/ gritstone slabs and boulder pads

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ripper - on 05 Sep 2013
so trad routes are graded for an on-sight lead, right?
Therefore the adjectival part of the grade takes into account the risk/potential danger of a groundfall.
So in the case of a gearless slab, say Great Slab at Froggatt or Snivling Shits, does using a boulder mat or two reduce the grade? and if so, by how much? or is a mat just considered part of the rack these days?
I'm sure this has been asked before so apologies if I'm flagellating a deceased equine.
Jimbo C - on 05 Sep 2013
In reply to ripper:

I don't know about you but it's enough effort lugging a rack and ropes to the crag, nevermind adding a bouldering mat too. Does it reduce the grade, who cares? One thing is for sure, it will make the landing softer provided that you put it in the right place.
Wiley Coyote - on 05 Sep 2013
In reply to ripper:
so apologies if I'm flagellating a deceased equine.

Yes, you are.

Go out, do what you want. Be happy, enjoy yourself. It really doesn't matter. Honest.

ripper - on 05 Sep 2013
In reply to Wiley Coyote:
> (In reply to ripper)
> so apologies if I'm flagellating a deceased equine.
>
> Yes, you are.
>
> Go out, do what you want. Be happy, enjoy yourself. It really doesn't matter. Honest.

yeah i know, just curious to see what people think.
and it does matter a bit... nobody wants to claim a grade if the consensus is that the method used means it doesn't count, even if you're only claiming it for yourself.
Won't let it stop me going out and enjoying myself tho :)
tanssop - on 05 Sep 2013
In reply to ripper:
Some people think it lowers the grade, but if you solo there's no adjustment.
If you enjoy it and you are happy, it doesn't really matter.
ripper - on 05 Sep 2013
In reply to ripper: fairly hypothetical question anyway as I don't own a pad and am not about to invest in one - there's other stuff I'd buy first.
Ramblin dave - on 05 Sep 2013
In reply to ripper:
We currently grade routes for an onsight lead on trad gear (if there is any) with no pads, and until that changes, it'll be the same grade. Same as if you'd practiced on a top rope, or hung on gear or whatever, it's the same route, you'll just have climbed it in a less good style, and not have the same bragging rights as someone who climbed it clean onsight with no pad. Whether you care or not is up to you.
Ian Broome - on 05 Sep 2013
In reply to ripper:

The Promise at Burbage North is a good example, originally climbed as a trad route and given E10, then downgraded to E8, then bouldered or highballed at whatever font grade. Still quite a fall from the top, but those lads msut have fallen off many times before doing it. (watch life on hold) I'm not sure how many E8's people fall off like that? Then theres things like Indian Face?! They aren't really in the same league of risk?

I guess its trying to respect the first acentionists style. If it was E5 with wires and a possible groundfall from 7 metres, then its not the same E5 with 3 pads? I sometimes like to climb a trad routes without the risk of breaking my legs, but then I don't claim i've done an E5 in the same style as the original ascenionists style without pads.

Maybe things like pads will become part of a climbers protection as wires and cams now are, and reflected in the grade.
Muel - on 05 Sep 2013
In reply to ripper:

Climb how you like, it's a personal game, but you can't really claim to have lead something on-sight in a traditional fashion if you use mats. By that token though, you can't really claim it as a trad ascent if you use modern gear on a 100 year old route.

Ultimately though, no-one cares what's in your logbook. Some believe you're cheating yourself out of a tick, but those people are silly.
jkarran - on 05 Sep 2013
In reply to ripper:

> yeah i know, just curious to see what people think.

I do as I please which means any pads available on the day get used under routes. What other people think to that is their business and I've no interest in hearing it.

jk
GrahamD - on 06 Sep 2013
In reply to ripper:

The grade is the grade. Your chosen style makes an ascent of that grade easier or harder.
ByEek - on 06 Sep 2013
In reply to ripper:

> yeah i know, just curious to see what people think.

Well put it this way. When most of these hard unprotected routes were put up, people were wearing luminous leggings and using a beermat for protection. The climbs were graded accordingly. If you want to put a mat below, that is up to you. Does it change the grade? Probably not, but it may save your ankles if you catch some air. But then back in t'olden days, that wasn't an option so you either smashed in your ankles or didn't fall off.
1poundSOCKS - on 06 Sep 2013
In reply to ripper: I'm not sure how much the landing would affect the grade. Ignoring pads for a minute, if you took an HVS with a nice flat patch of grass under it, and an unprotected 5a crux at 4 metres, would it be E1 if it was above a bunch of sharp boulders? It's phsychologically harder as the consequences could be very different if you blew the crux move. I don't know the answer.
galpinos - on 06 Sep 2013
In reply to ripper:

If you on-sight the route with pads, you on-sighted the route with pads. You climbed it in the style that you decided on. You don't "claim" a grade, it's just an indicator of the difficulty of the route when protected traditionally and climbed on-sight.

Does using pads reduce the challenge? Yes. Does it matter? No.
1poundSOCKS - on 06 Sep 2013
In reply to galpinos: But I think if you're interested in self improvement, which I believe a lot of climbers are, it's good to know you've actually moved forward and climbed a 'real' HVS/E1/whatever (like you say, 'protected traditionally and climbed on-sight'). The obvious solution is to not use pads I suppose. Personally I think there are so many variables that grades are, to some extent, subjective anyway.
alooker - on 06 Sep 2013
In reply to ripper: As long as you're honest with yourself and others about an ascent being one with pads. For some only the purest style is acceptable, the rest of us can be satisfied by finding some middle ground. It does tame a lot of gritstone's bold but shorter routes, but then so did cams. And sticky shoes. And dynamic ropes. The list goes on.

I wouldn't change gritstone and it's unique climbing and ethics though, while those lot are arguing I'm having a whale of a time above my pad.
galpinos - on 06 Sep 2013
In reply to 1poundSOCKS:
> (In reply to galpinos) But I think if you're interested in self improvement, which I believe a lot of climbers are, it's good to know you've actually moved forward and climbed a 'real' HVS/E1/whatever (like you say, 'protected traditionally and climbed on-sight').

I used to think like that, and still do at times, but having had so many days where I've cruised an E2 and failed on an HVS that I've come to realise quite how subjective grades are and how dependant they are on individual strengths.

If you're considering using a mat then you aren't embracing the entire challenge but who cares? There are routes that I'd chuck a pad down without a doubt and others where I'd want to get the "full experience" and would make sure I left the mat in the van.
1poundSOCKS - on 06 Sep 2013
In reply to galpinos: "There are routes...where I'd want to get the "full experience" and would make sure I left the mat in the van."

Sounds like you do care! :)
ark05 - on 06 Sep 2013
you could say the same thing about using cams.

many first accents where done and graded before cams, so many are now safer, but the grades haven't changed for most routes.
Dave Garnett - on 06 Sep 2013
In reply to ripper:
> So in the case of a gearless slab, say Great Slab at Froggatt or Snivling Shits, does using a boulder mat or two reduce the grade?

It's fairly straightforward as long as you also use a rope and someone holds it. Because that's leading.

If, however, you don't use a rope and/or you are on your own you may or may not be soloing and you'll never hear the last of it...
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SI - profile removed on 06 Sep 2013
In reply to ripper: I take my mat out most times and use it if I think it'll help. Know it brings the grade down a bit but it just seems silly not to. I don't think the grading system works well on short routes anyway and tend to see it as training for bigger crags where mats wouldn't make a difference.

On a climb like great slab mats would definitely help, if you're going to have one why not have ten? Scared myself a few years ago on it before backing off so I'd climb it with ten pads these days but would be under no illusion that I'd climbed an E3
johncoxmysteriously - on 06 Sep 2013
In reply to 1poundSOCKS:
> (In reply to ripper) I'm not sure how much the landing would affect the grade. Ignoring pads for a minute, if you took an HVS with a nice flat patch of grass under it, and an unprotected 5a crux at 4 metres, would it be E1 if it was above a bunch of sharp boulders? It's phsychologically harder as the consequences could be very different if you blew the crux move. I don't know the answer.

Of course the landing may affect the grade.

jcm
SI - profile removed on 06 Sep 2013
In reply to ripper: But then I did get greeted with "look the night shift's arrived, they've brought their beds" by a pensioner when arriving at burbage north the other day.
andrewmcleod - on 06 Sep 2013
In reply to ripper:

Arguably if you solo something the climbing is easier as you haven't had to deal with the faff of getting gear in and possibly getting pumped, so how should the grade be adjusted to deal with that? :P
1poundSOCKS - on 06 Sep 2013
In reply to johncoxmysteriously: I think so too. The points goes back to mats also, if you've covered those nasty boulders with several mats, that E1 might feel like HVS, for that style of ascent. Not suggesting a guidebook change for the route :), but you effectively climbed a route that was identical to a ficticious HVS.
1poundSOCKS - on 06 Sep 2013
In reply to andrewmcleod: I think we need an equation, a bit like the one for predicting the number of intelligent civilisations in the universe.
Ramblin dave - on 06 Sep 2013
In reply to 1poundSOCKS:
Would you expect that having a sequence that's hard to figure out onsight would increase the grade of a route?

Because if so, you can apply the exact same argument to top-rope inspection - you reduce the route to being effectively the same as one with the same technical difficulty but with an easier to figure out sequence and hence a lower adjectival grade. But again, as with bouldering mats, we grade routes for an onsight on trad gear and take it as read that if you practice it or stick a mat underneath you're reducing the challenge to some extent.

In any case, I don't think that even the most pad-happy grithead has claimed that doing an unprotected gritstone route is as big a challenge with a mat underneath as without. I think the most anyone has said is that going for stuff onsight or ground up over pads is in some sense better or more natural than rehearsing it endlessly on a top rope and then doing it on trad gear (or lack of it), or that doing harder routes over mats is more fun than doing easier routes without. As far as that goes, I'll let you know when I've done a few E8s in both styles!

Also, Dave Mac has made the quite reasonable point that if this bothers anyone that much then they should get out to Sron Ulladale (or, by extension, Cloggy or Scafell or Bosigran or wherever) and see if they could even see a mat from the crux, let alone land on it...
Jonshef on 06 Sep 2013
In reply to jkarran:
> (In reply to ripper)
>
> [...]
>
> I do as I please which means any pads available on the day get used under routes. What other people think to that is their business and I've no interest in hearing it.
>
> jk


Possibly a forum discussing the very issue you feel so strongly about isn't for you then...
1poundSOCKS - on 06 Sep 2013
In reply to Ramblin dave: I was just trying to answer the OP, and if the grade is important to you, for whatever reason, then it's good to know what standard practise is, and if that's factored into the grade. For example, siderunners are usually a no-no for the route to be at the grade described, unless the guidebook says otherwise.

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