/ seana mheallan over graded?

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French Erick - on 17 Jun 2013
Went to the west cliff recently and found some of the route really easy for their given grade. First day out and not that strong. Stuff like mechanical sheep never felt 6a. I rarely onsight 6a, if I do I have to put up a fight.

I remember going to the main bit and getting absolutely trashed by the Torridonian at 6a too.

What do people think?

Regardless, the climbing is great fun and the route quality.
Andy Moles - on 17 Jun 2013
In reply to French Erick:

I don't think Seana Mheallan is uniformly soft, but I did an E3 called Exterminator (?) there I thought which was more like E1. The others seemed about right.

I've climbed a LOT of over-graded routes in the northwest in general, some by two grades. Not sure why that is.
Dave Kerr - on 17 Jun 2013
In reply to Andy Moles:
> (In reply to French Erick)
>
>> I've climbed a LOT of over-graded routes in the northwest in general, some by two grades. Not sure why that is.

Lack of ascents. Lots of them probably went in the book with just the FA and it's easy to make a mistake when grading that.

Dave Kerr - on 17 Jun 2013
In reply to Andy Moles:
> (In reply to French Erick)
>
>>
> I've climbed a LOT of over-graded routes in the northwest in general, some by two grades.

Some examples:

http://www.ukclimbing.com/logbook/c.php?i=128220 - E2 5c not E46a
http://www.ukclimbing.com/logbook/c.php?i=129175 - Likewise.

To be fair most other examples are only a grade out! Time, more ascents and new guidebooks will fix it.
Andy Moles - on 17 Jun 2013
In reply to Dave Kerr:

I thought Calum's Rest (E2) at Inbhirpolliadh was pushing 3 grades out, I'm sure I've done harder VSs!
Tony Stone on 17 Jun 2013
In reply to French Erick:

The SMC really would welcome your and anyone else's thoughts on grades and route description for existing and new routes in Scotland, please see http://www.smc.org.uk/publications/

While grade discussions are frequent on this website very little information is received by the SMC (and the SMC do not own the data entered in UKC Logbooks). The SMC would value any feedback you can provide. The information collected appears in the New Routes section of the annual SMC Journal. The New Routes sections from the 2003 Journal to the present journal are freely available at http://www.smc.org.uk/new-routes
Colin Moody - on 17 Jun 2013
In reply to French Erick:

A lot of grades have changed on that crag, but more probably need to change.

Mechanical Sheep was one of my routes, I gave it 5c and I was surprised when it was upgraded but a couple of folk thought it was 6a.
French Erick - on 17 Jun 2013
In reply to Tony Stone:
Cheers for that link Tony.
Will put some of my thoughts in there.
I am not on a mission either... just was really surprised to go up it so easy. I kept looking at it and thinking it does not look 6a which is why I tried it on my first day trad-ing.

How's tricks anyhow?
Dave Kerr - on 17 Jun 2013
In reply to Tony Stone:
> (In reply to French Erick)
>
/
>
> While grade discussions are frequent on this website very little information is received by the SMC

Maybe they need a simpler method of getting that info then?

French Erick - on 17 Jun 2013
In reply to Colin Moody:
It's a great route regardless Colin. What a setting!
What inspired the name? We want the story!
Tony Stone on 17 Jun 2013
In reply to Dave Kerr:

I am afraid email is the simplest on offer at the moment. I would love to have a logbook-like system up and running tomorrow but such things require quite a lot of time or lots of money. You can also get in touch via http://www.facebook.com/SMCGuidebooks
Tony Stone on 17 Jun 2013
In reply to French Erick:

Hey Erick, all good this end, I'm a bit further North these days.

Most (all?) guidebook authors do like to get feedback about the guides/routes (good, bad, or indifferent) so it's great that you got in touch, good to get some attention on this site too as it has a much, much wider audience.

Michael Gordon - on 18 Jun 2013
In reply to French Erick:
>
> I remember going to the main bit and getting absolutely trashed by the Torridonian at 6a too.
>
>

Do you mean you found it easier or harder than you were expecting?

Michael Gordon - on 18 Jun 2013
In reply to Dave Kerr:

It seems the logbooks for Awesome would disagree with you?
Michael Gordon - on 18 Jun 2013
In reply to French Erick:

Strange as I'm sure it says something in the guide about the routes being hard if you're not used to the type of climbing so I always assumed there wouldn't be many soft touches there.
French Erick - on 18 Jun 2013
In reply to Michael Gordon:
Got spanked by torridonian at solid 6a.
Found mechanical sheep to be easier than 6a.
Both routes are very good, but Torridonian is a superior line, being more sustained longer with more climbing in it.
Fiend - on 18 Jun 2013
In reply to Dave Kerr:

Faite Gu would be fair at E3 5c.

Awesome is solid 6a off the deck and then hard to place the gear to protect the next section, but it would be fair at hard E3 6a. The main disagreement would be with the name / stars.

I think the generosity of the grades is partly due to the quality of the rock and the routes - amazing rock, often clean, with lines that inspire you to put the effort in; and partly due to the style of the climbing - steep routes on good holds which is tending to feel easier to modern wall-trained climbers (conversely, the softest crag in the area has laughably be nicknamed "Hardmair" by some climbers because it has some easy jamming occasionally?).

Maybe at some point there will have to be a national trend of re-grading where steep, safe, positive wall climbing gets downgraded, and cracks / thrutches / smearing etc gets upgraded to reflect the skillset of current climbers.

Simon Caldwell - on 18 Jun 2013
In reply to Tony Stone:
> the SMC do not own the data entered in UKC Logbooks

I would hope that they look at it though?
Tony Stone on 18 Jun 2013
In reply to Toreador:
Indeed Toreador, however grade voting data is only really good when there are a large number of votes. From an email you can usually get a much better feel for the veracity of the information and perhaps a bit of background; sometimes you can infer the person went the wrong way or missed some crucial gear (that would be useful to know in itself). There is an opportunity for discussion which is not possible with voting.

My first post was really just to highlight that if you feel a grade is wrong or a description is misleading, then if you wish to see it changed the SMC would really welcome your comments. All help is appreciated.
Simon Caldwell - on 18 Jun 2013
In reply to Tony Stone:
I'll try to put together an email :)
ads.ukclimbing.com
victim of mathematics - on 18 Jun 2013
In reply to Fiend:

> Maybe at some point there will have to be a national trend of re-grading where steep, safe, positive wall climbing gets downgraded, and cracks / thrutches / smearing etc gets upgraded to reflect the skillset of current climbers.

Us fat, lazy, bastards who can climb cracks, thrutch and occasionally smear a bit can only hope...
Michael Gordon - on 18 Jun 2013
In reply to French Erick:

So Torridonian mid-hard E3?

It looks amazing; I think I'll be very happy if I ever manage to do it!
Michael Gordon - on 18 Jun 2013
In reply to Fiend:

I thought there was no way Awesome could be E2.
Michael Gordon - on 18 Jun 2013
In reply to Andy Moles:
> (In reply to French Erick)
>
> I've climbed a LOT of over-graded routes in the northwest in general, some by two grades. Not sure why that is.

If that is the case (I think sometimes folk overstate the nature of the grading on some crags on the basis of only a few routes) perhaps it could be because a lot of NW stuff has been done by folk who mainly climb new stuff and have lost touch with grading a bit? Then again this should cause as much harsh as soft grading.
andyinglis - on 18 Jun 2013
In reply to French Erick: Of the (all be it only) 3 routes I have done there, I thought all were on the money (including the torridonian), so I wouldn't say the crag was 'easy'.

Andy
Andy Moles - on 18 Jun 2013
In reply to Fiend:
> steep routes on good holds which is tending to feel easier to modern wall-trained climbers

I almost never climb indoors and certainly don't consider myself very good at steep stuff, I think the NW just tends to be graded on the (sometimes very) soft side.

I've only done like four routes at Ardmair but they felt pretty solid at the grade for me, which ones are easy??

Simon Caldwell - on 18 Jun 2013
In reply to Andy Moles:
> I think the NW just tends to be graded on the (sometimes very) soft side.

Likewise. The majority of routes seem to be about a grade over what they should be, one or two more than that.
Michael Gordon - on 18 Jun 2013
In reply to Toreador:
> (In reply to Andy Moles)
> [...]
>
> The majority of routes seem to be about a grade over what they should be

Not my experience. I think the only crag I've been to where I found most routes overgraded was Aztec Tower where just about everything gets the grade above what it should.

Andy Moles - on 18 Jun 2013
In reply to Toreador:
> The majority of routes seem to be about a grade over what they should be

I wouldn't go as far as that, I've done loads which I thought were spot on as well.
Andy Moles - on 18 Jun 2013
In reply to French Erick:

Also, for what it's worth and to counterbalance the moaning, I'd rather they were soft than sandbags and it's my favourite part of the world to climb in.
Tony Stone on 18 Jun 2013
In reply to Toreador:
Thanks Toreador :)
Tony Stone on 18 Jun 2013
In reply to Andy Moles:
No real moaning on this thread, just a good bit of constructive debate - is this really UKC ROCKTALK?!
Colin Moody - on 18 Jun 2013
In reply to Michael Gordon:
>
> perhaps it could be because a lot of NW stuff has been done by folk who mainly climb new stuff and have lost touch with grading a bit?


I don't think that's the whole story. Andy Nisbet does repeat a lot of routes.
Some of the routes at Seana Mheallan have been upgraded and some downgraded.
But we need more people to comment so that there is agreement, like we have for Three Pebble Slab.
Dave Kerr - on 18 Jun 2013
In reply to Colin Moody:
> (In reply to Michael Gordon)
> [...]
>> But we need more people to comment so that there is agreement, like we have for Three Pebble Slab.

It's only half a grade out (E1 to E0) unlike the 2 full grades on some NW routes!
Colin Moody - on 18 Jun 2013
In reply to Dave Kerr:

What is E0?

It was HVS when I did it.
Dave Kerr - on 18 Jun 2013
In reply to Colin Moody:

It's a solution to the eternal is it E1 or HVS argument only partly in jest I think.
Fiend - on 18 Jun 2013
In reply to Andy Moles:

Ardmair:

Solid:
Skeletons
Space Monkey
Buried Treasure
Skinhead Violence

Steady:
Primitive Dance
Acrimonious Acrobat
Town Without Pity
Operation Brumby
Sculptress

Soft:
Shakedown
Arc-En-Ciel
Aussie Rules
On The Western Skyline
Unleash The Beast (adjectivally)
Dangerous Dancer (technically)
Exasperated Escapoligist Direct (full grade out)

Excellent:
^^^ all of the above.

andyinglis - on 18 Jun 2013
In reply to Tony: Shame the SMC can't use the data generated by users here i.e. the voting on the route gradings and stars.
Dave Kerr - on 18 Jun 2013
In reply to andyinglis:

How would anyone know if they did?
Colin Moody - on 18 Jun 2013
In reply to andyinglis:

I'm writing up some of the Inner Hebrides for the SMC and I keep an eye on the UKC database.

I suspect other SMC writers do the same.
Tony Stone on 19 Jun 2013
In reply to andyinglis, Colin Moody:
I think I replied (to Toreador) already that authors do look at UKC. Just to reiterate another point in that reply: that when there are few votes the data should not be considered particularly useful.

What I was really meaning from my first post was that the voting data is not in the control of the SMC and could not (easily) be incorporated into an SMC database.
Andy Moles - on 19 Jun 2013
In reply to Fiend:

Ah now, of that list I have only done steady ones :)
Simon Caldwell - on 19 Jun 2013
In reply to Andy Moles:
> > The majority of routes seem to be about a grade over what they should be

> I wouldn't go as far as that, I've done loads which I thought were spot on as well.

So have I - but the majority (> 50%) have been overgraded. A few sandbags as well =8-0
Gary Latter - on 19 Jun 2013
In reply to Toreador:

Id be interested to hear about the specific routes you feel are overgraded. Are we talking a handful of routes, or have you done hundreds?
How about posting a list on here with your opinions? That way we might perhaps get a bit of feedback from others who may, of course, have different views?
Simon Caldwell - on 19 Jun 2013
In reply to Gary Latter:
I may do that if and when I make time to compile an email for the SMC. It's all in my UKC logbook at the moment.
Dozens of routes - not a handful but not hundreds either. Almost all are VS and below.
French Erick - on 19 Jun 2013
In reply to Tony Stone:
> (In reply to Toreador)
> From an email you can usually get a much better feel for the veracity of the information and perhaps a bit of background. There is an opportunity for discussion which is not possible with voting.
>
> if you wish to see it changed the SMC would really welcome your comments. All help is appreciated.

I've done the stuff Tony suggested. It was not very taxing. SMC can then decide what to do with it. I understand that most SMC members do participate to guidebook writing voluntarily. Anyway, I doubt the next area guide is in the cards now. So I changed the grade on my guide to what I thought =)
Offwidth - on 19 Jun 2013
In reply to Fiend:

Only did a few of the easier lines there (upto one HVS) all felt really hard compared to other stuff I did in the NW. I dont think its to do with jamming. Amazing place thought the central severe must be one of the steepest in the Uk.
Dave Kerr - on 19 Jun 2013
In reply to Gary Latter:
> (In reply to Toreador)
>
> Id be interested to hear about the specific routes you feel are overgraded.

Having had a real look at the books it maybe isn't such a massive problem as I first though but here's a few that popped into my mind:

Root Beer at Inverianvie Crag HVS 5b?
Street Surfer at Seal Song – HVS 5a
The Executioner E1 5b
Bank of Scotland at Minch Walls –E2 5c
Sexcrementalism HVS 5a
Awesome – I’ll split the difference – E3 5C
Olympus at Leaning Block – E1 5b
Calum’s Rest at Inbhir Pollaidh – HVS or Easy E1
Failte Gu –Seriously believe this to be E2 5c

You made a few accurate downgradings in your book.
Dave Kerr - on 19 Jun 2013
In reply to French Erick:

How could I forget Diabaig Pillar! E1 5a?
Gary Latter - on 19 Jun 2013
In reply to Dave Kerr:

The Pillar at Diabaig E1 5a - what utter bollocks. I know its probably bottom of the grade at E2, but not sure how reliable someone who leads E5 / F7a+ can comment on the grade of something way below their limit? As a sport route, would probably be F6a or F6a+, so 6 sport grades easier than your normal on-sighting level??

I've done The Pillar a handful of times over the years, first back in mid eighties, when arrived at the crag long before was in any guide, thinking we were doing the first ascent. Met Dougie Dinwoodie & Brian Lawrie at Kilt Rock next day, and remember asking them about it -they told as Murray Hamilton had climbed it few years previously. We only discovered that the Main Cliff was round the corner after checking out the first ascent descriptions in old journals when returned home.
Dave Kerr - on 19 Jun 2013
In reply to Gary Latter:
> (In reply to Dave Kerr)
>
> The Pillar at Diabaig E1 5a - what utter bollocks. I know its probably bottom of the grade at E2, but not sure how reliable someone who leads E5 / F7a+ can comment on the grade of something way below their limit?

You climb way harder than me so you must be even worse at grading!

Eric9Points - on 19 Jun 2013
In reply to Dave Kerr:

I'd agree that The Pillar is E2, it's not strenuous or overly hard anywhere but I thought it E2 because it was very sustained. Great climbing anyway.

Funnily enough I was with Andy and Dave McG one time when he was checking out Seanna Mheallan. I think most of the stuff we did was around VS/HVS/E1 but felt the grades were fairly accurate except for one crack that was given E1 but felt more like VS. Looking at the guide now though I'm afraid I can't figure out which one it was.

A tip for climbing in the NW. Check out who did the FA. There are some people who consistently over or under grade their routes - you'll get to know them. I'll not let on who they are though..
Dave Kerr - on 19 Jun 2013
In reply to Eric9Points:
> (In reply to Dave Kerr)
>
>> A tip for climbing in the NW. Check out who did the FA. There are some people who consistently over or under grade their routes - you'll get to know them. I'll not let on who they are though..

And add stars and several metres to single pitch lengths. LORD alone knows why...

French Erick - on 19 Jun 2013
In reply to Dave Kerr:
laird know why!
Diabaig's pillar: hard E1 fair 5b I thought. phenomenal route though.
Michael Gordon - on 19 Jun 2013
In reply to Dave Kerr:
> (In reply to Gary Latter)
>
> Root Beer at Inverianvie Crag HVS 5b?
> Street Surfer at Seal Song – HVS 5a
> The Executioner E1 5b
> Bank of Scotland at Minch Walls –E2 5c
> Sexcrementalism HVS 5a
> Awesome – I’ll split the difference – E3 5C
> Olympus at Leaning Block – E1 5b
> Calum’s Rest at Inbhir Pollaidh – HVS or Easy E1
> Failte Gu –Seriously believe this to be E2 5c
>

Yes Street Surfer definitely not E1. Can't remember if I found it 5a or 5b but difficulties are short so would have to be VS if 5a!

In contrast I think Diamond Back is right upgraded to E1 5a.

Probably agree on Sexcrementalism.

Executioner definitely E2!

Olympus felt E2 (but not hard) to me but then for some reason I did decide to warm up on it.

Diabaig Pillar I think is right at bottom end E2.
Michael Gordon - on 19 Jun 2013
In reply to Dave Kerr:

(not done the others you mention)
Colin Moody - on 20 Jun 2013
In reply to French Erick:
> (In reply to Colin Moody)
> It's a great route regardless Colin. What a setting!
> What inspired the name? We want the story!

http://www.colinmoody.com/Site/Blog/Entries/2013/6/20_Glen_Torridon_routes.html
Dangerous Dave - on 20 Jun 2013
In reply to Dave Kerr:
> (In reply to Gary Latter)
> [...]
>
> > Failte Gu –Seriously believe this to be E2 5c
>
>

Hahaha, you must be joking. It is E4 in my book not a hard one, but no way it is easier than that!

Dangerous Dave - on 20 Jun 2013
In reply to Dangerous Dave:
> (In reply to Dave Kerr)
> [...]
>
> Hahaha, you must be joking. It is E4 in my book not a hard one, but no way it is easier than that!

Ignore me, I thought you were talking about this route http://www.ukclimbing.com/logbook/c.php?i=101695 as I had Ardmair in my head. Agree with faite gu... it is overgraded, not sure if its E2 though.
Chad123 - on 20 Jun 2013
In reply to French Erick:

Scottish grades generally do feel easier than elsewhere, you can't argue that, especially in the NW, as an example I did Philistine in the Lakes at the weekend, a fairly standard E1 5b for the Lakes. This would get E2 for sure in Scotland, possibly even E3 and is much harder and way bolder than Diabeg pillar for example. If you don't think grades are soft in the NW go to Golden Walls, Reiff and enjoy ticking the 4 or 5 E3s there which are in reality E1 or E2, great routes though. At the same crag though Seal Song is full value for E3 so not always the case! I've always thought Scottish grades generally get an extra E point due to the remote locations and seriousness of an accident. No complaints too with soft grades! The Torridonian is a hard one to grade as it's a boulder problem crux with a rest just before it, if you are flexible or technically minded it's easy for E3. Mechanical sheep, the same, my wife walked up both and 6a is her upper limit usually.
French Erick - on 20 Jun 2013

>

Fair enough. I always wondered how new routers found all the names. Must be a bit of a pickle after some times.
Tony Stone on 20 Jun 2013
In reply to Chad123:

I don't think there is a grading problem in most Scotland. I would say, in the main, trad grades in most of Scotland are comparable to SW England, Pembroke, North Wales, and the Peak. Generally the Lake District and N. Yorkshire is harder but there are soft touches now-and-again and modern venues are in line with the other areas I mention above. A good number of routes in Scotland were first climbed by English raiders, some even by Cumbrians!

I do agree that many routes in the NW are probably over-graded (or at least a disproportionate number are soft rather than hard for the grade) however I would not say this is a problem afflicting the whole of Scotland. I would encourage you to email the SMC with any corrections / amendments, as I have said already, all help is appreciated.

Finally, I have climbed with Dr/Mrs Chad123 (sure, she'll appreciate that!) in the distant past and remember her being a pretty handy, techy climber :)
Michael Gordon - on 20 Jun 2013
In reply to Chad123:

Maybe there is slightly more soft stuff in the NW than elsewhere; I do think that some folk are overstating it though. I don't think anyone would say Diabaig Pillar is an average E2.

I still don't think Scotland as a whole is graded any softer than the Lakes.
Ean T - on 22 Jun 2013
Right I’ve just wasted 15 minutes of my life. One of the problems with people’s perception of grading in the North West is that they base there opinions on a relatively small sample of popular well travelled routes. Now, having lived in the area for some time and being fairly keen I’ve done more than most. I’ve done all the extremes at Inverpollaidh, of the 500 routes at Reiff, I’ve done about 75%, and at Ardmair I’ve done about 80 routes (Oh, look at me…). Just looking at the grades in the latest (9 years old) SMC guidebook, I find I have:

At Reiff, downgraded 23 and upgraded 16.
At Ardmair, downgraded 2 and upgraded 3.
At Inverpollaidh downgraded 1 and upgraded 2.

Looks like no big deal to me. If anyone wants an ‘adventurous’ day out I can happily recommend a few routes. North-West Corner on the Old Man of Stoer is a good one to start on.

Having said that, compared to Reiff, Tremadog and The Lake District are desperate…
Simon Caldwell - on 23 Jun 2013
In reply to Ean T:
> compared to Reiff, Tremadog and The Lake District are desperate

or in other words, Reiff is all over graded (as is the rest of the north west)...
Ean T - on 23 Jun 2013
In reply to Toreador:
Sorry, that bit was a joke...
Simon Caldwell - on 23 Jun 2013
In reply to Ean T:
flew passed well over my head ;-)

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