I have tried to explain this to quite a few people now and normally get a bit of a funny look. Thing is, it’s a daft idea really but one that does work, and achieves exactly what i was after, even if no-one seems to get it. I’ll start from the beginning:
The back story
I was bouldering one evening at the Cromlech boulders in the Pass, around the flat and usually sodden area by Heel Hook Traverse. On picking up my guidebook, i noticed there were quite a few easier problems on the face opposite that i had neglected to tick but stare at the wall as i did, i couldn’t be sure which ones i had done, and which i hadn’t. To be sure, and in order not to accidentally tick climbs i hadn’t done (last time i did that, i forced myself into working Left Wall Traverse V8 at the cave), i repeated them all, as none were that hard anyway. It turns out, that these problems were actually pretty good, and i’d missed some before, including the brilliant Moose’s Problem V3/4. Then it occurred to me: if i had just guessed and ticked the problems i thought i’d done, i’d have probably missed some really nice, albeit easy, lines, and that seemed to be a shame. So, i came up with this plan:
No Retro Ticks Allowed
You have 24 hours (an arbitrary time frame, to allow you to get home and find a pen, etc) in which you are still able to tick your guidebook after an ascent. It’s as simple as that.
Big question is why, normally conveyed by a raised eyebrow or equivalent. Well, it forces you to do one of two things: stop ticking problems (which is admittedly a bit daft anyway, when you think about it, and a bit narcissistic) or if you’re going to record what you’ve done, record it in full and not just the glamorous hard stuff. If you’re doing it for an online ticklist, it’ll improve your score. If you’re doing it to keep records, surely do it properly and if you’re not sure why you’re doing it, it forces you to figure it out instead of just doing it because everyone else does. And it’s more honest.
But as the back story shows, it can be quite useful and can mean you don’t miss things you think you’ve done. It’s also meant i now keep some notes in my books too, which has turned out to be a nice touch and made things a bit more personal.
Multiple Guidebook Variation
Okay, so i take this a bit too far here, i’ll admit but for me, that 24 hours is the time to tick in ALL guidebooks, as often problems appear in multiple thomes. This can be a bit of an issue sometimes, as the same problem can easily exist in three different copies these days, but c’est la vie, if i’m gonna do it, i might as well do it right. It does cause slight issues if a new edition comes out but again, i think i may play this by ear if and when the new North Wales Bouldering guide comes out. Either which way, i think this variation is best left to the individual protagonist; it’s more of a slight complication than a rule.
And that’s it really. Give it a try, local venues that are regularly visited make the most sense but either way, it’s worked for me and doesn’t really take a lot of effort. Just means you’ve got to keep remembering to take a pen…