/ The trad grading system....help needed!!

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leeoftroy - on 02 Jul 2013
So I started out believing that the trad system was logical and that the initials such as vs, hvs etc were indicative of the amount and quality of protection available. I also believed that the following numbered grade - 4c etc - was indicative of the technical climbing requirement. This all made sense to me until last week I was told - by some pretty serious dudes - that a vs4c is a 'standard' vs and so a vs4a may actually be harder!?? All my logic has now gone out the window and so I am hoping someone out there can point me in the direction of a definitive guide to the trad grading system. I'm sure this isn't the first time this topic has been heard.
Blue Straggler - on 02 Jul 2013
In reply to leeoftroy:

A VS 4a will be SCARIER than a VS 4c. The climbing will be easier as the hardest move is 4a rather than 4c, but it is likely to have less protection and feel exposed. The "serious dudes" were right, though it sounds as if they did not explain things well enough.

Basically, imagine walking up the stairs in your house. Easy "climbing" and it feels safe.

Now imagine exactly the same stairs except they are connecting two skyscrapers at the top and there is no rail or bannister so when you are on those stairs, there is a 200-foot sheer drop on each side. Suddenly going up the stairs feels a lot more serious. It is "harder" to do.
lowersharpnose - on 02 Jul 2013
In reply to leeoftroy:

The first bit of the grade (VS, E1, VDiff etc) is the overall grade. The Second bit, the 4a is the technical grade - how hard the trickiest bit is.

4c is technically harder than 4b, which is harder than 4a.

A VS 4a may be less well protected or steeper than a VS 4b which a technically harder move on it.

VS 4a is probably very bold route.
James S - on 02 Jul 2013
In reply to leeoftroy:

http://www.rockfax.com/publications/grades/

this should basically tell you everything you need to know. so with the example you give, vs 4c is indeed pretty average, based on that if the tech grade (4c bit) is lower than average you can probably expect it to have less gear than normal therefore feel much scarier. If its higher (i.e vs 5a) you can probably expect there to be really good gear, or an isolated 5a move by good gear with steady climbing either side.

essentially, the adjectival grade is how hard the route is going to feel with everything taken into account and the technical grade will tell you how hard the hardest move is therefore how hard it really is.

hope this helps, i know it can be a bit of a minefield and there are usually a lot more factors involved than the ones i just mentioned but you'll get used to it!

James
James90 - on 02 Jul 2013
In reply to leeoftroy:

your average VS with adequate protection will probably be Vs 4c.

VS 4b often indicates your likely to have poor protection.
VS 5a often indicates more gear than you can shake a stick at.

it is quite usefull when you get your head around it as you get quite a lot of information about the route and what to expect.

the overall grade is based on the technical difficulty, overall protection, proitection of the crux and crux location.
lowersharpnose - on 02 Jul 2013
In reply to Blue Straggler:

A lifetime ago, I remember walking across a steel beam some 10m up. It was maybe 150mm wide.

I thought the grade was around E1 1a.
Jon Stewart - on 02 Jul 2013
In reply to leeoftroy:

It's a brilliant system that makes perfect sense. You just have to understand that an E1 5b might just be a whole lot easier than a VS 4c, and then you have to stop worrying about it.

Get to know your local crag and see how the grades work there by climbing, falling off and chickening out of the routes. Then go to another part of the country and find it's completely different.

But in general, you're wrong to thing that the adj. grade (VS, HVS, E1 etc) is about protection, it's the overall difficulty of the route considering everything including how dangerous it is. I'm sure the search function will be of some help in explaining it. Whatever you do though, try not to look at a grade conversion chart with french (climbing wall) grades - that will give you a very odd impression of things.
Jonny2vests - on 02 Jul 2013
In reply to leeoftroy:

The first bit doesn't just reflect protection, it also reflects how sustained something is and to some degree how committing something is.

The two are used in tandem and we interpret them as such, although they are theoretically independent variables. So E1 4a is theoretically possible; an easy 10m slab with no gear hanging 10,000 feet above broken glass and crocodiles, or even 60m of 4a climbing on 3 RPs might do it.

Or you could theoretically get S 5b; one ridiculously disproportionately hard move to get both feet of the ground, followed by a scrambly romp.

In general though, those sorts of circumstances do not arise, and VS usually varies between 4b and 5a.
Jon Stewart - on 02 Jul 2013
In reply to James S:
> (In reply to leeoftroy)

> so with the example you give, vs 4c is indeed pretty average, based on that if the tech grade (4c bit) is lower than average you can probably expect it to have less gear than normal therefore feel much scarier. If its higher (i.e vs 5a) you can probably expect there to be really good gear, or an isolated 5a move by good gear with steady climbing either side.

Unless you live in Yorkshire...
Jon Stewart - on 02 Jul 2013
In reply to Jonny2vests:
> (In reply to leeoftroy)

> So E1 4a is theoretically possible; an easy 10m slab with no gear hanging 10,000 feet above broken glass and crocodiles, or even 60m of 4a climbing on 3 RPs might do it.

I think for E1 4a, you'd have to actually climb 60m of broken glass and crocodiles.
Blue Straggler - on 02 Jul 2013
In reply to Jonny2vests:
> So E1 4a is theoretically possible; an easy 10m slab with no gear hanging 10,000 feet above broken glass and crocodiles, or even 60m of 4a climbing on 3 RPs might do it.
>

Charnwood Quarry has, I believe, an E1 4a (I think I have done it on top rope), surprised if you have not dabbled! :-) Leading it would make Sunset Slab seem a total doddle :-)
Flashy - on 02 Jul 2013
In reply to leeoftroy: The adjectival grade reflects the fact that the seriousness, or severity, of a route is brought about by a combination of the difficulty of the climbing, how sustained it is, and how well protected.

So, a route where the hardest climbing is 4a would normally merit Severe, cos climbing rock that hard is pretty Severe, innit?

But if that 4a climbing suddenly has no gear then it's a much more severe prospect. In fact it's Very Severe. Make sense?

Doing 4c moves is a Very Severe undertaking in itself, even if the gear is fine, so those routes get VS just for that.

In general, the 'standards' are:

Severe 4a
HS 4b
VS 4c
HVS 5a
E1 5b
etc etc

With experience, you'll find that you get quite a lot of information out of the grade. For the grade list given above, any deviation by 2 grades or more are unusual routes -- if the technical grade is low (VS 4a or E1 4c for example) then it's usually very poorly protected. If the technical grade is very high (e.g. Severe 4c) the the hard move is probably getting off the ground i.e. it's relatively hard to hurt yourself.

Common grades that deviate from the above are:
S 4b -- one move wonder, usually well protected.
VS 4b -- sustained and well protected I often find
VS 5a -- only one 5a move and the gear is right next to you. Usually.
HVS 4c -- A funny one. Badly protected in the Peak. Steep, sustained and well protected at Swanage.
HVS 5b -- not climbed enough of these to comment.
James90 - on 02 Jul 2013
In reply to Jonny2vests:

> Or you could theoretically get S 5b; one ridiculously disproportionately hard move to get both feet of the ground, followed by a scrambly romp.
>
> In general though, those sorts of circumstances do not arise, and VS usually varies between 4b and 5a.

they do arrise but there not that common. my favorite example
http://www.ukclimbing.com/logbook/c.php?i=10209
I'm really wanting to do it S 5b sounds fun =)
Blue Straggler - on 02 Jul 2013
Fun at Charnwood, from http://www.leicestershireclimbs.co.uk/index.php/charnwood-quarry.html

"8 Second Coming E1 4b 38m *
Follows the obvious line of weakness on the left side of the slab. Start below the tree at 10m. climb the slab up to this and follow the obvious rising line
up rightwards to the top. The climbing is good but the protection is not, donít think about it to much youíll be alright!
Paul Ramsden, Geoff Hornby


10 Cameraman HVS 4a 20m
The route starts from the base of the upper tier. Step off the tier and climb the wall direct keeping apx 1m right of the corner.
Masa Sakano solo 31.05.09"
Jonny2vests - on 02 Jul 2013
In reply to Blue Straggler:
> (In reply to Jonny2vests)
> [...]
>
> Charnwood Quarry has, I believe, an E1 4a

Never been. So no crocodiles? I'm sure I've seen VS 6a somewhere.
Flashy - on 02 Jul 2013
In reply to James90:

> VS 4b often indicates your likely to have poor protection.

An interesting observation. I've usually found VS 4b around the country to be sustained but quite well protected. But I haven't rock climbed a huge amount in Scotland compared to England and Wales -- where have you found this?

Jonny2vests - on 02 Jul 2013
In reply to James90:
> (In reply to Jonny2vests)
>
> [...]
>
> they do arrise but there not that common. my favorite example
> http://www.ukclimbing.com/logbook/c.php?i=10209
> I'm really wanting to do it S 5b sounds fun =)

Yes. Hence why I said 'in general'. I think VB normally gets HS 5b these days.
Blue Straggler - on 02 Jul 2013
In reply to Flashy:

>
> So, a route where the hardest climbing is 4a would normally merit Severe, cos climbing rock that hard is pretty Severe, innit?
>
> But if that 4a climbing suddenly has no gear then it's a much more severe prospect. In fact it's Very Severe. Make sense?
>
> Doing 4c moves is a Very Severe undertaking in itself, even if the gear is fine, so those routes get VS just for that.

I learned this the hard way when soloing Twenty Foot Crack at Burbage North, thinking "it's only a Severe". As soon as you have no protection, it is a VS solo. D'oh! I was scared :-)
Jonny2vests - on 02 Jul 2013
In reply to leeoftroy:

One of my favourite grades is E2 5b. Could be terrifying, could be just hard work, like Grond on the Cromlech.
Blue Straggler - on 02 Jul 2013
In reply to Flashy:
> (In reply to James90)
>
> [...]
>
> An interesting observation. I've usually found VS 4b around the country to be sustained but quite well protected. But I haven't rock climbed a huge amount in Scotland compared to England and Wales -- where have you found this?

I agree. Of all the sub-Extreme grades, I think VS has the most "leeway" between 4b and 4c and I don't really pay much attention to whether a VS route is 4b or 4c, but I'll pay attention to a S or HS 4c, or an HVS 4c or 5b!
Blue Straggler - on 02 Jul 2013
In reply to Jonny2vests:
> I'm sure I've seen VS 6a somewhere.

I think that might in fact be somewhere in Eastern Grit.
James90 - on 02 Jul 2013
In reply to Jonny2vests:

Actually in the latest ' stanage the definative guide ' instead of upgrading to HS they downgraded to HVD.
Dave 88 - on 02 Jul 2013
Jonny2vests - on 02 Jul 2013
In reply to James90:
> (In reply to Jonny2vests)
>
> Actually in the latest ' stanage the definative guide ' instead of upgrading to HS they downgraded to HVD.

Oh yeah.
Milesy - on 02 Jul 2013
In reply to Flashy:

> VS 4b -- sustained and well protected I often find

The only VS, 4b routes have done have been pretty bold. One in particular Lion Cub at Auchinstarry Quarry is well protected till before the crux and then the 4b move is a good metre and a half above a crappy micro wire and a few metres to decent gear below. A fall would be pretty serious. I still find the move adrenalin rushing and a bit scary while now feeling good and confident on HVS, 5a/5b
Blue Straggler - on 02 Jul 2013
In reply to Milesy:

Himmelswillen at Wharncliffe:
"The classic of the crag. Climb the left arete to ledges then step right and layback into the finger crack that splits the centre of the tower. Finish on the left arete. Does sustained 4b make 4c? © ROCKFAX"

There is no move harder than 4b on it. The protection is generous (although when I led it I felt I was placing a lot of it "blind"!) and it does have decent rest points, but you do need to keep your head together.

So "my" VS4b looks rather different to yours ? :-)
davidalcock - on 02 Jul 2013
In reply to Jon Stewart: a bit like Mam Tor summer conditions. But not quite that bad.
Jonny2vests - on 02 Jul 2013
In reply to Blue Straggler:

I had no idea that only got 4b.
Rob Naylor - on 02 Jul 2013
In reply to James90:
> (In reply to Jonny2vests)
>
> [...]
>
> they do arrise but there not that common. my favorite example
> http://www.ukclimbing.com/logbook/c.php?i=10209
> I'm really wanting to do it S 5b sounds fun =)

So when did Verandah Buttress become "S"? It's VDiff 5b in my (admittedly oldish) guide. About right, I'd say....5b move off the deck and then a stroll....unless something's changed a bit higher up to increase difficulties.
Jonny2vests - on 02 Jul 2013
In reply to Rob Naylor:

It's HVD. We've been through that.
a lakeland climber on 02 Jul 2013
In reply to leeoftroy:

Here's another link: http://bobwightman.co.uk/climb/article.php?p=uk-grades that describes the system and how we got here.

ALC
John_Hat - on 02 Jul 2013
In reply to Blue Straggler:
>
> "8 Second Coming E1 4b 38m *
> Follows the obvious line of weakness on the left side of the slab. Start below the tree at 10m. climb the slab up to this and follow the obvious rising line
> up rightwards to the top. The climbing is good but the protection is not, donít think about it to much youíll be alright!

Yup, done it. Well, actually I backed off 5m from the top, so not done it. Only gear was a sling round a sapling at 15m from the floor. Rock quality got steadily worse as I went up to the point where I was digging my way through loose shale with my nutkey to try and find something that would bear my weight.

Near the top I looked at the last 5m of "rock" and thought "unjustifiable risk" and reversed the whole bl**dy route back to the ground.

It's great fun :-)
Jamie B - on 02 Jul 2013
In reply to leeoftroy:

> So I started out believing that the trad system was logical

It is logical, just takes a bit of practice to learn its nuances.

> the initials such as vs, hvs etc were indicative of the amount and quality of protection available.

Wrong. That would mean an E1 was always less protected than a VS. The "adjectival grade" on its own tells you the on-sightability of the route, nothing more.

> I also believed that the following numbered grade - 4c etc - was indicative of the technical climbing requirement.

Kind of. But better to think of it as "crux grade" than being indicative of the whole route, as French/sport grades are.
Sam Beaton on 02 Jul 2013
In reply to leeoftroy:

Just remember that on Yorkshire Grit it is Easy to accept failure on an Extremely Severe, but failing on a route graded Easy is Extremely Severe (according to the 1989 guide)
jkarran - on 02 Jul 2013
In reply to leeoftroy:

> So I started out believing that the trad system was logical and that the initials such as vs, hvs etc were indicative of the amount and quality of protection available. I also believed that the following numbered grade - 4c etc - was indicative of the technical climbing requirement. This all made sense to me until last week I was told - by some pretty serious dudes - that a vs4c is a 'standard' vs and so a vs4a may actually be harder!?? All my logic has now gone out the window and so I am hoping someone out there can point me in the direction of a definitive guide to the trad grading system. I'm sure this isn't the first time this topic has been heard.

The Adjective part gives you a rough idea how hard the route is in comparison with all others (often in wildly differing styles). The technical grade tells you how hard the hardest move is but nothing (in theory at least) about how hard it is to do that crux move (because its bold or at the end of a long sequence or because every move is that hard). The combination should tell you more than either part in isolation.

Some examples:

VS4c crack vs VS4c slab: If you're good at slabs the slab should feel easier but the difference is in you and the style, on average people find them of comparable difficulty.

VS4c slab vs a VS4a slab: The 4a route is likely to be bold since 4a climbing with reasonable protection would typically get Severe. If you're a nervous climber like me the VS4c will feel easier, not because the moves are easier but because you can move with more confidence.

VS4c crack vs VS4c crack: One has the 4c to get off the floor then eases into steady 4b, the other has loads of 4c moves throughout its length. Both are well protected and both could fairly get VS but the sustained one is going to feel harder.

Similarly, VS4c vs VS4b: The 4c has one hard move mixed into easier climbing, the 4b one has no move easier than 4b. If you have good endurance and can climb/rest efficiently the 4b one may feel easier, if you don't the 4c option may feel easier.

Basically the grades plus a glance at the route tell you most of what you need to know, add in its reputation and some experience deciphering it all and you've got a pretty good picture of what's in store.

HTH,
jk
DerwentDiluted - on 02 Jul 2013
In reply to James90:

I don't think the VS6a was Verandah buttress, but an obscure bit of steepness above the causeway, its now upgraded to harder than VS. I've not got the facts to hand but no doubt offwidth can confirm. Verandah buttress just feels like VS6a to the unigritiated.
Dave Garnett - on 02 Jul 2013
In reply to Jonny2vests:
> (In reply to Blue Straggler)
> [...]
>
> Never been. So no crocodiles? I'm sure I've seen VS 6a somewhere.

Marxist Undertones on the 2nd Cloud is VS 6a in the Roaches guide. Like all these very technical bouldery starts, it depends a bit on how you do it and how much reach you have. I see it's 5b on the UKC logbook but that's the cheaty easy start on the right.
GrahamD - on 02 Jul 2013
In reply to leeoftroy:

It is a very common misconception that the a descriptive (adjectival)grade like VS tells you how well protected a route is. On its own, all it tells you is how big an undertaking the route will be - be it sparsely protected or technical or strenuous. You need to read this in conjunction with the technical grade and the guidebook description (not forgetting to actually look at the route) to get an inclining of the protection available
Dave Garnett - on 02 Jul 2013
In reply to GrahamD:
> (In reply to leeoftroy)
>
> not forgetting to actually look at the route

Yes, this is a crucial step often disregarded!
wilkesley - on 02 Jul 2013
In reply to James90:
> (In reply to Jonny2vests)
>
> [...]
>
> they do arrise but there not that common. my favorite example
> http://www.ukclimbing.com/logbook/c.php?i=10209
> I'm really wanting to do it S 5b sounds fun =)

If you do it the way I used to, it's potentially quite dangerous. Insert arm right up to elbow into slot at bottom of route, using the slot as a sort of undercut. Step up using very polished hold to gain an upright position. If you foot slips off the polished hold, you are quite likely to break your arm.
Calder - on 02 Jul 2013
In reply to Flashy:
> (In reply to leeoftroy) ...

> Common grades that deviate from the above are:
> S 4b -- one move wonder, usually well protected.
> VS 4b -- sustained and well protected I often find
> VS 5a -- only one 5a move and the gear is right next to you. Usually.
> HVS 4c -- A funny one. Badly protected in the Peak. Steep, sustained and well protected at Swanage.
> HVS 5b -- not climbed enough of these to comment.

HVS 5b -- The hardest grade in the world. Usually involving some burly, thuggy jamming. Especially on grit. And extra-especially on grit in Yorkshire. Almost a guaranteed fail for me.
Bulls Crack - on 02 Jul 2013
In reply to leeoftroy:
> So I started out believing that the trad system was logical and that the initials such as vs, hvs etc were indicative of the amount and quality of protection available.

Why did you think this? It's a common misconception but I'm genuinely interested in why it persists - given that reliable references will not explain it as such!
pebbles - on 02 Jul 2013
In reply to GrahamD:
> (In reply to leeoftroy)
>
> It is a very common misconception that the a descriptive (adjectival)grade like VS tells you how well protected a route is. On its own, all it tells you is how big an undertaking the route will be - be it sparsely protected or technical or strenuous.

which is why the yorkshire P grade added valuable information
GrahamD - on 02 Jul 2013
In reply to pebbles:

> which is why the yorkshire P grade added valuable information

...or potentially dangerously misleading information depending on your personal experience ! personally, I prefer the rockfax symbol or a note in the route description which says something is definately badly protected rather than a P grade (especially a P2 grade, which could be interpreted as safe whereas it could be just about anything)
GridNorth - on 02 Jul 2013
In reply to GrahamD: For many years I have used a similar system which allows me to judge both trad and sports climbs and grade them, in my own head at least, with the same system. By ignoring the protection element of the "E" and adding a digit at the end to signify protection potential I mentally give sports routes a pseudo UK grade. A typical sport F6a for example would get E1, 5b, 0. as the protection potential is essentially perfect. A sport route with run out or less than perfect bolting might warrant E1, 5b, 1. I tend to use the technical element to signify the hardest move as per the UK system. I have always had problems with the French system as I find it difficult to NOT do this. By doing this the "E" does in fact stand for effort and this would cover both how sustained and strenuous a route is. The system is particularly useful for those, typically UK type, routes that are hybrids.

This of course serves no useful purpose other than allowing me to monitor my abilities in both disciplines in a more consistent way.
Dave 88 - on 02 Jul 2013
In reply to pebbles:
> (In reply to GrahamD)
> [...]
>
> which is why the yorkshire P grade added valuable information

Not really, with both the adjective and the technical grade this builds a pretty good picture of what to expect. Add to this a visual of the route, the description and any extra beta (rockfax symbols etc) and you should have a pretty good picture.

Agree that the adjective grade on its own doesn't tell you much though.

Ramblin dave - on 02 Jul 2013
In reply to Dave 88:
It's important to emphasise the "look at the route" / beta / rockfax symbols stuff though, because adjective + tech isn't actually everything you need to know. For instance a route with a hard but well protected technical crux followed by easy but dangerous moves (ie a UK 5a boulder problem start with a VS 4a on top of it) will get the same adjectival + tech grade as something with a hard but well protected technical crux followed by easy and safe moves, but be a very different experience for a borderline VS leader.

In an ideal world, I think an overall grade plus danger grade system would make most sense, since the first question I'd ask about a route is "will I find it easy or impossible" and the second is "if I'd find it marginal but not impossible, is it safe enough to have a punt at?"

In reality the UK system is very good, is the best we're likely to come up with in the foreseeable future, and is more than adequate for the routes that we use it for, but it'd be a mistake to say it tells you everything you need to know.
Calder - on 02 Jul 2013
In reply to Ramblin dave:
> (In reply to Dave 88)
> It's important to emphasise the "look at the route" / beta / rockfax symbols stuff though, because adjective + tech isn't actually everything you need to know....

Well...... it though isn't it. You don't "need" all the rest of that stuff (with the exception of looking, at it, obviously), and we all do plenty where we don't have beta or Rockfax symbols. You just get used to having it when in the Peak.
Ramblin dave - on 02 Jul 2013
In reply to Calder: Rephrase, then: everything you could want to know. The point is that a lot of people say things like "if it's VS 5a then it'll be very safe" rather than "if it's VS 5a then the 5a move(s) will be very safe but the rest is anyone's guess."
Calder - on 02 Jul 2013
In reply to Ramblin dave:

Valid. I certainly like to know if a route is strenuous or butch... or bold... or has lots of jamming... Then I can avoid it!
Bulls Crack - on 02 Jul 2013
In reply to pebbles:
> (In reply to GrahamD)
> [...]
>
> which is why the yorkshire P grade added valuable information

agreed - it seemed to work so long as you didn't expect it to be absolute
Flashy - on 02 Jul 2013
In reply to Ramblin dave: On a VS 5a, if you can do the crux ok then there shouldn't be anything else on it to trip you up, even it it turns out to be a bit scary in places. But I take your point about trying marginal routes.
Pero - on 02 Jul 2013
In reply to Ramblin dave:
> "if it's VS 5a then the 5a move(s) will be very safe but the rest is anyone's guess."

I've never liked VS 5a. Too many (on grit) seem to have poor gear that is hard to place. Unless it's just a 5a move to get off the ground, I'd rather try a good honest HVS 5a.
duchessofmalfi - on 02 Jul 2013
Grades are one part of the route description and they are there to tell you something about the climb, usually how "hard" it is. Primarily so you can choose climbs appropriately (but to a lesser extent for bragging rights).

This information is multidimensional - to be fully descriptive it would need lots of independent parameters. No grading system is perfect and no grading system really covers the full range of things you might want to know.

In the UK the information that you usually get is:

The adjectival grade - the overall difficulty with everything considered
The technical grade - the technical grade of the hardest move
The quality (stars) (also the uncertainty black spots and daggers)
The length
The number of pitches
The route description - where it goes and some additional information
The amount of fixed gear (zero if ommitted and trad, fully bolted if ommitted and sport)

From these things you should be able to work out the nature of the climb - the most important information is rolled up in the first two parts (the E2 5c bit) but this is only two parts of a more complex story. Because some dimensions (say effort or protection) aren't fully independent from the overall grade you can usually guess them from the grade. So an E1 4c would be super bold whereas a VS 5b is likely super safe with one hard move.

Where these rules of thumb don't quite apply it is up to the route description to fill in and you also should exercise judgement. The language of route descriptions is esoteric - bold, adventurous, interesting, unlikely, strenuous etc all occur frequently and all require a bit of experience to interpret.

There have been attempts reduce the ambiguity but these haven't really caught on (eg P grades). Once you're familiar with the system the VS 5a things make sense and the missing information should be possible to work out or be offered in the route description.
GridNorth - on 02 Jul 2013
In reply to Pero: For me the most challenging grade can be HVS especially if coupled with a 5b technical grade. I normally climb at about E1/2 so in theory should not have a problem but you can very easily get well and truly spanked by a HVS,5b and this can so easily rattle your confidence. I steer well clear of them :-)
johncoxmysteriously - on 02 Jul 2013
In reply to leeoftroy:

I have no idea how the British trad grading system works, but 'm inclined to award you at least 8 out of 10 on the standard UKC grading system.

jcm
Dave 88 - on 02 Jul 2013
In reply to GridNorth:

Agreed! Why do most HVS feel like the living end? I'd rather jump on E1 any day!
Flashy - on 02 Jul 2013
In reply to Dave 88:
> Agreed! Why do most HVS feel like the living end?

Ha! I used to think the same about Severe 4a (a very different beast to a plain old Severe). I think they're both a dumping ground for anything awkward to climb and difficult to grade.

colina - on 02 Jul 2013
In reply to leeoftroy:
personally think the grading system is too complicated..diff vdiff hvdiff etc is pretty straightforward then they have to cock it up by starting 4a 4b etc WHY NOT START ON 1 for an easy move followed by 2,3,4 etc ..

anybody tell me why that wasn't done and don't even let me start about using French font moves in the uk ....wots that all about?
a lakeland climber on 02 Jul 2013
In reply to colina:

The tech grade does start at 1a, it's just for some reason it was decided not to apply it until a pitch was worth 4a. I think they do use the lower grades on Southern sandstone which is where it originates - well more accurately - where it was first introduced to the UK.

ALC
ads.ukclimbing.com
colina - on 02 Jul 2013
In reply to a lakeland climber:
ok that makes sense then , I didn't know that .that is abit clearer in that I can see why it may start at 4a 4b etc .just wish someone had explained that to me when I first started.thanks,
wonder why it just doesn't go from 4 to 5 to 6 etc rather than 4a 4b 4c 5a 5b....etc unless the numbers would then go too high I guess .thanks anyway.learnt something today!
Simon Caldwell - on 02 Jul 2013
In reply to a lakeland climber:

Some guides have (sensibly) started giving a technical grade for easier but bold routes, eg S 3b for an unprotected VDiff above a painful landing
Dave Garnett - on 02 Jul 2013
In reply to Flashy:
> (In reply to Dave 88)
> [...]
>
> Ha! I used to think the same about Severe 4a (a very different beast to a plain old Severe).

Is it? I've always thought S 4a was bog standard.

Although, to be honest, I probably wouldn't be able to tell you where the boundary with 3c was (not that anyone has bothered with such a grade since Paul Nunn's Peak guides that I'm aware of).
Offwidth - on 02 Jul 2013
In reply to Dave Garnett:

Grrrr

http://offwidth.uptosummit.com/guides.html

...also there some whole crags covered in YMC and BMC guides thanks to us too. I think there may even be a few 3c's in the Roaches rehash (joiner is one I spotted)
Simon Caldwell - on 02 Jul 2013
In reply to Dave Garnett:

There are several sub-4a tech grades in the Yorkshire guide (I know because I put some of them there, and was pleased to see I wasn't alone).

Why are E2 5a and VS 4a OK to show dangerously bold routes, but S 3b isn't?
Jonny2vests - on 02 Jul 2013
In reply to johncoxmysteriously:
> (In reply to leeoftroy)
>
> I have no idea how the British trad grading system works, but 'm inclined to award you at least 8 out of 10 on the standard UKC grading system.
>
> jcm

Yeah, but its a pretty limp troll because he hasn't started any arguments, people like talking about this stuff.
Jonny2vests - on 02 Jul 2013
In reply to DerwentDiluted:
> (In reply to James90)
>
> I don't think the VS6a was Verandah buttress, but an obscure bit of steepness above the causeway, its now upgraded to harder than VS. I've not got the facts to hand but no doubt offwidth can confirm. Verandah buttress just feels like VS6a to the unigritiated.

Nobody is suggesting VS 6a for VB.
Dave Garnett - on 02 Jul 2013
In reply to Offwidth:

Oh blimey, sorry Steve!

That said, I'm still not convinced that technical grades work for VDiffs and I think it's fair to describe it as conventional for them to start at 4a...
Dave Garnett - on 02 Jul 2013
In reply to Toreador:
> (In reply to Dave Garnett)

> Why are E2 5a and VS 4a OK to show dangerously bold routes, but S 3b isn't?

I guess because at some point you'd be giving tech grades to tall ladders or awkwardly designed staircases without handrails?
Simon Caldwell - on 02 Jul 2013
In reply to Dave Garnett:

What adjectival grade would you give a tall ladder?
Ramblin dave - on 02 Jul 2013
In reply to Toreador:
Although I guess that this is another situation where "danger grades" would make more sense - since it's pretty hard for a lot of people to distinguish 3b from 3c but a potential ground fall is a potential ground fall whatever grade you climb at...
leeoftroy - on 02 Jul 2013
In reply to johncoxmysteriously:
> (In reply to leeoftroy)
>
> I have no idea how the British trad grading system works, but 'm inclined to award you at least 8 out of 10 on the standard UKC grading system.
>
> jcm

Cool - 8 out of 10 isn't bad...but what exactly am I being awarded for?
leeoftroy - on 02 Jul 2013
In reply to Flashy: Thanks Flashy. I think if I can memorise those 'standard' grades then it will all start making a lot more sense
leeoftroy - on 02 Jul 2013
In reply to Dave 88: That was a helpful link and I wish I had read it long ago! Thanks
leeoftroy - on 02 Jul 2013
In reply to Bulls Crack:
> (In reply to leeoftroy)
> [...]
>
> Why did you think this? It's a common misconception but I'm genuinely interested in why it persists - given that reliable references will not explain it as such!

I had it explained to me this way and actually a lot of people I climb with are surprised when a vs4a is harder than a vs4c so we've always assumed it to be due to mis-grading or a difference in climbing styles etc. I think being a sport climbing convert doesn't help either because with sport the numbers go up and it gets more difficult...simple! The trad system seems typically English and Imperial when compared to the sport system which seems more metric!
leeoftroy - on 02 Jul 2013
In reply to Blue Straggler:
> (In reply to leeoftroy)
>
> A VS 4a will be SCARIER than a VS 4c. The climbing will be easier as the hardest move is 4a rather than 4c, but it is likely to have less protection and feel exposed. The "serious dudes" were right, though it sounds as if they did not explain things well enough.
>
> Basically, imagine walking up the stairs in your house. Easy "climbing" and it feels safe.
>
> Now imagine exactly the same stairs except they are connecting two skyscrapers at the top and there is no rail or bannister so when you are on those stairs, there is a 200-foot sheer drop on each side. Suddenly going up the stairs feels a lot more serious. It is "harder" to do.

Oh ok - so when I climb my stairs mid-day its like VS4C but when i climb them drunk and concentrating on my kebab it's more like VS4A ;-)
It's all starting to make a bit more sense now and I think if I start looking at things differently when I'm out at the rock it will start to sink in. Thanks for the help.
Bulls Crack - on 02 Jul 2013
In reply to leeoftroy:
> (In reply to Bulls Crack)
> [...]
>
> I had it explained to me this way and actually a lot of people I climb with are surprised when a vs4a is harder than a vs4c

It's only 'harder' if you think in terms of boldness. Its the same really just different ie VS!
Simon Caldwell - on 02 Jul 2013
In reply to Ramblin dave:
> it's pretty hard for a lot of people to distinguish 3b from 3c

but it's not going to matter for those people whether it's Diff or VDiff as they won't fall off anyway (and will likely be soloing). People who lead at those grades will be able to tell the difference (though probably won't recognise the technical grades, purely because very few guides use them).
Ramblin dave - on 02 Jul 2013
In reply to Toreador:
But people who lead VDiff max aren't normally the ones writing guidebooks.
Dave Garnett - on 02 Jul 2013
In reply to Toreador:
> (In reply to Dave Garnett)
>
> What adjectival grade would you give a tall ladder?

Depends how tall. Seriously, a Fred Dibnah-style ladder up 100m chimney isn't something I would usually want to solo, so if we assume that you can't protect it for some reason (wooden ladder, would probably break?) then how hard would that feel? VS? E3? But technically it's trivial. Anybody able-bodied could probably do it, 1a? 1c because it's sustained?

All ridiculous, obviously, because climbing grades aren't designed for ladders, for that we have via ferrata grades (not that I've really noticed how they work either).
Duncan Bourne - on 02 Jul 2013
In reply to leeoftroy:
I always liked the saying regarding E grades in the Peak.
On Limestone E was for Effort, on gritstone E was for Extinction ;o)
Flashy - on 02 Jul 2013
In reply to leeoftroy:

> with sport the numbers go up and it gets more difficult...simple! The trad system seems typically English and Imperial when compared to the sport system which seems more metric!

The English trad grading system is cryptic and apparently difficult to understand at first, compared to sports grades anyway. But like the differences between trad and sport climbing themselves, if you put a bit of effort and thought into it you'll find it superior ;)

It's ok that it takes a while to understand, just stick with it. I don't think things should be dumbed down just for the sake of accessibility anyway -- call it a moron filter.

Rob Naylor - on 02 Jul 2013
In reply to Dave Garnett:

From memory, I believe that the route "Malcolm McPherson's A Very Strange Person" at Happy Valley (Southern Sandstone) is given a 1b grade.

I think my older daughter soloed it when she was 6.
Rob Naylor - on 02 Jul 2013
In reply to Rob Naylor:

Sorry, it's 1a: http://www.ukclimbing.com/logbook/crag.php?id=1052

There's a slew of 2s and 3s there, too!
Simon Caldwell - on 02 Jul 2013
In reply to Ramblin dave:
> people who lead VDiff max aren't normally the ones writing guidebooks

possibly why there have been so many badly graded low grade routes around!
Luckily the likes of Offwidth are involved more these days, people who despite leading harder, climb so many easy routes as well that they know how to grade them. And - shock horror - who actually talk to low-grade leaders!
Lukem6 - on 02 Jul 2013
In reply to leeoftroy: I always work it backwards, So I take the tech grade then work out the Emo Grade

A very friendly 4b = S or lower
basic 4b = HS
An emotional 4b = VS and up
A very friendly 4C = HS or lower
basic 4c = VS
An emotional 4c = HVS and up
A very friendly 5a = VS or lower
basic 5a = HVS
An emotional 5a =E1 and up
It gets more Emo and complicated after that
Bulls Crack - on 02 Jul 2013
In reply to Dave Garnett:

1a? 1c because it's sustained?

That should be reflected in the adjecteval grade? ie Mild Very Easy
Ramblin dave - on 02 Jul 2013
In reply to Toreador:
True (and it helps that there's a move away from viewing evil sandbags as a sort of hazing ritual...)

But I think it's still comparatively hard for guidebook writers to usefully give technical grades to easy routes. Whereas identifying that there's no gear / some gear / loads of gear would be fairly easy.
Jonny2vests - on 03 Jul 2013
In reply to leeoftroy:
> (In reply to Blue Straggler)
> [...]
>
> Oh ok - so when I climb my stairs mid-day its like VS4C but when i climb them drunk and concentrating on my kebab it's more like VS4A ;-)

Not really. The moves haven't changed, its just a bit bolder drunk, so maybe HVS 4c if it was graded for a drunk ascent, otherwise its still VS 4c.

(I know you were joking, I just felt I should point out you got it the wrong way round).
Jonny2vests - on 03 Jul 2013
In reply to Bulls Crack:

MVE 1c sounds reasonable.
ads.ukclimbing.com
Michael Gordon - on 03 Jul 2013
In reply to Ramblin dave:
>
> But I think it's still comparatively hard for guidebook writers to usefully give technical grades to easy routes.

How easy are we talking? I think Severe 4b and HS 4a are useful grades, not sure about below that.

Simon Caldwell - on 03 Jul 2013
In reply to Michael Gordon:

What grade would you give to a VDiff with no gear? Or would you just grade it VDiff and add a warning to the description? If the latter then why wouldn't the same apply to a 5a with no gear - just grade it HVS with a warning in the text...
GridNorth - on 03 Jul 2013
In reply to Toreador: Trying to apply modern grading and thinking to old climbs is a bit of a nonsense though. These climbs were graded before both modern protection and modern boots. A route graded V.Diff was given the grade in that context.
Lukeva - on 03 Jul 2013
In reply to leeoftroy: Surely if you on-sighted E1 you have basic grasp of the UK trad system? Or am I missing something?
Simon Caldwell - on 03 Jul 2013
In reply to GridNorth:
Guidebooks aren't meant to be history books, they're meant to tell you what routes there are together with information about how difficult and dangerous they are to climb.
Grades absolutely should be changed to fit in with modern standards, and by and large they are. Otherwise everything at HVS and above would still be graded VS. And you'd get things graded Moderate when they've been rightly upgraded to Diff, or VDiff, or harder (a recent trip to Burbage included an HVS that was originally Severe, and a VS that was originally Diff).
GrahamD - on 03 Jul 2013
In reply to Toreador:

> What grade would you give to a VDiff with no gear?

Routes of any grade may have gear or no gear - a Vdiff with no gear shouldn't be a problem. I think its a modern perception that just because a route is 'only' a Vdiff or a VS or whatever, it must necessarily have protection. There is no reason for this to be the case.

Long mountain Vdiffs very often have no meaningful gear because a fall with 30m of rope out invariably means a long drop onto something hard

This may be why its given "Very Difficult" rather than "Moderate" or "Difficult" or "Very SSevere" rather than "Severe".
humptydumpty - on 03 Jul 2013
In reply to Jonny2vests:
> (In reply to Bulls Crack)
>
> MVE 1c sounds reasonable.

Bit confused here - is Very Easy easier or harder than Easy?
Simon Caldwell - on 03 Jul 2013
In reply to GrahamD:
> This may be why its given "Very Difficult" rather than "Moderate" or "Difficult" or "Very SSevere" rather than "Severe"

True - but without further information it's impossible to say. That information can be in the description, but it's so much simpler to put it in the grade (like we do for anything above Severe).
Calder - on 03 Jul 2013
In reply to Toreador:

I think what we actually need here is a good old debate/argument over the tech grades of some routes. So if you start us off by giving us the tech grades for a few classic low grade routes, we can all chip in with our opinions...
Bulls Crack - on 03 Jul 2013
In reply to Toreador:
> (In reply to Michael Gordon)
>
> What grade would you give to a VDiff with no gear? Or would you just grade it VDiff and add a warning to the description? If the latter then why wouldn't the same apply to a 5a with no gear - just grade it HVS with a warning in the text...

I give you P3!
GrahamD - on 03 Jul 2013
In reply to Toreador:

A one liner in the route description or a fluttery heart symbol is a lot more useful than trying to use technical grades for moves which really aren't technical and expecting beginners to then work out how to interpret an adjectival / technical grade to infer a protection level when this seems to be beyond even relatively experienced climbers.
colina - on 03 Jul 2013
In reply to Dave Garnett:
> (In reply to Toreador)
> [...]
>
> Depends how tall. Seriously, a Fred Dibnah-style ladder up 100m chimney isn't something I would usually want to solo, so if we assume that you can't protect it for some reason (wooden ladder, would probably break?) then how hard would that feel? VS? E3? But technically it's trivial. Anybody able-bodied could probably do it, 1a? 1c because it's sustained?
>
>
don't think theres too many here who would fancy climbing a chimney "fred style" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6W_7uIapoHc


that guy had balls of steel..a true character.
a lakeland climber on 03 Jul 2013
In reply to Bulls Crack:

The Yorkshire P-grade wasn't about the route but about the consequences of a fall. So you could have a route with a high unprotected crux but a soft/safe landing so the route might get P1. On the other hand you might get a low crux but a boulder field as the landing spot so P3.

ALC
Ramblin dave - on 03 Jul 2013
In reply to GrahamD:
Agreed, particularly for a long mountain routes where the existence of a well protected crux somewhere in that 150m says even less than usual about the existence of an easy but necky section somewhere else...
GrahamD - on 03 Jul 2013
In reply to a lakeland climber:

The P grades are a lot easier to misinterpret than a comment like "bold" or "unprotected" in the route description
GridNorth - on 03 Jul 2013
In reply to leeoftroy: I think it's much better to think in terms of protection potential. The consequences of a fall near to the ground are easier to anticipate than those higher up and therefore should need less of a warning by trying include this in a grade.
Bulls Crack - on 03 Jul 2013
In reply to a lakeland climber:
> (In reply to Bulls Crack)
>
> The Yorkshire P-grade wasn't about the route but about the consequences of a fall. So you could have a route with a high unprotected crux but a soft/safe landing so the route might get P1. On the other hand you might get a low crux but a boulder field as the landing spot so P3.
>
> ALC

That sophisticated huh? So p2/3 then depending on how you land!
Simon Caldwell - on 03 Jul 2013
In reply to GrahamD:
> A one liner in the route description or a fluttery heart symbol is a lot more useful than trying to use technical grades for moves which really aren't technical and expecting beginners to then work out how to interpret an adjectival / technical grade to infer a protection level when this seems to be beyond even relatively experienced climbers.

So what grade is 3PS - VS with a fluttery heart?
GrahamD - on 03 Jul 2013
In reply to Toreador:

The fluttery heart does not change the grade (which always has been borderline HVS/E1 5a ever since I've been climbing. It just provides specific additional information.
Bulls Crack - on 03 Jul 2013
In reply to GrahamD:
> (In reply to a lakeland climber)
>
> The P grades are a lot easier to misinterpret than a comment like "bold" or "unprotected" in the route description

why? They meant: probably ok/could hurt yourself, likely to hurt yourself or worse..seems clearer than bold etc
GrahamD - on 03 Jul 2013
In reply to Bulls Crack:
> why?


What the P grades were defined as and how they are interpreted are different things.

P2 could mean anything from safe to don't fall off so its useless. P1 can easily be interpreted as 'safe'

Bulls Crack - on 03 Jul 2013
In reply to GrahamD:
> (In reply to Bulls Crack)
> [...]
>
>
> What the P grades were defined as and how they are interpreted are different things.
>
> P2 could mean anything from safe to don't fall off so its useless.

Those bolder routes with sparse protection which may even be deck outs if the fall is relatively short onto a reasonable landing. Good gibber potential with plenty of air time. Could be painful.
leeoftroy - on 03 Jul 2013
In reply to Lukeva:
> (In reply to leeoftroy) Surely if you on-sighted E1 you have basic grasp of the UK trad system? Or am I missing something?

My E1 onsight was a mistaken route on pitch 3 of western slabs, dinas mot. It's called the link/the chain and when I checked it out here I'm not the only one to be caught out by it...a thrilling mistake to make! I'm capable of climbing it because I'm a sport convert but understanding the grades is something else. Another example is that I climbed E2 5b last weekend, my proudest moment - but it was (or felt) far easier than some of the hvs climbs and also vs climbs that I have previously climbed. So this is where my questioning of the grading system grew from.
leeoftroy - on 03 Jul 2013
In reply to Jonny2vests:
> (In reply to leeoftroy)
> [...]
>
> Not really. The moves haven't changed, its just a bit bolder drunk, so maybe HVS 4c if it was graded for a drunk ascent, otherwise its still VS 4c.
>
> (I know you were joking, I just felt I should point out you got it the wrong way round).

Oh yeah I see you're right - I should have put a bit more effort into my flippant reply! ;-)
Actually a far better lesson than was probably intended!
Offwidth - on 03 Jul 2013
In reply to GrahamD:

Yet the fluttery heart is just as inconsistently used at the egdes of flutteryness as P grades are at their borders. Though in general both systems mostly do what they say and are useful.

On the subject of tech grades for easier routes I've always been amused at the pressure against this in the UK when the tech grades came from font grades where these grades always existed. It is useful information to have say a VD 3a that is obviously very bold and a VD 4a being likely a short safe crux and what's more as people climb they learn the delightful paired UK trad system that works well from mid-grade. On low grade stuff I grade both ways generally, starting from the adjectival feel compared to classic routes I know then thinking about similar cruxes. Low grade tech grades are also given (very inconsistently and generally at sandbag levels) in southern sandstone and Paul Nunn's Peak 'guess a grade' guide.

VB was only ever downgraded in Rockfax. It has been HVD 5b in definitives for yonks and was originally D, likely taking combined tactics into account. If it wasn't making a pointed grading statement it might, as a normal route, be graded something like S 4c, as its a bugger to climb but there is a hard-to-spot 4c sequence. One other benefit of our Offwidth website is it gives the grade history of every Peak grit route back to the first series grit guides including Rockfax and VG grades (alongside our independent grade view).
a lakeland climber on 03 Jul 2013
In reply to leeoftroy:

In sport climbing pretty well all risk has been removed so that you can concentrate on the moves. (OK, there's still some - you can step behind the rope just before falling off, etc).

In trad climbing however the risk is variable, some routes such as cracks can be better protected than sports routes, others are effectively solos. The actual technical difficulty can be the same on two different routes but the lack of protection/increased risk on one would give it a higher overall grade.

When you say the E2 felt easier than HVSs you've done, are they the same style of climbing or even on the same crag? A gritstone HVS crack can be much harder than many E1 wall climbs if you haven't got the technique down pat.

ALC
GrahamD - on 03 Jul 2013
In reply to Offwidth:

I disagree with the fluttery heart. the presence of the heart means climber beware but its absence does not mean that the climber does not have to beware - its just the normal state. The P grade is different. The presence of a P1 is often interpreted as definately safe - which is not correct.

I've no problem with technical grades on easier climbs - especially where there is an abnormally technical move for the grade. I just think most people find difficulty in consistantly grading below maybe 3c.

For the people to whom this information is important, words like 'unprotected' are far less ambiguous.
GridNorth - on 03 Jul 2013
In reply to GrahamD:
> (In reply to Offwidth)
>
> For the people to whom this information is important, words like 'unprotected' are far less ambiguous.

I agree but I think that there is perhaps a little pressure, probably originating from the sports climbing community, for guides to be a little more succinct or even just topos. Whilst I wouldn't be against this in principle I don't think routes in the UK necessarily lend themselves to this approach and I actually like the history, geology etc. that is included in the definitive guides. I just wish I didn't have to carry all that on the route with me.
Michael Gordon - on 03 Jul 2013
In reply to Toreador:
> (In reply to Michael Gordon)
>
> What grade would you give to a VDiff with no gear? Or would you just grade it VDiff and add a warning to the description?

I just don't think tech grades are required for diffs and v-diffs. The grade 'v-diff' tells you quite adequately how hard the climbing is, i.e. a similar standard to other v-diffs. If the route is serious but the climbing not too bad then yes give it v-diff and put a note in the description. If that feels like a sandbag then give it Severe, problem solved!

needvert on 04 Jul 2013
Fascinating thread, I'm in a country which uses ewbank. I guess the less information the better the adventure! Though I would prefer to have a better idea of what I was getting myself into each climb.

ads.ukclimbing.com
Bertbee - on 04 Jul 2013
In reply to colina:

That ladder is probably a V-diff though, maybe a severe given how sustained it is... really easy bomber protection with slings though.

Dibnah is just a nut-case for soloing it.
GridNorth - on 04 Jul 2013
In reply to Bertbee: No a ladder doesn't even make it onto the climbing grades scale, it's a via ferrata.
Bertbee - on 04 Jul 2013
In reply to GridNorth:

Rookie mistake! ;)
Dave Garnett - on 04 Jul 2013
In reply to Bertbee:
> (In reply to colina)
>
> That ladder is probably a V-diff though, maybe a severe

> Dibnah is just a nut-case for soloing it.

But that's the interesting point, isn't it? I've soloed loads of VDiffs and Severes, including many multipitch mountain ones, but I'd need to be really motivated to solo a ladder like that, which makes me think it's got to be more than Severe somehow.

Nath93 - on 04 Jul 2013
In reply to leeoftroy: So talking about overall grades and then tech grades, does the same thing apply to winter grades ? As i get my head around this, if its VS,4a, its going to be run out and pretty sketchy in general. So would the same thing apply for a winter route graded IV,3 ?

Maybe i should stop thinking and go climbing..?
Michael Gordon - on 04 Jul 2013
In reply to Nath93:

Yes it's pretty much the same system.
davidalcock - on 04 Jul 2013
In reply to leeoftroy: re: ladders... as someone who has done the couple of hundred feet of those horrible dibnah ladders on many occasions probably Hvs due to the head skill in staying relaxed. Tech? 3b, maybe 3c for overhanging ones.
In reply to davidalcock:
> re: ladders... as someone who has done the couple of hundred feet of those horrible dibnah ladders on many occasions probably Hvs due to the head skill in staying relaxed. Tech? 3b, maybe 3c for overhanging ones.

How can a ladder have a tech grade - sounds like a nonsense to me.


Chris
Chris H - on 05 Jul 2013
In reply to davidalcock: More like a 1a/b move repeated hundreds of times?
davidalcock - on 05 Jul 2013
In reply to leeoftroy: My tongue was in my cheek. However, each of those ladders is eighteen and a half feet long (or was it twenty-one? - I forget, and I have sawn up my eight long ago)... but when you've got a dozen all stacked atop each other, with your lashings obscuring rungs, leaning in, leaning out depending on the configuration, forty kilos of tools and kit on your back, blasted by the winds, and the very building corkscrewing like a snake's tail in the sway... Ok. E3 3a/b. ;-)
Skip - on 05 Jul 2013
In reply to Michael Gordon:
> (In reply to Toreador)
> [...]
>
> I just don't think tech grades are required for diffs and v-diffs. The grade 'v-diff' tells you quite adequately how hard the climbing is, i.e. a similar standard to other v-diffs. If the route is serious but the climbing not too bad then yes give it v-diff and put a note in the description. If that feels like a sandbag then give it Severe, problem solved!

http://www.ukclimbing.com/logbook/c.php?i=36622
Chris H - on 05 Jul 2013
In reply to davidalcock: Remember the tech grade is for a move in isolation - is going up each rung that hard?

Grading ladders - hmm - What about caving ladders - Swildons 20 - wire ie wobbly 20 ft ladder climb under a waterfall with ladder flush on rock at top - not usually lifelined. S 3a?

Skyfall - on 05 Jul 2013
and to think I used to find grade debates interesting.
Dave Garnett - on 05 Jul 2013
In reply to Chris H:
> (In reply to davidalcock) Remember the tech grade is for a move in isolation - is going up each rung that hard?
>

This is also a perennial debate but I think it's pretty widely accepted that there is a cumulative effect for a sustained series of moves. You know, four or 5 5c moves in a row start to feel like 6a. In this case 300 1a moves in row might be pushing 1c?


Dave Garnett - on 05 Jul 2013
In reply to Chris H:
> (In reply to davidalcock) Remember the tech grade is for a move in isolation - is going up each rung that hard?
>
> Grading ladders - hmm - What about caving ladders - Swildons 20 - wire ie wobbly 20 ft ladder climb under a waterfall with ladder flush on rock at top - not usually lifelined. S 3a?


It's only about VS free!
Chris H - on 05 Jul 2013
In reply to Dave Garnett: Yep in some ways easier to free climb at least going up in low water. Plenty of hypothermic scouts at the bottom to break ones fall!
Simon Caldwell - on 05 Jul 2013
In reply to Nath93:
> does the same thing apply to winter grades ?

yes, but even the well protected routes tend to be a lot more run out
Bertbee - on 05 Jul 2013
In reply to Dave Garnett:

Surely four or five 5c moves in a row would still be adj 5c, but with a higher grade?

For example, given all other variables remaining the same, then a climb with one 5c move might be HVS 5c, whereas the 'same' climb only with a series of 5c moves in a row might be = E1 5c?

Offwidth - on 08 Jul 2013
In reply to GrahamD:

"The presence of a P1 is often interpreted as definately safe" only by a moron as the definition in the YMC guides was clear and explicit (such routes are definitley not safe they just normally have low prang potential). It's only different from a fluttery heart in the number of gradations and IMHO is not noticably worse in the number of inconsistencies (ie you get more in the old YMC guides but there are more boundaries to be wrong at).

'Unprotected' in the text is very useful and obvious but where do you atart with bold?

Someone also asked how do you grade a ladder and I'd say the same you would grade a route by how many people would get to the top onsight without cheating, but then again what's a ladder? A short fixed ladder up at a typical angle against a house maybe Easy 1a, a long, wet, free-hanging caving ladder maybe VD 2c.

I give 3b as a typical middling VD crux and 2c as a typical middling Diff crux.
AlanLittle - on 08 Jul 2013
In reply to Bertbee:

I'd feel vey hard done by if an E1 5c had more than a one or two move crux.
cap'nChino - on 08 Jul 2013
In reply to leeoftroy: This whole thread has blown my hole perception of the grading system wide open. How can a 4a be harder than 4c??
GrahamD - on 08 Jul 2013
In reply to cap'nChino:
> (In reply to leeoftroy) This whole thread has blown my hole perception of the grading system wide open. How can a 4a be harder than 4c??

Because climbing is not all about the technicality of one safe move in isolation.
GridNorth - on 08 Jul 2013
In reply to leeoftroy: Forget French sports grades. A VS 4a is harder than a Severe 4a because the rest of the route may be more sustained, exposed and/or strenuous and the move could be at the end of a long run out or the protection not as good and easy to fix etc.

If you were lowered on a top route and did the move in isolation it may feel the same, that's what the UK system is all about and when you get your head round it it's good.

GrahamD summed it up nicely.
Jon Croxford - on 11 Jul 2013
In reply to leeoftroy: I'm reading this thread & cant disagree more with the majority of responses; as & unless something radical has changed in recent times, it is clear that the technical grades (be they 4a/4c/5b/5c etc) go up in difficulty i.e. a 4a is easier than a 4b & 4c in the same way a 5a is easier than a 5b.
What is different; is the ability of the climber & his preferred style of climbing. Therefore; if he doesn't like crack climbing & prefers slabs, a 4a move on a crack climb will probably seem harder than a 4c move on a slab.
Jonny2vests - on 11 Jul 2013
In reply to Jon Croxford:
> What is different; is the ability of the climber & his preferred style of climbing. Therefore; if he doesn't like crack climbing & prefers slabs, a 4a move on a crack climb will probably seem harder than a 4c move on a slab.

Yes, but the amount of moves at the given tech grade will impact how difficult you might perceive a pitch to be.
GridNorth - on 11 Jul 2013
In reply to Jon Croxford: So do you think that a 3 or 4 pitch route with several 4a moves on every pitch is easier than a single pitch with 1 x 4b move?
Michael Gordon - on 11 Jul 2013
In reply to Jon Croxford:

Well 4c is technically harder than 4a, but VS 4c won't neccesarily be harder than VS 4a because other factors come into play. That seems to be the general response doesn't it?
Michael Gordon - on 11 Jul 2013
In reply to GridNorth:
> (In reply to Jon Croxford) So do you think that a 3 or 4 pitch route with several 4a moves on every pitch is easier than a single pitch with 1 x 4b move?

To be fair that would depend on the protection, quality of rock etc
GridNorth - on 11 Jul 2013
In reply to Michael Gordon: But that should be reflected in the adjectival grade not the technical difficulty of the hardest move shouldn't it?
Michael Gordon - on 11 Jul 2013
In reply to GridNorth:

Definitely. It's just hard to talk about one without talking about the other.
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GridNorth - on 11 Jul 2013
In reply to Michael Gordon: Well we are agreed on that.
GrahamD - on 11 Jul 2013
In reply to Jon Croxford:

> What is different; is the ability of the climber & his preferred style of climbing. Therefore; if he doesn't like crack climbing & prefers slabs, a 4a move on a crack climb will probably seem harder than a 4c move on a slab.

I think the grades only seem consistant to a well rounded climber adept at all types of rock. Its remarkable just how much of a concensus you get amongst people who have operated at a grade regularly for a couple of years on a representitive selection of UK cliffs.

Bulls Crack - on 11 Jul 2013
In reply to Jon Croxford:

I think we're talking more about the adjectival grade and its relationship to the tech grade..4c is harder than 4a,,,,,,but sometimes harder than 5a ;-)

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