/ Grading system at the arch/BF
A Circuit is V4 - V6. Instead of labelling climbs individually with a grade on the bottom hold we have to decipher hieroglyphics and come to a fairly vague conclusion as to what we are about to attempt/have just achieved.
Now I realise that grading is a fairly vague business anyway and depends on all sorts of things. I also like the idea of a crux problem on each circuit. But I do get a bit tired of trekking back and forth to find out what I'm climbing.
Maybe I'm just obsessed with grades. Maybe I should take the stick out of my arse and go with the flow. But I do find it a bit odd. Especially as they have to write the route number on the bottom hold anyway.
Anyone else find it slightly pointless?
P.S. I otherwise have found the centres to be great. Fun, varied problems and the staff, particularly at the BF are very friendly.
Quite a common way of grading in bouldering only centres. It does sound like you're a little too obsessed with the grade, given that it's indoors and grading is quite subjective it's not really worth the hassle.
I much prefer having a rough idea and not getting too caught up in it. I prefer centres that just have the circuit grade and don't bother with the individual problem grades.
The thing is at the BF they do give you the exact grade. They just seem to go through a pointlessly complicated way of doing it.
At times I have got a sheet of paper and copied out all of the grades but substituted eg. 'V4' for down arrow, 'V5' for dash, 'V6' for up arrow, etc.
I quite like it. If you want to know what the grades are, you can know what the grades are* but if you just want to get on with climbing in an approximate range of difficulty you can do that as well.
* or more precisely, what grade somebody thinks it is.
> Quite a common way of grading in bouldering only centres. It does sound like you're a little too obsessed with the grade, given that it's indoors and grading is quite subjective it's not really worth the hassle.
> I much prefer having a rough idea and not getting too caught up in it. I prefer centres that just have the circuit grade and don't bother with the individual problem grades.
It's quite annoying if you're trying to identify what your weaknesses are, though - it's very much more difficult to spot that you climb a grade less hard on slabs / overhangs / crimps / slopers / whatever if you only have an approximate idea of how hard the routes you're trying are...
Milton Keynes Big Rock has similarly vague grades. Id imagine they got their inspiration in the same place. Not that we go there much.
I like knowing what the grade is because if I fall off something repeatedly its easy to assume the route is a pig.
If I go look at the grade and its well within my usual remit then at least I know I must be missing a trick which is all the more incentive to get back on it.
I'm sure nobody'd care if the vagueness was around v0-v2 but the difference between 4 and 6 is such that any kind of self-improvement would be completely undetectable. Plus, surely the person who set the route would have some idea what market they were targeting? If not then who is the route actually for and do they really care?
That certainly sounds like a good way of identifying whether I'm rubbish on (say) slabs - go and climb on a bunch of overhanging walls instead!
Anyway, this really wasn't a genuine criticism just an observation, and I certainly wasn't trying to single out this climbing centre in particular. As I have said, I'm really enjoying climbing here and I think your staff are fantastic Fred. So credit to them and to the management for employing such Lovlies.
I'm off to the BF now in fact. See you all there!
This might be true if grading were exact and correct at all times but given the subjectivity of it all you might find that you can climb 1 V4 on a slab and in the next set 1 V6 and in the next 1 V5... does this mean you got much better between the first and second set and then a little worse in the third or does it mean that you're climbing around V4-V6 on slabs...
If you can point out a centre that grades correctly and accurately in the opinion of every climber in the UK then I'll accept that being pernickerty about it all is worth while. Until then, a rough idea should be good enough for all of us punters...
I've quite taken to taking a picture of the grading sheet with my phone, and then checking it if I'm curious.
I do slightly find this true, as I like to know what the grades are of the problems I'm climbing. However at the arch, I am really enjoying the circuits lately and like the idea of them; not knowing the exact grade but the approximate grade range.
At the biscuit factory I almost solely use the comp wall. It has individually graded problems which I like and the setting seems to be much better.
At the arch, before the biscuit factory was there, there were a lot of individually graded problems and I don't see why they now need to switch to circuits. I much preferred it the old way. Saying that I still don't much mind the circuits.
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