/ E0? What's that? Fiend and Charles tell you..

This topic has been archived, and won't accept reply postings.
Ever wondered if E0 would be a useful grade? Fiend and I have... and we've written articles (Fiend's is at http://www.ukclimbing.com/articles/e0-fiend.html and mine at http://www.ukclimbing.com/articles/e0-charles.html ) explaining how it would be really useful to add it to the ones we've already got.

But they're different points of view - E0 could be one or the other, but not both. Go and read them and then come back and debate: do we need E0?

Charles
Mooncat - on 29 Oct 2003
In reply to Charles Arthur, UKC Editor:

Noooooo! did you have to? :-)
Chris Fryer - on 29 Oct 2003
In reply to Charles Arthur, UKC Editor: I have. No. Please just let it go.
Horse on 29 Oct 2003
In reply to Charles Arthur, UKC Editor:

I'll save those till next time I am losing the will to live and reckon I'll still fall in the No camp.
mozzer - on 29 Oct 2003
In reply to Charles Arthur, UKC Editor:

CHarles, CHarles, Charles.

You realise you have opened yourselves up to any and all crap ideas that people have, then espouse at great lengths? Time and again have we refuted Fiend's arguments, but every time he just says "I answered all these questions before, so your points are invalid". Its like Shell giving out leaflets saying "yes we know we pollute the atmosphere. So ha! You cant get one over on us by saying we do!"

Grr.

Why man? For hte love of God?

NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO
harryP on 29 Oct 2003 - ppp-0-156.lond-b-2.access.uk.tiscali.com
In reply to Charles Arthur, UKC Editor: BRAVO!!

Well done, it's about time too.
In reply to Horse:

I did say "Go and read them". You've replied too quickly to have read either. Try it - you might actually get a point of view, and be able to criticise from a position of strength rather than prejudice.

Charles
Horse on 29 Oct 2003
In reply to Charles Arthur, UKC Editor:

I did say I would save them for some other time but I find it hard to think that there is anything new in there given that the debate has been rather well ventilated on here plenty of times in the past.
Nick Ward - on 29 Oct 2003
In reply to Charles Arthur, UKC Editor: thankyou for making my evening. It's been a while since such an amusing set of writing has been seen on this forum. Hurrah for E0.

I have a new route at one of my local crag that I shall deicate to the two of you - and grade E0... :-)
Chris Fryer - on 29 Oct 2003
In reply to Charles Arthur, UKC Editor: I read them. Regurgitation of the same bollocks that Fiend has spouted for several years. Please dont encourage him.
mozzer - on 29 Oct 2003
In reply to Charles Arthur, UKC Editor:


fair point - I didnt read either before I posted.
However, as regards Fiends view, I stick to my post - which is rather a damning indictment of Fiend, and a resounding affirmation of what I said - he just says
1. "theres not a gap".
2. "OK, there is a gap, but if theres a gap, its better that its graded more accurately".
3. "THere will be no more debate". Very Kafka-esque.There *will* be debate - people like debating. It WILL NOT SOLVE GRADE DEBATES!!! Anyway, why do we want to? ;)
4. "We should have it because we have changed the grading system before". This is an awful argument, and quite sad that he uses it.
5. "Shut up anyway because Im right".

Load of old cobblers.

Charles - I see more where you are coming from, in fact I agree on lots of your routes (!) but having this "frig" grade at E0 is confusing, especiually after Fiend has muddied the waters.
Chris Thorpe on 30 Oct 2003 - m40-mp1.cvx1-b.cam.dial.ntli.net
In reply to Charles Arthur, UKC Editor:

Actually Charles, if you really want grades "outside the line of integers" for awkward cases, you know what you need is... imaginary numbers! Complex E-grades! A whole new dimension.

The real part of the E-grade goes the same way as now, but you add an imaginary part for abnormal effort or general weirdness - "character" is what I think you're trying to get at.

So Elder Crack might be, say, E(1 + 2i). Preposterous Tales is E(2 + 6i). And this could even work both ways.. homogenous grid-bolted sport routes get a negative imaginary part, E(5 - i) or whatever, for being bland and forgettable...

There's even room for Fiend's E0 to be added to the system as well.

...I'll get me coat...

Bob on 30 Oct 2003
In reply to Charles Arthur, UKC Editor:

You have got the intent of the grading system wrong! E is not for Effort or Extermination but Extreme. The adjectival grade encompasses all the factors, including technical difficulty, that make up a route. See http://www.aqvi55.dsl.pipex.com/climb/uk_grades.htm for an extension of a posting I wrote here a couple of weeks ago.

To your original point: No we do not need E0; either your version or Fiend's.

Bob
tobyfk - on 30 Oct 2003
In reply to Fiend, though he hasn't appeared on the thread yet:

Have you done all of the routes on the list at the end of your article? Be honest.
sandyman on 30 Oct 2003 - inetgate12.bp.com
In reply to Charles Arthur, UKC Editor:

How the f**k did UKC manage to employ someone dim enough to suggest such shite? i presume your on some form of YTS or something. If not i guess you must be unpaid help. E0, f**k off and grow up. As for fiend, he's full of great ideas he is. E0, FFS.
tobyfk - on 30 Oct 2003
In reply to Charles Arthur, UKC Editor:

By extension from the internal logic of V grades, E0 already exists: it is the grade of all routes below E1.

My guess is that over time, as people come into climbing fitter from wall training, the need for the current diversity of adjectival low grades will erode. So it may come to pass that there will be genuine case for a simplification of the system. So: E0 to replace all HVSs and VSs. And maybe EB (by analogy with VB) for severes and below.


kevin stephens - on 30 Oct 2003
In reply to Charles Arthur, UKC Editor:

You have gone down in my estimation since bringin up all of this bollocks again
tobyfk - on 30 Oct 2003
In reply to Charles Arthur, UKC Editor:

Surely all your article is saying that you (like many people including me) aren't much good at wide cracks, chimneys and other nasty grovelly stuff. The trouble is: plenty of people can do these routes and so do comprehend where to fit into the existing system. What you're talking about fits better into Rockfax iconography (needs a new 'grovel' symbol?) than the grading system.
Fiend - on 30 Oct 2003
Hmmmm, it's not quite how I'd hope these would turn out, I'd hoped for a voting option, the articles to mirror each other more closely, and perhaps some fiercer arguments from Charles (for what it's worth I like his idea). Ah well, probably time pressures...
FH working hard on 30 Oct 2003 - proxyserver.lcb.ac.uk
Adam Lincoln - on 30 Oct 2003
In reply to Charles Arthur, UKC Editor:

For what its worth, i agree with your version Charles.

Mainly because i failed to do Under Milkwood ;-) And reckon it was down to factors other than climbing ability!
Li'l Zé on 30 Oct 2003 - 192.168.2.118 [193.115.10.226]
In reply to Charles Arthur, UKC Editor:
> do we need E0?
>


No, we need XVS.

FH urban myth on 30 Oct 2003 - proxyserver.lcb.ac.uk
In reply to Fiend:

Results of the poll so far Fiend (as you don't read UKbouldering)

E0 - The options

Yes to Fiends version
0%

Yes to Charles version
0%

NO to E0
100%


I think you are to RT what IDS is to the conservative party
Bob on 30 Oct 2003
In reply to Adam Lincoln:

In that case the grade should be TU :- Totally Ungradeable.

Shoehorning a grade into the existing scheme is both pointless and stupid. There are hard HVS's and Easy E1's but the same can be said between any two adjacent grades. Indeed there are routes that if you climb grade X can be regarded as being X+1, but if you climb at grade X+1 could be regarded as being grade X.

The real point is that there is a mental jump betwen sub E-grades and the E-grades. Simply adding another E-grade, of whatever type, will not change that.

Bob
craig h - on 30 Oct 2003
In reply to Charles Arthur, UKC Editor: If we have an E0 grade, shouldn`t there be an equivelent for all the other grades at the crag, ie E3+ or E3-. What about mild severe+ or mild severe-. The other option is to look at the graded list in most guide books and pick one at the bottom of the list for a soft touch, top of the list for a harder example of the grade.

What about offwidths, why not drop the grades and have 01,02,03 and 04. There near impossible to grade,if you can climb that technique there easyier.

examples -
01 Crewcut @ Millstone
02 Elder Crack @ Curbar
03 Ramshaw Crack @ Ramshaw
04 Giggling Crack @ Brimham

I don`t know where 00 would fit in?, but could adopt + or -, and then again we could leave the grades as they currently are. They work well without subgrades or grading for peoples heights, climbing preferences, temperatures etc.

Skyfall - on 30 Oct 2003
In reply to Charles Arthur, UKC Editor:

Oddly I find myself more in agreement with Fiend than yourself - though I don't really agree with Fiend either.

On your argument, any offwidth nightmare is fair game at E0 it seems. Grey Slab - pah! Walk in the park, I laughed my way up it - and I hate off width chimney things. Try the two polished chimneys on Gashed Crag, Tryfan (V Diff) - the first one is horrendous and virtually unprotected (and with big crag exposure). Just run it out and fight like crazy (on a V Diff). I can think of quite a few other examples but won't bore you with them. The point here is that neither Grey Slab or Gashed Crag are extreme. Sorry. If you really did struggle that much on Grey Slab maybe you were just not a very rounded climber at the time.

With Fiends argument, I can see more of a point. Mainly because many (though not all) of my E1 leads have been of what I would agree were soft-touches. And I can recognise them as such. But so what? They are soft-touches, but still "extreme" for whatever reason - tech v hard (but safe) of tech easy (but bold). Depends on your take on bold vs technical. And this happens at every grade boundary and I see no good reason why the boundary between HVS and E1 is any different to the others.

Quite simply, we just don't need E0.
Anonymous on 30 Oct 2003 - host213-122-201-247.in-addr.btopenworld.com
fiend - the only gap between HVS and E1 is a psychological one. if all the routes in the country were upgraded by one (HVS = E1, E1 = E2 etc.) then the gap you talk about would still be biggest between HVS and E1.
charles - you make a valid point about those strange routes that seem a struggle, but thats part of climbing isn't it?
and as for cresent arete..........thats a boulder problem as far as i'm concerned. its not that high, has no gear and is on a boulder!!!!! does that mean that if you come straight from the gym and send cresent arete then you are an 'extreme' leader???
andy
Carnage on 30 Oct 2003 - 195.157.84.186 whois?
In reply to Charles Arthur, UKC Editor: No. We don't need it. Theres always been gaps and there always will be. You can't just keep adding to fill them. Isn't it part of the fun, not knowing whether an HVS or E1 is gonna go one way or the other?
JJJJJ. on 30 Oct 2003 - modem-68.rubidium.dialup.pol.co.uk [webcacheM09b.cache.pol.co.uk]
In reply to Li'l Zé:
> (In reply to Charles Arthur, UKC Editor)
> [...]
>
>
> No, we need XVS.

well that makes more sense, at least.

Perhaps there is scope for a statistical model that calculates a repeatable measure of difficulty, based on size, angle and roughness of holds and smears, on the distance and (3d) angles to the next move. The model could be tested against numerous volunteers. It would probably explain something in the region of 50-60% of the variance in the proportion of the volunteers that could onsight a climb. A further portion of variance could be accounted for by reach and weight of climber if this was deemed desirable. Additional variance could be explained by a consideration of the position in which protection can be placed. Crash test dummies could be dropped from various heights to assess danger. That way we could give a fairly exact measure of difficulty to each climb.

It would only take a matter of millenia to measure all the angles, holds, distances and dangers of the popular classics. Though, as with painting the forth bridge, they would need re-measured constantly to account for slight changes in the rock with time.

Had we but world enought and time, it could be done. But at my back i always hear times winged chariot hurrying near, so perhaps instead we could all shut the f*ck up and acknowledge that a non-perfect grading system is the best non-perfect humans need.
J.


220bpm on 30 Oct 2003
In reply to Carnage:
Isn't it part of the fun, not knowing whether an HVS or E1 is gonna go one way or the other?

This only applies to Fiends argument, but I am in agreement.

Same goes for Charles' points. Yes I can understand the reasoning but half the fun is the 'exploration' of o/s new routes...never quite knowing whats in store.

I love our grading system including all its imperfections.

Leave E0 in the cupboard.

Simon Caldwell - on 30 Oct 2003
In reply to tobyfk:
> My guess is that over time, as people come into climbing fitter from wall training, the need for the current diversity of adjectival low grades will erode.

Yes, you've said that before, and maybe it makes sense to an E5 leader. But next time you're at the crag have a look at the numbers of people having epics on severes, and think whether they see them as indistinguishable from vdiffs. Fitness has virtually nothing to do with it at this level, except in so far as poor technique necessitates hanging off your arms for ages while your feet scrabble around for holds.
Simon Caldwell - on 30 Oct 2003
In reply to Anonymous:
> the only gap between HVS and E1 is a psychological one

Well said. My own personal mental barrier is between VS and HVS (led my first VS years ago, have still only attempted - and failed on - one proper HVS). I'm quite sure that when I eventually break into HVS I'll have no problem with E1.
Simon Caldwell - on 30 Oct 2003
In reply to Charles Arthur, UKC Editor:
> Ask a mathematician what sort of number 0 is, and you'll get what might be a surprising answer: it isn't. Zero isn't really a number, in the sense that it's more the absence of a number

Typo - you missed out the word 'failed' in front of mathematician.

So your whole argument is based on a fallacy. It appears that in fact you're arguing for the existence of "E-null" as a grade - or more accurately, just Null, sense any operator applied to null gives a value of null.
Lurking Dave - on 30 Oct 2003
In reply to Charles Arthur, UKC Editor: You need the support, consider that you now have 1 vote in favour of E0 :-)

LD
Yorkspud on 30 Oct 2003 - gateway102.gsi.gov.uk
In reply to Charles Arthur, UKC Editor:

At the risk of repetition of course we don't need E0 - like we dont need VS+, HS+, E0.5 etc. Apply EO and you automatically double the number of grades.
Yorkspud on 30 Oct 2003 - gateway102.gsi.gov.uk
In reply to Charles Arthur, UKC Editor:

At the risk of repetition of course we don't need E0 - like we dont need VS+, HS+, E1.5 etc. Apply EO and you automatically double the number of grades.
Jon Greengrass on 30 Oct 2003
In reply to Charles Arthur, UKC Editor: I'd rather not see any more grade nannying. Whatever happened to looking at a line from the ground and deciding how protectable and safe it was with the gear you had to hand, or thinking Hmm thats a great big offwidth i'm only any good at balancy slabs, i 'll think i'll give that one a miss or second someone that knows what they're doing.

SteveM on 30 Oct 2003 - dopey.electricity-direct.co.uk
In reply to Charles Arthur, UKC Editor:

I'm feel right in the middle of the transfer between these grades at the moment. Solid VS leader, trying at least one HVS per climbing day and the very occasional E1.

Fiend: partitioning out another sub-grade between HVS and E1 isn't going to change the difficulty of ascending a climb, grades will always be a generalisation because no climber is average, everyone has their own strengths and weaknesses. There are E1s that I can climb, and VSs that I can't. This is down to my skills at certain types of moves, and adding an intermediary grade doesn't help me acheive a top-out.

Charles: I like your take on the argument, but isn't this just another extra classification. Your E0 doesn't allow help the punter looking at a route (for all she knows it might be an E2 when they are a VS leader). Everything that goes into scoping a line (looking at it, reading the description, one's previous experience) is not added to by E0 when that grade could encompass anything where success depends on "non-climbing-factors".

Stick with the available tools; pictures, text descriptions and looking at the rock. I like the Rockfax symbols system, this is definitely a candidate for another symbol on the route.

Perhaps you could call it "fiendish" in tribute?
clams on 30 Oct 2003 - [wp.eris.qinetiq.com]
In reply to Charles Arthur, UKC Editor:
"just as 0 stands (if you're into mathematical philosophy) outside the line of integers."

I'm not into mathematical philosophy but as I understood, 0 stands very much in the line of integers. In fact 0 exists within the set of Natural numbers {0,1,2,...} as well as the set of Integers {...-2,-1,0,1,2,...}.

Yours pedantically, ...
duncan - on 30 Oct 2003
In reply to Yorkspud:
> (In reply to Charles Arthur, UKC Editor)
>
> At the risk of repetition

very good!
220bpm on 30 Oct 2003
In reply to SteveM:
> Stick with the available tools; pictures, text descriptions and looking at the rock. I like the Rockfax symbols system, this is definitely a candidate for another symbol on the route.
>
> Perhaps you could call it "fiendish" in tribute?


Brilliant!


Li'l Zé on 30 Oct 2003 - 192.168.2.118 [193.115.10.226]
In reply to clams:

0's status as a Natural number is not beyond question.
Bob Bennett on 30 Oct 2003 - mailgate.glebemines.com
In reply to Charles Arthur, UKC Editor:
The old definition of "E" was Extreme. 0 is nought/nothing.
Therefore E0 = Not extreme.
I suggest climbs in this category then should be graded HVS.
But doesn`t the current systemdo something like that?
stuartf - on 30 Oct 2003
In reply to clams:
> (In reply to Charles Arthur, UKC Editor)
> "just as 0 stands (if you're into mathematical philosophy) outside the line of integers."
>
> I'm not into mathematical philosophy but as I understood, 0 stands very much in the line of integers. In fact 0 exists within the set of Natural numbers {0,1,2,...} as well as the set of Integers {...-2,-1,0,1,2,...}.
>
> Yours pedantically, ...

At the risk of being even more pedantic - 0 lies in the set of whole numbers {0,1,2,...}, but not the Natural numbers, which start at 1.....

Stuart

Neil Morbey - on 30 Oct 2003
Have you ever seen the Spinal Tap film?

if so... think of the scene where they are looking at amps, how the guitarist hilariously thought one amp was louder and better because it had more numbers on the dial..

E0 is just another grade... we have a complex grading systme. Soft touch E1 is E1 5a or 5b.
A hard havs is HVS 5b/5c.

i personally find it exciting when i take on a route i should find okay, but find it real challenge.
i also love it when i take on a hard route and do it no probs. im happy with my climbing.

you have to have some mystery behind the moves and this E0 grade is reducing that and it is also adding more complexity to an already complex sytem.

anyway- ive said my piece. PLEASE NO E0 GRADE!
thanks

Neil.
Ropeboy - on 30 Oct 2003
In reply to Charles Arthur, UKC Editor:

Like Horse I too cannot be bothered to read about E0 anymore.

Look at the guide book, look at the grade, read the description then look at the route. If you can't work out the rest I'm not to sure what to suggest, boulering, sport climbing?

At the end of the day it's all subjective and not a science.

J :-)
clams on 30 Oct 2003 - [wp.eris.qinetiq.com]
In reply to stuartf:
+ve Integers is a subset of...
Naturals {0,1,2,...} which is a subset of...
Integers which is a subset of...
Rationals which is a subset of...
Irrationals (Reals) which is a subset of...
Complex Nos.

No???
Li'l Zé on 30 Oct 2003 - 192.168.2.118 [193.115.10.226]
In reply to clams:
As that stands there would be no difference between N and Z+
Skyfall - on 30 Oct 2003
Nigel: "You see, most blokes will be playing at 10. You’re on 10, all the way up, all the way up...Where can you go from there? Nowhere. What we do, is if we need that extra push over the cliff...Eleven. One louder."

DiBergi: "Why don’t you just make 10 louder and make 10 be the top number, and make that a little louder?"

Nigel (after taking a moment to let this sink in): "These go to 11."



You see, we have E1 to E10. We may push it over the cliff and get E11 someday. But we don't need E0. Thanks.
stuartf - on 30 Oct 2003
In reply to clams:
> (In reply to stuartf)
> +ve Integers is a subset of...
> Naturals {0,1,2,...} which is a subset of...

Didn't realise this but it appears that there's some controversy over whether or not to include 0 in the natural numbers or not - see http://mathworld.wolfram.com/NaturalNumber.html

so zero lies in the set of integers, and non-negative integers, but not positive integers - it's just debateable as to wheter the natural numbers are the non-negative integers, or the positive ones.

Stuart
clams on 30 Oct 2003 - [wp.eris.qinetiq.com]
In reply to stuartf:

Kin Ell, Respect to the Climbing Maths Geeks. Perhaps there should be a club...

I think it has been shown that Charles Arthur UKC Ed certainly doesn't know his integers whether N includes 0 or not.

Wonder if we'll get a response?
tobyfk - on 30 Oct 2003
In reply to Simon Caldwell:
> But next time you're at the crag have a look at the numbers of people having epics on severes, and think whether they see them as indistinguishable from vdiffs. Fitness has virtually nothing to do with it at this level, except in so far as poor technique necessitates hanging off your arms for ages while your feet scrabble around for holds.

People also learn technique at climbing walls. Average climbing standards are rising and commensurate with that the grading system will keep evolving. E grades were relatively new when I started climbing whilst at the same time it wasn't uncommon to see Hard Diffs and Mild Severe's littering guidebooks - grades that are almost extinct now.

Al Urker on 30 Oct 2003 - 130.246.240.41 [wwwcache3.rl.ac.uk]
In reply to Charles Arthur, UKC Editor:

None of the points in your article Charles, actually holds any merit for the inclusion of E0.

In fact at one point you are harping on about a severe being a nasty struggle, and want to call it E0!

The severe in question, is but a severe. Live with it.
l applat on 30 Oct 2003 - 193.119.54.2 whois?
In reply to Charles Arthur, UKC Editor: Charles do you recall sugesting that I needed to read some more / different news papers?

Well I must advise you to do the same and compare the garbage that is these articles for what passes as resonable commentary / opinion writing.

Neither the articles or the proposal have any inherent merit.
FH about to piss off home on 30 Oct 2003 - proxyserver.lcb.ac.uk
Andy Myles - on 30 Oct 2003
In reply to stuartf:


> At the risk of being even more pedantic - 0 lies in the set of whole numbers {0,1,2,...}

Good mnemonic a friend of mine created: The whole numbers start with the "hole". Which is about my interest in this thread to be honest, so I'll be off now...

Andy

bullybones - on 30 Oct 2003
In reply to l applat:
Agreed.

Charles: your E0 is just confusing. If you want to highlight 'hard to grade' routes why not use a symbol in addition to the current grade. In any case your list of examples is inaccurate: Verandah Buttress is not hard to grade, it just has a weird grade, while Preposterous Tales is E2 5b in the Pembroke supplement - fair grade, I'd say.

Fiend: your E0 is just unnecessary. There are hard HVSs and easy E1s. Live with it.
In reply to Fiend: I think the central point of Fiend's argument is there is a gap between HVS and E1, I agree that there are some HVSs that I've sailed up and some that are brutally hard, likewise some E1s that are OKish and some that are desperate - but do you not think the same gap could be there between E4 and E5 and we're just not good enough to know about it?

I think why there is so much discussion on routes around that grade is because that's the grade that many 'hobby' climbers reach.
In reply to clams:
> Kin Ell, Respect to the Climbing Maths Geeks. Perhaps there should be a club...
>
> I think it has been shown that Charles Arthur UKC Ed certainly doesn't know his integers whether N includes 0 or not.

Hmm. Try http://www.usatoday.com/news/science/wonderquest/2002-01-09-zero.htm - "Zero advances human insight into numbers. The idea of numbers, basically, is the notion of counting. Three pebbles stand for three sheep. The number three is an abstraction from all collections containing three actual things.
Zero is a step farther into the abstract. Until then, each number stood for a count of something concrete. Zero, however, is a count of the elements in the completely empty set: nothing."

> Wonder if we'll get a response?

No, probably not - this is not a response (comme Magritte).
In reply to l applat:
> (In reply to Charles Arthur, UKC Editor) Charles do you recall sugesting that I needed to read some more / different news papers?

No - did you take my excellent advice?

> Well I must advise you to do the same and compare the garbage that is these articles for what passes as resonable commentary / opinion writing.

Difference being that (1) opinion writer on papers and mags get paid for it - Fiend did his out of his own time, generously I think (2) there's more of them submitted to papers.

I haven't been overwhelmed with articles about stuff. OK, Simon, I do have your Sandstone article and shamefully haven't done anything with it. Argh. But I shall.

> Neither the articles or the proposal have any inherent merit.

I disagree. Impasse. So, care to actually argue it, or do you prefer to let opinion writers form your views?

Charles
Alastair Hudson on 30 Oct 2003 - host217-45-193-213.in-addr.btopenworld.com
In reply to Charles Arthur, UKC Editor:

We could have 0a, 0b and 0c for grading footpaths too.
And then we could rename HVS to E -1, VS to E -2 etc.

E -8, 0b as your first lead.

We could introduce other marginal grades: HVS2 could be between HVS and E0. And HVS0 would go above VS.

A.
Offwidth - on 30 Oct 2003
In reply to Charles Arthur, UKC Editor:

Thanks for that: a fun article and you've turned me from a complete punter into a top end climber (of E0's) ;-)

Good of Fiend to organise hs ramblings too. I'm with Horse in my views but its still but its a good argument (which is why it annoys so many people!).
Paz - on 30 Oct 2003
In reply to Charles Arthur, UKC Editor:

So you've referred to us a nice little maths history article and originally one on E0 in which you spoilt by a crap anedote by saying 'ask any mathematician and you'll get the answer 0 not a number'.

Take it from us, just by any of us disagreeing, you're wrong, can't you see how this affects your credibility?

Until recently apart from a lot of glitches I liked your other climbing articles, but I'm now in the 'all journalists are full of crap' camp.
In reply to Paz:

Blimey - nice that one mistake condemns one to the sin bin. And not only that, but all one's colleagues too, even those I've never met.

Perhaps I'll edit the article - I should have said that 0 isn't a *natural* number (because of course, yes, you can fit it into number theory). I had this debate in a completely different context and format more than a year ago over scripts and timing loops, but clearly should have refreshed first. Occupational hazard.

Charles
Mike Whittaker - on 30 Oct 2003
In reply to Charles Arthur, UKC Editor:

> I had this debate in a completely different context and format more than a year ago over scripts and timing loops

And quite possibly that other context was a more appropriate place for the debate.

Astonishingly, and it doesn't pain me to say so, Fiends argument knocks spots off yours.
Paz - on 30 Oct 2003
In reply to Charles Arthur, UKC Editor:

Oh don't worry, I had most of your colleagues condemned long ago.

I'm not bothered about it at all, just the 'ask any mathematician part' grates as if there was some sort of convention.

Anyway, how would E0 in your article differ from safe MXS?
Simon Caldwell - on 31 Oct 2003
In reply to tobyfk:
> it wasn't uncommon to see Hard Diffs and Mild Severe's littering guidebooks - grades that are almost extinct now.

Plenty of Hard Diffs around. And it seems to be down to the individual guidebook authors whether they have Mild Severe or Hard VDiff - the numbers of the latter have increased hugely recently (or is it just that I've been reading too much Rockfax)?

Actually, there is some merit in your argument. You as a mid-E leader see little difference in difficulty between low grade routes (they're all easy). I, as a VS bumbly, see little difference between high grade routes (they're all impossible). So we only actually need three grades:
Easy, E0 and XS.
SteveM on 31 Oct 2003 - dopey.electricity-direct.co.uk
In reply to Simon Caldwell:

Or "climbs I can do" and "climbs I can't" :-)

Graded Y and N.
tobyfk - on 31 Oct 2003
In reply to Simon Caldwell:

> Plenty of Hard Diffs around.

Really - an admittedly fast sample of three CC guides revealed zero. No Mild Severes either, or HVDs.

> And it seems to be down to the individual guidebook authors whether they have Mild Severe or Hard VDiff - the numbers of the latter have increased hugely recently (or is it just that I've been reading too much Rockfax)?

In his usually precise way Alan seems to have identified a niche for HVD. Must be right, I guess, I have no idea. But there are no HD's or MildS's.

Anyway, do you disagree that average standards do gradually rise? To me that is the key issue. Thirty years ago the Fiend of his day would have been arguing for a Really Hard Severe or Exceedingly Mild VS.







Simon Caldwell - on 31 Oct 2003
In reply to tobyfk:
> do you disagree that average standards do gradually rise?

I'm not convinced that they do much. Top standards rise, obviously. But since the advent of sticky boots and decent protection, has the average gone up much? There are more good climbers, but there are also more beginners, and beginners still tend to start on Diffs and VDiffs, even the ones who've domne a lot of wall training first (not that climbing walls give you much preparation for gritstone climbing, but I digress).

If you judge by which routes have the queues, Severe and below is still the most commonly climbed grade. On a busy day in the Peak it's not until you get to VS that you start to escape the queues.
Simon Caldwell - on 31 Oct 2003
In reply to tobyfk:
PS For Hard Diffs, try Windgather. For Mild Severes - Yorkshire Grit, Yorks Limestone, Northumberland.
The Flying Giraffe - on 31 Oct 2003
Bollox to it all, what a waste of time,
Its just that quite a fair number of people operate around HVS-E1 level so will find soft and hard touches around the grade.
THIS IS THE SAME FOR ANY GRADE BOUNDARY.
Its just another line in the sand, complicating things.
What next? E1.5, E7 and 3/4?
Stop blathering on, get out and climb.
tobyfk - on 31 Oct 2003
In reply to Simon Caldwell:


> If you judge by which routes have the queues, Severe and below is still the most commonly climbed grade. On a busy day in the Peak it's not until you get to VS that you start to escape the queues.

Interesting point. Fairly off-topic but I think that reflects what happens when you get crags close to major towns. The sort of person who can only just about get motivated to drive 10 miles and clog up Stanage (lots I'd guess and some post on here ....) wouldn't climb at all if they lived somewhere like London.

Anonymous on 31 Oct 2003 - 155.136.80.23 whois?
In reply to The Flying Giraffe:

> Its just another line in the sand, complicating things.

Worse - it's an imaginary line in the sand, just like all the others are. IMHO someone who worries too much about imaginary lines in the sand is probably missing the beach, the sea, the sky, the bikini-clad babes...ie the point.
In reply to tobyfk: I think that's a bit harsh. Go on to any on the Scottish or Lakes mountain crags and the busiest routes will still be the easy ones, nevertherless you still require a drive and a walk to get there - that takes motivation.

I bet the easier sports routes at Portland take the most traffic as well.

In the last 20 yrs there haven't been any remarkable improvements in climbing gear for trad (stuff getting cheap and a bit lighter but not much else), and I reckon it is still more mental than physical limiting most people - so the average grades climbed won't have gone up that much despite climbing walls.

Compare this to ice climbing where any punter (moi par examplé) armed with monopoints, curved axes and a bunch of BD screws can climb stuff which was positively cutting edge 20 year ago.
tobyfk - on 31 Oct 2003
In reply to TobyA:
> (In reply to tobyfk) I think that's a bit harsh.

It may reflect spending most of my adult life in London. No one battles their way to the M1 and sits in jams for 3 hours up to the Chesterfield exit just to climb Hard Diffs.

> I bet the easier sports routes at Portland take the most traffic as well.

Of course. Around F6a and F6b. Which - gear aside - requires the approximate stamina and ability required to do HVS/ E1 face routes! A quantum leap in standards from 20 years earlier.

> In the last 20 yrs there haven't been any remarkable improvements in climbing gear for trad

Rock boots were still boots with high ankles in 1983. Sticky rubber had only just been introduced. Cams still came in limited sizes and were rigid. RPs had only just started to appear. So I'd say there have been very significant changes, particularly mid-80s to mid-90s. Far more importantly, climbing walls that you could actually train stamina only started to appear in the early-90s.
In reply to tobyfk: the walls thing... that was my point about the physical and the mental - I know plenty of people who climb french 7 something on walls but still piss around on the equivalent of HVS trad routes 'cos they are scared to fall onto a nut.

On the gear front - I don't think flexi friends have made that big a difference, and rps only in harder grades (you've never needed RPs for VSs). I don't think there are many Vdiffs to E1 which are much safer or easier now then they were twenty years ago. Boots I can accept - although there's been very little change there in last 10-12 years I'd say.
Craig on 03 Nov 2003 - 212.219.3.8 whois?
Me and my climbing partner reacently found an untouched crag (no I'm not telling you where yet) and I must say that so far most of the routes would fit nicely into the E0 catagory espoused by fiend. I have yet to succeed on an E1 but have done all the current routes on our crag and most are bloody hard HVS!
nb on 03 Nov 2003 - 62.105.87.149 whois?
In reply to Charles Arthur, UKC Editor:


NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

what a load of b*****ks
Al Urker on 03 Nov 2003 - 130.246.240.41 [wwwcache3.rl.ac.uk]
In reply to Craig:
> I have yet to succeed on an E1 but have done all the current routes on our crag and most are bloody hard HVS!

Bingo!

Then they're bloody hard HVS!

if not, then they go into the E1 category.

'snot that difficult if you think about it.
Tony L on 03 Nov 2003 - unallocated.star.net.uk
In reply to Charles Arthur, UKC Editor:

ffs, Charles, no!! we had almost let this one die and now you go and give it some ludicrous credibility by coming up with a pointless alternative. However, i salute you for coming up with an alternative that is even more barking than the original idea.

To paraphrase, you seem to be saying that some routes are unique, therefore we should give them all a new grade that tells you nothing about their difficulty, just the fact that some people cannot quite discover the unique skills required to climb the route comfortably. This is pointless and is of no use to anyone. What help is it to put a Severe in the same category as an E2? Just stick with the grades they've got and leave it to the guidebooks to hint at the bizarre nature of the climb and to people's common sense when making their own assessment.

As for Fiend's idea. It is no better now than it ever was. No matter how many times he repeats the statement that there are more discussions about grading anomolies on the HVS/E1 boundary than elsewhere does not make it a truth that the mystical "gap" exists.

The argument that E0 will end these debates does not hold water either. Sure, some of the more obvious routes will be E0, but what of all of those other routes that at the moment are quite happily accepted as either HVS or E1? Many more will suddenly be up for debate. If you are separating pepples by colour into 2 boxes, you have an area of indecision straddling your imaginary dividing line. If you suddenly bring in a 3rd box to help you out, you will have two entirely separate areas of indecision that straddled two imaginary dividing lines - hey presto, twice the debate, oh goody.

It's not needed and it's not helpful.
Dave Collier on 03 Nov 2003 - 82-47-144-166.cable.ubr11.brad.blueyonder.co.uk
In reply to everyone:

All this talk of E grades and how there was never an E0.... Well there never used to be an E1. I have an old guidebook and I think the grades go something like Mild Extremely Severe, Extremely Severe. So forget the E0, just have a Mild Extremely Severe for Three Pebble Slab etc.
Vdiff Dave - on 06 Nov 2003
In reply to Charles Arthur, UKC Editor:

Everyone has routes that they think are 'outside of integer grades' because they find them hard. Everyone is different as so every list of these routes is different. If you asked everyone for a list of E0s (using your definition) you would probably get most of the climbs in the world mentioned by someone, somewhere. This obviously isn't helpfull.

By the way, to answer your question-

"Ever wondered if E0 would be a useful grade?"

NO, I haven't.

As for fiends idea, we could invent new grades to fill gaps all over the grading system. Why not go further and have VS0 to VS9 as well? We could start the new grading system with

easy0-0
easy0-1
easy0-2

and then eventually

easy 9-8
easy 9-9

then have 100 degrees of moderate, then have 100 degrees of Vdiff, etc etc.

Hell, why not invent a few mild Vdiffs and mild moderates as well? Where would it end?
Jus - on 07 Nov 2003
In reply to Charles Arthur, UKC Editor:

Egad! Just seen this thread for the first time and I can't be bothered to read it (I'll read the articles later... maybe)

Just wanna say thanks to Fiend for using my photo of Crescent Arete. Nice surprise! :o)


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