Comparative grading scales, statistical analyses, climber descriptors and ability grouping: International Rock Climbing Research Association position statement

Creative Commons License

Draper N., Giles D., Schöffl V., Konstantin Fuss F., Watts P., Wolf P., ...More

Sports Technology, vol.8, pp.88-94, 2015 (Scopus) identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 8
  • Publication Date: 2015
  • Doi Number: 10.1080/19346182.2015.1107081
  • Journal Name: Sports Technology
  • Journal Indexes: Scopus, SportDiscus
  • Page Numbers: pp.88-94
  • Hacettepe University Affiliated: Yes


The research base for rock climbing has expanded substantially in the past three decades as worldwide interest in the sport has grown. An important trigger for the increasing research attention has been the transition of the sport to a competitive as well as recreational activity and the potential inclusion of sport climbing in the Olympic schedule. The International Rock Climbing Research Association (IRCRA) was formed in 2011 to bring together climbers, coaches and researchers to share knowledge and promote collaboration. This position statement was developed during and after the 2nd IRCRA Congress which was held in Pontresina, in September 2014. The aim of the position statement is to bring greater uniformity to the descriptive and statistical methods used in reporting rock climbing research findings. To date there is a wide variation in the information provided by researchers regarding the climbers’ characteristics and also in the approaches employed to convert from climbing grading scales to a numeric scale suitable for statistical analysis. Our paper presents details of recommended standards of reporting that should be used for reporting climber characteristics and provides a universal scale for the conversion of climbing grades to a number system for statistical analysis.