/ Climbing grade systems popularity

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limbo90 on 09 Apr 2013
I have been trying to work out what the order of popularity of the worlds climbing grade systems are, and which are the next most popular after the following:

UK
French
UIAA
American
Australian

(according to http://www.mountaindays.net/articles/item/rock_climbing_grades_explained/)

thoughts anyone?

cheers.
needvert on 09 Apr 2013
'Australian' is more accurately called Ewbank, and is used outside Australia too.
turtlespit - on 09 Apr 2013
In reply to limbo90: are you sticking to route grades, or do you want bouldering grades as well?

If so, add in V grades, Font grades and Peak Bouldering grades (though I think these aren't used much now)
Bulls Crack - on 09 Apr 2013
In reply to limbo90:

Popular in what sense? Absolute number of followers, how widespread?

puppythedog on 09 Apr 2013
In reply to limbo90: I prefer UK Adjectival/technical grades but wonder whether that's what you ean or whether you mean most used?
limbo90 on 09 Apr 2013
well, by popular I am thinking most used (i.e the most routes graded).

but also, most widespread would be interesting. for instance, YDS is used in North and South America (although there is a Brazillian grading system apparently).

I'm sticking to roped climbing grading systems for the moment.

thanks for the feedback so far.
LJC - on 09 Apr 2013
In reply to limbo90: This list might be of interest: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grade_%28climbing%29
GrahamD - on 09 Apr 2013
In reply to limbo90:
> well, by popular I am thinking most used (i.e the most routes graded).

so popular as in the M25 is popular ?

Probably French is the most universally understood.
LJC - on 09 Apr 2013
In reply to limbo90: Surely there must be more routes graded in French f than in UK grades? Think about the amount of rock in Europe compared to here. Not sure about YDS and f though.
AlanLittle - on 09 Apr 2013
In reply to limbo90:

In Austria and Italy it seems to be common these days to use French grades for single pitch sport and UIAA grades for multipitch & mountain routes. Whereas in Germany (except Saxony) they still use UIAA grades for everything.

(Which is convenient for me just now because breaking into the UIAA 8th grade is about half a grade easier than breaking into the French 7th grade)
andic - on 09 Apr 2013
In reply to limbo90:

The system which inspires the most passion has to be British adjectival/trad grades.
jimtitt - on 09 Apr 2013
In reply to limbo90:
The concept that UK grades are used for more routes than UIAA or French is laughable:-)
AlanLittle - on 09 Apr 2013
In reply to jimtitt:

At some point I have to explain UK trad grades to my mates from the Munich DAV who are coming to Wales with me in the summer. Oh dear.

One of them is from Saxony, so he at least is used to grading systems that assume everything is runout & scary.
tom_in_edinburgh - on 09 Apr 2013
In reply to jimtitt:
> (In reply to limbo90)
> The concept that UK grades are used for more routes than UIAA or French is laughable:-)

or US YDS grades for that matter. 313 million people live in the USA.

GrahamD - on 09 Apr 2013
In reply to tom_in_edinburgh:

Most US climbers will be familiar with the French system
cb_6 - on 09 Apr 2013
In reply to limbo90:

I would have thought the French system is the most widely understood worldwide, though I don't have a source for that.
john arran - on 09 Apr 2013
In reply to limbo90:

For single-pitch routes French and YDS are pretty much interchangeable, both being used in a number of developed countries and quite a few developing countries too. Ewbank has the great advantage of simplicity (starts from 1, no subdivisions) and would be how sport grades would look if they were newly introduced today after careful thought. And UK grades have the great advantage of including non-technical difficulty in a quantifiable way.
AFAIK no others have any real advantage over these four.

For multi-pitch or Alpine I don't think a great system has ever existed.
AlanLittle - on 09 Apr 2013
In reply to john arran:
> UK grades have the great advantage of including non-technical difficulty in a quantifiable way.
> ..
> For multi-pitch or Alpine I don't think a great system has ever existed.

The value of something like the UK system for trad routes is made evident by the numerous attempts one sees to introduce some kind of seriousness rating into other grading systems.

The American R/X suffixes are one example that seems quite good (Indian Face = 5.12c/d X?). I also have a Dolomites guidebook that gives a "standard" UIAA grade for physical difficulty, and then a second one for overall seriousness. The Messner on the 2nd Sella Tower for example gets "VI- / VI+", meaning "it's physically VI- but you'd better be pretty damn comfortable running it out at the grade". I would read that as meaning something like E1 5a.
Jonny2vests - on 11 Apr 2013
In reply to GrahamD:
> (In reply to tom_in_edinburgh)
>
> Most US climbers will be familiar with the French system

I'm not sure what your reason is for saying that Graham, but I'm pretty sure I've never seen a US guidebook with a French grade in it.
Bulls Crack - on 11 Apr 2013
In reply to jimtitt:
> (In reply to limbo90)
> The concept that UK grades are used for more routes than UIAA or French is laughable:-)

Yes, but what have they they ever graded on grit?
Baron Weasel - on 11 Apr 2013
In reply to Bulls Crack:
> (In reply to jimtitt)
> [...]
>
> Yes, but what have they they ever graded on grit?

Three Pebble Slab gets F5+
Wiley Coyote - on 11 Apr 2013
In reply to Baron Weasel:
> (In reply to Bulls Crack)
> [...]
>
> Three Pebble Slab gets F5+

Wow. They've bolted TPS? Let me know when they get to Hairless Heart

In reply to Baron Weasel:
> (In reply to Bulls Crack)
> [...]
>
> Three Pebble Slab gets F5+

More like F4+!


Chris
seankenny - on 11 Apr 2013
In reply to limbo90:
> I have been trying to work out what the order of popularity of the worlds climbing grade systems are.

Well, everyone needs a hobby I guess.
GrahamD - on 11 Apr 2013
In reply to Jonny2vests:

> I'm not sure what your reason is for saying that Graham, but I'm pretty sure I've never seen a US guidebook with a French grade in it.

"Being familar with" isn't the same as it being their main system. However, the publicity generated by the routes put up in Europe by the likes of Sharma means that both French and YDS are often quoted in the US climbing media.
Siderunner - on 11 Apr 2013
In reply to GrahamD:

Maybe, but I've seen a lot of US articles where they talk about hard European sport routes and only give YDS grades - something that irks me both because I can't interpret the grades easily, and also because it shields Americans from the fact that not everyone uses their system ...
Jonny2vests - on 12 Apr 2013
In reply to GrahamD:
> (In reply to Jonny2vests)
>
> [...]
>
> "Being familar with" isn't the same as it being their main system. However, the publicity generated by the routes put up in Europe by the likes of Sharma means that both French and YDS are often quoted in the US climbing media.

Even for the few reports there are about groundbreaking Euro routes, be under no illusion, the vast majority will ignore the French grade completely, if indeed it is quoted at all.
paul__in_sheffield - on 12 Apr 2013
In reply to Chris Craggs:
> (In reply to Baron Weasel)
> [...]
>
> More like F4+!
>
>
> Chris

+1

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