Talk:Proposed features/Climbing

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Copyright issues

I raised this proposal on the Talk-GB list, to see if it was likely to get any traction or objections, and the copyright status of route information was raised. I'd initially believed that BMC vs Rockfax 2001 had gone to court, but it appears that £10000 of lagal advice convinced them not to try it. So strictly speaking there has been no ruling on the status of routes, but the standard that has been adopted by British guide book authors and publishers in the UK appears to be that the name, location, and line of a route is a matter of fact, and therefore un-copyrightable, grade is a grey area, but descriptions, topo, etc. are copyrighted.

Names cannot be copyrighted in the UK: UK Copyright Service And simple facts of the location and line don't appear to fall under any other category of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 UKCS SUmmary

But we do need to be wary of Trademark issues. I suspect mapping the route Nike Air Max might be a bad idea. But mapping Nike when it's sat next to "Pegasus" is probably in the clear.

And a summary of the debate from a Rockfax point of view: [1]

-- Rasilon (talk) 19:37, 23 October 2013 (UTC)

How can we get the climbing sites (!) quickly into OSM?

This proposal was nearly unchanged between 2009-10 and 2013-04, so its proposed tags had at least 3,5 years to spread. Around the world, 2013-04-23 taginfo reports only 499 uses of key climbing=* and 192 uses of climbing:rock=* -- so very low numbers compared to over 1600 topos (usually depicting 1 crag) in the climbing area of Frankenjura (DE) alone! :-( Even in climbing "mekka" areas, many sectors/crags are not yet in OSM, not even with the established sport=climbing.

Hence, I have the impression this proposal is caring about far too detailed tagging for the current OSM state and I doubt we shall focus discussing how to tag single routes or even different bolt types, but we shall focus to quickly develop a suiting tagging convention for "the big building blocks", i.e. for climbing sites / aggregated elements like climbing areas, sectors, crags/boulders/... and of course climbing halls etc. At that granularity,

  • tagging can be finished quickly for whole areas (=> quickly accumulate a critical mass of information so it starts getting really useful for climbers)
  • a very limited set of meta data like website=* or url=* could make OSM a "router" to detailed information (like topos, DAV Felsinfo etc.) on a global scale (AFAIK this does not yet exist at all with spatial information, so it will be very useful for climbers)
  • climbers usually supplement their guide books by maps to get at better overview, to plan the approach etc. but most maps don't contain information that's relevant for climbers (approach paths, crags, etc.) but OSM already does often and is increasingly getting better => OSM can really stand out for the "getting there" use case

So already by tagging relatively few (only aggregated) elements there are best perspective to convince more climbers to use OSM more intense, which in turn allows the community to start to focus adding detail informations like routes etc. Hence, discussion on how to tag detail information shall not stop now, neither trying those proposals in real world, but IMHO it shall not be the focus until we got the main elements into the map. It's the same approach that worked fine for the street network: Mapping most bigger / highly used streets was done first, mapping all the details (like service roads, tracks etc.) came mostly later.

What do you think? Shall we focus on aggregated / higher level elements for climbing? Please leave your "vote" in the according sub-heading. Thank you :-) --Schoschi (talk) 04:00, 24 April 2013 (UTC)

BTW: At DE:Tag:sport=climbing a few people startet experiments how aggregated elements might be tagged, created a JOSM tagging preset/template (EN+DE) and are discussing that in the forum.


I like the idea of using OSM to pin point crags (and sectors) and add some general info, plus access info/foot paths.

I also believe that there should be an icon to go with the name of the crag/site for sport=climbing, as with all other sports (I haven't seen one, though it has been proposed before).

As an OSM beginner, could I also suggest that maybe there should be a quick "how to" for climbers like me that don't know the ins-and-outs of OSM but want to help. (I'm not sure whether there is something in German - I don't speak it.) This might get things going a little faster. --Dchriss (talk) 16:22, 22 August 2013 (UTC)

I am also highly in favour of using an existing open database to store climbing related info. I have been sitting of the idea organising, aggregating and opening up various silos of climbing information (e.g.,,,, etc.) and fronting them with a powerful augmented reality mobile interface.

If you'd like more info, please see the site I put together to float the idea:

Having the ability to store approaches, crags, routes and related metadata in OSM, would be a step in the right direction, from Craglist point of view. --Chainik (talk) 16:49, 29 August 2013 (UTC)


Comments on other topics

I wonder if this proposal could be extended to include tags for corners, roofs, arêtes, cracks, bolts, etc.? Could this then be used to draw climbing topos? I have been looking for a way to implement an augmented reality type of app for climbers and this proposal makes me really excited! --Sudarkoff 08:03, 9 August 2009 (UTC)

I have also been sitting on the idea of building an augmented reality mobile interface for managing climbing information I put together a site to float the idea at I must say, I got very excited coming across this OSM development, because prior to this I have been racking my brain about where to store all of the data. --Chainik (talk) 17:00, 29 August 2013 (UTC)

How would one deal with one boulder block that has multiple routes on it, every one with its own name and grade? multiple nodes on one spot is not ideal, so we need a way to set multiple route names and grades to one node. same applies to different routes with the same start points (same bolts, whatever). but I like the idea of mapping climbing routes, especially if altitute information would be processed in the future (no idea on how the plans of OSM are on that topic) and one would be able to map climbing routes in all 3 dimensions. in addition I miss a way to link topo's or official pages to routes and/or boulders. But I think using OSM to map routes and create topos is very nice. --Marc 18:32, 10 August 2009 (UTC)

IMO ele=* should be used on start and end points, this in combination with SRTM data should give enough information to make 3D climbing maps. The multiple route/name problem have several possible solutions, such as ; separated lists or relations (my favourite) --Skippern 00:56, 11 August 2009 (UTC)

I really like this proposal, because I myself thought we needed more features for the hiking/climbing People... But the one thing I ask myself: should we restrict the informations to one grading scale at a time, or should we allow more then one grading information per route? What do we do if some routes intersect each other? (like on this topo:

To allow multiple scales for one route make sense, as some grades can't be converted/translated to each other. An extreme example would be one route that is used for ice climbing, free climbing and aid climbing (see Wikipedia: Grade). --Schoschi (talk) 19:53, 23 April 2013 (UTC)
Intersecting routes are no problem if more nodes than just bottom and top are allowed - then it could be mapped like intersecting streets, waterways etc. See "1, 2 or more nodes?" --Schoschi (talk) 19:53, 23 April 2013 (UTC)

Shall crags/sectors pool information that all routes have in common?

Within one crag or one sector of a crag, rock type, bolted or not, orientation etc. might change from route to route, but often, all share the same characteristics. It is quite redundant to repeat this information for all single routes; instead only the "container element" (relation) shall carry those tags, i.e. it shall pool / bundle this information. This makes tagging less annoying and reduces the data size of vector maps. Hence I propose that all information that make sense on routes, sector and crags level is allowed on all 3 levels, not only routes - just like for cross country ski tracks/pistes. What do you think? --Schoschi (talk) 19:53, 23 April 2013 (UTC)

Sectors and subsectors

see also "Tags/Rendering"

How should one tag sectors and subsectors in a grag? I started using this proposal in the Setesdal, Norway region and like to tag the grag/sector/subsector. For now I used the relations on the sector level. --Paul.gevers 21:22, 27 August 2010 (BST)

I agree; many big climbing areas/mountains are divided into into sectors, and a sector is divided into crags, that are collections of routes, so we shall have sectors as it is a common grouping element in guide books. E.g. in Finale Ligure (IT), some sectors are hundreds of meters wide, so it is important to have them on the map to choose the correct street for the approach. Personally, I don't remember to have met any sub-sectors, hence I have no idea whether they are relevant enough to require a tag for themselfs. --Schoschi (talk) 19:53, 23 April 2013 (UTC)

1, 2 or more nodes?

How do we show the difference between a path/scramble to access the bottom of a route, and one to access the top? We could have separate nodes for the top/bottom of each route (with a way between them), but a lot of the time these nodes would be practically on top of each other... -- Steve Hill 08:54, 18 April 2008 (UTC)

The top and bottom are unlikely to be in the same place - in my experience the cliffs lean back a fair bit. And if you give yourself only five metres at the top and bottom for walk in/out that'll be far enough to make the nodes separable. Gravitystorm 17:09, 18 April 2008 (UTC)
I agree. Even a few cm difference would already suffice that both can be separated in vector maps (e.g. Locus on Adroid mobiles), and even exactly same lon/lat ins not problem in JOSM (middle mouse button). --Schoschi (talk) 12:31, 18 March 2013 (UTC)

The page (version of 11:25, 18 March 2013‎) suggests "if there is no top-access to the route, only a single node, marking the start, is probably preferable". I do not agree. All routes shall have at least 2 points, bottom and top, and shall be allowed to have more points. If a mapper knows only 1 point, he/she can set a second point with fixme. --Schoschi (talk) 12:31, 18 March 2013 (UTC) Reasons to allow more than 2 points:

  • it allows to map the stands of longer routes.
  • it allows to map one route with several staring and/or ending points
  • it allows to map that 2 climbing routes join for a while somewhere in the middle of the wall and then separate again

Reasons to set the minimum to 2 points

  • Did you ever see a climbing route that just had a start and no end? I did not. It is quite natural for a climbing route to have at least 2 nodes, and as a more fundamental aspect, the the second node makes the difference between the mathematical concepts of lines and points ;-)
  • Having 2 points with ele=* information might be used by applications to render, filter etc. the altitude difference - a very interesting information for climbers (e.g. using a mobile device to search a route that fits grade and rope length).
  • Some routes must or may be started in the top, hence 1 point would lead to ambiguous mapping.
  • Quite often, several routes share the same starting point or top bolt. That information is sometimes quite interesting.

Relation to other climbing-like sport types

Why don't we tag via ferrata routes? What about indoor climbing? --Uhu01 22:31, 23 November 2008 (UTC)

In the meanwhile, there exist separate proposals for via ferrata proposal (Klettersteig) and climbing --Schoschi (talk) 12:31, 18 March 2013 (UTC)
Indoor climbing should be marked with a sport=* the same counts for similarly built walls outdoors, such as "Uteveggen" in Trondheim, Norway. --Skippern 02:55, 20 April 2009 (UTC)

I'm not into climbing but I believe this proposal should also deal with mountain routes and fixed rope routes (Klettersteig). As pointed out here, both are currently often tagged and thus rendered as hiking paths or footways. Either one is clearly inappropriate. Paths and footways accessible for anyone with a reasonable fitness should be clearly separated from routes that require mountaineering skills and safety equipment. Ukuester 08:05, 6 May 2009 (UTC)

In the meanwhile, there exist separate proposals for via ferrata proposal (Klettersteig) and climbing => it shall be taken care of both types and after acceptance, both shall be clearly distinguishable from usual hiking paths after renderers adapted to the new tags --Schoschi (talk) 12:31, 18 March 2013 (UTC)

I suggest to expand it to rely on climbing parks e.g. climbing forests --!i! 22:24, 4 June 2009 (UTC)

more tags

Really like this proposal, but I need more Tags. Has someone an idea

  • how to discribe how a pitch locks like - 2 bolts conneced with a chain / one bolt with a ring / nothing / ...
  • how to map the top bolt of a route - see above

Furthermore I would welcome something like climbing:bolts=bolts count, climbing:nuts=not_allowed/required/not_necessary/number of good positions and climbing:friends=see nuts --K4r573n 23:05, 3 June 2012 (BST)

Personally, I see the benefit to be able to map "exists top bolt for pitch yes/no" (enables filtering, see below) but I do not see the need to tag the different bolt types (in OSM!) as there are soooo many types that it will be quite difficult to create an enumeration of all, and for mappers to select the right one. --Schoschi (talk) 19:53, 23 April 2013 (UTC)
I would also like a "bolt density" information (either bolts count divided by pitch/route length or a tag with average bolt-to-bolt distance) and whether other means besides bolts (like nuts, Monkey's fist or the like are (not) allowed and/or (not) required) as this would allow to automatically filter the routes in a software to those suiting the own physical+psychical+gear limits - very helpful in areas with thousands of routes. --Schoschi (talk) 19:53, 23 April 2013 (UTC)


I am interested to see examples of how others have mapped climbing/bouldering areas.


  • The TagWatch-URL displays all keys containing climbing, then select the one you're interested in to see its values.
  • This overpass URL[sport=climbing][@meta]
    returns all elements tagged with sport=climbing with all key-value-pairs of the elements.
  • The link climbing nodes around Finale Ligure (IT) in Overpass-Turbo shall execute the search
    <query type="node">  <has-kv k="sport" v="climbing"/>  <bbox-query {{bbox}}/></query><print/>
    and display all nodes with sport=climbing on a map. Of course, you can move the map to the area you're interested in.


The only crag examples I found (other than my additions):

Here is an example of a crag I have added (Fawltey Towers Crag at Silvermine, South Africa):

And this is my try in northern Germany:

Boulder Areas

The only other bouldering examples:

I have followed the approach used in the two above examples and used 'tourism attraction' to ensure that something renders on the standard map.

Here is an example boulder area I added (Cinema Area at Silvermine, South Africa):


Please provide feedback/suggestions/comments on how to proceed adding boulders/crags. I am interested to see other approaches to mapping climbing areas.

It is particularly useful if the OSM can be viewed on a phone with gps so that one can find the climbing areas. I use which is free of charge and does the trick for an android phone. Keith2000 12:03, 30 January 2012 (UTC)

In addition to natural=cliff I use since a while the (proposed) feature natural=bare_rock.
See as an example: Sierra Nevada del Cocuy
Instead or in addition to climbing=boulder, the approved feature natural=stone can be actually used for boulders.
A new "sector-tag" should be created ("climbing=sector"), in the same way as climbing=crag, but independent because according to local conditions their might be no specific crags - just a long rock wall - , or the routes are related to a side of a peak (example: "north face"), or it can be a boulder area. Of course, also several crags together can belong to one sector
I agree. There should be some "sector" or "area" tag to group boulders, crags, routes, paths, etc to a named climbing area.--Schoaf (talk) 09:20, 8 February 2013 (UTC)
I would propose a tag climbing:area for a relation to group everything. This way a specific area or sector can be situated in a wider area or hill with a name
I agree, climbing area optionally containing sectors containg crags/boulders containing routes. See also "Sectors and subsectors". --Schoschi (talk) 19:53, 23 April 2013 (UTC)
Places for Abseil should also be tagged; to avoid too much new tags this can be done with climbing=route, plus an explicit name.--Federico Explorador 19:19, 30 January 2012 (UTC).
Sounds good, +1 --Schoschi (talk) 19:53, 23 April 2013 (UTC)

Namespace(s) and Grading

I'm keen to see some sensible tagging schema set up, but I really don't like the laborious namespace system proposed. Why not just (for instance): grade_french=4+, rock_type=limestone etc? csdf 15:31, 2 October 2009 (UTC)

For grade:french might be used for other extreme sports as well, that might be in the same area, i.e. conflicting tagging. --Skippern 14:19, 3 October 2009 (UTC)
Out of curiosity, what other sports use a French grading system where this might conflict? csdf 10:55, 9 October 2009 (UTC)
Hm. If we will always use one relation/route for one sport (e.g. 1 climbing route and 1 via ferrata route sharing 1 way), everything will be fine even without name spaces.
If we allow the tags also directly at the way, I'm quite sure that it will sometimes be unclear which grade does describe which of the two sports unless we use namespaces. Reason: There exist several grading systems for each alpine sport, like for climbing, via ferrata, alpine hiking trails, etc. Those alpine sports are usually possible very very close of each other or even for the same way, e.g. a via ferrata and a climbing route that are going the same way, as I have seen several times at the Austrian/Italian border. If this way is tagges to be climbing and via ferrata, and there is only one grade tag, to which of the two sports does this grade belong? --Schoschi (talk) 11:56, 18 March 2013 (UTC)

Yes, it uses namespaces - I realise this is a contentious issue, but I believe it is the right thing to do in order to create descriptive and non-conflicting tags. -- Steve Hill 08:42, 18 April 2008 (UTC)

Relations usually come with a type= tag. So we should consider tagging a crag relation with type=crag, or add type=grouping or similar. Other than that, I like the proposal, provided that the climbing: prefix is dropped. Robx 10:30, 12 May 2008 (UTC)

You're just asking for misspellings if you expect people to type climbing:grade:british:adjectival for each route. Ojw 08:31, 9 October 2009 (UTC)

I agree - it just looks cumbersome csdf 10:53, 9 October 2009 (UTC)

Just 2 ideas:

  • why not use grade= rather than climbing:grade=? The other tags (climbing=route) show that this grade applies to climbing.
  • can use grade:british=5c or grade:british=HVS as the same tag without conflicting with each other? (aren't they equivalent? the routes would be labelled with one or the other?) Ojw 08:42, 9 October 2009 (UTC)
And where a route is graded with both, you could use grade:british=HVS;5c csdf 10:54, 9 October 2009 (UTC)

The Fontaine Bleau (Fb) grading scheme for boulders should be added. How about climbing:grade:fb or climbing:grade:bleau oder climbing:grade:fontaine_bleau? --Schoaf (talk) 09:39, 8 February 2013 (UTC)


After climbing long alpine multi-pitched routes it is often not so easy to descend from the mountain/wall/... you just climbed, sometimes mountain path exist, but sometimes you have to descend by abseiling. Therefore special bolted abseil-pistes exist. I propose climbing=abseil with extra attributes ele, length and pitches. Length reflects the longest distance to abseil, since the rope must be long enough.

Sounds reasonable to also have climbing=abseil as supplement to =route so you can get down again ;-) I guess as values for "pitches" you expect the number of pieces/parts/pitches the abseil piste consists of, just like for routes. IMHO, ele shall again be the entry point elevation, so this time the "upper end" as it's an abseil piste where you shall only go downwards. In consideration of the rest of the discussion, the optional attribute climbing:bolted=yes/no (as proposed for route) would be welcome also -- I would set the (JOSM presets) default to climbing:bolted=yes as most abseil pistes are bolted, but for some few you need some own material. --Schoschi (talk) 08:47, 11 July 2013 (UTC)

Proposal for comprehensive tag structure

I've grouped some ideas about the element/tag structure for this feature into a mind-map, (it is based on the mindmup online tool): climbing mind-map or fast but partial view with a picture.

There is also an editable version, in a collaborative session, but you need to log in with a Google account: climbing mind-map editable

Maybe it's not so clear what I meant, you are free to ask or add comment also in the map.

Let me know what you think, I believe it would be good to have an approved feature and a standard way to tag climbing spot.

About tag structure details

Even if it may seem too complex, I think is better to make the standard a little less straightforward and more comprehensive, simpler(not standard) information insertion already in the osm database or not can be easy translate in an hypothetical standard form. I'm also agree, like mentioned in section 2, to specify guidelines to make easy and fast to map rough information about climbing spots.

Merging Tag:sport=climbing page

I was thinking about merging the page Tag:sport=climbing into the this feature page adding a redirect there, because it seem they have a lot to double information between them, is that good practice or not?

Tmmsartor (talk) 12:03, 7 November 2014 (UTC)

For me the situation is difficult to asses without looking at actual usage in detail. I would suggest to make sure that Tag:sport=climbing has correct (reflecting current best usage) information and than see if this proposal has something new to add on top of that or if it is simply obsolete.
Some features have been discussed controversially, like the climbing routes so it would be interesting to know how much they are actually mapped. For me it appears that it would not be a good idea to mix the currently proposed method of climbing routes with the advice to apply sport=climbing to cliffs or buildings. I could imagine highway=climbing_route similar to via_ferrata. So have people mapped climbing routes? How? RicoZ (talk) 14:45, 7 November 2014 (UTC)
Exactly infact I want to make a clear idea about what has already been discussed, and all I found is mainly this three entry the osm wiki:
not really rejected, never went through RFC and voting as far as I can see RicoZ (talk) 23:47, 7 November 2014 (UTC)
(tell me if I miss something)
And yes it seem people are mapping climbing routes and reasonably they will keep doing that in the future, some link to have an idea:
I'm still not sure what is exactly the currently proposed method of climbing routes. Tmmsartor (talk) 15:26, 7 November 2014 (UTC)
There were also some mailing list threads, recently about access to climbing routes and maybe others. Currently it seems that climbing spots are mapped but not the climbing routes (the actual way up along the rock which is mentioned in the proposal ). The mapping of climbing spots seems fairly solid and needs no improvement except documentation as far as I can see.
As of climbing routes most are almost vertical so can't be mapped in OSM very well but it would be nice to have tagging for those that are not fully vertical and thus could be mapped. The current proposal for climbing=route was apparently used 68 times and much of that may be incorrect usage because route_top was used only 27 times so it can be still changed. For this you could look at Proposed_features/via_ferrata which is in widespread use so it may be better to do something similar to that... basically highway=climbing_route + the "climbing:*" tags which are already defined. RicoZ (talk) 23:47, 7 November 2014 (UTC)