement of getting up and doing it.
Jon Beck

Trad climber
Oct 14, 2012 - 02:13pm PT
A journal is a good idea, I wish I had kept one from when I started, many climbs I did are forgotten over time. Maybe a logbook to keep lists, but the good stuff is going to be in the journal.

Oct 14, 2012 - 08:09pm PT
What the parents should do then is to have their kids set-up and maintain their own Blog. That could include pics of the route (they will change someday, I hope) and their personal comments. You could set the parameters of the context.

Andrew Barnes

Ice climber
Albany, NY
Oct 14, 2012 - 09:04pm PT
Keeping kids motivated and entertained is the important thing. I wouldn't worry about the parents and their desires, I'd just focus on keeping the kids happy. Some positive reinforcement and evidence of progression can help.

Nowadays, kids are so gymnastically strong and talented, that it should be easy to create plenty of progression categories. The obvious suggestion is to tie it to the quantity of climbing and the difficulty. A kid who consistently climbs 5.10 is in a higher category than one who consistently climbs 5.8. A 5.10 leader is in a higher category than a 5.8 leader. And so on. At some point, the whole exercise becomes a bit pointless, and
reverts to the usual problems with numbers, grades, and ego massaging. So whatever you do, the challenge is to enable the kids to have fun, keep learning new things, and keep them interested.

Trad climber
Sydney, Australia
Oct 14, 2012 - 09:19pm PT
Eman - its not as bad as it sounds...why shouldn't your users put a bit of structure into their training? I used to keep a log of the climbs I did in the gym, with the idea that I could quantify what I was doing, and then work towards continual improvement. It started very simple with grade being the main factor ie identifying the climb (yellow gr 19 middle of back wall) and listing how many of what grades I did. Then started working on specific problem areas (crimp strength, footwork issues, pocket pulling etc so included the overall climb "type" as well as grade and length. As this is your gym, you have the option of naming / labelling routes, and in conjunction with your routesetters, setting routes that work specific skills at increasingly harder grades in order to come up with a "certification" program.

I don't see an issue with this. As you know, it bears no relation to true climbing skill or competence - but if your gym climbers (and esp their parents) want metrics, why not? I also imagine the majority of your users are strictly gym climbers - and then increasing fun is what its all about, and measurements and challenges help with that.

Trad climber
Asia, Indonesia, East Java
Topic Author's Reply - Oct 14, 2012 - 10:25pm PT
Some excellent points so far, and all taken into consideration. I should clarify, the program is already in place, we just want to add a paper-journal for kids to share with parents.

While I agree I need to keep the kids excited and engaged, ultimately, it's also a matter of keeping the parents happy so they keep their children coming. Keeping the kids excited is easy, explaining to parent how this is helping their kids develop is more complicated in a society that is test and paper driven.

Internally at the gym, we already have a simple data base that keeps track of each kids progress. That part is simple enough. What I am looking for a paper journal that is visually appealing and easy for youth to log in info.


Climber Level 1

• Awareness of safety rules and hazards, appropriate dress and behavior.
• Putting on a harness.
• Participate in warm ups.
• Connecting harness to rope with a re-tied figure of 8 knot with stopper knot.
• Climbing a chosen route with confidence.
• Correct method of descending a climb.
• Correct use of climbing commands.
• Climb at least 10 different routes

Climber moves to level 2 than three Each level has a couple more technical skills and set number of routes.

Next step is top-rope climber. (Kids have hard skills and learn to belay top-rope. For this, set number of routes climbed and set number of route belayed.

I don't mind structure, I just don't want to zap the fun out of climbing. Higher level of the program have a show progress in climbing grade component also.

This isn't completely new, the UK has the The National Indoor Climbing Award Scheme Similar to what we are doing. Once we have multiple locations, we can extend the program for sure.

Thanks again for the input.


Nate D

San Francisco
Oct 14, 2012 - 11:02pm PT
Kids think visually, as do most adults I reckon. For logging routes, possibly everyone gets an overview map of the gym, with routes numbered, as a visual reference. And/or they "color in" the routes completed - some sort of color coding system by grade perhaps - to make it fun.

Trad climber
Millbrae, CA
Oct 14, 2012 - 11:34pm PT
Well, one thing that comes to mind is that it would make it easier for all your gym people (not just the kids) to track what they have done if YOU create in your system an internal database of routes. Give every route you create from now and forward a code that gives information about the location=wall, length, grade, and if it can be led or not.

(I don't know about the gym you own but at mine some routes can only be led, some can be led or top-roped, and some can only be top-roped)

So if it's a traversing lead only pink 10.c route set today on the El Cap wall (wall number 14) that's 40 feet high but the traverse makes the length 50 feet, unique identifier # 36:


Once you have a database like this you could incorporate the ID into any kind of app or manual logbook. Like I say, your other gym members may like this feature too.

Gym climber
berkeley, ca
Oct 14, 2012 - 11:41pm PT
I vote for creating an American "everyone wins" style tracking system so that a kids failure to advance from 10a to 10b after 4 sessions (or whatever) isn't used to against them them. Give awards and advancements for all kinds of silly stuff that indicates fun, effort, citizenship, etc. that the parents won't really get unless they are already climbers. Reward the difficulty stuff too, because that's fun and motivating for the kids who are willfully playing. I just wouldn't make it the only thing.

There's a dad/kid combo that I see at my gym on the weekends that makes me ill. My husband had to hold himself back for confronting this guy in anger. He never climbs...only belays and "coaches" (aka belittles) his tiny girl child (guessing 8 yr old). Once she grabbed an off-route hold on a 5.11 crux of a lead when the rope got behind her leg, and he said, "That's it! We're leaving. You're obviously not into this," and speed lowered her from the clip. She just hung her little head when she touched down. So sucky. Don't create a situation where the parents can abuse their kids for their performance even when they aren't there to berate them in person.

Trad climber
Asia, Indonesia, East Java
Topic Author's Reply - Oct 15, 2012 - 12:33am PT
"Speed Lower," great visual.

Data base is already there, just need a paper version that kids can keep in a journal style/format.

Program definitely grade orientated.

Keep them coming. I guess I am looking for something like a Scuba Diving Logbook. Paper version.


between the flat part and the blue wobbly thing
Oct 15, 2012 - 01:00am PT
This is depressing. The f**king helicopter parents can't just let the poor bastards do something fun. They have to turn it into goddamn indoctrination. Keep a log so each kid knows exactly where he stands in relation to the others, so the parents know exactly how they compare to the other parents. God knows we wouldn't want a situation where no one knows where they stand. There'd be chaos, insurrection, the very breakdown of society!

OK, rant over. Carry on.

Trad climber
Oct 15, 2012 - 01:01am PT
Have a sheet per level with each of the skills as a check list. When you complete one you get a sticker on it. Complete all of the skills on the sheet and you get a new page with a picture or a chapter of a story of a climber going on an adventure. Have the chapters progress from bouldering in town to climbing Everest as the highest skill. Stickers, pictures, adventures. That would have me pretty excited as a 7 year old to find out how the story ended.
Mighty Hiker

Vancouver, B.C.
Oct 15, 2012 - 01:15am PT
Tell them that there are no rules, no prizes, and that they can do whatever they darn well please as long as they have fun, play nice and don't get hurt. And scare their parents.

Mountain climber
The Other Monrovia- CA
Oct 15, 2012 - 01:19am PT
Make it even more exciting by introducing paintball guns!
It'll bring new meaning to 'redpoint'!

Trad climber
Asia, Indonesia, East Java
Topic Author's Reply - Oct 15, 2012 - 01:33am PT
Level 5 does involve Free Soloing the 15 meter 64 degree overhanging wall in our gym. We even loosen a couple of the handholds to see how they react to unforeseen danger.


Oct 15, 2012 - 03:42am PT
This just sounds awful.

Just terrible.

And as someone who's entire school experience was 70+% asian (95% asian elementary school, 70% middle school, 75% high school), I can tell you from first hand experience that the last thing these kids want or need is this kind of structure permeating all of their recreational activities.

Yes you are keeping more customers because the parents are satisfied, but you are hurting these kids.

They act out in ways you can't even imagine, and of course their parents don't know.


A more on topic response. Planet granite (my local gym) has started putting QR codes on all their routes so yuppies who carry cell phones in the gym and are WAY to invested in what their facebook friends know they climb can scan the QR code and log the climb. There are also websites for beta that you can access by scanning the QR codes :/

Trad climber
Asia, Indonesia, East Java
Topic Author's Reply - Oct 15, 2012 - 04:37am PT
What a broad and generalized statement to make. I've taught in American Schools overseas for a decade and I can honestly say I don't agree with you. These kids are pretty darn good. I see them around town, dealt with them at school, took them on trips across the country and overseas, never had an issues.

Structured time. Actually, I find that the pendulum has swung, kids have their life so structured that they don't know what to do when they have down time. Even in the gym, these kids are always asking me or my staff what route should I do next, instead of roaming and deciding for themselves. Amazes me, but....

Keeping parents happy, well that's a reality if these kids want to climb. Their parents have the money. Not every child who climbs here is enrolled in the program, those that are aren't acting or behaving any differently in the gym.

How is asking kids to track the routes they are doing hurting them exactly?

Why is them keeping track of their progress negative?

I rather have parents compare the kids journal with one another than have those same parents in here trying to make their kids prove they are better than the other kid.

We're basically letting the kids do what they want for 90% of the time, and using 10% of the time to record what they did so their parent can see something.Guess that's why I want a simple page format for this logbook.

Personally, as a parent, I don't mind my kids having down time and playing for the sake of just playing.

I wonder if your experience with Asian kids is different from mine because of where those kids grow up. I am referring to Asian kids, is your experience with Asian-Americans?


Oct 15, 2012 - 04:52am PT
With all due respect, your experience as a teacher and chaperon does not reflect the realities of what these kids end up going through. They will never act out directly against their parents or an authority figure.

Your original question wasn't posed as "how to best design a kids program", but "how do I impose this artificial structure on this activity to keep the parents happy". Obviously kids programs need some level of structure in order for them to get the most out of it, but when it comes to climbing, I don't think grade pushing or any other kind of route based logging is particularly useful except, of course, as bragging material for parents.

As for the other point, technically my peers were asian americans, since I'm in America, however a good portion of them were new immigrants.

Some portion thrive in the constant hyper-structured environment the culture imposes, but many burn out. The majority end up coping with it (and succeeding materially) but are borderline depressed. I've seen it first hand many times.

Edit: of course, my original assumption was that you were in the states too, I shouldnt be too presumptuous that the same holds in asia proper. Its just I've been observing my peers my entire life and these are just my observations.

Trad climber
Oct 15, 2012 - 05:41am PT
Use a skull-rating:
1 skull - able to find a gym
2 skulls - able to enter the gym
3 skulls - able to find a locker room
1 kilo-skull - survived the first fall
1 mega-skull - survived the first lead fall
1 giga-skull - burned at <name> cemetery after failing at <name> project

Trad climber
Asia, Indonesia, East Java
Topic Author's Reply - Oct 15, 2012 - 07:47am PT
crasic, the realities of these kids, let's agree to disagree. The third culture kids I deal with are very different from the Asians I dealt with in American public schools, that's for sure.

Artificially imposed structure, no, I am looking for a logbook for them to record what they naturally doing. The only artificial is them reaching the next level.


Gym climber
berkeley, ca
Oct 15, 2012 - 11:39am PT
Why is them keeping track of their progress negative?

For real?

+ the freesoloing 50 ft. routes with loose holds? Joke or troll?

Trad climber
Asia, Indonesia, East Java
Topic Author's Reply - Oct 15, 2012 - 10:09pm PT
Free solo was a joke. The whole point of the program is teach safe climbing with a wide understanding. The program is mostly set in hard skills, not climbing grades, but to progress from one level to another, you have to climb a selected amount of different routes. 10 routes, 15 routes, 25 routes. Different to encourage trying new routes. To many people get in the routine of doing the same thing over and over because it's comfortable.

More or less the program levels:

• Awareness of safety rules and hazards, appropriate dress and behavior.
• Putting on a harness.
• Participate in warm ups.
• Connecting harness to rope with a re-tied figure of 8 knot with stopper knot.
• Climbing a chosen route with confidence.
• Correct method of descending a climb.

Next level:

• Safe belaying under supervision. (Belay with back-up belayer who is an instructor)(Ground anchors always)
• Pre-climb checks.
• Basic climbing moves.
• Connecting self and others to rope with a re-threaded figure of eight knot and stopper knot.
• Belaying and lowering using a suitable belay device.

• Ground anchor systems. (When?)
• Holding a fall in a bottom rope situation (belayer on ground with rope passing through top anchor).
• Effective communication and teamwork with climbing partner.
• Knowledge of climbing grades.
• Selection of appropriate routes.
• Effective safe use of a bouldering/ traversing wall.
• Simple climbing technique - the use of feet and legs, relaxed upright stance, confident approach, smooth movement and observation of holds.


Social climber
Oct 15, 2012 - 10:19pm PT
How about give the kids a blank piece of paper and let them figure out the system they like. Do this for a month and let the kids in on it being an experiment and that their ideas will carry forth to the finished product.

I've worked with log books in the past & every type of log book has an evolution to it until one-ish fits your purpose.

This way it's a collaborative and inclusive process - like the workplace is supposed be :-)

As for the negative comments about your thread, fukkem. Yer not gonna please everyone.

Trad climber
Asia, Indonesia, East Java
Topic Author's Reply - Oct 16, 2012 - 12:09am PT
Blank paper is good idea to incorporate. Should work.

I learn from both Negative and Positive comments, so I don't mind.

“To avoid criticism say nothing, do nothing, be nothing.”
― Aristotle
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