/ Severe grades , better than vdiff's

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Cadairmanuk - on 08 Oct 2012
I have been struggling this year leading v diffs not sure why just scared and climbing badly. Saturday I was seconding some higher grades which I found , easier , more enjoyable and just generally more fulfilling. I got to the point at dinner time of leading a couple of severes which were a dream to climb. So next day back on a vdiff route to warm up and it has horrid though I was gonna die. Back onto severe and hs and away to go!

Does not make sense to me! Maybe its the routes I was on. Climbing at Craig yr oen near Blaenau. Really great crags.

Ben
andic - on 08 Oct 2012
In reply to Cadairmanuk:

it is possible that diffs/vdiffs have too many holds and are too easy to climb, meaning that you can get into some unpleasant sequences, i think i have experienced what you are talking about and that is what i put it down to. real climbing where only certain moves will work to progress up the route starts around HS/VS IMO
Skip - on 08 Oct 2012
In reply to Cadairmanuk:

Getting the same trouble myself. Rarely been as scared as i was leading Economists Climb at Pordenack Point (VDiff), well at least the 1st pitch, the other three were a walk.
Scarab9 - on 08 Oct 2012
In reply to Cadairmanuk:

there's lots of possible reasons and depends on the crag and general grading history in the area. It can lead to technically easy but otherwise horrific (exposure, lack of gear, crumbling down, green chimneys) climbs in abundance in an area.

There's the joke regarding Stanage Vdiffs being graded that way so no one feels they have to climb them.

There's the whole thing with Scottish VS where a refusal to accept updates to the grading system meant that lots of "that was feckin 'ard" routes got put in as VS rather than the grade they might deserve.

Vdiff does defintely seem to contain a lot of sandbags and grovels though.
Ramblin dave - on 08 Oct 2012
In reply to Cadairmanuk:
Possibly the harder climbs are more technical and fingery and climbing-wall like, and hence seem easier to someone who climbs a lot indoors, whereas the allegedly easier routes are more thrutchy and udgy, and would be easier for a tweed clad victorian who thinks climbing walls is what burglars do.

The other possibility is that when you start off on a severe you're mentally keyed up and fully focussed and ready to deal with any difficulties that you encounter, whereas you set off up a VDiff you're expecting a walk, and the when you actually have to do some climbing it shakes you up and puts you out of sorts...
victim of mathematics - on 08 Oct 2012
In reply to Cadairmanuk:

Unless you were unlucky (or unwise!) in your choice of route, there's no reason beyond the psychological. There's nothing inherently easier about Severe's than VDiffs, nor is there a higher proportion of sandbags or grovels at VDiff than any other grade.
professionalwreckhead - on 08 Oct 2012
In reply to victim of mathematics:
>
> there's no reason beyond the psychological.

In my pursuit of all things Vdiff and Severe, I've often found myself in an uncomfortable position due to the increased likelihood on many Diffs and Vdiffs of encountering something large and protruding on a gravity assisted descent.

The things that make a Diff or Vdiff relatively easy to get up (and offers a nice place from which to stand and place gear), are also likely to cause you some pain on the way back down and you wouldn't want to take a fall from any height or position.

Falling off easy stuff as a beginner (or at least the fear of falling off easy stuff) is often made worse by the fact that you're pretty much guaranteed to come into awkward contact with the rock (like a bit of cheddar on a rusty cheesegrater).

Most of the harder grades i've managed to lead seem to have fewer ledges and huge holds, and therefore fewer things to worry about if you fell off -Severes and HSs i've been on always make me feel like i'll be stopped by my gear and rope if I fall, rather than the nearest ledge :-)

Psychologically for me, shallow pitched Vdiffs can be a beginner leaders nightmare since whilst the prospect of falling off is low, the chance of falling off cleanly is even lower!
Taurig - on 08 Oct 2012
In reply to andic:
> (In reply to Cadairmanuk)
>
> it is possible that diffs/vdiffs have too many holds and are too easy to climb, meaning that you can get into some unpleasant sequences, i think i have experienced what you are talking about and that is what i put it down to. real climbing where only certain moves will work to progress up the route starts around HS/VS IMO

After starting to push into HS/VS yesterday then jumping on a Diff, I think I know what you mean. It sounds daft but it did feel like there were too many holds and so many ways to link them together that it somehow made it awkward. Sort of like trying to climb a set of stairs with hands and feet and not knowing what order to move them in.
LiniebarClimb - on 08 Oct 2012
In reply to Cadairmanuk: I think you are talking about Slick & Chic - they are lovely climbs but polished to hell which is why you prob found them a bit iffy. PYB use them as training climbs so they are climbed very regularly. Also the 2nd pitch on Chic(?) is essentially a blank vertical wall with no gear at all until you get over it which is hellish in the damp/rain. I don't think the climbing is harder than the severes on the crag - but the polish certainly is and both climbs have big ledges to hit on the way down which means big OUCH if you take a wanger - its all mental for those climbs
Cadairmanuk - on 08 Oct 2012
In reply to Cadairmanuk:

Thanks for the replies. Slick and chic yeah , also Kirkus's climb. Getting off the floor is hard enough. I loved slack. Just walked along the traverse and up well protected.

Ben
Offwidth - on 08 Oct 2012
In reply to LiniebarClimb: Sounds like the climbs are wrongly graded then. There is nothing mystical about any grade but some low grade climbs on some crags are comparatively hard due to polish from poor practice in group use (kids flailing around with dirty trainers or boots).
Trangia - on 08 Oct 2012
In reply to Cadairmanuk:

I agree with what's been said. Another factor is that V Diff is probably the top of the beginner range, whereas Severe is the bottom of the improper range, so psychologically you expect a V Diff to be easy and get a jolt when it doesn't always pan out as you expected, and conversely as you set out expecting a Severe to be harder it comes as a surprise when it turns out to be easy.
Cadairmanuk - on 08 Oct 2012
In reply to Trangia:

I think your spot on with the comment above , ah is only a v diff boys blar blar then you find your self hanging on for grim death. On the other hand. oh hell its a severe I'm gonna have to be on top of my game (meditate at the bottom of the crag to get in the zone and all, joke) and then find its not too hard after all..

Could well be mind set..

Ben
Katherine Ross - on 08 Oct 2012
In reply to Cadairmanuk: I find that VDiff (and sometimes Severe) is a funny grade. Sometimes it means that the climbing is genuinely easy, and some are terrifying! Often they're easier to climb/struggle up in big boots, in the style they were first climbed. Often they incorporate a series of muddy ledges which become horribly slippy when wet. Doing lots of easy stuff is the best way to get used to placing gear, though.
Rog Wilko on 08 Oct 2012
In reply to Cadairmanuk: My old friend Brian (O) always advised anyone coming into leading to miss out V Diff altogether as being far too scary!

But the reason for this isn't obvious. Here's one possible reason: Guidebook writers/revisers have enough to do without looking seriously at the original grading of easy routes first climbed in the century before last, and if they do look they are mostly too good as climbers to notice things like the odd 4b move or the fact there's no gear for 10 metres. I know this is a generalisation so please don't shout at me.

On a personal note, I have long wished for a grade V.Diff.(Traditional) to be brought in which would allow for the odd move up to 4b. My first two candidates for the grade would be Bowfell Buttress and Gimmer Chimney. Both these routes have moves of at least 4b, way way harder than anything on the rest of the route, making a difficulty for the grader.

Unfortunately, a climb (unless on an indoor wall) is a natural product and there will be a variety of moves of a range of difficulty. Consistency is a rare thing throughout a climb and as the length increases even rarer.
Offwidth - on 09 Oct 2012
In reply to Rog Wilko:

We looked at all grades below VS for the peak BMC guides I was involved with only missing real obscurities, overgrown or access affected routes and maybe the odd lesser moorland route; there are a few VD 4b's and even more VD 4as. Birchen even gets technical grades for all routes (as does the forthcoming YMC guide for Brimham).

You're right about problems with Bowfell Buttress and Gimmer Chimney I'm not sure the latter would be VD 4b though?
Bulls Crack - on 09 Oct 2012
In reply to Cadairmanuk:

maybe about expectations? You're thinking you should,be able to do V Diffs but struggle so you change your scene and succeed

read The Rock Warriors Way!
Jamie B - on 09 Oct 2012
In reply to Cadairmanuk:

I can easily forward you a list of Severes which will banish forever the notion that they are easier than VDiff!
Cadairmanuk - on 09 Oct 2012
In reply to Jamie Bankhead:

Laughing about that one yeah I can well imagine.

Ben
Rog Wilko on 09 Oct 2012
In reply to Offwidth: Thanks for not shouting at me! I had a feeling that something like this had been happening in the Peak (singular) and very necessary it was too. I'm a bit out of touch with the Peak guides and my generalisation was exactly that. I'm pleased to see the idea of technical grades on routes below VS has been adopted.
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Rog Wilko on 09 Oct 2012
In reply to Offwidth:
> (In reply to Rog Wilko)
>
>
>
> You're right about problems with Bowfell Buttress and Gimmer Chimney I'm not sure the latter would be VD 4b though?


I think the crux on GC (two thirds up the first pitch) is at least 4b, and not well protected either, if I remember correctly. Harder than the crux of BB I think. Hoping Max Biden is reading this (though I've probably already canvassed him on this issue).
Offwidth - on 10 Oct 2012
In reply to Rog Wilko:

Thats what I was trying to say for GC...4b but a good bit harder than a tough VD.

Not all routes below VS get tech grades just all routes with moves 4a and above (and maybe the odd 3c) and a few crags as an experiment with tech grades for all.
Rog Wilko on 10 Oct 2012
In reply to Offwidth:
> (In reply to Rog Wilko)
>
> >
> Not all routes below VS get tech grades just all routes with moves 4a and above (and maybe the odd 3c) and a few crags as an experiment with tech grades for all.

That sounds sensible. I can remember Paul Nunn's Constable guide to the Peak where technical grades of 2b, 2c, etc were awarded. I know experiments have to be made, but I thought that was just a bit silly.
Bulls Crack - on 10 Oct 2012
In reply to Rog Wilko:
> (In reply to Offwidth)
> [...]
>
> That sounds sensible. I can remember Paul Nunn's Constable guide to the Peak where technical grades of 2b, 2c, etc were awarded. I know experiments have to be made, but I thought that was just a bit silly.

Maybe - but they 'exist' though - stands to reason.

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