/ NEWS: VIDEO: Ned Feehally High-Balls Samson - Burbage
The route (or highball boulder problem) breaks left from the classic offwidth of Goliath. Ned soloed the route above bouldering mats and his ascent is thought to be the fourth overall.
Read more at http://www.ukclimbing.com/news/item.php?id=65427
E9 7b, pfff !
Not a bit of climbing history i know.
When the grade settled did JM get mocked and vilified by the press like james Pearson or was it accepted as an honest mistake ?
That vid looks like it's going to be good.
HXS probably makes more sense.
I seem to remember that there was a bit of mocking, but certainly not the level that JP experienced regarding The Promise.
I don't know if anyone has ground-upped Samson yet, but that butress is high enough that I wouldn't want to fall of the top moves too often. There's a great little video somewhere of Jordan Buys falling off near the top of Above and Beyond... and bouncing down the hill, which shows how high the fall is.
I think it's in Hard Grit, maybe.
I don't recall much mocking when it got downgraded but I do remember a lot of people thinking it was quite funny treating it as a route at the time.
I don't think the technical downgrade was a surprise but there was, and perhaps still is, a feeling that english technical grades need to be extended in practice (clearly in theory they are open ended but no one seems allowed to make the leap to 7b). I guess JM was trying to test that out or make a statement of some sort when he gave it 7b. Not that I would know anything about such things really.
Gritstone Year, a great fall in the intro
I thought that JM lead the route with a very dodgey cam in the big pocket (so no pads and a probable ground fall from the last moves). I now believe its graded for a side runner in Goliath and hence the downgrade.
What I do remember is that in hard grit JM makes those top moves look like a piece of piss.
As there are a few routes i've seen discussed with font 8A+ cruxes we surely must be beyond 7a tech by now. Bit like the HVS grade in the past i guess and the 8C+ font grade.
Thanks to people for the info. Doesn't sound like HXS with the dodgy cam, no mats and ground fall to me :0(
One reason that Jerry didn't get much flack over the downgrade was possibly because when it was down graded it still hadn't been repeated. As far as I know, Rockfax took the executive decision to put it in their guide as E6 7a before it had had a second ascent.
A second consideration is that it's been confirmed at font 8a. If it were a sport route, font 8a would be 8b+. When sport routes were graded with E grades, 8b+ would be top end E8 if it were perfectly protected. So if you forget about the fact that by modern standards it looks too short and safe to warrant a high E grade, when you plug the numbers in, E9 is not that far out.
I am sure you're right now that you mention it.
> HXS probably makes more sense.
It seems like a sensible way to deal with these things that are bold but fairly short - basically saying "here's the tech grade, I wouldn't want to take the fall myself but you can feel free to have a go if you disagree..."
I've always considered the UK 6c/ 7a boundary to be at around font 7b+, and the 7a/7b boundary around 8a. Add that to Rupert's analysis of the E grade and E9 7b would be about right - even if it was perfectly safe (which it isn't) the technical difficuly of the climbing is about 8 grades harder than Indian Face.
However when I moved to Leeds I was assured english 7a was a myth. Partly due to the fact that 'english grades are only for the move', therefore requiring an english 7b move to equate to a font 8a problem consisting of a single limb movement. Total bollocks of course but for some reason managed to become quite pervasive.
> before it had had a second ascent.
So why are guidebook writers so reluctant to give anything 7b? All they're achieving is making the UK tech grade obselete. Any guide-book editors care to comment?
The original Peak Gritstone East does include 7b graded routes - Smoked Salmon for example.
> So why are guidebook writers so reluctant to give anything 7b? All they're achieving is making the UK tech grade obselete. Any guide-book editors care to comment?
More to the point how could anyone ever have believed that a route only one person in the country could get up even after rehearsal was only E6 - even then a grade hundreds of people would be onsighting frequently? It's no wonder UK grading often gets a bad rap.
And for Ultimate Sculpture (which maybe hasn't been ascended in its current pebble-less state?) the guidebook quotes ``7b deffo'' in the description .... and then gives it 7a. Does anyone who has actually climbed the route think it only 7a? (I know of one person who has climbed it and thinks it's 7b.)
That comment ("7b deffo") comes from Justin Critchlow, and is more a reflection of his character and style than a route description. It's certainly seen attention from a brace of capable highballers, but not a repeat as far as I know. It has lost a pebble or two since Justin's original lead. And the proper quote is "top end 7b, deff".
Surely its partly new-routers that are to blame also? How am I as a hypotheitcal guidebook writer supposed to know if something is UK 7a or 7b if I a)haven't climbed the route or b) potentially ever climbed UK 7a or b?
Interesting though eh, how above UK 6b it could be absolutely anything!
There's only full 'reality vs the School' debate is here:
As the School no longer exists, I think the campaign to have uk tech grades benchmarked there has to go the same way.
But it seems to be that even when new routers give something 7b the guidebook writers say, "nah, can't be, 7a tops" (even though they haven't done it).
> Partly due to the fact that 'english grades are only for the move', therefore requiring an english 7b move to equate to a font 8a problem consisting of a single limb movement. Total bollocks of course but for some reason managed to become quite pervasive.
Could you explain why that's bollocks? I'm not saying it isn't, I just hear a lot of people repeat very similar things and am interested to hear any new slants on the one limb movement= hardest tech move.
Doesn't sound like it's "only" 7a to me! (I heard a rumour that the Dawes had failed on it around the time when he did Smoked Salmon -- anyone know if this is true?)
> Could you explain why that's bollocks? I'm not saying it isn't, I just hear a lot of people repeat very similar things and am interested to hear any new slants on the one limb movement= hardest tech move.
Because where does it end? What about a move where you don't actually move any limbs put have to change your body shape/ position? What about a crux move where you get the hold badly but manage to adjust? That adjustment may well be the hardest thing of all, but should it be graded?
As Jonas says, it also assumes using an identical sequence. The idea only works on indoor boards where such a proscriptive approach can be enforced.
The problem with grading is the closer you try to analyse it the more subjective you realise it to be. A 7b move might be a single movement - Westworld for example, but it can be sensibly defined as a sequence getting from one stable body position to another. That would still fit Westworld, but also the start of Careless Torque, the crux of which involves getting stood up in a layback without barndooring, but no 'moves' from one hold to ther next.
Thanks, that's quite enlightening. You're right.
Yes, well the full story is probably required here, and let's not also forget that the decision to grade that E6 7a was made 6 years ago when the methods of grading highball problem routes were not very established.
I gave the route E6 7a based on feedback received from Tom Briggs and Stu Littlefair both of whom had been on the route and assured me it was safe and only 7a. Neither had done it at the time though. So we gave it E6 7a in order to provoke the debate and that E9 seemed to be a dramatic over-grade since compared to say, the Indian Face, it did seem to be relatively safe for E9. I think the jury is still out on whether you proportionately upgrade the E grade when a route has a single really hard move on it. There are certainly examples of routes that hardly ever get onsighted with lowly E grades due to them having a gnarly move on them.
The truth is probably that the route needs a bouldering grade which will probably be what we give it next time.
I don't think we are.
That route was given 7a because that is the feedback I had at the time.
to add a bit more detail to Alan's comments, both Tom and I thought Samson similar to Careless Torque in difficulty and danger. That has historically always been given E6 7a, which I imagine is where the Rockfax grade comes from.
Now Ned and John have repeated it at highball 8a that makes the comparison look about right. As Ru rightly points out, this should logically make a trad grade of E9 about right for both routes, but pure technical difficulty never seems to count towards the E-grade as much as it should...
This is all very well and good Adam but not wholly consistent with your argument the other week on the EOTA/Promise thread.
As far as the E grades for highballs go, there really is no problem whatsoever as long as you actually think a little before plucking a number out of the air. Ie: Do what Ru suggested earlier – ie: accept that the E grade is for the overall difficulty – including the physical difficulty.
So, Font 7B+ without any danger – physically equivalent to route 7c+ ish – therefore hard E6.
Font 8A without any danger – physically equivalent to route 8b/+ ish – therefore E8.
Then you add E grades as per normal for gnarl factor.
Clearly we don’t need to bother giving E grades for problems when they are completely safe, but if we did, then:
West Side Story would be E6 7B+
Careless Torque would be E8 8A
Superbloc would be E8 8A+
For the more dangerous ones, it is worth adding the E grade, and it’s easy once you accept the benchmark for safe routes:
The Promise is E8 7B+ (E8 with zero to sane number of pads - might be E7 with vast numbers of pads, but not really worth worrying about this. )
Gerty Berwick is E9 8A
Samson is 8A. Therefore if it was completely safe it would be E8. It actually looks pretty flippin high, so I think don’t think E9 is unreasonable, but perhaps E8 if the landing is perfect.
The only problem and confusion comes when people give stuff like West Side Story E4 or Careless Torque E6. This is what cocks everything up, and confuses everyone. Think about it. If someone onsighted West Side Story would you only be as impressed as if someone onsighted a normal E4. Ditto if they did it after work. It really is similarly impressive to climbing an E6 in the same style. Careless Torque – if this was really only as impressive as climbing an E6 then methinks Adam would be a little disappointed he still hasn’t managed it! The reality is that flashing Careless Torque would be massively impressive – a bit like errrrrrr – flashing an E8. Ditto climbing it after work. Flashing Gerty Berwick would arguably be even more impressive that flashing The Indian Face – it is definitely worth E9. etc etc etc.
E grades work completely fine as long as people stop waving their willies around and insisting that the danger element massively outweighs the difficulty element. It’s why they work fine at lower grades, and why they work fine for higher grades given a little thought before picking a number.
Finally, the above is of course just the same for highballs as using a Font grade and ! !! or !!! symbols for increasing gnarl as Adam suggested the other day. It’s just different symbols for the same information. If I was just writing a pure bouldering guide, then I’d roll with the ! notation as it saves bothering explaining E grades. But in a normal route guide with E grades throughout I’d use combined E grade / Font grade notation.
>this should logically make a trad grade of E9 about right for both routes,
Not really - the crux of Careless is off the floor, whereas on Samson its nearer the top. I put Careless in the Stanage guide at E7 7b, which I think is a fair grade and reflects the fact that the 7b move is safe but the top moves (still 6c) are not.
I've not been on Samson but I spotted Dani Andrada when he came very close to a ground-up. I'd agree the fall/ landing and the positions you fall from, looked comparable to Careless. So perhaps E8 would be fair. Whether its 7a or 7b I can't say, but I suspect if you had the start of Careless as the top section of Samson you'd have a harder route.
Presumably because hardly anyone tried it? Hundreds of people don't on-sight Ulysses every weekend do they, but that fallacy gets spun out on these forums time and time again.
As Stu has said, the E6 7a was suggested as that's what Careless was given and the two routes are v similar in difficulty.
A highball font grade makes most sense for both these routes. Move on.
> The only problem and confusion comes when people give stuff like West Side Story E4 or Careless Torque E6. This is what cocks everything up, and confuses everyone. Think about it. If someone onsighted West Side Story would you only be as impressed as if someone onsighted a normal E4. Ditto if they did it after work. It really is similarly impressive to climbing an E6 in the same style. Careless Torque – if this was really only as impressive as climbing an E6 then methinks Adam would be a little disappointed he still hasn’t managed it! The reality is that flashing Careless Torque would be massively impressive – a bit like errrrrrr – flashing an E8. Ditto climbing it after work. Flashing Gerty Berwick would arguably be even more impressive that flashing The Indian Face – it is definitely worth E9. etc etc etc.
> E grades work completely fine as long as people stop waving their willies around and insisting that the danger element massively outweighs the difficulty element. It’s why they work fine at lower grades, and why they work fine for higher grades given a little thought before picking a number.
A historical thread indeed. Not only did Franco say I was right, we have stirred the mighty Nemo from his lair!
Nemo, you're a wise man indeed - I pretty much agree.
>Sure you can assign tech 7a to Font 7b+-7c+ problems and tech 7b to Font 8a-8b problems. But what the heck is the point?
The point is guidebooks still have to be written and it makes sense to have all the trad routes in the same grading scale. So if we have E11, and one day may have E15 etc, so we need 7a to make sense, and maybe 7c or even Uk 8a one day. Or do you think we should just abandon E-grades?
>The only problem and confusion comes when people give stuff like West Side Story E4 or Careless Torque E6. This is what cocks everything up, and confuses everyone.
My take on this was that boulder problems don't deserve route grades.
So the E grade was for the bit that does deserve an E-grade - ie the top out. So WSS is a 7a boulder problem with an E4 (6a) to top out, and CT is a 7b boulder problem with an E7 (6c) to top out.
Its the modern highballs like Gerty Berwick or Cornelius that really balls it up. The crux is high up - so yes it deserves a big E-grade. All the above assumes no pads of course. If we are using pads, a simpler scale makes more sense...
Can we get some more votes for the ! highball scale then? I've explained it to various guide editors but none of them have jumped in.
I think that's all that needs to be said on the subject. Ever. Have a wad point, oh, hold on wrong site! What are you doing over here?
That, my friend, is simple, fvucking, genius!
> Can we get some more votes for the ! highball scale then? I've explained it to various guide editors but none of them have jumped in.
I didn't read the other thread but in Northumberland the bouldering guide includes a 'H' for more dangerous problems.
The H stands for High, hospital, helicopter ride, or the crag at which it was first introduced which began with an H but I can't rember the name of now.
and if I'm not mitstaken the York Grit uses 'P' grades which can be applied to short problems / unprotected routes
Fair enough but it's still hard to see how anything given 7a could even be E6, as even a 7a problem right off the ground wouldn't be possible for most E6 leaders (unless of course we started to use the tech grades properly and upgrade all of the ridiculously hard 6c's, then it might be about right).
People still seem to forget what grades are actually for, which is to say how hard a route is, i.e. how many people are likely to be able to get up it. A soon as you start thinking in terms of whether boulder starts 'count' towards the grade or whether it can ever merit a particular grade without a death fall, you start to lose the whole simplicity of it. It's almost irrelevant how easy(!) or how dangerous the top of Careless is when none but a few of the strongest climbers can even make it that far. That and Samson are both uber-hard. They're routes for wads and only wads will get up them, regardless of the amount of practice. And like it or not E6, E7 and even possibly E8 is the realm of the almost mortal nowadays rather than proper hard. If it takes one of Britain's most specialist bouldering wads to do a route, I suspect it isn't the same grade as people are routinely onsighting.
My detailed answer to your first question is on that old thread:
In short, it would be nice to have exactly the same system throughout the grade range but in practice it doesn’t quite work (although it only needs a very slight adjustment). Roughly above E6 you need to add either a Font or French grade to the E grade. Whether or not you bother keeping the tech grade is pretty irrelevant. It’s a waste of ink, but if you want to include it for consistency with the lower grades then no problem. Exactly where guide authors draw the line as to if and where this is worth doing, will be different in different areas. I really think you are one of the very few people still trying to cling to UK tech grades above 6c.
If you roll with Font grades and !, !!, !!! in a bouldering guide, then the cut off between highballs and routes is no problem, because wherever you draw the line is where you stop documenting – so you don’t need any E grades.
In a routes guide, obviously you can just use Font grades for the normal highballs. For the higher stuff, I guess you could still go with just adding !, !! etc up to a point, but then the guide writer is going to have to make a judgement about swapping to combined E and Font grades. This would work fine, but as I said before, just using combined E and Font grades for everything where the E grade is higher than it would be for a completely safe route of that physical difficulty would work fine too. Doesn’t really matter – as I said before, it’s just different notation for the same thing as long as sensible E grades are used.
But completely agree with John Arran about not using E grades to only represent the dangerous part of the route. The whole beauty of the E grade system is that it gives at a glance a very good idea of how overall difficult and impressive an ascent is. If you’re only including part of the story then it just becomes a shambles.
Isn't that a contradiction?
If its a route then it should have a route grade.
Using E grade with font grades makes sense for those routes which blur (the increasingly blurry, as pad technology and usage increases) the line between boulder problem and route.
Add in French grades for longer hard routes and you have a system which is nigh on perfect. After all, E8 on grit can go from death 7b to safe as 8b. Which is a bloody big gap.
In the CC Symonds Yat guide (and I'm sure others), anything under 8m is just given a UK tech grade. Surely that's a simple solution?
I would like to point out that only 2 people have congratulated Ned on the ascent!!! This seems wrong in a thread with over 50 posts!!!! Come on people.
Well done Ned, some mighty impressive stuff and a great display of climbing.
Yes, brilliant effort Ned. Though to be fair, there was plenty of cap doffing on Fbook and UKB when this was first news, two weeks ago.
Nothing like a good old grade debate though eh?!
There is a huge difference between being mentioned on a forum or FB and being reported as news Tom.
Well done Ned, impressive ascent.
Grade debates are an integral part of our sport and seldom pointless.
Perhaps in your mind as an editor, and maybe to Ned's sponsors. I don't think there is any difference to the readers though.
The important thing is the new information, however it is disseminated. Both the fact and the video have been around for a while, and its not like you've added any in-depth analysis.
It makes a huge difference to the readers that didn't know about it before, which means a lot of people (4.5K on the news item plus 3.3K on the Vimeo views)
Do you think that everyone who read our piece knew that this problem was first climbed by Jerry Moffatt and graded E9 etc.? Do you think that they all knew where Samson was?
As I said, places like UKB and Facebook don't 'report news', they break news stories the same way that our forums break news stories. This is relatively easy and takes seconds. To put together a news item, within an existing schedule, while having many other competing stories, and tailor it for a wide international audience, is a totally different thing.
> There is a huge difference between being mentioned on a forum or FB and being reported as news Tom.
You mean there is a huge difference between UK news being reported on a site that is openly accessible to anyone and Jack actually noticing it from his base in France and reporting it on your site?
No I don't mean that. I mean what I said above which is quite clear.
> There is a huge difference between being mentioned on a forum or FB and being reported as news...
Well that sounds like a line from a print editor circa 2000.
Good thread, I'm learning loads.
Way better than lets make a list of wads that have managed to... ZZzzzzz.
you'd wonder (if they didn't know any of the things you mentioned) how it'd be of any significance to the readership anyway?
> There is a huge difference between being mentioned on a forum or FB and being reported as news Tom.
Just because one site is the self-styled arbitrator of what constitutes "news" and "reporting".
The 'forum' mentioned (UKB) has a "news" sub-section within which a thread exists called "significant repeats" and that was where this ascent, first tweeted by Wild Country was posted two weeks ago, shortly followed by a video from OutCrop films
As Adam Long correctly writes, it makes no difference to interested parties whether the ascent has had the UKC editorial treatment or not, its still been "reported" i.e. details of the event have been made available on the net and people have read about it.
All UKC have done is essentially re-tweet the following on their own site...
> you'd wonder (if they didn't know any of the things you mentioned) how it'd be of any significance to the readership anyway?
So if you don't know something it can't be of any significance to you ?
I might not know how gravity works but it's pretty significant to me.
As the person who accidentally started the grade debate with my original question about the re-grading i have learnt a lot and would like to say cheers to those who have given their knowledge. I didn't know it before and it has some significance to me, that's why i asked the question.
I use UKB a lot as well and totally missed it. UKC sticking it on their home page made me see it. If all they have done is re-tweet it they have at least raised it's profile. Not a bad thing for Ned, his sponsors and the on-going debate of mats and solo/highballs etc.
I didn't find it on facebook or twitter either as i don't really use them.
I can't see where Alan says something is not news until it is on UKC ? I think he is making the point that " Ned has climbed Samson " is different to a news report. I don't think it will come as a shock to many of us that news reports use information taken from different sources.
The news is that it had been done, it doesn't matter where or by whom it was written up.
What UKC (WildCountry, Outcrop Films, and posters on UKB) have done is reportage...
re·port·age (rpr-täzh, r-pôrtj, -pr-)
1. The reporting of news or information of general interest.
2. Something reported.
In reply to Alan James - UKC and UKH:
> There is a huge difference between being mentioned on a forum or FB and being reported as news Tom.
With regards to adding context of the routes history, so what, if someone hadn't heard of the route without the context they might have thought, "hmm, why is that worth mentioning, but my ascent of Bananna Finger not." and if this bothered them they'd have gone and looked up details.
> I can't see where Alan says something is not news until it is on UKC ? I think he is making the point that " Ned has climbed Samson " is different to a news report. I don't think it will come as a shock to many of us that news reports use information taken from different sources.
If this: "There is a huge difference between being mentioned on a forum or FB and being reported as news Tom." isn't saying that then I'm a kipper.
It's exactly the sort of smug and superior self-aggrandising comment that Alan et al seem to make all too often regarding UKB
Why does it bother me - because it is the only thing about UKC that really irritates me. If you are the best, and really believe you are the best, there is absolutely no reason to tell everyone all the time. Unless you're Jerry Moffatt.
> If this: "There is a huge difference between being mentioned on a forum or FB and being reported as news Tom." isn't saying that then I'm a kipper.
I'd agree with him though. Giving something a headline on a news outlet (whether that be print or online) is different as it catches an audience that otherwise misses the story. It's the difference between being on the TV news or in a national newspaper, compared to Reuter's ticker feed. Some folk will follow forums/newsfeeds in detail and pick up on new stories, but many will only see the headlines.
This really is too much. You may take our lives but you'll never take our Smugness and Superiority....
Then you are a kipper ;0)
Alan seems to be saying that a thread on a forum ( whichever site he doesn't say ) or mentions on FB are different to a news report. I agree with him on that. I guess others may not.
Lets not let this thread become what UKC is sometimes known for. That's one of the reasons why i don't often post other than on a regular thread.
I agree that the facts were already reported but UKC have un-doubtedly brought it to a wider audience with what we would all recognise as a news story, rather than just the bare facts of what happened that day.
I am not wanting to get into a debate as to who reports best and in what way. At least Ned's ascent is being publicised and discussed.
It could be worse. Here is a recent " news report ":
Lets keep on topic and i will add that i forgot to say well done to Ned as well. Looked scary as and i felt all funny inside when he fell off at the end of the clip. You just get used to seeing these guys succeed all the time on vids.
> This really is too much. You may take our lives but you'll never take our Smugness and Superiority....
I can see the next hoody being made up already ;0)
Nice one Ned.
Is the timing of this news a bit of a tease? Surely it's not been dry since Friday 2nd?!
Thanks for that, Strictly Come Dancing needed Moff being distracted by my laughter.
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