/ Grades

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TwSpanner - on 21 May 2012
I thought I understood the grading system but this UKC article 'La Madone, 9a+ by Sébastien Bouin' suggests I don't understand it as well as I thought I did.
I've always believed that a grade of 8c on a route indicates that the hardest move on a route will be 8c. It doesn't matter if all the other moves on the route are 5a the route is still given 8c because thats the hardest move. The same applies to a route of 10 x 8c moves. The grade is 8c because this is the difficulty of the hardest move.
The article says that the route La Madone is basically two 8c+ routes back to back and according to the article this is 9a+.
I shall have to look for a detailed explanation of the grading system and re-educate myself.
alexjz - on 21 May 2012
In reply to TwSpanner: the grading system you're describing is english technical grade where the hardest move of the route gives the grade. Sport routes are graded with french sport grade where the overall difficulty of the route gives the grade i.e. technical, sustained, length etc. Thats why La Madone linking 2 8c+ routes gets 9a+... I think, correct me if I'm wrong
Nick Russell on 21 May 2012
In reply to TwSpanner:

These are French grades, used in the UK (+ Europe and various other parts of the world) for sport routes. I'm not sure exactly what the grading philosophy is, but it's not the same as the UK technical grade, which is what you describe as the "hardest move". UK tech grades will always be accompanied by an adjectival grade (except on boulder problems)

Hope that clears things up
TwSpanner - on 21 May 2012
In reply to Nick Russell:

I've been applying the English technical philosphy to French sports grades. You learn something new every day.
ian Ll-J - on 21 May 2012
In reply to TwSpanner:
You learn something new every day.

Here's another one...They are 'British' Tech grades...not 'English' Tech grades!!!!
Bulls Crack - on 21 May 2012
In reply to TwSpanner:
> I thought I understood the grading system but this UKC article 'La Madone, 9a+ by Sébastien Bouin' suggests I don't understand it as well as I thought I did.
> I've always believed that a grade of 8c on a route indicates that the hardest move on a route will be 8c. It doesn't matter if all the other moves on the route are 5a the route is still given 8c because thats the hardest move. The same applies to a route of 10 x 8c moves. The grade is 8c because this is the difficulty of the hardest move.

Out of interest why did you belive this? genuinely interested since there are countless explanations and articles on-line and in guidbooks etc that don't say this!
mkean - on 21 May 2012
In reply to ian Ll-J:
Here's another one...They are 'British' Tech grades...not 'English' Tech grades!!!!

Honestly Ian, you'll be suggesting they are comparable across the various provinces of the Untied Kingdom (sic) next. Welsh tech grades for Welsh routes, Scottish tech for Scottish routes and English tech for English routes. Surely you don't want nice sensible Welsh grading muddied by the Northern sanbdbaggers and the Peak district softies?

AlanLittle - on 21 May 2012
In reply to TwSpanner:

Take two sport routes I did at the weekend. Route A was 30 metres of pretty sustained climbing, no particularly hard moves but no good rests on the top half either.

Route B had a harder crux with good rests and easier climbing before & after.

Same grade, because a climber who can do the moves on Route A whilst pumped can also do the harder moves on Route B if not pumped.

The Pylon King on 21 May 2012
In reply to TwSpanner:

Sport grades are useless.
3 Names - on 21 May 2012
In reply to Formerly Known as Pylon King:

Your useless.
Al Randall on 21 May 2012
In reply to Formerly Known as Pylon King: I agree. There seems to be much more variation and inconsistency within the French grades than there is in the UK trad system. If you just forget the "protection/danger" element of the UK system and apply it to sport I think it works surprisingly well and in my opinion helps to minimise the cruxy vs sustained issue often leveled at sports grades.

Al
TwSpanner - on 21 May 2012
In reply to Bulls Crack:

Started climbing years ago, 'British' trad so I never really took any interest in the sport grading system. Only quite recently started climbing on bolts and obviously the alpha numeric Brtish technical grades look exactly the same as the French sport grades. So I made an assumption and got it wrong. To be honest I didn't think too deeply about it, just went out and did the routes I liked the look of. Now I know better.
On.it - on 21 May 2012
In reply to ian Ll-J: haaa haaaaaaa haaaaaaaaa haaaaaaa haaaaaa haaaaa
tlm - on 21 May 2012
In reply to Vince McNally:

> Your useless.

Come on, what's with the cliff hanger? Finish the sentence. Your useless what????

3 Names - on 21 May 2012
In reply to tlm:

What do you think should be there?
TwSpanner - on 21 May 2012
In reply to ian Ll-J:

I stand corrected !!!!!
So I suppose I shouldn't be calling them 'French' sport grades ?
TwSpanner - on 21 May 2012
In reply to alexjz:

Thanks.
Bulls Crack - on 21 May 2012
In reply to AlanLittle:
> (In reply to TwSpanner)
>
> Same grade, because a climber who can do the moves on Route A whilst pumped can also do the harder moves on Route B if not pumped.

'Some' climbers more accurately?! I've found that sport grades have trouble with cruxy routes but come into their own with similar more sustained routes
Robert Durran - on 21 May 2012
In reply to TwSpanner:

Had you never wondered why all those 6b moves on sport routes were so much easier than 6a moves on trad routes?
tlm - on 21 May 2012
In reply to Vince McNally:
> (In reply to tlm)
>
> What do you think should be there?

I have no idea! It was you who wrote the start of the sentence.

TwSpanner - on 21 May 2012
In reply to Robert Durran:

No, I understood that the Brit and sport grades were different. But I thought the grade referred to the hardest move.
3 Names - on 21 May 2012
In reply to tlm:

I had no intention of adding anything else, itwas you that seemed to think it needed it?
AJM - on 21 May 2012
In reply to Vince McNally:

It's pedantry sadly Vinnie - there was an apostrophe you missed, and this is UKC...
Al Randall on 21 May 2012
In reply to TwSpanner: Perhaps someone can explain to me. I find it difficult to decide because of the inconsistencies within a given grade so we will have to concentrate on the theory and not the reality. If a routes hardest move is 6b but the rest is 6a or even 5c would the pitch get 6a or 6b using the French system. If the former that seems a little odd, as a 6a climber may not make the move, but if the latter surely that is just grading the hardest move. If a route is 40 metres as opposed to say 15 metres would that warrant a higher grade?

Al
AJM - on 21 May 2012
In reply to Al Randall:

Why do you feel there is more inconsistency in French grading? Having been to a variety of places I've yet to be convinced that UK grading is any less consistent (Cornish grading, County grading, Swanage grading etc) - both vary widely across areas. And to be fair, you might be able to get "more accuracy" by using E grades for sport, but only by sacrificing granularity - you would probably give a lot of 6b and 6a+ routes E2 5c, and don't even get started on what "sport E6 6b" or "sport E8 6c" could translate to!!!
AJM - on 21 May 2012
In reply to Al Randall:

If we are talking theory, there's no such thing as a "French 6b move". The grade is for the pitch - a 15m route with a "typical crux difficulty of a 15m 6b" would be 6b (unless the difficulty of the restwere either massively more easy or hard than the "typical 15m 6b"), if that same move were on a 40m route it would depend massively on the difficulty of the rest of the route, anywhere from say 6a if the rest of the route was a scramble to 7a or something if each move was like that for 40m
3 Names - on 21 May 2012
In reply to AJM:

I see, thanks
Al Randall on 21 May 2012
In reply to AJM:
> (In reply to Al Randall)
>
> Why do you feel there is more inconsistency in French grading?

I don't know how to answer that, that's my experience. I can think of several areas in Europe where on the same crag I have cruised a 6b+ and struggled on a 6a even though the character of the climbing was similar. This has been too often, too widespread and too consistent to put down to other factors especially when my peers agree with me at the time. That doesn't happen nearly as often to me on trad.

Al

Quiddity - on 21 May 2012
In reply to Al Randall:

The french grading system is for the difficulty of sequences or entire pitches, not moves - ie. there is no such thing as a '6b move'.

Similarly there is no such thing as a '6a climber' in the same way that traddies like to talk some sort of ideal 'HVS climber' - any given climber may indeed be able to climb 6a in all styles but equally, many will be able to climb 6b in one style but only 5+ in another style - thems the breaks.

> If a routes hardest move is 6b but the rest is 6a or even 5c would the pitch get 6a or 6b using the French system.

In the event of a very cruxy route with one move much harder than the rest, sometimes this gets 'averaged' out to a compromise - 6a or perhaps 6a+ in your example. In practice it will be graded in relation to other routes of a similar degree of cruxiness.

> If a route is 40 metres as opposed to say 15 metres would that warrant a higher grade?

Depends on the stamina/pump requirements of the route; ie. on a juggy 4+ slab it doesn't make much difference to the overall difficulty if the route is 15m or 40m. The same does not necessarily apply on an overhanging 7a+. in practice, longer routes usually have easier moves on than shorter routes of the same grade.
Al Randall on 21 May 2012
In reply to AJM:
> (In reply to Al Randall)
>
> If we are talking theory, there's no such thing as a "French 6b move".

Yes I understand that perhaps we shouldn't get too theoretical. In any case I challenge anyone to not make some attempt to grade an individual move, you hear it all the time. "That move was never 6b it was good 6c" etc. etc.

Al

tlm - on 21 May 2012
In reply to AJM:
> (In reply to Vince McNally)
>
> It's pedantry sadly Vinnie - there was an apostrophe you missed, and this is UKC...

and an e... don't forget the e...

tlm - on 21 May 2012
In reply to Vince McNally:

...the pedantry is just for fun, not nastyness. I was enjoying the grading discussion too, but everyone had already said anything that I might have to say about that.... I apologise. I just got overexcited about the missing apostrophe. *looks contrite*
3 Names - on 21 May 2012
In reply to tlm:

No probs
AJM - on 21 May 2012
In reply to Al Randall:

Oddly enough I can't recall a time when I've done that or heard others do so. Complaining that the overall grade is out because the move is too hard, perhaps, but that's not trying to artificially create a move grade, it's saying that in the context of the route the move is too hard to fit with the overall French grade. Perhaps it's more common amongst people who are either too engrained with the way a UK grade works or who don't understand the french grade works differently.
Al Randall on 21 May 2012
In reply to Quiddity: I have to disagree but then I'm not really a sport climber more a climber who climbs on bolts. I use the grading system to give myself some idea of the likely hood of my getting up a specific climb. I approach all climbs as "on sight" ascents and in that regard consider myself a 6b climber. I would anticipate getting up ALL 6a and 6a+ climbs cleanly perhaps 90% of the 6b's, 80% of the 6b+'s and the odd 6c if it suits my strengths.

I think that what you are saying is that the French grading system is not really appropriate for my approach to climbing which is probably true but I don't think that I am unique in that respect.

Al
3 Names - on 21 May 2012
In reply to Al Randall:

I think you have hit the nail on the head .
Al Randall on 21 May 2012
In reply to AJM:
> (In reply to Al Randall)
>
Yes but you are a different generation and probably mix with a very different group. I think that in itself is part of the problem. Not that it really is a problem for me. I'm one of those who thinks there are only two grades of climb, "them you can get up and them you can't." :-)

Al
robaj - on 21 May 2012
In reply to tlm:

*nastiness

FTFY ;)
tlm - on 21 May 2012
In reply to robaj:
> (In reply to tlm)
>
> *nastiness
>
> FTFY ;)

ooo! thanks! :-)

AlanLittle - on 21 May 2012
In reply to Bulls Crack:
> (In reply to AlanLittle)
> [...]
>
> 'Some' climbers more accurately?! I've found that sport grades have trouble with cruxy routes but come into their own with similar more sustained routes

"The hypothetical/generic/average climber" then. Come on. How pedantic do you wnat to be? Yes, there are some people who are as you describe, and others (called "boulderers") who cannot string more then three or four moves together no matter how easy they are. But try to be a bit realistic. I'm not talking about 8c+/9a here. How many people do you know who could do 15 metres of sustained pumpy (British technical) 5b, but wouldn't have a chance on a couple of 5c moves?

Bulls Crack - on 21 May 2012
In reply to AlanLittle:
> (In reply to Bulls Crack)
> [...]
>
How many people do you know who could do 15 metres of sustained pumpy (British technical) 5b, but wouldn't have a chance on a couple of 5c moves?

I'm thinking more the other way round - speaking from personal experience!
tom_in_edinburgh - on 21 May 2012
In reply to Al Randall:
> ( I use the grading system to give myself some idea of the likely hood of my getting up a specific climb.
>

Surely, if you want to use the grading system as a measure of the likelihood of getting up a climb then the French system which grades the difficulty of the whole climb is (at least in theory) *more* suitable than the British system which grades the hardest move?

British grades are a bit like Imperial measures, loved by people that grew up with them but fundamentally mad. The best thing would be to get rid of them and either use new technology to build a better system from the ground up or just switch to an international standard like French or US grades.


Al Randall on 21 May 2012
In reply to tom_in_edinburgh: I disagree. The UK system has served us well for nearly 50 years. Whilst I accept that there may be problems at the top end, I'm not qualified to judge, no matter how you look at it a 2 dimensional system (UK Trad)must, by definition, be better and contain more information than a one dimensional system such as the French.

I think that there are two things that my generation of climbers should be proud of supporting and encouraging over the years. The UK grading system and the use of double ropes. I would go further and suggest that we should have resisted the introduction of French grades and instead modified the existing UK system so that it could be applied to trad and sport in the UK. After all, as I have just been reminded following a recent trip to Europe, the only similarity between continental sport and UK sport is bolts. The rock here is comparatively crap and the venues, in the main, depressing.

Al
Ramblin dave - on 21 May 2012
In reply to Al Randall:
> (In reply to tom_in_edinburgh) I disagree. The UK system has served us well for nearly 50 years. Whilst I accept that there may be problems at the top end, I'm not qualified to judge, no matter how you look at it a 2 dimensional system (UK Trad)must, by definition, be better and contain more information than a one dimensional system such as the French.

I'd assume if someone's talking about "using the French system in the UK" they mean replacing UK tech with French, rather than replacing the two part grade with a single French grade.

I dunno, I guess in principle it's a toss-up whether you'd rather the grade left ambiguity as to whether it's sustained or scary (and hence whether you'd be happy to chance your arm pushing your grade leading it) or abiguity about whether it's sustained or cruxy (and hence whether you're likely to be unable to get up it even on a top rope (which I suppose could be an issue if you're doing a long multipitch with a much better leader or something).

I'd guess that the former is marginally more useful, but in practice, the UK grades are pretty much workable for the sort of grades I'm ever likely to climb, and seem unlikely to change on my say-so, so I don't waste too much thought on it.
puppythedog on 21 May 2012
In reply to Al Randall: Going to agree with you there Al (sorry :-))
I've only been climbing 3 years but I think the Brit grade in its entirety (so adjectival with technical) says an awful lot more than the French.
The adjectival grade does what the french does (describes the overall difficulty of the experience of climbing it) and the tech grade ads to that.
I don't really care very much about the arguments, for the bolted routes near me that have trad grades though I would like the adjectival grades changed to remove the gear factor.

Sport grades work as much as any grading system can (it's how it's applied that makes the difference).

British grades do make sense, if I can feel I totally understand them after only two years climbing Trad then anyone can if they try and they climb to experience what it means.
tom_in_edinburgh - on 21 May 2012
In reply to Al Randall:
> (In reply to tom_in_edinburgh) I disagree. The UK system has served us well for nearly 50 years. Whilst I accept that there may be problems at the top end, I'm not qualified to judge, no matter how you look at it a 2 dimensional system (UK Trad)must, by definition, be better and contain more information than a one dimensional system such as the French.
>

If you consider it starting with a fresh mind rather than from the historical perspective the UK system just looks crazy:

First you have purely adjectival grades M, D, VD, S, VS. At which point you need to get your head round that Difficult actually means Easy. Then you come across aberrations like 'Highly Very Severe' which is just murdering the English language.

Then it swaps into a two factor system with things like HVS 4b. With the second part of the grade looking exactly like a French sport grade but actually being slightly different.

Then it swaps back into a one factor system E1, E2.... with the grade capturing both technical difficulty and 'scariness', and when you get up to the very high numbers being close to an ordinal difficulty number with only one or two climbs per E number than a grade.


I can see the argument that two factors are better than one and equally you could argue that three factors are better than two e.g. (overall difficulty, hardest move, danger) is 'better' than (hardest move, danger).

The other problem is that people are really bad in assigning grades in a consistent manner. This is why I like the idea of a system where lots of people are asked to make comparisons between two routes they have done (i.e. route A is easier/harder than route B) and the actual grade is determined by a computer based on a large number of these route vs route comparisons.


Ramblin dave - on 21 May 2012
In reply to tom_in_edinburgh:
> (In reply to Al Randall)
> [...]
>
> If you consider it starting with a fresh mind rather than from the historical perspective the UK system just looks crazy:

The specific set of adjectives is weird, as is the fact that a few combinations aren't always used (eg MVS, HVD). But the basic system is really quite simple and understandable.

> First you have purely adjectival grades M, D, VD, S, VS. At which point you need to get your head round that Difficult actually means Easy.

Wow, that must take all of ten seconds.

> Then it swaps into a two factor system with things like HVS 4b. With the second part of the grade looking exactly like a French sport grade but actually being slightly different.
>
> Then it swaps back into a one factor system E1, E2.... with the grade capturing both technical difficulty and 'scariness', and when you get up to the very high numbers being close to an ordinal difficulty number with only one or two climbs per E number than a grade.

Where on earth did you get this from? It's a two factor system all the way from mod up to E11, with the only exception being that people sometimes don't bother to give the tech grade, either on routes that are averagely technical for their overall grade, or on very easy routes where the moves are so easy that there's no meaningful way to give them a tech grade or if they're talking about a route informally and can't be bothered.

> The other problem is that people are really bad in assigning grades in a consistent manner.

Surely that's a problem with any grading system?
Robert Durran - on 21 May 2012
In reply to tom_in_edinburgh:
> Surely, if you want to use the grading system as a measure of the likelihood of getting up a climb then the French system which grades the difficulty of the whole climb is (at least in theory) *more* suitable than the British system which grades the hardest move?
>
> British grades are a bit like Imperial measures, loved by people that grew up with them but fundamentally mad. The best thing would be to get rid of them and either use new technology to build a better system from the ground up or just switch to an international standard like French or US grades.

It would really help if you made a little bit of effort to understand the systsem before criticising it in such an ill-informed way.
A good start woiuld be to do some climbing.

Robert Durran - on 21 May 2012
In reply to tom_in_edinburgh:

> First you have purely adjectival grades M, D, VD, S, VS. At which point you need to get your head round that Difficult actually means Easy. Then you come across aberrations like 'Highly Very Severe' which is just murdering the English language.
>
> Then it swaps into a two factor system with things like HVS 4b. With the second part of the grade looking exactly like a French sport grade but actually being slightly different.
>
> Then it swaps back into a one factor system E1, E2.... with the grade capturing both technical difficulty and 'scariness', and when you get up to the very high numbers being close to an ordinal difficulty number with only one or two climbs per E number than a grade.

It would really help if you made a little bit of effort to understand the systsem before criticising it in such an ill-informed way.
A good start woiuld be to do some climbing.


Michael Hood - on 21 May 2012
In reply to tom_in_edinburgh: 'Highly Very Severe' - that's a new one for me, I always thought it was 'Hard Very Severe' :-)

I think your arguament here is just against the actual symbols (i.e. adjectives) used in the grades. Firstly the full names of the grades are (for those who may not know); Easy, Moderate, Difficult, Hard Difficult, Very Difficult, Hard Very Difficult, Mild Severe, Severe, Hard Severe, Mild Very Severe, Very Severe, Hard Very Severe, Extremely Severe 1, Extremely Severe 2, etc... - some of these (like MS are really sub-grades).

Some points that you may or may not know:
1. In theory, the technical grades go right down to 1a but nobody thinks they're very useful below about 3c/4a (except Paul Nunn :-) so the 2 factor system is there throughout the grade range. Also, how many of us can tell the difference between a 2c and a 3a technical move.
2. Technical grades predate french grades by maybe 60 years as they first made an appearance in southern sandstone yonks ago.
3. Scariness is a factor of the adjectival grade throughout the range.
4. E1... is a relatively new (1980s) addition when it was felt that Mild Extremely Severe, XS, Hard Extremely Severe wasn't open ended enough.

The problem with UK grades has been in the practical application, too much trying to cram stuff into one grade etc and inconcistent grading.

You could of course have the adjectival grades just going A,B... to Z, AA, BB, etc and technical grades 1,2,3... to give a grade of maybe F7 but that feels rather cold compared with Very Severe 4c.
Bulls Crack - on 21 May 2012
In reply to tom_in_edinburgh:
> (In reply to Al Randall)
> [...]
>
> Surely, if you want to use the grading system as a measure of the likelihood of getting up a climb then the French system which grades the difficulty of the whole climb is (at least in theory) *more* suitable than the British system which grades the hardest move?
>
> British grades are a bit like Imperial measures, loved by people that grew up with them but fundamentally mad. The best thing would be to get rid of them and either use new technology to build a better system from the ground up or just switch to an international standard like French or US grades.

There's a bit more to the British system than the hardest move old chap - and it's still the best one for trad
Al Randall on 21 May 2012
In reply to tom_in_edinburgh: Why should I start with a fresh mind because someone who has been climbing for less than a year thinks the system doesn't work.

Al
AJM - on 21 May 2012
In reply to Ramblin dave:

> I'd assume if someone's talking about "using the French system in the UK" they mean replacing UK tech with French, rather than replacing the two part grade with a single French grade.

Ditto. Personally I think that of the 3 main things to measure, being sustainedness, crux difficulty and danger, sustainedness & crux difficulty sit as better bedfellows (in a French grade) than danger and sustainedness do (in a UK adjectival grade). I tend to find that most of the time unless it's very cruxy the crux difficulty isn't that big an issue (not in that I find all crux moves easy, but that at a particular adjectival grade I can probably do bouldery ones if I pull hard and stamina ones if I keep on trucking), and so for me separately identifying the crux difficulty wouldn't add as much as a separate identification of the prang potential.
Kevin Woods - on 21 May 2012
In reply to AJM: I have wondered about the British Tech grade, and as to why it plateaus at 7a.
puppythedog on 21 May 2012
In reply to Kevin Woods: I may be wrong but I thought that there was a climb with 7b in it. I assumed it plateau's because nobody has managed a singular harder move on rock that gets graded with our tech grade.

I personally like the tech grade, it tells me whether I can do it or not: 5b almost definitely, 5C maybe 6a not at the moment :-)
Ramblin dave - on 21 May 2012
In reply to puppythedog:
I thought it plateaued because there were quite a few similarly hard climbers putting up incrementally harder routes with a bit of friendly competition, and noone wanted to stick their neck out and claim that there latest one was a whole new category of difficulty compared to all the others...
Kevin Woods - on 21 May 2012
In reply to Ramblin dave: I see where you're coming from though the adjectival grades have taken a leap. Seems strange to have only 6 or 7 subdivisions with which to grade moves from pretty easy to world-class.
i.munro - on 21 May 2012
In reply to tom_in_edinburgh:
> (In reply to Al Randall)
> [...]
>
> Surely, if you want to use the grading system as a measure of the likelihood of getting up a climb then the French system which grades the difficulty of the whole climb is (at least in theory) *more* suitable than the British system which grades the hardest move?
>
Really? I have yet to find a boulder problem on which doing all the moves didn't mean eventual success. OK more hard moves means it takes more sessions. I'm fairly sure the same would apply to red pointing if I had the bottle to work anything that close to my limit.
tom_in_edinburgh - on 21 May 2012
In reply to Al Randall:
> (In reply to tom_in_edinburgh) Why should I start with a fresh mind because someone who has been climbing for less than a year thinks the system doesn't work.
>
> Al

Three things:
1. First of all the UK system is not 'the' system it is 'a' system used by a small minority of climbers i.e. trad climbers based in the UK. If you were looking for 'the' system based on how many people use it then that would be French grades or maybe US grades.
2. Starting with a fresh mind is very useful if you want to make things better. People who have been stuck in a particular system too long don't see alternatives.
3. This is about grade systems and there are insights that can come from fields outside of climbing that have faced similar challenges.


puppythedog on 21 May 2012
In reply to tom_in_edinburgh: I disagree, you need experience and understanding of all of the grade systems if you are going to pick one as better.
Just because other people do it in a different way does not make it better or right.
Do You understand the British adjectival/trad system? why do you think the others are better?
Oh and Al knows both systems (possibly more than Brit/French knowing how often he gets away) so that provides him an opportunity to compare. I think his suggestion for using Brit grades on sport makes sense with removing the risk/run out aspects.
You should try to avoid assuming character traits for people you don't know.
ads.ukclimbing.com
tom_in_edinburgh - on 21 May 2012
In reply to Bulls Crack:
> (In reply to tom_in_edinburgh)
> There's a bit more to the British system than the hardest move old chap - and it's still the best one for trad

How about a three factor system (Danger, Difficulty, Crux)
Danger is a number between 1 and 10 where 1 is safe and 10 is certain death.
Difficulty is a French sport grade
Crux is a bouldering V grade.

Even if the British system is currently the best one for trad - which it may be - I think it is pretty clear it could be improved.

puppythedog on 21 May 2012
In reply to tom_in_edinburgh: no I don't think it could; it is the extension of people having compared difficulties of climbs and has developed such that people understand it. To change it would mean that the whole process of grade comparison/climb comparison/grade creep would need to happen again. That's regress not progress.
Robert Durran - on 21 May 2012
In reply to tom_in_edinburgh:
> How about a three factor system (Danger, Difficulty, Crux)
> Danger is a number between 1 and 10 where 1 is safe and 10 is certain death.
> Difficulty is a French sport grade
> Crux is a bouldering V grade.


I hate to say it, but this would actually be an excellent system, conveying a lot more useful information than the current system. But no-one will buy it - try adding an overall UK adjectival grade for bragging rights and people might show some interest.
tom_in_edinburgh - on 21 May 2012
In reply to puppythedog:

> Do You understand the British adjectival/trad system? why do you think the others are better?

The fewer methods there are of measuring something the more convenient it is for all involved. That's why there are international standards: it's like metric versus imperial units.

Britain is a small country and trad is only a fraction of climbing. Why can't UK trad climb grading it build on an international standard for measuring overall difficulty and add additional information as needed. So I'm not saying French grades are better, I'm saying they are the standard and there needs to be a compelling reason to use anything else.

I'm also saying that the structure of British climbing grades and the nomenclature used is not logical.

puppythedog on 21 May 2012
In reply to Robert Durran: It makes sense as a system, implementing a new system does not surely?
puppythedog on 21 May 2012
In reply to tom_in_edinburgh: I think the Nomenclature (I had to check that out) makes sense, have you tried climbing trad and understanding the way the grades relate to your experience.

Standardising something does not make it better. More people speak Mandarin Chinese than Spanish or English does it make sense for everyone to adopt the language? (caveat, that fact may be false).


I don't understand why you feel things need to be changed? I still struggle with your rationale for even discussing it?
Al Randall on 21 May 2012
In reply to tom_in_edinburgh: Define "improves". Ed Ward Drummond attempted to introduce a comprehensive system many years ago which did not catch on. Even though it addressed what many perceived as shortcomings in the existing system most climbers felt it told them too much and was too complicated. It was very much in line with what you describe but was comprehensively rejected.

For some time however I have believed that by dropping the danger element of the adj. grade and adding a number at the end for "protection potential" a system could be used for both sport and trad. This is I might add is subtly different from the Yorkshire "P" grades system which also does not appear to have caught on. So in that respect I am conceding some shortcomings in the system but suggesting subtle tweeks rather than a major re-think.

Al
a lakeland climber on 21 May 2012
In reply to tom_in_edinburgh:
> (In reply to Bulls Crack)
> [...]
>
> How about a three factor system (Danger, Difficulty, Crux)
> Danger is a number between 1 and 10 where 1 is safe and 10 is certain death.
Pointless - I could miss a runner out (either because it wasn't obvious; I didn't have the right piece of kit or I decided not to place it) and a route could go from 1 to 10. This was tried with the P grades in Yorkshire, getting dropped I believe in the new edition.

> Difficulty is a French sport grade
Already covered by the UK adjectival grade.

> Crux is a bouldering V grade.
The UK technical grade *is* a bouldering grade - it was imported from Fontainebleau by Nea Morin and friends.
>
> Even if the British system is currently the best one for trad - which it may be - I think it is pretty clear it could be improved.

How about stop trying to make a name for yourself? :-)

ALC

tom_in_edinburgh - on 21 May 2012
In reply to puppythedog:
>
> I don't understand why you feel things need to be changed? I still struggle with your rationale for even discussing it?

It's more like kid's learning metric units at school and gradually as the community ages almost everybody knows metric and imperial gets pushed out.

People starting out in climbing start indoors and they learn French grades and V numbers for bouldering. The natural thing is for French grades and V numbers to displace trad grades as the community ages.

As for my rationale for discussing it - because discussing climbing grades is a useful diversion from watching my computer compile my code ;-)

Bulls Crack - on 21 May 2012
In reply to tom_in_edinburgh:
> (In reply to Bulls Crack)
> [...]
>
> How about a three factor system (Danger, Difficulty, Crux)
> Danger is a number between 1 and 10 where 1 is safe and 10 is certain death.
> Difficulty is a French sport grade
> Crux is a bouldering V grade.
>
> Even if the British system is currently the best one for trad - which it may be - I think it is pretty clear it could be improved.

There isn't really a problem to be fixed though. ninety something percent of trad climbs are more than adequately explained by the current system
puppythedog on 21 May 2012
In reply to tom_in_edinburgh: I don't think that it is natural for French grades to replace Trad ones, why not font for bouldering.

how's about go and climb, find out what the grades feel like, the nuance of HVS 4c, E1 5C, VS5a etc. Then consider your argument. I had no entrenched beliefs when I started climbing only 3 years ago but i have learnt to understand the systems before criticising them.
I recently started to have a go at Bouldering, I don't quite get what the grades mean yet so I don't comment. Take a leaf out of my book, go climb (outside) because the other thing is inside grades don't mean the same as outside.
Ramblin dave - on 21 May 2012
In reply to Bulls Crack:
> (In reply to tom_in_edinburgh)
> [...]
>
> There isn't really a problem to be fixed though. ninety something percent of trad climbs are more than adequately explained by the current system

And the rest can be more than adequately explained by looking at the guidebook. Which is often a minor work of art and well worth reading in its own right.
tom_in_edinburgh - on 21 May 2012
In reply to Al Randall:
> For some time however I have believed that by dropping the danger element of the adj. grade and adding a number at the end for "protection potential" a system could be used for both sport and trad. This is I might add is subtly different from the Yorkshire "P" grades system which also does not appear to have caught on. So in that respect I am conceding some shortcomings in the system but suggesting subtle tweeks rather than a major re-think.

In my own field I've observed that some ideas get reinvented with minor tweaks every 10 years or so by a new generation of engineers that haven't read the literature. Quite often enough has changed in the meantime for the re-invented idea to make good.

I think the move to web and mobile phone based systems will make collecting information about climbs much easier. New technology might make complex grading schemes more practical than in the past. The grading schemes would become a way of conveniently summarising information collected in a web database.

Your idea of adding a 'danger' number to a UK adjectival grade is not that much different from adding a danger number to a French sport grade. The UK grades may well be better than the French ones but are they so much better that they justify a whole new scale which is only used in one country?

Something like F6c.D5 to capture both difficulty and danger or F6c.V4.D5 to capture overall difficulty, crux difficulty and danger might appeal to countries outside the UK and make immediate sense to people coming into trad climbing from sport or indoor climbing.
Bulls Crack - on 21 May 2012
In reply to tom_in_edinburgh:
> (In reply to Al Randall)
> [...]

>
> Something like F6c.D5 to capture both difficulty and danger or F6c.V4.D5 to capture overall difficulty, crux difficulty and danger might appeal to countries outside the UK and make immediate sense to people coming into trad climbing from sport or indoor climbing.

And where would the fun be in that? ;-)
puppythedog on 21 May 2012
In reply to Bulls Crack: I gave up, it was getting to the stage I wanted to use bad words against people I don't know. I figured that there is either trolling at play or niaive nonsense.
Ramblin dave - on 21 May 2012
In reply to tom_in_edinburgh:

Out of interest, when you give a trad route a french grade, how do you take account of the hanging-around-on-one-arm-trying-to-wiggle-in-a-marginal-nut factor? I know plenty of beginners (myself included to a large extent) who can make a pumpy endurance-fest out of a short grit route by spending ten minutes trying to fiddle in a dodgy nut, where someone with more experience would just get it right the first time, clip it, and move on.
AJM - on 21 May 2012
In reply to puppythedog:

You don't think the Uk trad system could be improved?

I do wonder if this is the case why, as well as a headline grade, most hard trad ascents these days give a French grade to the climbing. It's almost as though this conveys more meaning to people operating at that level or something...

A system which works up until about E6 and then has to be supplemented for people to fully understand what they're getting into isn't a system that can't be improved. And to be fair, have you ever used a French grade + danger system, properly applied - if not, how do you know it's not objectively a better system but just one you are unfamiliar with...?
AJM - on 21 May 2012
In reply to Ramblin dave:

You grade for the pure physical difficulty - if people want to make it hard for themselves then that's up to them - and add something in the description if there really is crucial gear that's genuinely diddly to place in strenuous positions. Would anyone really want to grade it any other way? Anything else just brings in the objectivity of whether you can place gear or not...
tom_in_edinburgh - on 21 May 2012
In reply to puppythedog:
> how's about go and climb, find out what the grades feel like, the nuance of HVS 4c, E1 5C, VS5a etc. Then consider your argument. I had no entrenched beliefs when I started climbing only 3 years ago but i have learnt to understand the systems before criticising them.

My arguments aren't about the nuances of climbing grades they are about niche country specific measurement systems in general.

I thought it was silly for the UK to measure petrol in gallons because at school I had been taught litres, an internationally accepted unit which did an adequate job of measuring volume. The UK no longer measures petrol in gallons and nobody under the age of 50 would dream of going back to gallons.

Same with climbing grades - pretty much everyone learns indoors and the first grading systems they learn are French Sport and bouldering V grades.

The UK tech grade 4c which looks exactly like the French 4c grade but meaning something subtly different is just silly and inconvenient - for exactly the same reason as UK gallons being slightly different from US gallons was silly and inconvenient until UK gallons got abolished.



puppythedog on 21 May 2012
In reply to AJM: I've never said it couldn't be improved. I argue against replacing it, if it works up to e6 but not beyond then it works but above that level there isn't a large enough sample group to achieve a sufficient power to make it valid (maybe, I'm a couple of beers in). Supplementary information is always going to be useful, in fact a blow by blow account of what to do is helpful in deciding what/how to climb something. I'm all for supplementing something, but from my (currently lowly seat :-0) it is not necessary.
Perhaps part of the reason that people supplement hard trad grades with sport is the cross over where people are climbing hard sport and hard trad and they want the two to relate. Maybe at that level there is more parity between them, the head pointed hard climbs are comparable to sport?


With my limited knowledge E2 doesn't feel the same as 6b, one I'd expect to do, the other seems just out of reach.


in short Supplementary may be helpful in the upper grades and lower but in the lower grades seems unnecessary.

Plus How's your climbing Andy? having fun? :-)
puppythedog on 21 May 2012
In reply to tom_in_edinburgh: I don't think it is silly and I think it works. I like knowing that I can climb a climb based upon the trad grade, some things do not need pinning down so succinctly and I personally think the idea of trying to scientifically measure something that is so subjective is just as daft.
tom_in_edinburgh - on 21 May 2012
In reply to Ramblin dave:
> (In reply to tom_in_edinburgh)
>
> Out of interest, when you give a trad route a french grade, how do you take account of the hanging-around-on-one-arm-trying-to-wiggle-in-a-marginal-nut factor? I know plenty of beginners (myself included to a large extent) who can make a pumpy endurance-fest out of a short grit route by spending ten minutes trying to fiddle in a dodgy nut, where someone with more experience would just get it right the first time, clip it, and move on.

The French seem to be able to grade trad routes in France and the Americans can grade trad routes in America.

If I was trying to assign a difficulty grade to a route I would start from a database like UKC. Rather than ask climbers to estimate the grade for a climb when they enter it I'd ask them to sort the climbs in their logbook in order of difficulty. I'd then run an algorithm on the database and sorted logbooks of all climbers to derive a difficulty number for every climb and map that number onto a scale like the French grades.

So the grade would be based on the reported experience of all climbers who had reported doing that route and would automatically capture the difficulty of fiddling in nuts or whatever other factor they encountered.

In reply to tom_in_edinburgh: Do I take it from your earlier comment you are engineer? If so perhaps we shouldn't be surprised, although you could join Coel in his attempt to redefine what left-wing and right-wing mean.

How about the following for a grade:

VII WI6 M8X 6b obl. A2.

Clear enough for you? :)

Do you buy a beer in a 568 ml glass BTW?
tom_in_edinburgh - on 22 May 2012
In reply to TobyA:

> How about the following for a grade:
>
> VII WI6 M8X 6b obl. A2.
>
> Clear enough for you? :)

No, but it is is straw man.

If you don't care about the danger or the crux difficulty just say F6b.

If you think for a particular route that its important to measure danger then add that information: F6b.D3.

If you think the crux is important then: F6b.V3

If you think all three are necessary then: F6b.V3.D3.

Not much chance of confusion because everybody already knows the F and V grades and 'D' for danger is pretty self explanatory.

>
> Do you buy a beer in a 568 ml glass BTW?

It would be more logical to sell beer in 1/2 litre glasses and I wouldn't be at all surprised if that happened within a few years.

I already notice that for walking and running most people talk about kilometres rather than miles.

AJM - on 22 May 2012
In reply to puppythedog:

> In reply to tom_in_edinburgh: no I don't think it could

That's not you saying it couldn't be improved then? ;)

I don't think it's just a lack of sample size issue - the total unhelpful ness of very wide "hardest move" bands combined with quite broad E grade bands (since difficulty goes up a lot with the number of 6b moves or whatever at the hardest grades, plus the fact that a 6b move in itself is quite a broad category) means that people seem to need something more granular.

I wouldn't expect E2 and 6b to feel the same except on a top rope, thats not really a helpful comparison, the gear placement and the extra rack and the more defensive climbing style will obviously make 6b ground on an E2 feel harder than 6b ground on bolts. But I've yet to see why, save for tradition, it makes more sense to separately identify the hardest move rather than the prang potential - why the logic? I think it would have been a more helpful system the way it was being used by people like Fawcett for a time. And let's face it, French grades are probably the second or third most widely used system for trad grading in the world (I'm assuming American grades are top), and both French and American systems seem to get by just fine using the same system for sport and trad, so it's clearly not an insurmountable issue.

It would however put more emphasis onto the difficulty of the climbing I guess having Fr and danger grade, so probably bold weaklings wouldn't like it <grin>

I'm doing good thanks, yeah. How about you - how's the back?
puppythedog on 22 May 2012
In reply to AJM: Hi :-) getting better all the time,
The hardest move bit makes sense to me as I said above, I know I've a good chance of climbing a climb with a 5B move in it, if it's e2 i might reason the crux may be poorly protected or it sustained and difficult to place gear. This is the first time I've joined in this debate, partly I guess my ego has a part to play, I'm really pleased to be pushing into E1 and E2 but would feel gutted to be describing it as f5+ - f6a on gear.
Also as for the American and French system getting by, well so does the Brit trad one. I like it, I don't think it's silly, there is always room for improvement in things, I personally don't feel it is necessary to improve it.
a lakeland climber on 22 May 2012
In reply to tom_in_edinburgh:

Grading routes is like trying to herd cats: you might get them in roughly the right place but they'll never converge.

The reason sports grades aren't used for easier (below E5/6) is that those routes tend to be less sustained and have many ledges/rest points. When you get to E6/7 then trad routes are more like sports routes in being sustained but obviously without the bolts. Thus it makes sense to extend the grading system to account for this.

ALC
Bulls Crack - on 22 May 2012
In reply to puppythedog:
> (In reply to Bulls Crack) I gave up, it was getting to the stage I wanted to use bad words against people I don't know. I figured that there is either trolling at play or niaive nonsense.

Or you just realised its not worth getting too worked-up about grades?
In reply to tom_in_edinburgh:

> No, but it is is straw man.

No it's not. That's a grade, you just haven't done a climb where you would need the information that it expresses (not many will have), but that's what grades do, they tell you something.

> Not much chance of confusion because everybody already knows the F and V grades and 'D' for danger is pretty self explanatory.

I don't really know V grades and I've been climbing 20 years. I've done boulder problems graded in Font, UK and Finnish bouldering grades. I've not done any that were graded with V grades. I'm sure I could work them out though if I needed, but you are wrong that "everybody already knows" them.

Basically everyone is telling you that you could just take 10 minutes to read how UK grades work and do a few climbs and you'll also have a fair idea. They are also pretty "self explanatory", you seem like at least an averagely bright bloke - we seem to have more faith in you than you do! It's like insisting everyone in the world speaks English to make your life simpler.

> It would be more logical to sell beer in 1/2 litre glasses

Why is it "more logical"? I buy cereal in "box", I don't really care what weight it is. I know exactly what a pint of beer is going to be, you presumably do to.
duzinga - on 22 May 2012
In reply to TwSpanner: This is interesting, a few people I know have this confusion. I was even put in my place by a response in the way of "X climber(who has done F9a) said so".
ads.ukclimbing.com
In reply to AJM:
> and both French and American systems seem to get by just fine using the same system for sport and trad,

Did you see Jon's comments on the French Grade for British Classics thread? He seemed to be saying that in France there seems to be a grade bump for terrain d'aventure. More and more here we use French grades for both trad and sport. They are no worse than the old Finnish grades, but they aren't as helpful as UK grades when you are onsighting. On small crags you can often see enough to have a decent idea on gear but not always.
AJM - on 22 May 2012
In reply to TobyA:

I did see it, yes. Strikes me as a bit of an odd idea, like the refined E grade system they tried to introduce in the forest of Dean guide. I don't know, but I don't think that's the way it's been applied to stuff like the granite rock on the aiguilles etc is it - the few I've done there have felt about what the French grade would suggest (+ gear placement faff rather than including it).

I don't think smaller crags are the issue really with any grading system - when you can see the difficulties from the ground you can remove dependency on the grade to tell you things.
Robert Durran - on 22 May 2012
In reply to tom_in_edinburgh:

> I already notice that for walking and running most people talk about kilometres rather than miles.

Really?

jimtitt - on 22 May 2012
In reply to tom_in_edinburgh:

There is of course the German speaking world (a substantial part of European climbing) which uses the UIAA grades for one-bolt wonders to 1000m mountain routes, trad or sport, strenuous or cruxy, safe or death on a stick.
They seem to get on o.k.
In reply to AJM: The stuff in Chamonix I've done has also seemed something like a straight translation - but then I've mainly done well-known routes that were semi-sports routes in terms of lots of bits of fixed gear.
Robert Durran - on 22 May 2012
In reply to jimtitt:
> (In reply to tom_in_edinburgh)
>
> There is of course the German speaking world (a substantial part of European climbing) which uses the UIAA grades..... They seem to get on o.k.

Everyone gets on OK with their grading systems, but by picking and choosing the best ones for different types of climbing, the British get on better.

tlm - on 22 May 2012
In reply to tom_in_edinburgh:
> Britain is a small country and trad is only a fraction of climbing. Why can't UK trad climb grading it build on an international standard for measuring overall difficulty and add additional information as needed. So I'm not saying French grades are better, I'm saying they are the standard and there needs to be a compelling reason to use anything else.


Surely there are far more people using US grades, so by your own arguement, we should move to those? And what about UIAA grades, Australian grades, Norwegian grades, German grades and South African grades?

Shouldn't we all move to a sort of Esperanto system of grades?

Isn't trad actually wider spread than sports climbing? After all, any rock without bolts is a trad climb?
Al Randall on 22 May 2012
In reply to TwSpanner: Lots of people talk about how unique British climbing is and by that what they are really talking about is trad. At least I hope it is, I don't think we have much to rave about sport wise, compared to Europe. If we didn't use our current grading system some of that unique character would be diminished. The UK grading system has worked for the vast majority of climbers and most of the routes for many years. People new to the game especially those coming from indoors/sports backgrounds should tuck their necks in, we should not be in such a hurry to dismiss the history of our sport in a rush to adopt a sanitised, uniform, boring system.

Al
tlm - on 22 May 2012
In reply to Al Randall:
> (In reply to TwSpanner) Lots of people talk about how unique British climbing is and by that what they are really talking about is trad.

I think another thing that is pretty unique here is the variety of rock that we have in such a small area, with the different styles of climbing that the varied rock brings...

puppythedog on 22 May 2012
In reply to TwSpanner: Vive L'escalade, Vive la difference!!!
tom_in_edinburgh - on 22 May 2012
In reply to TobyA:
>
> It's like insisting everyone in the world speaks English to make your life simpler.

No. It's like learning an international standard unit like metres at school and getting out to discover that because you live in Britain you're surrounded by people using a strange imperial unit like furlongs.

On UKC there are clearly a majority of UK based trad climbers but that doesn't constitute 'Everybody in the world'. UK trad climbers are probably less than half of the climbers in a country that has less than 1% of the world population.




Ramblin dave - on 22 May 2012
In reply to tom_in_edinburgh:
By the way, the obvious flaw in your weights and measures analogy is that litres and gallons measure the same thing in the same way (ie fluid volumes), so the only loss in moving between the two is that a few people have to relearn something.

Adjectival grades work in a basically different way from French grades, so chucking them out merely to fit the international (non)standard loses something useful, ie the ability to give a summary of the overall challenge of a trad route in a single piece of information.

So a better analogy would be cookery weights and measures - some things are measured by weight (grams, kilograms) and some by volumes (cups, teaspoons, ml etc), and they work differently and are more or less useful for different things. Eg "2 cups of chopped courgette" is much less use than a weight measure, but "1 tsp of ground ginger" is a lot more easier than getting out your lab scales to measure 3g or whatever.
Bulls Crack - on 22 May 2012
In reply to Ramblin dave:
> (In reply to tom_in_edinburgh)
> By the way, the obvious flaw in your weights and measures analogy is that litres and gallons measure the same thing in the same way (ie fluid volumes), so the only loss in moving between the two is that a few people have to relearn something.
>
> Adjectival grades work in a basically different way from French grades, so chucking them out merely to fit the international (non)standard loses something useful, ie the ability to give a summary of the overall challenge of a trad route in a single piece of information.
>
> So a better analogy would be cookery weights and measures - some things are measured by weight (grams, kilograms) and some by volumes (cups, teaspoons, ml etc), and they work differently and are more or less useful for different things. Eg "2 cups of chopped courgette" is much less use than a weight measure, but "1 tsp of ground ginger" is a lot more easier than getting out your lab scales to measure 3g or whatever.

Excellent analogy!
Ramblin dave - on 22 May 2012
In reply to Ramblin dave:
Having said, that, if you're going to give one extra piece of information with your adjectival grade, the UK tech grade seems to be about the least useful...

Also (side rant) I really don't understand why bouldering walls all use V grades despite the fact that a) they measure the same thing as font grades, b) AIUI most outdoor bouldering in europe uses font grades and c) applying V grades to beginners' routes means that either half the wall is taken up with V0- and VB and similar stuff or you have to break your own system and call a problem with a UK 4a move V0 and so on.
galpinos - on 22 May 2012
In reply to TobyA:
> (In reply to tom_in_edinburgh) Do I take it from your earlier comment you are engineer?

As an engineer I hope not. Sounds more like a mathematician to me.... ;)

In reply to all:

Why do people always want to re-invent the wheel. Grades are broad. The fact that all of us are physically different means that we can’t break them down into super narrow accurate bands because what is easy for a 6ft 2 lanky steak of might not be for a 5ft pie lord.

A trad grade gives you an idea of whether you stand a decent chance of getting up something. You then make a decision whether the chance of success/danger/challenge/other external factors equation adds up to you wanting to give the route a go or not.

Grades are a guide, that’s it. I don’t aspire to climb E5, I aspire to climb Right Wall and Positron etc., the fact they are E5 tells me roughly how well I need to be climbing for me to stand an “acceptable to me” chance of success.

P.S. V grades are rubbish, everyone works in Font grades now surely…….
GrahamD - on 22 May 2012
In reply to tom_in_edinburgh:

The US use imperial as well of course - and they can't even get their YDS system remotely consitant across their own country, let alone propose it as an international system.

By the way, in your headlong rush to adopt a universal system, what french grade would you give Alpine classics like, say, the N Ridge of the Badile ?
In reply to Ramblin dave:
>
> Out of interest, when you give a trad route a french grade, how do you take account of the hanging-around-on-one-arm-trying-to-wiggle-in-a-marginal-nut factor? I know plenty of beginners (myself included to a large extent) who can make a pumpy endurance-fest out of a short grit route by spending ten minutes trying to fiddle in a dodgy nut, where someone with more experience would just get it right the first time, clip it, and move on.


I have always assume you gave a French Grade to a trad route to reflect what grade it would be if it was bolted.


Chris
tlm - on 22 May 2012
In reply to tom_in_edinburgh:
> UK trad climbers are probably less than half of the climbers in a country that has less than 1% of the world population.

..and yet you argue that you would use these people as a basis for creating a new grading system?

What proportion of climbers who climb on rock in the UK climb trad then?

GrahamD - on 22 May 2012
In reply to Chris Craggs:

> I have always assume you gave a French Grade to a trad route to reflect what grade it would be if it was bolted.

...and where adding the French grade gives useful information about the nature of the route.
In reply to tom_in_edinburgh:

> No. It's like learning an international standard unit like metres at school and getting out to discover that because you live in Britain you're surrounded by people using a strange imperial unit like furlongs.

Yes, I use furlongs on a daily basis, as do many others.
Anyway French grades aren't an international standard. Try climbing in the US or Australia or Norway or Sweden or Germany or Austria or or or...

> On UKC there are clearly a majority of UK based trad climbers but that doesn't constitute 'Everybody in the world'.

The rest of the world though is probably not very interested in UK trad climbs so presumably don't give a toss either way.

> UK trad climbers are probably less than half of the climbers in a country

I doubt that is true. And you didn't explain to me why I should learn V grades for your convenience.

You are starting to come over as a bit of whiner who wants everything organised for their convenience Tom; I really suggest getting over it and going and enjoying some routes whatever grade they get. If you are scared start with some easy ones; those are called V Diffs BTW. ;-)
Ramblin dave - on 22 May 2012
In reply to TobyA:
> (In reply to tom_in_edinburgh)
>
> If you are scared start with some easy ones; those are called V Diffs BTW. ;-)

But surely V Diffs should be the very difficult ones! And now you're saying they're easy? This is just too much, I can't handle this trad climbing lark, I'm out! Who wants to buy a rack?
Bulls Crack - on 22 May 2012
In reply to Chris Craggs:
> (In reply to Ramblin dave)
> [...]
>
>
> I have always assume you gave a French Grade to a trad route to reflect what grade it would be if it was bolted.
>
>
> Chris

Don't start that again -you'll be saying that Right Wall is 6a+ soon...
duzinga - on 23 May 2012
In reply to jimtitt: I don't think that's a good argument. A perverted version of American grades are being used in this part of Japan for sport climbs, where the grade is supposed to represent the hardest move, but the lower down the hardest move the less serious it is considered. This is making picking the right climbs rather miserable. One moment you might be onsighting a 12a, the next a 10d is a distant dream. But ofcourse, they are all getting on OK.
jimtitt - on 23 May 2012
In reply to duzinga:

The UIAA grading system is for the overall difficulty and applied just like French sport grades. Giving one-move grades for sport routes is fairly unproductive since failure to ascend a route may be due to technical difficulty, a complex sequence or lack of strength or all combined. The guide should be telling you whether its got any bouldery moves(sport) or is poorly protected, loose etc (trad) and everything else you probably can work out by looking from the bottom.
The modern trend appears to be to use Roman script for mountain routes and normal for sport routes but since I don´t do mountain stuff much I can´t be sure!
duzinga - on 23 May 2012
In reply to jimtitt: By all means, I agree that UIAA grading is a much better system then the yds for sport climbing. I just wanted to say just because people are getting along OK, is not good enough reason to keep one grading system. Don't even start me about the climbing guides, I sometimes think in Japan, they are specifically created to put people off from climbing outdoors.

Interestingly, for traditional rock climbs below 5.8 and alpine style climbs, they use UIAA roman numerals here.
The Shelf Puffin - on 23 May 2012
In reply to tom_in_edinburgh:
> (In reply to TobyA)
> [...]
>
> >
> On UKC there are clearly a majority of UK based trad climbers but that doesn't constitute 'Everybody in the world'. UK trad climbers are probably less than half of the climbers in a country that has less than 1% of the world population.

Ah, the numbers game, last refuge of the scoundrel.

Can you stop oppressing minority groups with your opinions please.
Jonny2vests - on 24 May 2012
In reply to AJM:
> (In reply to puppythedog)

> ...American systems seem to get by just fine using the same system for sport and trad, so it's clearly not an insurmountable issue.

Even the yanks know YDS is broke, the UK system is far superior for trad; 'an HVS climber' has a lot clearer meaning than 'a 5.10a climber' for instance.

For sport, it's a joke because nobody can decide on the rules.

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