/ Bowfell Buttress HS in new Langdale guide!!?

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thegoatstroker - on 06 Oct 2013
Not so much grade creep as grade leap! Is BB really the same grade as Main Wall, Tophet Wall or Ardverikie Wall ?
Trangia - on 06 Oct 2013
In reply to thegoatstroker:

That is one hell of a jump up in grade.

When I first led it in August 1961 it was a Diff!
Jamie B - on 06 Oct 2013
In reply to thegoatstroker:

Possibly the same as Ardverikie Wall, given that should never have been upgraded either!
The Bad Cough - on 06 Oct 2013
In reply to thegoatstroker: Has the grade creep affected the Winter Grade? ;)
Red Rover - on 06 Oct 2013
In reply to thegoatstroker: I think Vdiff is generous, I found it easier than Corvus.
MFB - on 06 Oct 2013
In reply to thegoatstroker:

VDiff seems fine to me
P3, the steep crack is well protected and obvious but i guess that's where it gets the hike
few years since i climbed in summer
(does it mean i'm a better climber than i ever imagined??)
Dave Cumberland - on 06 Oct 2013
In reply to thegoatstroker:
> Not so much grade creep as grade leap! Is BB really the same grade as Main Wall, Tophet Wall or Ardverikie Wall ?

That would be because all the holds have been ground away by multi-coloured wannabees climbing it with aid.
DC
The Pylon King on 06 Oct 2013
In reply to thegoatstroker:

This is the classic case of why multipitch routes should be given adjectival grades for every pitch.
Michael Gordon - on 06 Oct 2013
In reply to The Pylon King:

Why is that?
simondgee - on 06 Oct 2013
In reply to The Pylon King:
No it isn't...its a classic case of trying to fix something that isn't broken...
If Max or Steve are online ...do you use the consensus grading of UKC in guidebooks ?
http://www.ukclimbing.com/logbook/c.php?i=1074
Offwidth - on 06 Oct 2013
In reply to simondgee:

It wasn't so much the adjectival grade that was wrong it was more the technical grade: 4a/b?? Editors need to be really careful about upgrading established classics.
simondgee - on 06 Oct 2013
In reply to Offwidth:
I haven't seen it yet...thats crazy. There was significant grade creep on some crags e.g. Windmore, in the last FRCC Eden Valley and South lakes Limestone guide.
Red Rover - on 06 Oct 2013
In reply to thegoatstroker: They must have gone off route or something, no way its even Severe.
Peter Metcalfe - on 06 Oct 2013
In reply to thegoatstroker:

The description does indicate that the new grade applies only to the difficult move up the crack the ledge. The problem may be that giving it HS may encourage VDiff leaders to think that they are tackling something equivalent to, Main Wall, say - which could lead to unfortunate consequences!

HVD or HD would be a better grade IMO.
Red Rover - on 06 Oct 2013
In reply to Peter Metcalfe: Is that move really 4a though? I found it easier than the chimney and the hand traverse on Corvus. I though Vdiff was right because BB felt like a diff with a Vdiff move up the crack. It's all subjective though but HS seems way out.
Peter Metcalfe - on 06 Oct 2013
In reply to Red Rover:

Even if the move were 4a, it is well protected and easy to avoid by e.g. combined tactics, so still doesn't justify the HS grade.

The "HS" subdivsion has traditionally, in the Lakes at least, been applied to routes that have all the characteristics of the main grade except for a few harder or unusual moves. Hence I think it should be HVD or HD.
Red Rover - on 06 Oct 2013
In reply to Peter Metcalfe: I agree, no way BB is as hard as Tophet Wall.
Rick Graham on 06 Oct 2013
In reply to simondgee:

I concur with all comments so far on this topic except possibly yours Simon.
Feedback from invited individuals and UK logbooks is very useful when you are attempting to grade routes for a guide. However, in my experience you do not get a sufficiently comprehensive overview of all the routes in an area, just the popular classics. This leads to a situation where the grade creeps up on popular routes and the less travelled ones stay at their original grade.

I am always bemused when climbing on say, Eastern Grit, at the incomprehensibility of comparing the guidebook grade to how hard I find a route. I put it down to the traditional grade being unaltered over the years despite improvements in protection and wear on the rock. The locals who author the guides have climbed the routes for years and TBH have little idea what the actual grade is. Ideally a completely fresh to the area team would grade the routes but that just is not going to happen.

Personally, I would have left BB at HVD with a note to say that the crux is only a short well protected section above a grassy ledge.
Gav Parker - on 06 Oct 2013
In reply to Rick Graham: Well I'm not a good climber but have done a few of the lakes easy multi pitch routes diff/vdiff and although I was seconding BB I found it steady and consistent all the way up. The crack pitch above a large ledge from what I can remember is a couple of moves and your above it. I would think HVD a fair grade.
Rick Graham on 06 Oct 2013
In reply to Gav Parker:

Thanks for agreeing.

Following on from my last post, at least Max and Steve have tried to give an honest grade and were not restrained by the route being Diff or V Diff in all the previous guides.

When I first did the route, as a wide eyed 17 year old, on a wet November day, I recall being advised by the party in front to think of it as " Hard Severe " b bum.
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Offwidth - on 06 Oct 2013
In reply to Rick Graham:

Pretty much everything sub HVS was grade checked and the vast majority over that in the recent peak BMC guides (I alone have done 95% of every area below HVS except Over the Moors and the routes I missed were never anything but obscure access affected or on crags rarely in condition). If the routes were at the lower grades, maybe your feeling relates to your skills or on higher grades maybe skills or friction on hot days or lichen regrowth as it certainly wasn't due to carrying forward old traditional grades (Rockfax also have changed the majority of grades with mainly only the odd moorland sandbags missed). At HVS there is the odd sandbag which got through (as stern grade markers) like Masochism, but not many, and nearly all the trad beasts were dealt with (several HVS climbs are now mid extreme). Above HVS mostly only obscurities escaped notice and they were not traditional.

Anyhow BB ain't anything like HS and yes the move off the ledge is 4a of anyone's money but it's off a ledge and is eases afterwards so its standard (hard) VD stuff. Most (hard) VD 4a lines will feel HS on a wet November day.
victorclimber - on 06 Oct 2013
In reply to thegoatstroker: we used to do it in the 60,s as a rainy day route and I mean rain ,not damp cant be HS ..
simondgee - on 06 Oct 2013
In reply to Rick Graham:
I agree entirely with you Rick but I am not saying you base all grading on the UKC stats (god forbid)...but it is a clear yardstick...with enough ascents to give you a nice distribution curve (which are made up of ascents from 'completely fresh to the area/route teams'....with such historical consensus how can it possibly get HS 4a.
As soon as you overgrade really well established, well defined and well perceived routes like Bowfell Buttress, Flying Buttress (either of them), Cenotaph corner, you have introduced a step change grade creep.
That like Corvus its original grade as a 'mountain route' was based on big boots for so many years makes such a grade hike for 5.10 rubber etc even more bizarre.

It has always been
'HVD with a the crux is only a short well protected section above a grassy ledge'

Just as The top of the Needle is
'HS 4a with the crux a short OK protected crux up and an OMG fanny around on the top now I've got to get a belay and then heavens forbid climb back down top'


Gordon Stainforth - on 06 Oct 2013
In reply to thegoatstroker:

Completely mad. Most of it is about Moderate, with one short V.diff section. Diff was the correct overall grade. I remember leading the whole thing after weeks of convalescing after a car crash, and being rather underwhelmed by it, though v happy to be climbing again.
Gordon Stainforth - on 06 Oct 2013
In reply to thegoatstroker:

PS. On that occasion I took a virtual beginner up it. He didn't have any trouble on it, except it took him a few minutes to do those moves off the big grassy terrace. So V diff probably correct.
The Pylon King on 06 Oct 2013
In reply to Michael Gordon:
> (In reply to The Pylon King)
>
> Why is that?

Because maybe the route IS VD but with one very short bit of HS which would be more obvious by having each pitch fully graded in the text.
simondgee - on 06 Oct 2013
In reply to The Pylon King:
So just to confirm you advocate that crack pitch warrants not D with some VD (like the rest of the route).... not he overall grade of HVD because of the crack pitch and scale of route...and not MS, not S, but HS 4a (4 grades harder than anything else on the climb)
Have you done the route?
Gordon Stainforth - on 06 Oct 2013
In reply to thegoatstroker:

Beginners who do this route are going to get an awful shock if they go on to try some of those Severes on the front of Gimmer (or have they all gone up to about E!?), or some of those old Hard Severes in Llanberis Pass or Ogwen.
crossdressingrodney - on 06 Oct 2013
In reply to thegoatstroker:

I did BB last weekend, along with two friends quite new to mountain routes. What an outstanding expedition.

Most pitches are well-protected Diff romping, the exceptions being the 2nd pitch (which is easy if you can climb traditional chimneys) pitch 3 (which is gearless Diff romping to begin with), and pitch 5 (the crack). I must admit I almost came a cropper on the crack; cold fingers, big boots, heavy bag and other feeble excuses conspired to leave an impression of a grade altogether harder than VDiff.

I think the warnings in the old FRCC guide that, although it is graded VDiff, it's clearly harder than many Severes, is a good solution.
Rick Graham on 06 Oct 2013
In reply to crossdressingrodney:

VD++ it is then?

Everybody in agreement ( I think ) and apologies to Offwidth for the onerous task of defining grades for mr/ms average climber.
Michael Gordon - on 06 Oct 2013
In reply to The Pylon King:
> (In reply to Michael Gordon)
> [...]
>
> Because maybe the route IS VD but with one very short bit of HS which would be more obvious by having each pitch fully graded in the text.

A route can't be v-diff overall but with a short section of Hard Severe!
Gav Parker - on 06 Oct 2013
In reply to Gordon Stainforth:
How does it compare to the new west on pillar also a v diff??
Rick Graham on 06 Oct 2013
In reply to Gav Parker:

As it happens, I did both New West and BB in summer 2009.

NW is more sustained and exposed but not as hard as the short crux section of BB.

Offwidth - on 06 Oct 2013
In reply to Rick Graham:

Nothing onerous... I love climbing and bouldering: just back from a quick blast at Buckstones (regrading a few problems sure, but mostly enjoying the rock at a stonking low grade venue that I've tried 5 times now on nice days and never seen another climber). What have they given North Climb on Pillar... now that was brutal for its old Diff grade and not far off HS on the crux.

In reply to Pylon King

How is a 4a protectable section on a short wall, straight off a massive grassy ledge ever going to be HS? Have you done it??

Trangia - on 06 Oct 2013
In reply to Michael Gordon:
> (In reply to The Pylon King)
> [...]
>
> A route can't be v-diff overall but with a short section of Hard Severe!

Agreed, but it can be Diff with a 4a or 3b pitch in it (which I suggest is about right).

There is a prededent:- First Pinnacle Rib which is Diff with a 4b pitch- Yellow Slab



Rick Graham on 06 Oct 2013
In reply to Offwidth:
> (In reply to Rick Graham)
> What have they given North Climb on Pillar... now that was brutal for its old Diff grade and not far off HS on the crux.
>
Another tricky one, which as it happens I also did in summer 2009.

HS probably for the nose section but the guidebook spoils it a bit with a move by move description.

I particularly liked the thrutchy T shaped crack system just below the nose. Totally safe and almost impossible to fall off or hurt yourself.
Zero exposure to 100 metres in a couple of moves.

The 2007 guide has it as MS and described as "Difficult with a Severe finish" . Spot on, I guess.
Gordon Stainforth - on 06 Oct 2013
In reply to Gav Parker:
> (In reply to Gordon Stainforth)
> How does it compare to the new west on pillar also a v diff??

Easier. New West is a vastly finer route, of much more balanced standard thoughout. Rather tough for straight V.diff.

Ian Black - on 06 Oct 2013
In reply to thegoatstroker: Well I climbed BB in a pair of plastic Lowa's in the p155ing rain and it felt harder than HS:-)
Offwidth - on 07 Oct 2013
In reply to Trangia:

The diff grade was for a bypass of that pitch ...so it doesnt count. Also its pretty soft for 4b with modern climbing shoes. Also I think its no longer called that in the definitive.

Trangia - on 07 Oct 2013
In reply to Offwidth:
> (In reply to Trangia)
>
>"so its pretty soft for 4b with modern climbing shoes."
>

Actually that's an interesting observation. When grading a low grade mountain rock route do you grade it on the assumption that most parties will be doing it in big boots or do you assume they will change into rock shoes? Certainly on long low grade mountain routes like those on Tryfan East Face or Amphitheatre Buttress or BB I would be doing it (including leading) in big boots, because I can't be arsed to carry both rock shoes and walking boots, walking off in rock shoes is too uncomfortable, potentially dangerous on grass, and when doing such a route is normally part of a day out going on up to the summits and beyond.

BTW I first did the route in question in bendy rubber soled Army boots.
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MFB - on 07 Oct 2013
In reply to Offwidth:

where does the bypass go?
Offwidth - on 07 Oct 2013
In reply to MFB:

Much easier ground on the right I think (I've never done it as I always try and find increasing hard ways to tackle the slab)
Offwidth - on 07 Oct 2013
In reply to Trangia: The vast majority of climbers up there have climbing shoes these days. Big boots hold muck and polish up routes and should be avoided IMHO if we want people still to be enjoying the lines in another 30 years time: if you want fun on a wet day do a scramble or an obscurity not a classic rock climb.
MFB - on 07 Oct 2013
In reply to Offwidth:

In contrast i always try to find the easiest way and have not spotted the bypass right (thought it was hard slabby stuff) i will look again
Trangia - on 07 Oct 2013
In reply to Offwidth:

Fair comment
MFB - on 07 Oct 2013
In reply to Offwidth:

not sure banning big boots is relevant on BB

http://www.ukclimbing.com/images/dbpage.html?id=197103
Trangia - on 07 Oct 2013
In reply to MFB:

Well since we are discussing potential damage to a classic rock route

http://www.ukclimbing.com/images/dbpage.html?id=162068
GrahamD - on 07 Oct 2013
In reply to thegoatstroker:

Bowfell Butress at HS is ridiculous on two accounts:

Firstly its VD 4a (HVD if you must and actually its always felt like 4b to me but I've only ever done it in November in sleet !)
Secondly, it increases the bragging rights for the hoards who dry tool their way up it with their brand new axes and - heaven forbid - increase the dry tooling traffic as a result.
Jim Hamilton - on 07 Oct 2013
In reply to Offwidth:
> (In reply to Trangia)
>
> The diff grade was for a bypass of that pitch ...so it doesnt count. Also its pretty soft for 4b with modern climbing shoes. Also I think its no longer called that in the definitive.

I thought the "whole point" of 1PR (or Overlapping Rib) is the yellow slab, so it seems odd to grade the route for avoiding it ? (not that well protected at the start as I remember). Confusingly Williams says yellow slab can be avoided on the right at just Severe.
Dave Cumberland - on 07 Oct 2013
In reply to GrahamD: Agreed - more nightmare destruction: See 10.32 Sunday.
Simon Caldwell - on 07 Oct 2013
In reply to thegoatstroker:
It was graded Diff when I did it, and I don't remember feeling sandbagged. Mind you, it's had almost 20 years worth of polish since then, which can make a huge difference - those who are commenting based on what it was like in the 60s should be ignored unless they've been back recently.

Can someone with the new guide tell me what grade it gives to C Route on Gimmer? We did it on Saturday, using the previous guide - it's Severe, and miles harder than anything on BB.
Offwidth - on 07 Oct 2013
In reply to Jim Hamilton:

Are we talking the left rib or the right rib start (as the scratched label on the rock on the right rib is wrong). In the old days the diff grade was OK for not bypassing the slab (as early climbers were comparatively much better at balance climbing as they were for wide cracks like on Gashed Crag); in modern guides it gets a comment that the slab would make the climb harder (often with a grade given).
Ron Kenyon - on 07 Oct 2013
In reply to thegoatstroker:

The guide says - "Generally VD except for the notorious crack, which becomes harder in the wet". Did the route earlier this year on, admittedly, a chilly day. The route has a few moments - and the "crack" was a bit of a stopper.

If your grade is VD or Severe I would think BB would leave quite an inmpression - even in the dry. I would not fancy the crack in the wet!

The crack is certainly harder that VD - and the overall guide should reflect the hardest section - is it HS or S - that is the question.

C Route on Gimmer is S in the new guide.
Trangia - on 07 Oct 2013
In reply to Ron Kenyon:
> (In reply to thegoatstroker)
>
> > The crack is certainly harder that VD - and the overall guide should reflect the hardest section - is it HS or S - that is the question.
>
I can't agree with you. I've climbed it a dozen times over the years, including in the wet. The crack is solid V Diff. No way is it Severe. The rest of the climb is more like Hard Diff

Rob Naylor - on 07 Oct 2013
In reply to Ron Kenyon:

I've not climbed it for about 10 years.

However:

- I'm an absolutely crap climber. I've led a fair number of VSs but only gibbered my way up leading one soft touch HVS.

- I didn't find it at all daunting when I led it.

- I found parts of Tophet Wall a considerable challenge. No way are the grades comparable. TW is much harder for a more sustained period, IMO.

That's the opinion of a crap bumbly climber whose only redemption is that because his climbing experience extends over such a limited number of lower grades it's likely to be more attuned to the differences in those lower grades than that of someone who climbs much harder.
Gordon Stainforth - on 07 Oct 2013
In reply to Rob Naylor:

You are absolutely right. Tophet Wall would be about HVS on the same scale.
Simon Caldwell - on 07 Oct 2013
In reply to Gordon Stainforth:
Certainly doesn't seem to make much sense to make BB into HS but leave C Route as Severe. It's not like Tower Ridge is it, an attempt to overgrade in order to reduce the number of epics/rescues? I don't remember reading about many problems on BB.
Simon Caldwell - on 07 Oct 2013
In reply to Toreador:
Maybe it's just a way of getting free advertising on UKC ;-)
Andysomething - on 07 Oct 2013
In reply to Toreador: Slightly off topic - Hope you found your way onto C route - I struggled to find the start - the pics in the new guide might help.

As for BB I've climbed it with various over the years and it's always gone ok including the crack pitch. VDiff is right for me.
Simon Caldwell - on 08 Oct 2013
In reply to Andysomething:
> Hope you found your way onto C route - I struggled to find the start

The tell-tale sign you're in the right place is the massive letters A B C E scratched on the rock :-)
Jamie B - on 08 Oct 2013
In reply to GrahamD:

> it increases the bragging rights for the hoards who dry tool their way up it with their brand new axes and - heaven forbid - increase the dry tooling traffic as a result.

Do you really believe that's the way that winter climbers (not dry-toolers) think? For those operating at V,6 I'm pretty sure it isn't.
Offwidth - on 08 Oct 2013
In reply to Rob Naylor:

"If your grade is VD or Severe I would think BB would leave quite an inmpression - even in the dry. I would not fancy the crack in the wet!"

If so that's plain grade ignorance and likley not even true for most as its not so uncommon these days to have technically able VD leaders who are more nervous on bold moves and who will find short protected 4a steps a breeze. As for the wet, it's commonly climbed that way and people expect routes to feel harder and more variable as grades are designed for reasonable nick. I know we used to have the view that many VD's were just VS climbs with ledges but that doesnt mean you regrade all the ledgy routes HS. A bold sustained 4a sequence deserves VS even today just as a safe 4a move off a ledge or the ground is fine at VD. Lets celebrate the wonderful utility of the UK grading system, not f*ck it up.

Dave Cumberland - on 08 Oct 2013
In reply to Jamie B:
> (In reply to GrahamD)
> Do you really believe that's the way that winter climbers (not dry-toolers) think? For those operating at V,6 I'm pretty sure it isn't.

That is exactly the way a significant percentage of Lakes Winter climbers think.
GrahamD - on 08 Oct 2013
In reply to Jamie B:


Whatever terminology you chose to use - dry toolers or winter climbers climbing unsuitable projects amounts to the same damage as far as I'm concerned.

Yes there are enough of them who do see the summer grade as bragging rights. They would be unusual if they didn't - everyone likes to compare their grades.
SCrossley on 08 Oct 2013
In reply to thegoatstroker: I suppose really the question is could a V Diff leader get up it. I think they could on a nice dry day, which is what I believe the criteria is.
Is it HS, not in a million years.
Jamie B - on 08 Oct 2013
In reply to GrahamD:

You're obviously hanging out with a different bunch of winter climbers to me; I've yet to hear anyone cite a summer grade as "bragging rights". Indeed I find the whole winter scene refreshingly free of such cock-measuring. Most winter climbers who have acquired the skills to climb a big V,6 do so because it's a classic winter line (and has been for over 50 years) taking a natural line up a big cliff.

I haven't climbed it in winter (wrong country for me), but have done so twice in summer. I noticed plenty of scratches, but curiously these didn't ruin my day. Maybe I was too taken by the views, situation and quality of the climbing? Or maybe I just wasn't looking for something to whinge about?

Anyway, this is all tangential to the main topic, so we should probably drop it. Suffice to say I thought it was a full-blooded VDiff with a crux that was out of proportion to the rest of the route, but short-lived, non-serious and escapable, so would have been happy to keep it at that. Nothing wrong with having a few quirky routes with stumbling-blocks at the grade, as long as they're safe. I'd not have grudged Severe, but HS seems a bit silly to be honest.
Jamie B - on 08 Oct 2013
In reply to sjc:

> the question is could a V Diff leader get up it. I think they could on a nice dry day, which is what I believe the criteria is.

Or to put it another way, graded for survive-ability, not on-sight-ability...
Dave Cumberland - on 08 Oct 2013
In reply to Jamie B:
> (In reply to GrahamD)>
> You're obviously hanging out with a different bunch of winter climbers to me; I've yet to hear anyone cite a summer grade as "bragging rights". Indeed I find the whole winter scene refreshingly free of such cock-measuring.

You obviously do not understand what is going on in the Lakes in Winter. Try Engineers Slabs (or the earlier furore over Snicker Snack) which proves GrahamD's point.
Exile - on 08 Oct 2013
In reply to Dave Cumberland:

Six climbers have climbed snicker snack in winter, thanks not a significant amount.

GrahamD - the winter climbers Iclimb with, (a good number) aren't looking at a Summer grade to brag about. The grade of BB in winter is V 6 not VDiff or HS.
GrahamD - on 08 Oct 2013
In reply to Exile:

Maybe the winter climbers you climb with understand winter conditions better than the ones I listen to. It won't take many of those to really bugger up e.g. Botterills slab. To them Botterills with a bit of slush on it is a big tick.

Snicker Snack is hard as a summer route so of course it doesn't get many winter ascents.
Dave Cumberland - on 08 Oct 2013
In reply to Exile:
> (In reply to Dave Cumberland)
> Six climbers have climbed snicker snack in winter, thanks not a significant amount.>
> GrahamD - the winter climbers Iclimb with, (a good number) aren't looking at a Summer grade to brag about. The grade of BB in winter is V 6 not VDiff or HS.
You don't know how many people have climbed SS in Winter. I disagree about bragging rights. If the multi-coloured gear freaks hammer their way up Engineers Slabs in Winter to tick whatever grade they say it is, they do it to brag about it, we live in a competitive world and that's what is destroying classic rock routes with aid-climbing/winter gear.
Michael Gordon - on 08 Oct 2013
In reply to Jamie B:

Agreed. Nothing to do with bragging rights, however big a tick these routes may be to some folk personally. All to do with being inspired to do the route and thinking it, rightly or wrongly, a good winter objective.
Gordon Stainforth - on 08 Oct 2013
In reply to thegoatstroker:

Have been away for a day. Where have we got to on this? Can someone who has the new guide please confirm that Tophet Wall is still Hard Severe.
abcdefg - on 08 Oct 2013
In reply to Gordon Stainforth:

Yes, Tophet Wall is still HS in the most recent (2007) 'Gable & Pillar' guide, if that's what you meant.

In other news - I see that Arcturus is now up to E2 in the new Langdale guide. (Well, okay: 'E2-'.) I think that's an overgrading. On the other hand, it does confirm that 'the older I get, the better I was.'
Pagan - on 08 Oct 2013
In reply to abcdefg:

Is Langdale trying to become the new Kalymnos?!
lithos on 08 Oct 2013
In reply to abcdefg:

E1- surely?
Simon Theobald - on 08 Oct 2013
In reply to thegoatstroker:
Perhaps it's now time to regrade Broad Stand as well?
Gordon Stainforth - on 08 Oct 2013
In reply to abcdefg:

Ah, I had a senior moment there! ....

Arcturus. I never did it, but my brother did it years ago (in about 1970) and said it was correctly graded for a very badly protected HVS (steady 5a, I'm sure was what he said, on perfect, rather friendly rock).

How is it that standards - of climbers - are obviously going down, even as sticky boots and modern protection devices have improved beyond all recognition??
Calder - on 08 Oct 2013
In reply to Gordon Stainforth:
> (In reply to abcdefg)
>
> How is it that standards - of climbers - are obviously going down, even as sticky boots and modern protection devices have improved beyond all recognition??

If I'm anything close to representative, it's because we're becoming total fannies in this modern world of H&S and what not.
Pagan - on 08 Oct 2013
In reply to Gordon Stainforth:

It's the end of the world, Gordon. Obviously it was all so much better in the 60s.

How does regrading routes make it "obvious" that standards are going down?

> correctly graded for a very badly protected HVS (steady 5a, I'm sure was what he said, on perfect, rather friendly rock).

Hmm, looks like horseshit, smells like horseshit - I reckon it's horseshit.

A 'correctly graded', 'very badly protected HVS' which is 'steady 5a' is E1.
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Andysomething - on 08 Oct 2013
In reply to Toreador: Right! Will try and find that bit then!
Gordon Stainforth - on 08 Oct 2013
In reply to Calder:
> (In reply to Gordon Stainforth)
> [...]
>
> If I'm anything close to representative, it's because we're becoming total fannies in this modern world of H&S and what not.

And, it seems, totally incompetent to judge standards anymore. The new Langdale guidebook would probably be more useful if all the grades had been missed off, rather than have that howler of a mistake (a typo? perhaps), which renders all the grades in the book suspect.

Rather than ask about Tophet Wall I should have asked about Slip Knot. Is that still given Hard Severe? And are those old classics like Gordian Knot, Haste Knot, and F Route still VS? In which case the guidebook makes an utter nonsense of Bowfell Buttress. I guess Middlefell Buttress must now be at least H V Diff or Mild Severe.
Gordon Stainforth - on 08 Oct 2013
In reply to Pagan:
> (In reply to Gordon Stainforth)
>
> It's the end of the world, Gordon. Obviously it was all so much better in the 60s.
>
> How does regrading routes make it "obvious" that standards are going down?
>
> [...]
>
> Hmm, looks like horseshit, smells like horseshit - I reckon it's horseshit.
>
> A 'correctly graded', 'very badly protected HVS' which is 'steady 5a' is E1.

Sorry, yes, Arcturus was E1.

Standards must be going down if people seriously think Bowfell Buttress is Hard Severe. But the most rational explanation is that it's a typo.

Gordon Stainforth - on 08 Oct 2013
In reply to Pagan:
> (In reply to Gordon Stainforth)
>
> It's the end of the world, Gordon. Obviously it was all so much better in the 60s.
>

It's not the end of the world, and a million things are much better now than they were in the 60s, in climbing, as in the rest of life. But the strange thing was that, in climbing, at about VS and above, the level of competence just seemed so much higher ... I guess because people who were no good weren't doing it, because there just wasn't enough/any nice safety gear. Also - another huge generalisation - people weren't nearly so obsessed with grades (the vague adjectives were quite good enough, and not what climbing was about anyway). I can't tell you how many really good climbers, much better than myself, that I climbed with in my early days, who were all operating at around HVS-E3 by modern standards and, if they were around today, with modern gear, would all be climbing at a much higher level.
Gordon Stainforth - on 08 Oct 2013
In reply to Pagan:

I suppose the biggest difference was that there really was a much lower level of bullshit.
Simon Caldwell - on 09 Oct 2013
In reply to Gordon Stainforth:
> I should have asked about Slip Knot. Is that still given Hard Severe?

It's been VS for many years
Rog Wilko on 09 Oct 2013
In reply to thegoatstroker: As I've suggested before on this web-site, a solution might be to invoke a new Grade "Traditional V Diff" which means that it can have any short section up to about 4b. As long as it's clear where the crux is that would be fine - people can decide whether they want to tackle it or who in the party might lead that pitch. I think that grade could also be applied to Gimmer Chimney which has a very hard (and poorly protected) move on the first pitch.
Simon Caldwell - on 09 Oct 2013
In reply to Rog Wilko:
Or alternatively, VD 4b, which seems to work to me.
GridNorth - on 09 Oct 2013
In reply to Gordon Stainforth:
> (In reply to Pagan)
> [...]
>
> I can't tell you how many really good climbers, much better than myself, that I climbed with in my early days, who were all operating at around HVS-E3 by modern standards and, if they were around today, with modern gear, would all be climbing at a much higher level.

The trouble with that theory is that it doesn't take account of the ageing process. I was climbing E2/3 from 1965 onwards and that's the same grade that I'm climbing today aged 65. What I would say however is that if the gear had not improved I would have given up years ago.
Gordon Stainforth - on 09 Oct 2013
In reply to GridNorth:
> (In reply to Gordon Stainforth)
> [...]
>
> The trouble with that theory is that it doesn't take account of the ageing process. I was climbing E2/3 from 1965 onwards and that's the same grade that I'm climbing today aged 65. What I would say however is that if the gear had not improved I would have given up years ago.

No, I didn't mean that. I meant if they were the same age now i.e. physically the same as they were then, but using today's gear, they would be climbing at a much higher standard. (Or, to say the same thing another way, if they had had today's gear back then ... )
abcdefg - on 09 Oct 2013
In reply to Gordon Stainforth:

> Rather than ask about Tophet Wall I should have asked about Slip Knot. Is that still given Hard Severe? And are those old classics like Gordian Knot, Haste Knot, and F Route still VS? In which case the guidebook makes an utter nonsense of Bowfell Buttress. I guess Middlefell Buttress must now be at least H V Diff or Mild Severe.

Since I am browsing the shiny new guide, allow me:

Route .................... 1999 FRCC guide, 2013 FRCC guide

Slip Knot ................ VS, VS-
Gordian Knot .......... VS, VS+
Haste Route ........... VS, VS+
F Route .................. VS, VS+
Middlefell Buttress .. D, D
Exile - on 09 Oct 2013
In reply to GrahamD:
> (In reply to Exile)
>
> Maybe the winter climbers you climb with understand winter conditions better than the ones I listen to. It won't take many of those to really bugger up e.g. Botterills slab. To them Botterills with a bit of slush on it is a big tick.

Maybe, but I did climb with at least eight different people last year, most quite active winter climbers here in the Lakes.
>
> Snicker Snack is hard as a summer route so of course it doesn't get many winter ascents.

My point exactly - although I do think that SS is probably a good example of a route that shouldn't be climbed in winter. (I wouldn't point fingers at the few people who have done it though - we were in a very different place winter climbing wise at the time of the first ascents.

Exile - on 09 Oct 2013
In reply to Dave Cumberland:
> (In reply to Exile)
> [...]
> You don't know how many people have climbed SS in Winter.

I do - it's six.

I disagree about bragging rights. If the multi-coloured gear freaks hammer their way up Engineers Slabs in Winter to tick whatever grade they say it is, they do it to brag about it, we live in a competitive world and that's what is destroying classic rock routes with aid-climbing/winter gear.

I live in a different climbing world to you.

Michael Gordon - on 09 Oct 2013
In reply to Toreador:

I think once you get a 4b move, a route should really be Severe. V-diff 4a, fair enough.
Offwidth - on 10 Oct 2013
In reply to Michael Gordon:

Not off the ground and especially not with the increased amount of bouldering done by VD climbers these days (indoors and out). The UK system works: use it.
Michael Gordon - on 10 Oct 2013
In reply to Offwidth:
> (In reply to Michael Gordon)
>
> Not off the ground and especially not with the increased amount of bouldering done by VD climbers these days (indoors and out). The UK system works: use it.

er, I do use it!

I can't believe v-diff climbers do much bouldering; if they did they wouldn't be v-diff climbers. If you can manage 4b moves on lead you'll almost certainly be climbing harder than v-diff. That's my opinion.
Gordon Stainforth - on 10 Oct 2013
In reply to Michael Gordon:

Most of us when we started to climb (because we were training on bouldering/sandstone outcrops etc) were capable of climbing much harder technically than V Diff, but we worked our way up through the grades nevertheless. Offwidth forgets just how much bouldering was done in the old days. It has a very long tradition, going right back to the start of the sport. Well certainly 'buildering' (see Abrahams' photos).
Michael Gordon - on 10 Oct 2013
In reply to Gordon Stainforth:

Of course everyone works their way up through the grades. That's quite understandable when starting out but with the technical ability you quickly progress. I take 'v-diff leader' though to mean someone who rarely climbs harder than that, and that that has been the case for some time.
Gordon Stainforth - on 10 Oct 2013
In reply to Michael Gordon:

In my whole climbing career I have met very few 'V Diff climbers' in your sense. Perhaps there are more such people now that climbing has become so much safer, but it really is rather baffling. Because, if you enjoy climbing and are physically fit, why on earth would you not want to climb harder? If that really is your limit, climbing scarcely seems like a very suitable sport to pursue.
Michael Gordon - on 10 Oct 2013
In reply to Gordon Stainforth:

I quite agree Gordon. Presumably they do exist though. Many folk to progress just nip up a couple of diffs, v-diffs and Severes then take a fair bit longer once tech grades start to mean something at Hard Severe and certainly VS. I don't think the term 'v-diff climber' means much if it's only for a couple of routes then you're on to something else.
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Calder - on 10 Oct 2013
In reply to Michael Gordon:
> (In reply to Offwidth)
> [...]
>
> er, I do use it!
>
> ...if they did they wouldn't be v-diff climbers. If you can manage 4b moves on lead you'll almost certainly be climbing harder than v-diff. That's my opinion.

The fact they probably climb harder doesn't mean you have to put a higher adjectival though. VDiff 4b says everything you possibly need to know to decide whether to do it; a route that is almost entirely VDiff in feel and standard, with a (very) short 4b crux. And is that not the point in the guidebook and the grade?

Changing the adjectival to severe means you misrepresent the standard of the route.
Michael Gordon - on 10 Oct 2013
In reply to Calder:

The point I'd argue is would it still feel like a v-diff? And would I expect a v-diff leader to manage it? I'd say no to both.
Calder - on 10 Oct 2013
In reply to Michael Gordon: I understood your argument, i just happen to think you're wrong!

If it was a ten metre route I'd agree. But since 98 of 100 metres would feel VDiff then overall yes, the route would feel VDiff. Better this way so, along with the knowledge there's a 4b bit, people can make a rational decision about whether to do it. And if they do they'll be able to correlate the difficulty of the route with others of that standard - ie. they can make a sensible decision about whether to start trying severes etc. If you call it severe then folk get a false impression about what a severe is.

Anyway, why do all 'VDiff leaders' need to be able to climb it?
Offwidth - on 11 Oct 2013
In reply to Gordon Stainforth:

"Offwidth forgets": cheeky bugger. You know me well enough to know I'm both keen on history, and that my bouldering started just like the old days: short solos, dressed stone walls and low jinks indoors (esp fireplace mantsls). The difference now is there are hundreds of indoor walls with bouldering from very low grades and much more widespread recreational bumbling. So I think VDiff leaders ain't what they used to be: certainly not only for wet days or climbers on the way in or on the way to retirement. We also both know that VDiffs comonly had 4a level moves in the early days (before us and before tech grades became common let alone got considered for use on such routes): Very Difficult used to mean what it said on the tin. In a modern context it is a VD 4a but Im getting worried about post-modernism with such a precedent.
Howard J - on 11 Oct 2013
In reply to Michael Gordon:
> (In reply to Calder)
>
> The point I'd argue is would it still feel like a v-diff? And would I expect a v-diff leader to manage it? I'd say no to both.

I'd say yes to both. A V-Diff leader should be able to cope with a 4b move in a V-Diff situation. There are plenty of other precedents - Birchen has several V Diff 4bs where the hard move is off the ground.

A Just-V-Diff leader will see from the tech grade that they might struggle. Otherwise a short harder move in a safe situation won't affect the overall V Diff feel of the route.

Howard J - on 11 Oct 2013
In reply to Gordon Stainforth:
> (In reply to Michael Gordon)
>
> if you enjoy climbing and are physically fit, why on earth would you not want to climb harder? If that really is your limit, climbing scarcely seems like a very suitable sport to pursue.

You could apply that logic to any grade. There's more to climbing than grades, and this applies especially to mountain routes. The point is to have a good day out in the hills. If that's only V Diff, why not? There's more than enough good routes at that grade to keep people busy.
Simon Caldwell - on 11 Oct 2013
In reply to Gordon Stainforth:
> If that really is your limit, climbing scarcely seems like a very suitable sport to pursue.

So if for whatever reason you can only climb VDiffs, and have great fun doing so, you should give it up because you don't aspire to climbing E1?

Strange.

Does the same apply to those who only climb E1 and don't aspire to E6?
Rog Wilko on 12 Oct 2013
In reply to Gordon Stainforth: That kind of elitism is both unpleasant and unworthy of you. Fortunately, over many years of climbing (if that would be of routes considered worthy of the name by such as yourself) I have found an overwhelming majority of climbers have been friendly and non-judgemental regardless of what grades they and I are leading. Long may it last.
Only a hill - on 12 Oct 2013
In reply to Gordon Stainforth:
> (In reply to Michael Gordon)
>
> In my whole climbing career I have met very few 'V Diff climbers' in your sense. Perhaps there are more such people now that climbing has become so much safer, but it really is rather baffling. Because, if you enjoy climbing and are physically fit, why on earth would you not want to climb harder? If that really is your limit, climbing scarcely seems like a very suitable sport to pursue.

I'm afraid I don't agree, Gordon. I haven't climbed harder than VDiff in years (in fact, I haven't put a rope on in a long time), yet I remain passionate about climbing.

I have never enjoyed climbing at higher grades as much as I have romping up some aesthetic and unthreatening Diff. Even in winter my interest wanes after Grade III.

Surely the great thing about climbing is that we all find our own meaning and value in it? It was O.G.Jones who said that climbing should be for everyone to discover in their own way and find their own unique benefit from it. Climbing is about freedom - not about peer pressure or conforming to what everyone else thinks.
Gordon Stainforth - on 12 Oct 2013
In reply to Only a hill:

Sorry not to have answered any comments above. Have been working round the clock .. and can only spare a few mins now. Of course I do not mean people who used to climb harder and have now dropped their standard. And so just climb for enjoyment. ( (I did exactly that for the last 7 years of my climbing, and then stopped owing to bad eyesight). I meant young, fit people who never have aspirations to do better. It's not elitist. It's a bit like saying you want to learn to play the piano but never to try anything more demanding than Grade 1, or in the context of the adventure sport that climbing is, to say that I want to be a racing driver, but not to drive above 70 mph. There is nothing elitist about wanting to do something well. What's the point in playing any game if you don't ever want to win, for example?
Only a hill - on 12 Oct 2013
In reply to Gordon Stainforth:
But my point is that everyone's idea of what 'winning' means in climbing is different. That's the beauty of it, surely?

I am young, fit, and haven't ever climbed harder than HS. I have no aspirations to either.
Gordon Stainforth - on 12 Oct 2013
In reply to Only a hill:
> (In reply to Gordon Stainforth)
> But my point is that everyone's idea of what 'winning' means in climbing is different. That's the beauty of it, surely?

Yes. Of course. I didn't say it was wrong ... I said it was a baffling.
>
> I am young, fit, and haven't ever climbed harder than HS. I have no aspirations to either.

But you sound like a very competent climber and scrambler. Rather surprised though that you've got as far as HS and haven't wanted to 'step over the brink' :)
Only a hill - on 12 Oct 2013
In reply to Gordon Stainforth:
At one point I was focused on grade progression, but I think I grew out of it. For me climbing and scrambling is just a small part of being in the hills, and by no means the most important part.
Simon Caldwell - on 12 Oct 2013
In reply to Gordon Stainforth:
> What's the point in playing any game if you don't ever want to win, for example?

As well as being a crap climber, I'm also a crap fell runner.
99.99% of runners stand no chance of ever winning anything. We take part to beat our friends who are even worse than we are. Or to do better than last time. Or as well as we can this time. But mostly just for the fun of it, for the joy of being in the outdoors.

What's so strange about that?
paul__in_sheffield - on 12 Oct 2013
In reply to Gordon Stainforth: Gordon, I think it's probably down to confusion. Routes at HS and below are in that grey area between climbing and hill walking ;-)
Rog Wilko on 13 Oct 2013
In reply to Toreador: Great post, Simon. We're soulmates.
Offwidth - on 13 Oct 2013
In reply to Gordon Stainforth: Not only does climbing have plenty of people involved like that these days, its ideally suited to it, as however good you get, the real challenge is between you and the rock (not the grade). I'd say young people like that are common now but I've known some like it since I started in the 1980's.

Someone just mentioned (joking?) a crossover with hillwalking, which is not as daft, rude or ignorant as it sounds: some lower grade climbers just want to have some physical fun in beautiful surroundings.
Gordon Stainforth - on 13 Oct 2013
In reply to Offwidth:
> (In reply to Gordon Stainforth) Not only does climbing have plenty of people involved like that these days, its ideally suited to it, as however good you get, the real challenge is between you and the rock (not the grade). I'd say young people like that are common now but I've known some like it since I started in the 1980's.

Well, I agree that the challenge is between oneself and the rock, ... and nothing else at all. If one is genuinely operating at a ceiling of v diff, then yes, of course. I've also said (like you) that most climbers grow out of pushing their grades ... typically when they've reached their limit, and indeed start to climb less well. Because they had to. That applied to me as well.
>
> Someone just mentioned (joking?) a crossover with hillwalking, which is not as daft, rude or ignorant as it sounds: some lower grade climbers just want to have some physical fun in beautiful surroundings.

Hillwalking has always been for me as imoortant as rock climbing - well for a few years between c.1968 and 72, less important. Long before I became a climber I was a keen hill walker, and mountaineering grew out of that, and then the desire to rock climb, because my climbing skills were shown to be hopelessly inadequate on my first trip to the Alps in 1966. Now that I've stopped climbing I am still as keen a hill walker as ever. And walk every weekend typically about 4-7 miles (nothing too long nowadays) in the Peak, with Freda - taking in a pub on route. One of the great joys in life. I had a very pleasant reacquiantance with the superb Ben Vorlich earlier in the summer.
Martin Hore - on 13 Oct 2013
In reply to paul__in_sheffield:
> (In reply to Gordon Stainforth) Gordon, I think it's probably down to confusion. Routes at HS and below are in that grey area between climbing and hill walking ;-)

Was that meant as serious comment? Seems a bit strange. I'm sure the majority of those who enjoy climbing HS and below very definitely consider themselves climbers and might be rather offended to be told what they do is in a "grey area".

I would have thought it runs something like this. VD and above - definitely climbing. Diff and Mod - overlap with scrambling Grades 2 and 3. Scrambling Grade 1 - overlap with hill-walking.

Martin

Only a hill - on 13 Oct 2013
In reply to Martin Hore:
Pretty sure it was intended as a gentle joke, hence the smiley.

I agree with your assessment of where grades cross over in general, but the grey areas can be pretty big. I've found the odd adventurous Grade 2 scramble to be more of a challenge than well trodden, friendly VDiffs.
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paul__in_sheffield - on 14 Oct 2013
In reply to Only a hill: +1 from me ;-)

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