For Paris 2024, Sport Climbing has two sets of medals instead of just the one in Tokyo. While Speed Climbing has been split off and gained its separate medal, Boulder and Lead remain combined.
But the format has changed.
The old format used the ranking of individual competitors and multiplied them to score athletes’ performance. The new format rewards athletes for their performances on the climbs, no matter what anyone else does. An athlete’s score is the total of all the points athletes score on each boulder and route they compete on.
Boulder&Lead Competitions can have 3 rounds: qualification, semi-finals and finals. The Continental Qualifiers and the Olympic Qualification System will use all three rounds. At the World Championship, we will only have semi-finals and finals. Semi-finals are made up of the top 20 athletes from qualification, and the top 8 will progress to the Final, subject to ties.
For Qualification and Semi-final rounds, the Boulder and Lead rounds must be separated by at least 2 hours if they are on the same day. For the final, there must be at least a 20-minute gap between the back-to-back rounds.
In each round, athletes will compete on 4 boulders and 1 route. The boulders have two different zones to aid separation in scoring. However, each boulder can still have at most 12 hand holds and should average between 4 and 8. The route must be at least 40 holds long as the scoring uses the top 40 holds of the route. The time limits are the same as normal Boulder and Lead competitions. For Boulder, Athletes have 5 minutes for Qualification and Semi-finals and 4 minutes for Finals plus 2 minutes observation time. For Lead, Athletes have 6 minutes of observation time and 6 minutes to attempt the route.
Athletes are then ranked by their total score, out of 200 points, across both disciplines.
Scoring in Boulder
Each boulder in a Boulder round is scored out of 25 points. An athlete gets 25 points for controlling the top hold, irrespective of if they use the zone holds. The high zone hold is worth 10 points, and the low zone holds 5 points. Athletes lose 0.1 points for each unsuccessful attempt to reach the highest scoring hold they secure.
This means that:
- An athlete who flashes a boulder, tops it on their first attempt, will score 25 points.
- An athlete who takes 4 attempts to top a boulder will score 25 - 0.4 = 24.6 points.
- An athlete who gets the high zone hold on their 2nd attempt gets 10 - 0.2 = 9.8 points.
An athlete’s score for the Boulder round is the sum of their scores on the boulders out of a maximum of 100 points.
Scoring in Lead
For Lead, the athletes score points depending on high up the lead route they get. Only the top 40 holds on a route are scored, so the route must be at least 40 holds long. The first 10 holds are worth 1 point, the next 10 holds are worth 2 points, the next 10 are worth 3 points, and the last 10 are worth 4 points. An athlete’s score is the sum of all the holds they use on the route.
- An athlete who reaches hold 20 below the top scores 30 points.
- An athlete who reaches hold 10 below the top scores 60 points.
- An athlete who reaches hold 5 below the top scores 80 points.
- An athlete who reaches the top hold and clips the final quickdraw scores 100 points..
Pluses awarded to athletes for upward progression towards the next hold are worth 0.1 extra points. If an athlete reaches the top hold but fails to clip the final quickdraw, they score 99.9 points.
Let us compare what points correspond to across the two disciplines.
|Points||Lead Score||Boulder Score|
|100||Top hold||4 Tops|
|80||5 holds from top||3 Tops & 1 Low Zone hold|
|60||10 holds from top||2 Tops & 2 Low Zone holds|
|30||20 holds from top||3 High Zone holds|
|10||30 holds from top||1 High Zone hold|
So it is easy to score low on the route and get a few zones in boulder, while getting to the top of multiple boulders or the last 10 holds of the route will profit athletes most. Although boulders will lose a few points form multiple attempts, they can almost certainly make up for this at the bottom of the lead route. If either the route or the set of boulders is significantly harder, then the discipline will be come unbalanced. Of all the version of combined, this one will demand the most of the routesetter to ensure that the overall winner is the best-combined athlete.