Consensus Climb & Area Codes

Climbing is growing quickly and guides are fragmenting. An identification scheme would help climbers use multiple guides/platforms and it would encourage platform discovery.

The id scheme should be accurate enough to be helpful, but not so precise that it becomes cumbersome.

For brevity, this refers to Consensus Climb and Area Codes as Coca Codes.

The name Coca Code isn't final and this document is a draft.


Essentially, Coca Codes are common abbreviations for climbs and climbing destinations.

These codes should meet a few goals:

  1. Offer concise, transparent identification for climbs and destinations
  2. Be easily adoptable (e.g., simple, approachable, low-code)
  3. Be useful in multiple contexts
    • readable and writable by computers and humans
    • usable in printed guidebooks and digital guides
  4. Allow the community to come to a consensus when codes differ

Destination Codes

Destination Codes must be unique within ~200 miles (300 kilometers). This is sufficiently accurate for casual conversation. When prefixed with a 3-character geohash it will be globally unique.

Destination Code Near Plain Text
Yosemite Valley YOV 9qd 9qd:YOV
Tuolumne Meadows TUO 9qe 9qe:TUO
Red Rocks RED 9qm 9qm:RED
Fontainbleau FONT u09 u09:FONT
The Gunks GNX dr7 dr7:GNX
The New River Gorge NRG dny dny:NRG

The term destination here is used for the idea of a geospatial boundary that organizes climbs. Destinations do not intersect or nest. This is in contrast with an area which, as generally used, is too vague to be practical for our purposes.

Area/Destination Differences

Take the The Red River Gorge: from North to South it's about 20 miles, and it contains smaller regions, sometimes sub-divided by ownership, which contain crags, these can be organized by walls, and sometimes divided further into sections of walls.

The Red River Gorge is an extreme example that highlights the mess around what's considered an area. For our purposes, we need a simple solution to identify climbs; adding areas could get out of hand quickly.

Climb Codes

Climb Codes should be unique within either 3 miles (5km) or the destination that the climb is in, whichever contains more climbs. This sufficiently precise for casual conversation or use within a guidebook. Also, when prefixed with a 6-character geohash, it will be globally unique.
Optionally, for improved human friendliness, the parent destination's code can be used.

Climb Code Near/In Plain Text
Plumber's Crack PLC 9qmvtw 9qmvtw:PLC
9qm RED 9qm:RED:PLC
Midnight Lightning MNL 9qdywq 9qdywq:MNL
9qd YOV 9qd:YOV:MNL
The Nose NOS 9qdyts 9qdyts:NOS
9qd YOV 9qd:YOV:NOS

Also, see interactive examples

For climbers

For climbing developers

Assuming you have a climb (or destination) and you want a code for it:
  1. check a Coca explorer (and guidebooks) to see if a code already exists
  2. pick a code
  3. upload to services or contact guidebook authors

For guidebook authors and platforms

Simplicity is the goal. A TSV documents would be easy to create, share, and use. Generating a TSV is trivial with Excel or any programming language.

Store Coca Codes and Coordinates

Publish Coca Codes

Climbs and Destinations should be listed in a coca-codes.tsv file with five fields:

c	9qdyts	NOS	The Nose
d	9qd	YOV	Yosemite Valley

Existing solutions outside of climbing

This the prior art relation to climb identification, globally/universally unique ids, and geospatial identification.

Big Random(ish) Values


The article Geocode offers many other options


Questions, Issues, and Comments