Logging your climbs and trips using Peakbagger.com
Using the Peakbagger.com web site, you can enter information about the peaks
you have climbed and track your progress towards completing lists of summits.
Why would you want to do this? The main benefits are:
- It allows you to keep a clean, organized, and easily updated list of all
your climbs online, so you can view and edit your climbs from anywhere. No more
messy spreadsheets or tattered pieces of paper.
- Once you have entered your ascents, your friends and family can see what
you have been up to. It's also a great way to show off your accomplishments to
the world. You also have the option of making your ascent information visible to
- You can enter trip reports of your climbs and hikes for others to read.
- Once ascents have been entered, many different reports of your climbing
activity are automatically generated from the master database.
- It provides a consistent format for looking at snapshots of how you are
progressing on completing peak lists.
Note and Disclaimer: Peakbagger.com is a free, non-commerial site at
present. All development work is done by one person in his spare time, and as a
result the site is not as "slick" as most of the professionally designed web
sites out there. Also, there may still be some minor bugs. However, no
user-entered data has ever been lost, so you can be confident in the stability of
the site, despite some minor glitches in the user experience.
Please feel free to e-mail the site administrator
(see Contact Page) with any comments, suggestions,
or issues with your experience adding your peak data to the site.
As a free, non-commerical site, any information you enter is not resold,
transferred, or used for any commercial purpose. You e-mail address will only
be used to contact you when there are serious issues with the site and the data
you have entered.
Finally, note that at some point a nominal fee may be charged to users of the
site who want to enter climb information. My feeling now is that fees are
unlikely, but if it happens it will likely be in the range of $10 - $20 per year
to help pay for ISP fees to keep the site running. If, after entering data, you
do not want to pay a future fee, then you will have the option of receiving a
free dump or report of all information you entered in text, XLS, or MDB format.
Ascent: For the purposes of this site, an ascent is one person
attaining one place at one time. This is an important definition, so it merits
- One Person: Ascents are tracked by individual, not by group. So if
three friends climb a mountain together, it is considered three ascents. There
are ways to group ascents into a "Party", but that is a separate matter (see
- One Place: For the most part, the place attained is the summit of a
mountain. However, there are three distinct kinds of point, and these are
considered ascents of different types:
- 1. A summit or peak, or a "slope point" (the high point of an area located
where its boundary intersects a slope or ridge). There are over 20,000 of these
in the Peakbagger.com Database, covering the majority of important peaks and
points in the world. If there is a peak you would like added, make sure you are
logged in and click the "Add Peak to DB" link just below the main menu.
- 2. A point below a mountain's peak where a climber turned back from the goal of reaching the summit. Many memorable ascents are unsuccessful summit attempts, and this category of ascent allows you to record the trips where you turned back short of your goal.
- 3. A point that is a destination of interest, but not a peak. This could be a lake, a waterfall, a viewpoint, a pass, or anywhere else a person ascended to with no summit goal. This category of ascent can be used for simple hikes or other trips where the goal was simply exercise, getting into the woods, or other non-summit-oriented pursuits.
- One Time: An ascent is required to have a time value. At the minimum, the year is required. If you know the month, day, hour, or even minute, you can enter as much as you know or care to document. Few climbers know the time they arrived at a summit, but you may find it useful to add a suffix if you want to preserve the order you climbed peaks on the same day. For example, you could use "2005-02-18 a" for the first peak you climbed on that day, "2005-02-18 b" for the second peak, etc.
So, all you need to start enter an ascent is the climber (presumably you), the peak (selected from this web site), the date (at least the year), and whether or not you were successful. Everything else is optional.
The only exception to this is Point Elevation. If your ascent was an unsuccessful attempt on a peak, or a hike with no summit goal, you must enter the elevation of the high point of your ascent. You might have to estimate this elevation from altimeter readings or map reading, but you should try to enter some guess of your elevation for all unsuccessful and no-summit-goal ascents.
How Do I Add Ascents?
First, you must login using the login page. When logged in, your name will
appear at the top of all pages. There will also be an "Add Ascent" link for you
to click. Once on the Ascent Editor page, you must do a search for peaks to find
the peak you climbed, then add the date and any other information you want. When
you have entered all the required fields, then click on the "Save Ascent" button
and your ascent is saved.
It can get tedious to have to keep searching for peak names, so there are
other ways to add an Ascent. If you are logged in and you go to the Peak Lists
page, and then to an individual peak list page, an "FullAdd" link will
appear for every peak in the list. You can click this link and the Ascent Editor
will appear with that peak already entered. You can add the date and other
optional information, and then return to the list to add more peaks.
Also, if you are logged in, every individual peak page in the entire site will
have an "FullAdd" link you can click on to add that peak to your Ascents. So,
for example, you can use the main Search utility (click on Search in the top menu
bar) to find a peak, then click on the "I Climbed It!" button that appears as
long as you are logged in.
Quick Ascent Add
The Ascent Editor page can be intimidating, even though you can safely ignore
most of it as long as you are not entering any optional information. So if all
you want to do is record the date you climbed a peak, and nothing more, you can
use the "Quick Ascent Add" functionality.
If you are logged in and go to a List page, all peaks on the list will have
a checkbox, a date
text field, and a "FullAdd" link. If all you want to do is check off the peaks
you climbed, you can select those peaks using the checkboxes and then click the
"Quick Ascent Add" button on top of the page. You don't even have to add a
However, it is recommended that you do at least add the date you climbed each
peak. So you can enter the dates in the text boxes, click "Quick Ascent Add", and
you are done.
The page for each individual peak has the same functionality--enter the date
and click the "Quick Add" button. Or just click the button.
Note that when adding ascents from a peak list page, any peaks you already
climbed will have a date already there and you can not enter a new ascent for
that peak using the "Quick Add" system. For subsequent ascents of that same peak,
you must click the "FullAdd" link and use the Ascent Editor page.
Optional Data for Ascents
Even though you can just enter the basics (date, peak) for an ascent, there
is much more to an ascent that the bare minimum. You can enter any number of
the following attributes of an ascent:
Point Name: If this ascent was an unsuccessful attempt on a peak, or a hike with no summit goal, you can enter the name of the high point of your ascent. For example, if you turned back, you might enter "East Ridge". If you hiked to a waterfall or lake, you can enter its name.
Trip Report: This is a large free-form text field you can use to tell
the story of your climb. You can put whatever you want in this box.
Ascent Statistics: You can enter lots of data about the route you took
to the summit, as follows:
- Start Point: This is usually the place where you started hiking uphill at the start of the ascent. It is often a trailhead, or, if the ascent is not the first one on your trip, then a col between two peaks. If the ascent is by motorized means, then I like to think the start point is the same as the summit.
- Start Elevation: The elevation of the start point. Used to calculate vertical gain. If the ascent is by motorized means, I will set this equal to the peak or point elevation.
- Route Up: The name of the route or trail used to reach the summit, for example, "East Ridge" or "Meadow Trail".
- Extra Elevation on Ascent: Many climbs will take you up and down quite a
bit, so that the total vertical gain is not the simple difference between summit
and trailhead. In case like this, add the extra gain from ups and downs here.
- Distance Up: This is the distance hiked from the Start Point to the Summit.
If the ascent is by motorized means, I usually set this to zero.
- Time Up: You can enter how long your ascent took here.
Descent Statistics: An Ascent, for the purposes of this site,
includes both the trip up to the peak or point being climbed, plus the descent
back down. It seems funny to say that the descent is part of the Ascent, but
climbers will agree with the logic--it is well known that the way down is often
more dangerous. Therefore, when logging an Ascent, you can enter information
about how you descended. On a simple out-and-back hike, the Route Down, End
Point, End Point Elevation, and Distance Down will be the same as their upwards
counterparts. If that is the case, click the "Out and Back" button to
automatically populate the descent fields.
Machine to Summit: If your ascent was by motorized means, you can
record what kind of transportation you used. Many officially-sanctioned
peakbagging pursuits do not recognize machine-aided ascents, so this can be an
important data item to track.
Grade: This is a free-form field for adding the a grade or other
standard classification for the difficulty of your ascent. You can use whatever
you want--examples might be "YDS 5.9" or "IV, 5.6" or "PD+" or "Class 2" or
anything else. I recommend using a semi-consistent system for your ascents,
so lists generated are not too wildly diverse.
Note that this logging system is not designed for rock climbers focused on
trad climbing, bouldering, crag climbs, big walls, sport climbing, or any other
pursuit where peaks and summits are not the main goal. (After all, this site
is called Peakbagger.com.) This grade data is mainly for peakbaggers to record
how hard their ascent was in some kind of objective fashion.
Route Aspects: Special conditions that you might have encountered on
your ascent can be recorded by checking any of the 13 checkboxes here. Many
ascents will have a comination of several of these route conditions.
Gear/Help Used: If you used technical gear on your ascent, that, too,
can be added to help you characterize the nature of your climb.
Weather: This site supports a standard set of descriptions for recording four facets of the weather conditions while you were on the summit. This system is not perfect and does not describe every possible nuance of weather, but by standardizing descriptions it enables cross-ascent comparisons and analysis.
- Precipitation: No Precipitation, Drizzle, Rain, Snow, Thunderstorm
- Wind: Calm, Breeze, Windy, Strong Wind, Extreme Wind
- Visibility: Clear, Hazy, Partly Cloudy, Overcast, White-out
- Temperature: Pleasant, Hot, Cool, Cold, Frigid
Party: Most ascents are done with companions, and you can list those
who climbed with you. It is best to separate other members of your party with
commas to aid in formatting the web page. Generally, a party is defined as a
group of people on a summit at the same time, but you can add people who didn't
make it or stayed behind if you want, but perhaps with a slight explanation.
If you climbed with another registered member of Peakbagger.com, you can add them
to the Party list in such a way that the person's name will be hyperlinked to his
or her home page. To do this, navigate to your buddy's home page and note the "cid"
parameter in the URL. That number is the person's climber ID. Then, in the party
text box, just put that number in square brackets instead of their name.
Show Ascent in Lists: There may be ascents that you want to record,
but, for various reasons, do not want others on the Internet to see when they
browse to this site. So, every ascent you enter gives you the option of checking
a "Show this ascent to others" box. You will see it in lists and charts when
you are logged in to the site, but at all other times the ascent will remain
hidden from view. This is handy for those trips where you called in sick to
work to climb and don't want your boss to see what you did!
Trip: A trip, for the purposes of this site, is defined as series of
Ascents with no motorized transport in between. If you leave your car and climb
over two peaks before returning, then you have done one trip with two ascents.
If you hike the Appalachian Trail, and you walk the enitre way except to
hitchhike down into town half-way along before finishing, you have done two trips, both with hundreds of ascents.
You may want to define your trips differently, but I suggest this rule for
consistency across climbers.
You do not have to enter any trip data if you don't want. By default, all
ascents are part of single-ascent trips. If not, you can create a trip by
typing in a trip name and a sequence number. Then, when you add another ascent
on the same trip, you new trip name will be available to you in the drop down
A Final note
All of these fields are optional. The only thing you are required to enter
is the peak and date. If you start filling in all the other data
accurately for all your ascents, you are on your way to becoming a truly
obsessive-compulsive peakbagging nutcase (like me)!