Today we’re going to take a closer look at the IFSC (International Federation of Sport Climbing) scoring system.
Bouldering competitions take place on a climbing wall, with short routes and no ropes. The routes, or rather the “boulders”, are setup in such a way that the lowest part of the body is never higher than 3m off the ground.
The most important thing to know is that there are only two holds that count towards scoring. The top (last) hold and the zone hold (a marked hold somewhere in the middle of the route). The qualification rounds are normally have 5 boulders and the semi-final and final have 4 each. Each athlete has a time limit of 5 minutes during qualification and semi-finals and a time limit of 4 minutes for finals.
After each round of the competition, each competitor participating in that round shall be ranked within their starting group/category using the following criteria:
i. First, in descending order, the number of successfully completed boulders (“TOPS”) in the current round;
ii. Second, in descending order, the total number of zone points gained by the competitor in the current round;
iii. Third, in ascending order, the total number of attempts to complete these boulders;
iv. Fourth, in ascending order, the total number of attempts to achieve these zone points
The top-hold is judged to be “controlled” if the participant reaches the hold with both hands and holds until the judge gives the “OK” (about 3 seconds).
A zone is considered “controlled” if the competitor has either completed the whole boulder or used the zone hold to reach a stable position.
A typical scoring table may look like this at the end of a round:
Rank 1: 4 tops, 5 zones, 5 top attempts, 7 zone attempts 4T5z 5 7
Rank 2: 4 tops, 4 zones, 4 top attempts, 4 zone attempts 4T4z 4 4
Rank 3: 4 tops, 4 zones, 5 top attempts, 4 zone attempts 4T4z 5 4
Rank 4: 3 tops, 5 zones, 3 top attempts, 5 zone attempts 3T5z 3 5
The competitor with the best top-score (i.e. highest number of controlled tops and the lowest number of attempts within the given time-limit) achieves first place. The zone-score is used in the case of a tie between two competitors (i.e. they have the same top-score). If two competitors have the same top-score and zone-score, the results from the previous round (semi-final or qualification) are taken into account. If the two competitors still have the same score in the semi-final or the final, they will be given an equal ranking.
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Source/more information: International Federation of Sport Climbing