/ North Wales Climbs - some questionable grading?

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ianstevens - on 05 Nov 2013
Hopefully this one won't be instantly removed by the mods, and will instead promote some informed debate...

Having had a gander on-line at what's in the new North Wales rockfax, some of the grades given to certain routes seem ridiculous (mostly in the slate). For example:

Looning the Tube - isn't even remotely near an E1 - and its soft for HVS (also as a brief aside, some truly terrible sport routes have been included whilst the arguably-better-than-LTT has been ignored)

Shorty's Dyno - not done this myself, but know many who have - I don't think any of them would give it 6a. It gets 7a both on here and in the slate guide!

Last Tango in Paris - no way an E2. Middle line E1.

Gerbil Abuse - I was lead to believe this was classic 7a territory - although it only gets 6c+.

And I'm sure there are many more - although (as much as I am putting off work bigtime) I don't have the effort to look at them all, or experience to compare to.

So, does this tarnish what looks to be a cracking guide, or am I the only person who cares?
ianstevens - on 05 Nov 2013
In reply to ianstevens: *EDIT - when talking about the inclusion of routes in the Looning the Tube Area, I meant that Bise-Mon-Cul should be included.
highclimber - on 05 Nov 2013
In reply to ianstevens: I don't know, LTT is quite daunting so could easily be E1 but the gear is good so It's tough to say for sure. difficultywise, it's def only 5a so that would certainly make it an easy e1.
scott quinn - on 05 Nov 2013
In reply to ianstevens:

Thanks for this!
I was tempted to buy it thinking it would be better than the previous edition which seemed to be a fairly poor select guide & as you say doesnt include some worth while routes.

I heard Last Tango was bold?
ianstevens - on 05 Nov 2013
In reply to highclimber: And the 5a is safe, really safe. I appreciate there is a bit of a runout, but the climbing is not all that hard in it, and its not all that far.

And Scott, I'm only assuming that what is on the website is what's going in the guide - its been updated pretty recently, so this seems fair to me. But yeah, some of the route choices are odd - in all honesty, I'm not going to look in the slate section at all (the Ground Up definitive is just to good) but it does make me worry about other areas which I frequent far less regularly. Last Tango isn't that bold - again, its safe where its hard.
victim of mathematics - on 05 Nov 2013
In reply to ianstevens:

I agree with you totally about LTT. I refused to award myself the E-point when I did it (before the Ground Up guide came out), and I don't get that many of those.

No idea about the others and it's hardly a huge litany of shame though. I'm sure I could find a similar number of amusingly wrong grades that nobody agrees with in plenty of guides.
wilkie14c - on 05 Nov 2013
In reply to victim of mathematics:
Agreed. LLT is a bold HVS with a tricky move but a bolt above your head. I couldn't award myself an E either and I need em!
ianstevens - on 05 Nov 2013
In reply to victim of mathematics: No, its certainly not a huge litany of shame - but I was under the impression most of these weren't grades up for debate - those I can understand!
Ramblin dave - on 05 Nov 2013
In reply to ianstevens:
A quick check of the logbooks on here suggests that at least some people disagree with you on Looning the Tube and Last Tango in Paris, so it's not totally clear cut. Shorty's Dyno looks like a straight typo / misprint. Gerbil Abuse I'm not sure what the justification would be.

I've always had a vague impression that Rockfax guides err on the generous side for borderline or disputed grades, but not so much so as to put me off buying them if they'd otherwise be useful.
In reply to ianstevens:

Hi Ian

As has been pointed out, the grades on the Logbook voting tend to support the grades in the guide.

We went through the whole book and chose Logbook voted grades in most cases. A few have not been changed owing to there not really being enough votes or the author being absolutely adamant (although this is very rare and a lot of logbook votes would overrule an author).

I am sure there may well be "many more grades" you disagree with, but that doesn't mean they are wrong. You can of course vote and let us know what you think but please don't judge the entire book by a handful of grades you disagree with.

As for route choice: we choose sport route buttresses and, since most people want to know all the routes on a sport buttress when they get there, this does mean some poor routes have been included. You can spot these though since they have no stars.

For trad routes we chose routes by quality and I don't think you will be disappointed. Let me know if you find any bad ones on the trad crags though.

Thanks

Alan
Hephaestus - on 05 Nov 2013
In reply to Alan James - UKC and UKH: Blimey, that's only ever going to end up in grade inflation on a route like LTT - popular first route on slate, with the weirdness of the tube, the vastness of Australia. Added my vote to try and get the grade back on track for next time. HVS 5a.
In reply to Hephaestus:
> (In reply to Alan James - UKC and UKH) Blimey, that's only ever going to end up in grade inflation on a route like LTT - popular first route on slate, with the weirdness of the tube, the vastness of Australia. Added my vote to try and get the grade back on track for next time. HVS 5a.

I was surprised by how many routes were being voted down on the Logbooks actually. Also, we only ever upgrade for a 2/3 majority vote, whereas we downgrade more readily.

Alan
kevin stephens - on 05 Nov 2013
In reply to Alan James - UKC and UKH: has Cemetry Gates been corrected to HVS?
In reply to kevin stephens:
> (In reply to Alan James - UKC and UKH) has Cemetry Gates been corrected to HVS?

http://www.ukclimbing.com/logbook/c.php?i=3202

I think you are out-voted.

Alan
Michael Gordon - on 05 Nov 2013
In reply to Alan James - UKC and UKH:
> (In reply to Hephaestus)
> [...]
>
> Also, we only ever upgrade for a 2/3 majority vote, whereas we downgrade more readily.
>

Why is that? Surely you'd want a clear majority (like 2/3) to downgrade also?

The Pylon King on 05 Nov 2013
In reply to Alan James - UKC and UKH:

pah! Everone knows Cemetary Gates is benchmark E0
In reply to Michael Gordon:
> Why is that? Surely you'd want a clear majority (like 2/3) to downgrade also?

We originally expected that there would be grade drift in the online voting due to people being more likely to vote up a route they had a hard time on than downgrade a route they found easy - most people attribute the latter to them climbing well, and the former to being a guidebook error.

Hence, we decided to be very strict on upgrades from the start and set out the 2/3 majority. We made no such rule for downgrades and went with them on 51/49 votes TBH.

My recent experience with the database has led me to believe that we underestimated people and that they are almost as likely to vote routes down as up, so we are reviewing this at the moment. This may well end up with a 60:40 thing for changing a grade either way, I am not sure.

In each case, we do make a decision on the individual route anyway - it isn't automated.

Alan
Hephaestus - on 05 Nov 2013
In reply to Alan James - UKC and UKH:
> (In reply to Hephaestus)
> [...]
>
Also, we only ever upgrade for a 2/3 majority vote, whereas we downgrade more readily.

Not according to the stats on Looning the Tube - 232 votes, only 149 for E1. Although I guess some of those votes might be post guide production...



Michael Gordon - on 05 Nov 2013
In reply to Alan James - UKC and UKH:

I'd have thought you'd want a clear majority (i.e. at least 60:40) for changing a grade either way, otherwise you could be forever moving things up and down!
ianstevens - on 05 Nov 2013
In reply to Hephaestus:
> (In reply to Alan James - UKC and UKH)
> [...]
> Although I guess some of those votes might be post guide production...

Or from people who like the idea of the world's softest E1, and don't want it to be downgraded?

Alan, I understand why people want the sport routes included, and I'm not attempting to slander sport in general (I love a good bit of dogging on bolts) but it seems silly that a 2* (soft) E2 has been missed out in favour of routes with 0 stars. Especially when a little more traffic would remove the current minor friability and improve it further. (http://www.ukclimbing.com/logbook/c.php?i=151035). I'm assuming this route wasn't missed out because of a lack of space in the book...

With regard to grades, I understand there will always be grades of contention, and obviously the guidebook has to pick a side (like Gnat Attack - its a very fuzzy line between 5b/c tech) - I haven't talked about these here, I understand that such debate will always exist. I feel that with these routes, LTT especially, they have been given the wrong grade entirely - and it would seem that the above comments back me up.

Furthermore, these won't ruin the guide for me - I've already pre-ordered it anyway.
jezb1 - on 05 Nov 2013
In reply to ianstevens: It's a select guide at the end of the day, they can never please everyone. The ground up slate guide is one of the best guides out there so buy that too :)

The grades are neither here nor there really in my opinion
Sean Kelly - on 05 Nov 2013
In reply to ianstevens: Has the grade on Nexus pitch 2 been corrected from 4b to 5b?
ianstevens - on 05 Nov 2013
In reply to jezb1:
> The ground up slate guide

I believe its full name is actually Bible 2.0... (I already have it, I do most of my climbing on Slate)
is2 - on 05 Nov 2013
In reply to Alan James - UKC and UKH:
So is this a new policy ? In the recent Costa Blanca Rockfax , the route "Sin tarjeta de presentación " at Pena Roja gets 6c+. However the majority vote in the logbook, backed up by several comments, is 7a. Interestingly some chap called Alan James is one of the small minority giving it 6c+ in the logbook.

Cardi - on 05 Nov 2013
In reply to ianstevens:
> (In reply to jezb1)
> [...]
>
> I believe its full name is actually Bible 2.0... (I already have it, I do most of my climbing on Slate)

Surely Slate contains more than twice as many facts?

Hephaestus - on 05 Nov 2013
In reply to Cardi:
> (In reply to ianstevens)
> [...]
>
> Surely Slate contains more than twice as many facts?

Exactly: therefore Bible 2:0

Gotta be careful - if we mention the bible once more on this thread, Coel will come and tell us off.
In reply to Michael Gordon:
> I'd have thought you'd want a clear majority (i.e. at least 60:40) for changing a grade either way, otherwise you could be forever moving things up and down!

It has never really been a problem. There is a bit of a tennis effect on grades when you changed them of people voting them back to the old grade, but in the end it is pretty minor.

Alan
In reply to ianstevens:
> Alan, I understand why people want the sport routes included, and I'm not attempting to slander sport in general (I love a good bit of dogging on bolts) but it seems silly that a 2* (soft) E2 has been missed out in favour of routes with 0 stars. Especially when a little more traffic would remove the current minor friability and improve it further. (http://www.ukclimbing.com/logbook/c.php?i=151035). I'm assuming this route wasn't missed out because of a lack of space in the book..

I don't know.

> With regard to grades, I understand there will always be grades of contention, and obviously the guidebook has to pick a side (like Gnat Attack - its a very fuzzy line between 5b/c tech) - I haven't talked about these here, I understand that such debate will always exist. I feel that with these routes, LTT especially, they have been given the wrong grade entirely - and it would seem that the above comments back me up.

Except that LTT has votes indicating that most people think it is E1 - http://www.ukclimbing.com/logbook/c.php?i=201

In general though, show me a guidebook and I will show you a grade I think is wrong in it. That is the nature of grades.

> Furthermore, these won't ruin the guide for me - I've already pre-ordered it anyway.

Glad to hear.

Alan
In reply to Sean Kelly:
> (In reply to ianstevens) Has the grade on Nexus pitch 2 been corrected from 4b to 5b?

Yes
In reply to is2:
> (In reply to Alan James - UKC and UKH)
> So is this a new policy ? In the recent Costa Blanca Rockfax , the route "Sin tarjeta de presentación " at Pena Roja gets 6c+. However the majority vote in the logbook, backed up by several comments, is 7a. Interestingly some chap called Alan James is one of the small minority giving it 6c+ in the logbook.

This route is only thought to be 7a because someone painted 7a on the bottom. There was a group of 4 of us at the crag and we all climbed the route, and other routes to the side, and we unanimously agreed that 7a was a ridiculous grade. In this case we did over-rule logbook votes simply to make a point as indicated with comments in the crag write-up about the folly of painting grades on the rock.

This particular route has become something of a testing ground for the grading system and isn't indicative of an overall policy. Also, I still await the comments from someone who has climbed this route, Fisura Yablonski and Rockaddictos in the same day, who still thinks that this route is 7a.

Alan


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Calder - on 05 Nov 2013
In reply to Michael Gordon:
> (In reply to Alan James - UKC and UKH)
>
> I'd have thought you'd want a clear majority (i.e. at least 60:40) for changing a grade either way, otherwise you could be forever moving things up and down!

This helps generate UKC threads and traffic, and as a result... money. ;)
Jon Stewart - on 05 Nov 2013
In reply to The Pylon King:
> (In reply to Alan James - UKC and UKH)
>
> pah! Everone knows Cemetary Gates is benchmark E0

pah! it's easier than your average hvs grit crack
1poundSOCKS - on 05 Nov 2013
In reply to Jon Stewart: Most routes are...apart from the VS grit cracks obviously.
victim of mathematics - on 05 Nov 2013
In reply to Jon Stewart:
> (In reply to The Pylon King)
> [...]
>
> pah! it's easier than your average hvs grit crack

That doesn't preclude it from being E0. Or E1. Or E2...
Wilbur - on 05 Nov 2013
In reply to ianstevens:

Probably more a slate thing than anything else?

LTT is not e1.
Mental lentils is not hvs.
Psycho something or other (name escapes) is not e2..

However seams the same (at e1), fools gold and solstice (climbed pre flake destruction) are all fair at their grades.

Spot the difference between those routes!
Wilbur - on 05 Nov 2013
In reply to Jon Stewart:
> (In reply to The Pylon King)
> [...]
>
> pah! it's easier than your average hvs grit crack

Which in turn is harder than your average e1!

ERU - on 05 Nov 2013
Slippery People E2 6a ?????

Is it not more E1 5b/c ... Some people even describe it as a sport route! Deffo not the "gripper clipper" as described.
EarlyBird - on 05 Nov 2013
In reply to ERU:

It's a long way to that first bolt. However, 6a!? 5b/ 5c borderline - certainly not 6a.
ianstevens - on 06 Nov 2013
In reply to EarlyBird: I'd imagine its 6a if you go the wrong way... Seen many people get lost up there.
highclimber - on 06 Nov 2013
In reply to ianstevens:
> (In reply to jezb1)
> [...]
>
> I believe its full name is actually Bible 2.0... (I already have it, I do most of my climbing on Slate)

so it was printed before the new testament?
Offwidth - on 06 Nov 2013
In reply to Wilbur:

Glad you mentioned ML: the only HVS I've led in the dark and after several pints (both at the same time).
is2 - on 06 Nov 2013
In reply to Alan James - UKC and UKH:
> (In reply to is2)
>
> This particular route has become something of a testing ground for the grading system and isn't indicative of an overall policy. Also, I still await the comments from someone who has climbed this route, Fisura Yablonski and Rockaddictos in the same day, who still thinks that this route is 7a.
>
> Alan

OK take your point, you think this route is an exception. I also recognise that grading is not a precise process. Can't match your challenge but did Rockaddictos 6c+ ( os ) as a warm up, sin targeta 7a ( flash .. had done it before) and Sulacco 7a+ (os) on the same day... so we must agree to differ.

Bulls Crack - on 06 Nov 2013
In reply to ianstevens:
> (In reply to EarlyBird) I'd imagine its 6a if you go the wrong way... Seen many people get lost up there.

Things shouldn't be graded for people cacking it up though!
A Mountain Journey - on 06 Nov 2013
In reply to ianstevens: Haven't seen the guide so can't give overall opinion. However, I have climbed Looning the tube, thought it a brilliant route and by far the most enjoyable slate route i've done. Cliff certainly has an eye for great routes.
I found it similar in difficulty to 'Seamstress' but thought that was really hard for VS! So i suppose that would make it HVS - but of course, it all depends on where your strengths lie.

andrewmcleod - on 06 Nov 2013
In reply to Bulls Crack:

But if the E grade is for the onsight, then surely the difficulty of route finding (if unusually easy to get into 'interesting' trouble) should factor into that? :P
ianstevens - on 06 Nov 2013
In reply to Bulls Crack:
>
> Things shouldn't be graded for people cacking it up though!

That wasn't my point - maybe whoever decided to give it 6a did it the "wrong" way.
Coel Hellier - on 06 Nov 2013
In reply to A Mountain Journey:

I have a theory -- possibly entirely wrong -- that Looning The Tube was originally graded E1 without the bolt on the initial traverse (when mid-E1 would be fair), and then it hasn't been downgraded since it was bolted. I'd say it is HVS.
victim of mathematics - on 06 Nov 2013
In reply to Coel Hellier:
> (In reply to A Mountain Journey)
>
> I have a theory -- possibly entirely wrong -- that Looning The Tube was originally graded E1 without the bolt on the initial traverse (when mid-E1 would be fair), and then it hasn't been downgraded since it was bolted. I'd say it is HVS.

I've never met anybody who actually thinks it's E1. Just like I've never met anybody who actually thinks Lucky Strike's E2. But somebody somewhere obviously does...
metal arms on 06 Nov 2013
In reply to Coel Hellier:

Although I think you used to be able to walk all the way along the tube and not do the traverse before the tube bent. I think there's a photo of it kicking around somewhere (maybe in the slate guide).

N.B. I may have made this up as I have an atrocious memory.
jshields - on 06 Nov 2013
In reply to metal arms: No you are right, there is a photo in the Ground Up guide with the full tube in place.
Jon
ian Ll-J - on 06 Nov 2013
In reply to ianstevens:
> Having had a gander on-line at what's in the new North Wales rockfax, some of the grades given to certain routes seem ridiculous (mostly in the slate).

The difference between Ground Up and Rock fax is that when it came to grading routes and writing route descriptions GU consulted a large group of local slate activists. I'm not so sure that Rock fax consulted many local climbers (in this instance slate climbers), If they had the grades and selection of routes may well have been very different.


For example:
> Shorty's Dyno - not done this myself, but know many who have - I don't think any of them would give it 6a. It gets 7a both on here and in the slate guide!

Having said the above, 'Shorty's Dyno' is a very difficult route to grade accurately, it may well be only f6a for the tall, but for me it felt like a hard f7a at the time of the first ascent. Many routes on slate are very height dependant with advantages sometimes for the tall and other times for the short.

The latest Jingo Wobbly guide to font is refreshing in the fact that it gives 2 grades for some problems depending on height which is a sensible approach, very similar to what Mark has done with this route.

The clue for this particular route is in the name, and also in the route description on here...

http://www.ukclimbing.com/logbook/c.php?i=74374
ian Ll-J - on 10 Nov 2013
In reply to ianstevens:

Has anyone seen a copy of the new guide yet?
In reply to ian Ll-J:
> Has anyone seen a copy of the new guide yet?

Yes, very pleased with it.

Pre-orders may have arrived yesterday but more likely to be Monday morning. I think they were all sent on Friday.

Alan

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