/ End of the Affair (E8) flashed again + The Promise "broken"...

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John Roberts (JR) - on 22 Nov 2011
Jordan flashed End of the Affair on Friday then we went to Burbage North yesterday where he decked from the last move trying to flash The Promise.

Luckily he's ok, just a torn bum seam in his Jeans, but he's VERY lucky.

There's some photos from Alex Messenger on my blog - http://jr-climbing.blogspot.com/2011/11/promise-is-it-finally-end-of-affair.html

Stay safe out there...
Bulls Crack - on 22 Nov 2011
In reply to John Roberts (JR):

Having witnessed Jordan deck out a few times (once from the top of Widdop Wall!) I had total faith that he'd be ok, but he was very lucky indeed.

Now that is faith. Not sure I'd rely on it!
Iain McKenzie - on 22 Nov 2011
In reply to John Roberts (JR): nice one Mr R.
John Roberts (JR) - on 22 Nov 2011
In reply to Iain McKenzie:

Thanks! Need to get my own skin back now, that buttress is so rough...
Ben Briggs - on 22 Nov 2011
In reply to John Roberts (JR): Good write up John, i enjoyed reading that and it looks a great route.
alex - on 22 Nov 2011
In reply to John Roberts (JR):

For the historical record, I'd like to point out that the close-up shot of Jordan's behind is by John, not me.
John Roberts (JR) - on 22 Nov 2011
In reply to alex:

Updated it for you Messenger. I'm pretty sure you had a much bigger lens pointed in that direction though...
nathanlee - on 22 Nov 2011
In reply to John Roberts (JR):

shouldve taken my pad...;) didnt realise it was a flash attempt. effort.
Dave 88 - on 22 Nov 2011
In reply to John Roberts (JR):

Gives new meaning to the phrase "tearing the arse out of it". Great effort.

Interesting points on The Promise grade. It's ridiculous for someone as crap as me to comment, but I did think it was a bit off for people to repeat it with a sea of mats, then claim that the grade was inflated. If it's harder than Equilibrium and the gear may not hold then surely...
Stash - on 22 Nov 2011
Not for me to comment on what grade I think it should be but having watched it all happen it definately was a great effort at a flash attempt of a hard route with a marginal gear placement. Was a relief to see Jordan all intact if not a little bruised.
johncoxmysteriously - on 22 Nov 2011
In reply to John Roberts (JR):

Interesting grading observations. Maybe Dave M should go and give it a go?!

Has anyone other than JP done both this and Equilibrium?

jcm
Dave 88 - on 23 Nov 2011
In reply to johncoxmysteriously:

Didn't he already comment on it, saying that short grit routes were not ideal for the uk trad grading system to be applied to.
Adam Long - on 23 Nov 2011
In reply to Dave 88:
> (In reply to johncoxmysteriously)
>
> Didn't he already comment on it, saying that short grit routes were not ideal for the uk trad grading system to be applied to.

Quite. Lucky or not, I think the fact that you can fall off the last move and only rip your jeans is perhaps a sign that E9 is not a useful grade. Hence why chucking a few pads down makes more sense than consciously avoiding them and claiming a big E number. That we don't have an especially useful system for grading such outings yet is no reason to let the tail wag the dog...

I don't think anyone except JP has done both Equilibrium and The Promise, though Equilibrium is notoriously reachy - always fertile ground for grade discrepancies.

Over the last couple of years a couple of attempts came very close to bouldering out the neighbouring route Superstition. Despite what you might think from the grades, its both higher and harder than The Promise. The ground-up we'll hopefully see this winter will be a step forward I think.

mattrm - on 23 Nov 2011
In reply to John Roberts (JR):

I'll see your 'very luck' and raise it to 'incredibly lucky'. Glad to see he's ok. It's an awful feeling when you see your only piece of gear go tight and then pop out.
Morgan Woods - on 23 Nov 2011
In reply to Dave 88:
> (In reply to John Roberts (JR))
>
> Gives new meaning to the phrase "tearing the arse out of it". Great effort.
>

or the phrase "tearing him a new one"

great shot of the fall btw....love the rope snaking above with the sole piece of gear on it.
John Roberts (JR) - on 23 Nov 2011
In reply to Adam Long:

I think Dave M did yes and this was what I wrote back in 2008:

"Comparing it to superstition yeah it's not E8, but given that (AFAIK) no-one but Miles can even do the damn thing top rope or no top rope would anyone be arguing with superstition getting E9 or possibly harder? Same goes for superbloc. All it does say is that its desperate to grade all these bouldery, potentially dangerous, super highball routes."

If you're going to use E grades for these routes then shrinking the grade boundaries makes some sense if graded for the on-sight, but then in reality you're right Adam about the tail wagging the dog, but you can't really dictate styles unless it's having a significant impact on the rock. James honourably decided to climb it in that style and no-one has matched it. I bet it felt E9+ in that style.

AFAIK James is the only person to have done both Equilibrium and The Promise. James finds Equilibrium easier, I find Equilibrium harder, Jordan suggested he thought The Promise could be harder (though he's only been on The Promise once to be fair) and he's a midget.

However, you can have a parachute failure from 20,000ft and get away with only a tear in your pants. Just because someone didn't die/seriously injured doesn't mean it's not dangerous. The landing is not good even with lots of mats compared to Superstition (and I'd argue where you fall, it's not really significantly higher.) Chances of getting away lightly from a fall on Superstition are much better than one off The Promise almost regardless of the number of mats.

Have you tried either Adam? I'm pretty sure you'd cruise The Promise, get the pads down and crack on!
a lakeland climber on 23 Nov 2011
In reply to John Roberts (JR):

These sort of route would be prime candidates for a 'Highball' grade, so H8 rather than E8.

And yes I know that the 'H' grade is proposed as a headpoint grade/guideline but I think it would be more useful for these high boulder problems/short routes. For headpoints just use the adjectival grade but put (h) or similar afterwards to indicate it hasn't been onsighted yet - similar to the old dagger symbol for routes that hadn't been checked by the guidebook team.

ALC
mkean - on 23 Nov 2011
In reply to a lakeland climber:
Surely just a font grade and a "you'll get a bloody nasty shock if you come off it" comment in the guide :-)
Michael Ryan - on 23 Nov 2011
In reply to mkean:
> (In reply to a lakeland climber)
> Surely just a font grade and a "you'll get a bloody nasty shock if you come off it" comment in the guide :-)

Font 8a, X ?

Describes how hard the climbing is and that it is a dangerous fall with potential nasty consequences.

Other highball descriptions include OTD or Off The Deck, which means the crux is high rather than the starting moves.

I think you should keep style out of it; whether you ground up (impressive) or headpoint (less impressive) is up to you, and if it is newsworthy you just state the style you did it in.

M

John Roberts (JR) - on 23 Nov 2011
In reply to Mick Ryan - Senior Editor - UKC:

Right - scrap everything in the Burbage North section of the guide, they all need boulder grades. I'll start with:

20 foot crack, V0 X
The Chant, V0 X
Long Tall Sally, V1 X

As for the now obselete system style shouldn't stay out of it if the grade describes a style! E - hypothetical onsight, no mats.

Do any of these high-balls in bishop have gear on them!? It just seems a little silly to me as often the routes we describe have gear, sometimes bomber (superstition).
Adam Long - on 23 Nov 2011
In reply to Mick Ryan - Senior Editor - UKC:

I agree, it doesn't need a many-leveled scale. I'd say a '!' rather than an X - as its already used in the font guide and won;t be confused with stars.

2 or 3 levels would suffice:

! - a high boulder problem, several mats required
!! - a very high problem, many mats, spotters, luck etc required
!!! - moves in to the 'no-fall' zone ie soloing.

In reply to John Roberts (JR):

>Comparing it to superstition yeah it's not E8, but given that (AFAIK) no-one but Miles can even do the damn thing top rope or no top rope would anyone be arguing with superstition getting E9 or possibly harder? Same goes for superbloc.

Hmmm, don't beleive in the myths. Ground-up repeats have come very close - a one move slap to the ledge - and stopped due to fear more than difficulty. IE with even a little rehearsal you would have had two repeats last winter. My take on Miles' grade was that it wasn't very high and it wasn't death therefore E8 7a on the same scale that gives West Side Story E4 7a. Giving Superbloc E9 is even dafter, what are you on?

Equilibrium is a good bit higher than either, you wouldn't consider a fall onto pads from the crux.

>However, you can have a parachute failure from 20,000ft and get away with only a tear in your pants.

I was waiting for someone to say that. Irrelevant. Saying a 25ft fall onto a not horrendous landing is E9+ or E10 is why the americans are laughing at us.
Adam Long - on 23 Nov 2011
In reply to John Roberts (JR):
> (In reply to Mick Ryan - Senior Editor - UKC)

> Do any of these high-balls in bishop have gear on them!? It just seems a little silly to me as often the routes we describe have gear, sometimes bomber (superstition).

You what? In the break 6ft off the ground?
John Roberts (JR) - on 23 Nov 2011
In reply to Adam Long:

The second break at c.10ft (not the bigger lower one) has two good aliens in it. They are at your feet/waist when you do the hard move. They would possibly stop you even when are doing the last move to the jug (which is actually pretty easy). There's only one move that's utterly desperate.
Curiously Austrian IP on 23 Nov 2011 - ysh05-228-95.uibk.ac.at
In reply to a lakeland climber:
> (In reply to John Roberts (JR))
>
> These sort of route would be prime candidates for a 'Highball' grade, so H8 rather than E8.
>
>
>

How would the highball grades be any different to the E-grades? I see this issue as very similar to the Pembroke one. For the average UK climber trying these routes, who plods around this country, with no particular strength for bouldering or sport, then the promise and Muy Caliente will feel E9 or whatever- ie next generation to onsight. If you then get people who are specific boulders or sport climbers (whether foreign or not) trying these routes, they'll laugh at our system.

Bouldery routes are easier for boulderers, sustained routes are easier for sport climbers and death routes are easier for the deranged. We know this. The E grade works for highballs, just like it does for death route headpoints. If visiting highball specialists laugh at the idea of the promise being E9, then so be it (forgetting the fact that the gear was once good, so it was probably easier). We have a good system that works really well generally.

I think what is very relevant is the point Hazel Findlay made about if women dominated climbing, things would be graded very differently. All that's happening at the moment is a shift in the boulder-strength of the average climber, so these bouldery routes are going to start feeling soft in comparison.
John Roberts (JR) - on 23 Nov 2011
In reply to Adam Long:

> >Comparing it to superstition yeah it's not E8, but given that (AFAIK) no-one but Miles can even do the damn thing top rope or no top rope would anyone be arguing with superstition getting E9 or possibly harder? Same goes for superbloc.
>
> Hmmm, don't beleive in the myths. Ground-up repeats have come very close - a one move slap to the ledge - and stopped due to fear more than difficulty. IE with even a little rehearsal you would have had two repeats last winter. My take on Miles' grade was that it wasn't very high and it wasn't death therefore E8 7a on the same scale that gives West Side Story E4 7a. Giving Superbloc E9 is even dafter, what are you on?

That was written before last winter (in 2008). I knew of those more recent attempts (and I might be wrong but weren't they above about 1.5m of snow!?>). They should have gone for it as they would have done it, the move is much easier than anything below.

> Equilibrium is a good bit higher than either, you wouldn't consider a fall onto pads from the crux.
>
> >However, you can have a parachute failure from 20,000ft and get away with only a tear in your pants.
>
> I was waiting for someone to say that. Irrelevant. Saying a 25ft fall onto a not horrendous landing is E9+ or E10 is why the americans are laughing at us.

Maybe I'm getting softer with age, but the landing below The Promise is pretty rubbish. Unless you've got 10 mats and 6 spotters (and 1.5m of snow) it's not going to be that safe. If you do then it'll be a great 7b+ ish highball. I don't have 10 mats but the Sheffield mafia does... ;)

In principle, E grade is graded for the on-sight, you know this Adam. Hypothetically if we do try use E grades and you truly take into account the physical/techincal/emotional difficulty of doing the routes first go then you have to accept that small very hard routes will get very high grades. I think you mis-understand me a little though in my being slightly polemic as I totally agree, the E grade doesn't really work for these routes if we do go for it as a highball with loads of mats or gear and mats. My point was that for somebody who goes for The Promise without mats, without knowledge of the gear or in the knowledge that the gear may well rip, then perhaps E9 would make sense, same would apply for something like superbloc but you'd be totally daft or a total visionary to do them like that.
Boy - on 23 Nov 2011
In reply to John Roberts (JR):
> (In reply to Mick Ryan - Senior Editor - UKC)
>
> Right - scrap everything in the Burbage North section of the guide, they all need boulder grades. I'll start with:
>
> 20 foot crack, V0 X
> The Chant, V0 X
> Long Tall Sally, V1 X

No need as the current book grades adequately convey the necessary information to potential repeaters in the likely style of the repeat. The grades aren't broke and don't need fixing.
However I think it's reasonable to say that the english trad grade doesn't convey the necessary information to the potential repeater very well on routes like Superstition and The Promise, hence suggestions on more effective alternatives.
Generally i think it makes sense for grades for things on the route/highball boundary to be for the most likely and/or most logical style of ascent.
Highballinging is something of a subsport being quite different from soloing, low bouldering and trad climbing. I think it's reasonable to have some specific information in or around the grade to give information to people practicing this discipline.
This wouldn't represent a predatory land grab by marauding boulderers, more just some tweaks to reflect changes in approach.
John Roberts (JR) - on 23 Nov 2011
In reply to Boy:

No I know Jon, that part of the post was totally tongue in cheek...

I think the last post shows that predominantly we agree.
Boy - on 23 Nov 2011
by - Boy on - 13:18 Wed
In reply to John Roberts (JR):
> (In reply to Adam Long)
> My point was that for somebody who goes for The Promise without mats, without knowledge of the gear or in the knowledge that the gear may well rip, then perhaps E9 would make sense....

But in all reality who would? It would be a somewhat foolish way to approach a climb which can be rendered relatively 'safe' by other means. Ok this is what trad grades are supposed to be for, but Isn't that a good reason not to use a trad grade alone to describe it?

Michael Ryan - on 23 Nov 2011
In reply to Boy:
> (In reply to John Roberts (JR))
> [...]
>
> The grades aren't broke and don't need fixing.

That's true. Once you have climbed a bit, the craziness of the E grade system makes some sort of sense.
Ramblin dave - on 23 Nov 2011
In reply to Boy:
> by - Boy on - 13:18 Wed
> In reply to John Roberts (JR):
> [...]
>
> But in all reality who would? It would be a somewhat foolish way to approach a climb which can be rendered relatively 'safe' by other means. Ok this is what trad grades are supposed to be for, but Isn't that a good reason not to use a trad grade alone to describe it?

I thought that on cutting edge ascents people generally do use whatever combination of grading systems they think describes it best? I'm pretty used to seeing reports that give an E grade and a uk tech grade as the 'headline figures' but go on to say that the hard bit is font whatever , fairly low down but over a dodgy landing or that after an easy start it goes into safe but run out F something...
Boy - on 23 Nov 2011
In reply to Ramblin dave: Exactly. So it would not be any great leap to do the same in guides etc.
John Roberts (JR) - on 23 Nov 2011
In reply to Boy:

Exactly - that's what I said! :)

"you'd be totally daft or a total visionary to do them like that."
Ramblin dave - on 23 Nov 2011
In reply to Boy: True. I guess I always vaguely imagine that people capable of doing a quick ground up ascent of an E8 tap into some sort of Sheffield beta grapevine / hive mind and have evolved past rocking up at the crag with a copy of Eastern Grit and thinking "hmm, what gets stars at my grade"...
Dave 88 - on 23 Nov 2011
In reply to John Roberts (JR):

Regarding grades, I agree, the uk trad grade is fantastic and generally works well, however, for short hard problems surely it can be a bit broken.

Say there's a bit if rock 10m high, the landig is grassy with a few rocks that may hurt. Technical difficulties up to 5a ish would all be coupled with the normal expected adjective grade, and skewed up or down depending on protection available, but generally it's going to be Diff-E1. No problem there.

Then you've got harder routes up to 6b. Even with similar gear, the adjective grade has to go up because there's a higher chance of falling off due the the technical difficulties. So that takes you up to about E5. Again, this all seems logical.

Now this is where things start to get a bit confusing. As the tech grade goes over 6b, you start getting into the realms of high E-grades. Yes, it's now even easier for you to fall off but should the grade go up? You're still falling onto the same ground as the other climbs on our fictional bit of rock. Surely there has to be a law of diminishing returns whereby it's accepted that no matter how hard a climb gets, a fall from a certain height (although scary and painful) is never going to pass a certain level of adjective danger. That way we stop a ridiculous system that essentially says an E10 grit problem has more danger than Indian Face (sorry to use the tired old example, but it's the benchmark uber dangerous E9!).

I think the problem is that the adjective grade steals all the glory from the tech grade. No one wants to say they put up a really hard new route; it's E4 7b. But why not?
Coel Hellier - on 23 Nov 2011
In reply to Dave 88:

Are you yet another who thinks that the adjectival grade relates only to danger?
Robert Durran - on 23 Nov 2011
In reply to Coel Hellier:
> (In reply to Dave 88)
>
> Are you yet another who thinks that the adjectival grade relates only to danger?

I fear so.
Probably also believes that God exists.
And that gritstone is his own rock.

Skyfall - on 23 Nov 2011
In reply to Dave 88:

> Now this is where things start to get a bit confusing. As the tech grade goes over 6b, you start getting into the realms of high E-grades. Yes, it's now even easier for you to fall off but should the grade go up? You're still falling onto the same ground as the other climbs on our fictional bit of rock. Surely there has to be a law of diminishing returns whereby it's accepted that no matter how hard a climb gets, a fall from a certain height (although scary and painful) is never going to pass a certain level of adjective danger. That way we stop a ridiculous system that essentially says an E10 grit problem has more danger than Indian Face (sorry to use the tired old example, but it's the benchmark uber dangerous E9!).

But you talk of "adjective danger" and whether an E10 grit problem can have more "danger" than Indian Face. No one is saying it is more dangerous. The E10 grit problem is technically harder. The adjectival grade encompasses danger AND technicality (you know that). As the technicality increases, so should the adj grade (assuming danger is constant). So, in theory, you *could* keep on going past E10 for a short route if the technicality keeps on increasing. Personally I don't see a problem with that.

However, maybe the danger of element of hard grit routes generally (as compared to things such as IF) is over-stated and that is pushing up grit adj grades to an unwarranted level given current technical limits. I think that is a slightly different point to the one you are making. Which is not that things get unstuck and there should be an adj grade ceiling for hard grit routes (which is what you seem to suggest), but that the danger element is/has been overplayed generally for grit routes. It's death on IF versus broken legs (maybe) on a 10-12m grit route. So perhaps you can indeed get to E10 on a 10m grit route but the bar is currently set too low technically.


Skyfall - on 23 Nov 2011
In reply to Coel and Robert Durran:

You beat me to it...
Dave 88 - on 23 Nov 2011
In reply to JonC:
> (In reply to Coel and Robert Durran)
>
> You beat me to it...

Yea but you were the only one able to use your words properly!

Good points above though, I see what you mean, and didn't really think of that. Cheers for explaining.

Dave 88 - on 23 Nov 2011
In reply to Coel Hellier:

In a word, no. Despite my previous post! It was just my feeling that as you do aslo have the tech grade coupled with it, that the overall adjective grade would be better used to give more emphasis to the protection and danger element. But then I suppose it would be just like the US X and R ratings.
ads.ukclimbing.com
Dave 88 - on 23 Nov 2011
In reply to Robert Durran:
>
> Probably also believes that God exists.

Very insulting.

Boy - on 23 Nov 2011
In reply to JonC:
> (In reply to Dave 88)
>

> However, maybe the danger of element of hard grit routes generally (as compared to things such as IF) is over-stated and that is pushing up grit adj grades to an unwarranted level given current technical limits. I think that is a slightly different point to the one you are making. Which is not that things get unstuck and there should be an adj grade ceiling for hard grit routes (which is what you seem to suggest), but that the danger element is/has been overplayed generally for grit routes. It's death on IF versus broken legs (maybe) on a 10-12m grit route.

The problem is that the danger is less definable on the type of routes in question than on longer more typical trad routes. There is a broader margin of error. A fall from high on IF will have a relatively predictable outcome. A fall from The Promise might result in death or ripped jeans and the severity of outcome can be greatly altered to varying degrees with mats and spotters.
It is a little daft to grade climbs for a style of ascent that most agree only a superhuman or madman would attempt, when a little creative thinking could produce a grade which applies to the way people actually do climb these things.


Skyfall - on 23 Nov 2011
In reply to Boy:

> The problem is that the danger is less definable on the type of routes in question than on longer more typical trad routes. There is a broader margin of error.

I can see that and I did think of it as I typed. However, provided a helmet is worn, a fall off a fairly short grit route whilst potentially very nasty should not normally result in death. So there is a clear difference in likely potential outcomes.

I agree that a different form of grading is worth considering given some of these issues. I am hardly doing these routes so I don't have much more to add, but I did think it worthwhile pointing out that an adjectival grade ceiling didn't make much sense either.
ali k on 23 Nov 2011
In reply to Boy:

> ...the severity of outcome can be greatly altered to varying degrees with mats and spotters. It is a little daft to grade climbs for a style of ascent that most agree only a superhuman or madman would attempt, when a little creative thinking could produce a grade which applies to the way people actually do climb these things.

Precisely. All due respect to Pearson for doing it in the style he did, but I can't help feeling that anyone choosing to maximise danger by shunning a few pads and spotters in this day and age is just partaking in a bit of willy waving. Akin to giving more kudos to someone choosing not to wear a helmet or the like. If we can all agree that an alternative grade makes more sense for something like West Side Story (originally E4 6c? now font 7b+ with pads), then why not for harder routes?

p.s. glad to hear you're ok Jordan - stay safe!
Jon Read - on 24 Nov 2011
In reply to ali k:
Fair enough (though you could argue it maximises the challenge too), but some of these routes are only really turned into highballs with more than two pads and spotters (+ ladders? ffs).

Perhaps we need an M grade as well; how many pads are used on average to convert to a font grade. ;-)

Oh, and definitely congrats to Jordan for (a) trying it in fine style and (b) surviving going climbing with John Roberts again!
shark - on 24 Nov 2011
In reply to ali k: but I can't help feeling that anyone choosing to maximise danger by shunning a few pads and spotters in this day and age is just partaking in a bit of willy waving.


I would view it as admirably unfashionable rather than a display of "willy waving".
Boy - on 24 Nov 2011
In reply to Jon Read: If maximising the challenge is the aim why stop there? Why not try it in the rain, without eating any breakfast, in a poncho?
Ok I'm exaggerating to illustrate the point. The point being at some point this maintenance of danger via arbitrary handicaps concept moves into the ridiculous.
Deciding that a climb is slightly too high to count as a boulder problem and therefore the mats should be taken away strays into this territory in my mind. Nobody would think to do a low boulder problem with a jumbled landing sans mats to maintain the challenge.
It sometimes seems to me that this notion of maintaining the challenge is more a matter of maintaining the trophy value of the E grade, but maybe that's just my cynicism.
john arran - on 24 Nov 2011
In reply to Boy:

There comes a point at which the climbing is no longer being done in the style which feels appropriate, given the ready availability of mats and their complete acceptance on highball problems which have never been protectable at all with other gear. It's a very analogous argument to the Century Crack debate about stripping gear between failed attempts, or even the acceptance of headpointing in the '80s; at what stage does sticking by existing rules and norms (which have evolved to very effectively describe our climbing games for most routes) start to become inappropriate in light of environmental changes (big mats, enormous overhangs, widespread prior rehearsal, big wall situations, etc.) And at what stage does the climbing world accept a need to adapt these rules and norms, generally by acknowledging the legitimacy of ascents made in other ways?
gav - on 24 Nov 2011
In reply to Boy:
> at some point this maintenance of danger via arbitrary handicaps concept moves into the ridiculous.

Top-roping is safer than leading, free-climbing is often harder than a bit of aid across a dangerous section... you can't use a side-runner... climbing is full of arbitrary handicaps, the point at which it becomes "ridiculous" is surely on a personal level?

I guess that the grading system just needs to reflect the most common ascent style, which may well change over time. Whether there are enough ascents at this level to agree what is the "most common" though...
jkarran - on 24 Nov 2011
In reply to Boy:

> ...Nobody would think to do a low boulder problem with a jumbled landing sans mats to maintain the challenge.
> It sometimes seems to me that this notion of maintaining the challenge is more a matter of maintaining the trophy value of the E grade, but maybe that's just my cynicism.

No, I think you've hit the nail on the head. What I don't understand is why people are generally so reluctant to acknowledge it, I mean we already fine tune pretty much every other aspect of the challenge through venue/route/equipment/style selection.

jk
Toby Dunn - on 24 Nov 2011
In reply to Boy:

> It sometimes seems to me that this notion of maintaining the challenge is more a matter of maintaining the trophy value of the E grade, but maybe that's just my cynicism.

I agree entirely, Jon.
It is silly, though no doubt more challenging to do such things sans pads, enshrining it in a grading system is the only thing which creates debates. I am impressed when i read, for example, that Dani Andrada soloed xyz 8a+ in bare feet, but that's enough really, he doesn't claim or need a seperate alphanumeric score to attempt to quantify that, it's just pretty impressive.
Curiously Austrian IP on 24 Nov 2011 - ysh05-228-85.uibk.ac.at
In reply to jkarran:

Use mats if they make it safer. If you can fall off the route happily ground up onto the mats it gets a font grade. If you're doing hard moves in a position where you think 'I really don't want to fall off' it needs an E grade. If a route is still scary with pads, but less dangerous than before, then give it a lower E grade. It's quite simple.

The promise doesn't look like a highball at all though. It looks like one of the last routes of the old wave, which entailed not using excessive padding in the peak. It is now safer, but not in any way safe. If you think it doesn't warrant E10 (I haven't done it, so don't really know), then give it a lower E grade, don't give it a different sort of grade.
Ramblin dave - on 24 Nov 2011
In reply to gav:
> (In reply to Boy)
> [...]
>

> I guess that the grading system just needs to reflect the most common ascent style, which may well change over time. Whether there are enough ascents at this level to agree what is the "most common" though...

I suppose the other thing that would help in the short term for this sort of route is, as well as giving the headline E grade, giving more prominence to the technical grade (be it UK tech, sport, font, V or whatever) and a bit of information about safety (dodgy landing, opinions differ about whether the gear's any use, crux is near the top etc etc) so people can make up their own mind about how serious a proposition it is in the style that they're planning to do it in...
Andy Say - on 24 Nov 2011
In reply to Adam Long:
> (In reply to Dave 88)
I think the fact that you can fall off the last move and only rip your jeans is perhaps a sign that E9 is not a useful grade.


Alan Austin did grade Yorkshire Limestone routes in one of the old guides reputedly on the basis that if you could jump off and walk away it couldn't be harder than VS.....
Parrys_apprentice - on 24 Nov 2011
In reply to Curiously Austrian IP:


> I think what is very relevant is the point Hazel Findlay made about if women dominated climbing, things would be graded very differently.

Anyone got thoughts on what the grading system would be if women did dominate climbing?


Actually don't answer that here, I'll start a new thread for that one.
Toerag - on 24 Nov 2011
In reply to John Roberts (JR): seeing as this has turned into a grade debate I just thought I'd add the problem with the UK adjectevial(?) grade is that it encompasses too much. It would make more sense for it to just deal with sustainedness/difficulty and add an R or X to convey the seriousness in addition to the tech grade.
well protected sustained E3 5c stays at E3 5c
poorly protected but easier E3 5c becomes E2 5c R
'easy' E4 5c with no gear becomes E2 5c X.
And for those that say "but you use it in conjunction with the guidebook description, or look at the crag" that doesn't work when the description is 'follow the corner' and you're looking on UKC to see if it's worth visiting the crag. :-P
Dave 88 - on 24 Nov 2011
In reply to Andy Say:

Yeah similar thoughts from Dave Mac in a vid (can't remember which) saying that they had a type of mat at a crag where when you finished the route you could just jump off. Therefore zero risk at any point on the route.
john arran - on 24 Nov 2011
In reply to Toerag:

But then you would lose the whole simplicity of the system, which is that a harder grade route can be climbed by fewer climbers. Once you lose that and start splitting off aspects of the difficulty into separate components you may as well have completely separate 'grades' for every individual component, which is something which has been proposed a number of times over many years (sometimes with absurdly complex or geeky results), but always to my knowledge also keeping the 'overall' adjectival grade to give a single at-a-glance indication of difficulty.
John Roberts (JR) - on 24 Nov 2011
In reply to Toerag:

It doesn't encompass too much if you use it to represent a certain style (onsight/flash, no mats etc). Works absolutely fine for the very vast majority of routes as it is. Problem is it's not representative of the style for short grit routes above 2m of snow, 47 mats and half of South Yorkshire spotting. Once you try and encompass those generally unquantifiable and subjective things, it becomes meaningless, hence this whole debate.

We had P grades, they got scrapped.

It was all intended relatively light heartedly, to provide a small report on what happened and to promote discussion. That's what it's done.

ali k on 24 Nov 2011
In reply to shark:
> (In reply to ali k)

> I would view it as admirably unfashionable rather than a display of "willy waving".

You could say the same for anyone wearing Ronhills - though if you're the unlucky observer that could fall into both categories ;-)

Call it what you like, but the fact is the E grade is far from useful in cases like this. You could have had the same debate with DWS grades. Once routes make more sense to be climbed above water without ropes and most people do them in this style then the E grade generally becomes obsolete. Hence sport grades with an additional S grade for seriousness (height above high tide level etc) are the accepted norm now.

No reason why this shouldn't happen with short grit style routes where the norm is to climb them above pads. Nothing stopping people climbing them without pads if they want a more 'old skool' challenge. And for significant repeats without pads it could just be mentioned in whatever style it was climbed. No reason to give this an additional numerical grade as Toby says, and no reason for this to make the E grade obsolete for the vast majority of trad climbs in the UK.
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Adam Lincoln - on 24 Nov 2011
I've just edited and uploaded this. Filmed off a stills camera so not ideal.
http://www.vimeo.com/32634708
shark - on 24 Nov 2011
In reply to ali k: ali k:

My comment had nothing to do with E grades - that was a strawman of your devising. If you look through old threads you will see I dont care much for the E grade.

Another thing I don't much care for is second guessing motivations and those who try to knock people and their ascents down a peg from the sidelines by saying they are willy-waving.

Styles of ascent can go in and out of fashion though I doubt Ron Hills ever will.
In reply to Adam Lincoln: Nice one Adam and well done Jordan. The big reach up and right for the well chalked big hold had me holding my breath!
Adam Lincoln - on 24 Nov 2011
In reply to TobyA:
> The big reach up and right for the well chalked big hold had me holding my breath!

Even though you know he flashed it. ;-) ha. I do that when watching films. Even though you know the outcome!

Franco Cookson on 24 Nov 2011
In reply to Adam Lincoln: Which route is that? (don't want to lose onsights etc...)
Jon Read - on 24 Nov 2011
In reply to Adam Lincoln:
Never seen that sequence done by anyone else before. Nice.
Adam Lincoln - on 24 Nov 2011
In reply to Franco Cookson:
> (In reply to Adam Lincoln) Which route is that? (don't want to lose onsights etc...)

End of the affair.

John Roberts (JR) - on 24 Nov 2011
In reply to Jon Read:

It's because the lower sloper wasn't chalked he said.

I might be wrong but doesn't Leo do it like that but to the lower sloper.
JSA - on 24 Nov 2011
In reply to John Roberts (JR):

Yep, Leo does it the same way. He was I believe, the first to use that sequence. I used the same sequence and very nearly flashed it(on TR), it seems more natural than any sequence I've seen since, which as it happens is also what Leo thought on his ascent.
John Roberts (JR) - on 24 Nov 2011
In reply to JSA:

I just popped and deadpointed that move, felt way way easier that way for me
Jimbo C - on 24 Nov 2011
In reply to ali k:

Short bouldery routes are difficult to grade because the risk level is very unpredictable. Someone could fall and walk away with bruising whilst the next person could fall from the same place and break their neck. The technical difficulty of the Promise is not in question (and turns out to be rather high) but it is the uncertainty about the risk level which is causing the debate - is the gear good? how dodgy is that landing if you pad it? will you be able to land on your feet? etc. Your comment on DWS strikes the same chord - the difficulty of the moves is known but the risk can only be suggested in a loose way.

If E grades were to be useful for short bouldery routes (like they are with most longer routes), there would need to be some kind of default assumptions about padding and about what would happen if you fell.
Enty - on 24 Nov 2011
In reply to Adam Lincoln:
> I've just edited and uploaded this. Filmed off a stills camera so not ideal.
> http://www.vimeo.com/32634708

Nice music matey.

E
Adam Lincoln - on 24 Nov 2011
In reply to Enty:
> (In reply to Adam Lincoln)
> [...]
>
> Nice music matey.
>

Naked and the famous. In case you didn't know. Found it on the boarding film, art of flight. Which is amazing!



ali k on 24 Nov 2011
In reply to shark:

> My comment had nothing to do with E grades

I'm aware of that.

> Another thing I don't much care for is second guessing motivations and those who try to knock people and their ascents down a peg from the sidelines by saying they are willy-waving.

Just for the record - that comment wasn't aimed at JP, or anyone in particular for that matter. It was in no way intended to knock anyone down. In hindsight I should have added a full stop between giving credit to JP and my take on some crag and pub behaviour I've witnessed which most definitely falls into the 'willy-waving' category.
gallam1 - on 24 Nov 2011
In reply to John Roberts (JR):

Is anyone actually unhappy about another route breaking after taking a massive beating from people attempting to ground-up with gear above pads?

Parthian Shot seems like it is more or less ruined (and even there the pads were a factor), and now this.

In a way it doesn't bother me because it seems almost inevitable, but I know lots of people feel differently.
Stash - on 24 Nov 2011
In reply to gallam1:
So its a shame the gear ripped from the promise for Jordan. It was his only attempt on the route.
If the gear had held he may have tried again. As others had tried before him.
I think its a shame that the placement might have been affected by people repeatedly falling on the gear, even if it was above pads. This doesn't mean that they havnt got the right to do it. Are you saying your only allowed to climb a route with a suspect gear placement if your not going to fall onto it? Holds will always break, gear will always rip and new routes will always be climbed.....
Boy - on 25 Nov 2011
In reply to Curiously Austrian IP:
> (In reply to jkarran)
>
> Use mats if they make it safer. If you can fall off the route happily ground up onto the mats it gets a font grade. If you're doing hard moves in a position where you think 'I really don't want to fall off' it needs an E grade. If a route is still scary with pads, but less dangerous than before, then give it a lower E grade. It's quite simple.



This comment admirably demonstrates one of the main reasons grades cause so much confusion and debate. It talks from the premise that grades are something you award yourself after an ascent rather than pieces of information to help you evaluate what climbs to get on. It's pure human nature that people use them in this way and I'm not trying to argue against it, i just don't think that when documenting a climb the trophy value aspect should override the prime function which is the information value.

>
> The promise doesn't look like a highball at all though. It looks like one of the last routes of the old wave, which entailed not using excessive padding in the peak. It is now safer, but not in any way safe. If you think it doesn't warrant E10 (I haven't done it, so don't really know), then give it a lower E grade, don't give it a different sort of grade.

It's not as clear cut as that. I spoke to JP about this prior to the FA when he was trying it. At the time he was in two minds as to whether to do it as he did, or whether to sort the landing out and do it in a highball style. There was potential to do it either way.
As a general point grading something as a highball when appropriate does not represent a devaluation of a climb, just an attempt to more accurately convey relevant information.
ali k on 25 Nov 2011
In reply to Boy:

> As a general point grading something as a highball when appropriate does not represent a devaluation of a climb, just an attempt to more accurately convey relevant information.

Added to that, it's a way to more accurately gauge standards of first ascents / repeats in the UK in that style and compare with what's happening elsewhere. If places like Bishop were to adopt the E grade then UKC would be inundated with reports of E8 - E10 repeats (with mats) every season, rather than just another repeat of a 'highball' font 8a or 8a+. Which would put things into perspective a bit more. But then maybe that suggests that the E grade aint working for routes in that style. And at the same time explaining why we've been so reluctant to change the system. It hasn't quite got the same traditional 'trophy value', as you say.
Franco Cookson on 25 Nov 2011
In reply to Boy:
> (In reply to Curiously Austrian IP)
> [...]
>
>
>
> It talks from the premise that grades are something you award yourself after an ascent rather than pieces of information to help you evaluate what climbs to get on.

No it doesn't. 'Give IT a lower E grade is what I said. Not give YOURSELF a lower E grade.' The route receives a grade after the FA, where does it get that grade from? You. Why does it receive a grade from you, to tell others how hard it is.
>
> [...]
>
> It's not as clear cut as that. I spoke to JP about this prior to the FA when he was trying it. At the time he was in two minds as to whether to do it as he did, or whether to sort the landing out and do it in a highball style. There was potential to do it either way.
> As a general point grading something as a highball when appropriate does not represent a devaluation of a climb, just an attempt to more accurately convey relevant information.

I was simplifying the situation, but generally if people are aware it's highballable, then they'll highball it. It is quite an admirable thing to deliberately not use mats, when they'll potentially make it 2 grades easier, but it's also perhaps a bit daft; as people are inevitably going to repeat it with pads and claim it's way easier. I don't recall at the time there being any suggestion from James of him choosing to do it as a route rather than a highball, and not mentioning this would have been a bit silly on his part, when he knew people like to go along and down-grade his routes.
ali k on 25 Nov 2011
In reply to Franco Cookson:
> (In reply to Boy)

> I don't recall at the time there being any suggestion from James of him choosing to do it as a route rather than a highball, and not mentioning this would have been a bit silly on his part, when he knew people like to go along and down-grade his routes.

Where has this belief that people somehow take pleasure in downgrading Pearson's routes come from? Have you spoken personally to Dave Mac, Charlie Woodburn, Pete Robbins, Caff and others and they've told you this? WRT The Promise it was repeated in what they thought was a more appropriate style. And given that some of them could do it ground up above a stack of pads this probably suggests that an E grade might not be the most appropriate grade for it. That takes nothing away from Pearson's ascent, because it hasn't been repeated in that style. But I think the concensus was that you can't really compare a route like that to other E8,9,10, whatever. Hence why no-one can really agree on what grade it is. Wasn't the quote something like "you wouldn't repeat Indian Face if your mate missed it first time round". And surely that's the whole point of grading systems - a way of comparing to other routes?
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Franco Cookson on 25 Nov 2011
In reply to ali k: Your reply makes little sense to me. Which of JP's routes had Dave M downgraded at the time he did the promise?

You're right about people not maliciously down grading his routes though and I wasn't suggesting that people were wrong to suggest it wasn't E10, because using different tactics it's way easier. My point was that I find it hard to believe Pearson thought about doing the promise in the style it was repeated in, but dismissed it and chose a more dangerous approach. I find this hard to believe because he would have surely mentioned it at the time of the FA.

Anyone who has done any new routing is generally pretty scared of people coming and saying their route is soft, which is why it is often common for people to say 'would be easier if....'. For example side runners, cleaned better, had a better piece of gear etc. I'm no pearson expert, but at the time he put up the promise he was no novice and would have surely realised that if it crossed his mind to use pads, then it would cross others'. Perhaps he thought they wouldn't help that much? I dunno..
Tyler - on 25 Nov 2011
In reply to Franco Cookson:

Although it seems illogical to consider, and then dismiss, doing the ascent over pads etc I think it quite likely that this is what JP did because that was the style he was trying the wall left of New Statesman in (Gerty Berthwick?). Once the FA of that was gone he gave up on the idea, threw down some pads and was in for a quick second ascent. I'm pretty sure he knew doing the route in this style would give him the advantage (and possibly the FA) but he chose not to.
Tyler - on 25 Nov 2011
In reply to Tyler:

I should probably add that I don't know him personally but this is what I heard, it could be completely wrong!
Franco Cookson on 25 Nov 2011
In reply to Tyler: I take it back then. Big respect to the chap, even if it seems a bit counter-intuitive to many of us.
ali k on 25 Nov 2011
In reply to Franco Cookson:
> (In reply to ali k) Your reply makes little sense to me. Which of JP's routes had Dave M downgraded at the time he did the promise?

WTF? Which of JP's routes had been downgraded full stop at the time he did the promise? Missing the point a bit there maybe?!

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