/ UK Tech = Sport conversion

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Owen W-G - on 20 Sep 2016
OK, so there is no direct translation but, typically, on what grade sport route would you start finding Eng 5c, 6a, 6b and 6c moves?

I'm guessing 6a+, 6c, 7a+, 7c?

About right or not quite?
Jon Read - on 20 Sep 2016
In reply to Owen W-G:

F6a, F6b, F6c+, F7b would be my stab. Particularly where they are short cruxy numbers.
Ian Parsons - on 20 Sep 2016
In reply to Owen W-G:
I think that the given French grades are the level at which you might expect to find those English tech grades. You can probably "start" to find them a notch or two lower - ie V+, 6b, 6c+ and 7b.

Ah! Jon types faster than I do.
Post edited at 15:55
1poundSOCKS - on 20 Sep 2016
In reply to Owen W-G:

There's a recently retro-bolted E4 6b at Kilnsey that now gets F6c+.
GridNorth - on 20 Sep 2016
In reply to Owen W-G:

I've always thought it made more sense to compare the French Sport Grade with the UK Adjectival Grade.

If you did that then added a UK Technical Grade for the hardest move you could do away with French grades altogether for sports routes, much more sensible.


Al
gilesf - on 20 Sep 2016
In reply to Owen W-G:

There's an app for it if that's any help.
Jon Read - on 20 Sep 2016
In reply to Ian Parsons:

Pretty good agreement!
GridNorth - on 20 Sep 2016
In reply to Owen W-G:

What's with the dislikes, I think one or two people need a sense of humour implant.

Al
dmca - on 20 Sep 2016
In reply to Owen W-G:

Unless it's cruxy, I reckon tech 5c would be more at home on a F6b. tech 5c is my "I'm only going to try leading this is if the gear's 100% bomber and even then..." grade whereas 6a+ is my warmup/easy onsight grade but I guess it's a pointless comparison when I'll have totally different mindsets in each case.

After thinking about this, I checked Rockfax colour grades, which suggest tech 5c (on the boulder problem chart) is equivalent to F6a+ (on the other chart). This sort of implies that tech 5c is the hardest move you could reasonably get on the F6a+ route, since most people can boulder slightly harder than the cruxes they come across when sport climbing.

I should probably stop there as I'm already over-thinking it.
AJM - on 20 Sep 2016
In reply to Owen W-G:

Depends where you are - for some places you can just put an "fr" on the front!
Jon Stewart - on 20 Sep 2016
In reply to 1poundSOCKS:

> There's a recently retro-bolted E4 6b at Kilnsey that now gets F6c+.

Diverting the whole discussion by throwing in the Yorkshire system!
ian Ll-J - on 20 Sep 2016
In reply to Owen W-G:

UK tech grade, not 'English' Tech grade!
zmv - on 20 Sep 2016
In reply to Owen W-G:

It's quite subjective on how sustained the route is and what the fitness requirement is. There must be some 8as in Rodellar/Kalymnos which would get something like E7 5c/6a but are 40 meters long and overhanging the whole way, making a V2 move near the top, feel nails.

As a rough estimate...(not that grading is a science anyway).

Some longish (25 meters) 7as at Punta Espadelles at Margalef - felt like sustained overhanging english 5b/5c to a V3 (English 6a?) crux and a 4c slab to top off.

Some short 7as felt like very easy climbing up to an English 6b crux.

Shorter 6bs felt about V2ish, which probably felt up to English 5c.

And then I jumped on Face Race 7a+ at LPT, which feels like an English 6c for the crux section, especially for a shortie that cannot use some of the better footholds :p
stp - on 20 Sep 2016
In reply to Owen W-G:
Yeah I'd say that's about right. If you convert the french to E grades it's more clear: E1, E3, E5, E6. Most E1/6a+ sport routes are likely to be easier than 5c though. Most E6/7c routes are unlikely to be 6c though New Dawn might be one. It's also possible to find 6b moves on 7a routes that are bouldery in nature, (ie. E4 6b).

Also bear in mind it depends where you are. Kalymanian grades are generally a grade lower than more typical French grades.
Post edited at 19:32
Dave Kerr - on 20 Sep 2016
In reply to Owen W-G:

Just give up. It doesn't work.
Mick Ward - on 20 Sep 2016
In reply to Dave Kerr:

It works reasonably well. And that's all you need. It's pretty easy to deconstruct F grades to UK tech grades. I do it all the time.

And the OP did say, 'would you start...'

> OK, so there is no direct translation but, typically, on what grade sport route would you start finding Eng 5c, 6a, 6b and 6c moves?

Mick




Bulls Crack - on 20 Sep 2016
In reply to Owen W-G:

5+/6a+/6c/7b+ ?

To take it further: assign each move a tech grade a score eg 5a=1, 5b=2 etc rests = 0. Ignore easy starts/finishes. Tot-up you sport route and divide by the number of moves and you can get a surprisingly accurate conversion tool. Works less well with short catwalk-style routes (round them up to 10 full moves)
1poundSOCKS - on 20 Sep 2016
In reply to Jon Stewart:

> Diverting the whole discussion by throwing in the Yorkshire system!

Sorry Jon, probably didn't add much to the discussion.

Just popped into my head because I did it recently. But it is surprising how easy UK 6b can can feel when there's a bolt protecting it.
Jon Stewart - on 20 Sep 2016
In reply to 1poundSOCKS:

I remember doing those 7a/+ routes at Trollers and seeing that before they were bolted they were E4. The E4s I've done are 6c max - tight Yorkshire bastards!
snoop6060 - on 20 Sep 2016
In reply to.

English 6c is what in in font or vgrades?

No way have I done a 7b with moves that hard whatever it is. Don't reckon any route I've climbed up to 7c+ has had a sequence or move harder than font6c+. Or id not have done them.
1poundSOCKS - on 20 Sep 2016
In reply to Jon Stewart:

> I remember doing those 7a/+ routes at Trollers and seeing that before they were bolted they were E4. The E4s I've done are 6c max - tight Yorkshire bastards!

Not sure how many pegs there were? Maybe not much gear to place. Yosemite Wall at Malham had plenty of pegs apparently, and got E5 I think. Isn't there a conversion table somewhere, sure I've seen one, bolted French grade to E grade?
ianstevens - on 20 Sep 2016
In reply to snoop6060:

> English 6c is what in in font or vgrades?

Basically V5/6 or F6C/+ up.

Jon Stewart - on 20 Sep 2016
In reply to ianstevens:

> Basically V5/6 or F6C/+ up.

Short V6 and up. You don't get UK 6c on V5s.
snoop6060 - on 20 Sep 2016
In reply to ianstevens:

A sport route with a font 7A crux is surely no less than 7c+ and that's assuming the rest isn't hard (which is rare). If it is, or even mildly pumpy reaching a font 7A crux I'd reckon itd be into the 8s.



Misha - on 20 Sep 2016
In reply to Jon Stewart:
Yeah I've always thought V1/2 = 5c, V3/4 = 6a, V5/6 = 6b, after that it's all too hard for me. But then what do I know about bouldering...

To the OP - sounds about right except I'd say you don't typically get 6c moves on F7c routes.
andy farnell - on 21 Sep 2016
In reply to snoop6060:

> A sport route with a font 7A crux is surely no less than 7c+ and that's assuming the rest isn't hard (which is rare). If it is, or even mildly pumpy reaching a font 7A crux I'd reckon itd be into the 8s.

I can think of quite a few sport routes below 7c+ with cruxes of 7A or harder. Why me?, Wild in me, The Maximum, Chisling the Dragon are one that spring to mind. They all have hard moves off the deck then easy climbing above. It's not that unusual to get English 6c (whatever that may be...) on short, bouldery sub 8 routes.

Andy F
HeMa on 21 Sep 2016
In reply to andy farnell:

> It's not that unusual to get English 6c (whatever that may be...) on short, bouldery sub 8 routes.

And it shouldn't. Tech grade is based/derived from Font bouldering grade. And general rule of thumb for routes is that unless it's really cruxy (and short), the crux is a whole number easier boulder. So 7c sport route would have 6C block/boulder as a crux. Short cruxy 7a sport route could have a crux block up to 6B+ or even 6C (I know, as I've climbed a few).
snoop6060 - on 21 Sep 2016
In reply to andy farnell:

Doesnt the start to wild in me get font 6c+? Too much time in Yorkshire, andy

But yes youre probably right. There may be be a few but I wouldn't say it's that common. And they are likely to be the start moves which skews it a bit.

New dawn always seems v6 to me, that start is friggin nails for shorties. But no doubt someone will be along to say man it's like v3 tops
snoop6060 - on 21 Sep 2016
In reply to HeMa:

Name a 7a with a >=font7a crux (British 6c). Genuinely interested and if it's close by I'll go try it.
Cusco - on 21 Sep 2016
In reply to Owen W-G:

Very generally and not taking into account any regional oddness mentioned by others above (Yorks, Kaly etc):

6a+ = E1 or E2 5b and sometimes a 5c move.

6b = E2 or E3 5b or 5c.

6b+ = E3 5c or 6a.

6c = E3 or E4 6a.

7a = E4 6a with sometimes a 6b move.

7a+ = E4 6b (one move 6b) or E5 6a with sometimes a 6b move or two.

7b = E5 6b.

That's kind of what it's felt like to me in South Devon, Somerset, Dorset and some North Welsh slate. Some of the guide books I have give the old UK adjectival grades of now bolted routes which I always look at because I don't understand the french grades sometimes and I know where I am with UK adjectival grades.

GridNorth - I agree!
Dave Garnett - on 21 Sep 2016
In reply to Jon Read:

> F6a, F6b, F6c+, F7b would be my stab. Particularly where they are short cruxy numbers.

Is that Chapel Head grades?
GridNorth - on 21 Sep 2016
In reply to Owen W-G:

The thing I don't understand about French Sports grades is why they used so many characters, f6a+ (4) for example, to describe a simple linear progression. Why not just go with 1, 2, 3 etc.

Al
jkarran - on 21 Sep 2016
In reply to Owen W-G:

5c - Low 6s
6a - Mid 6s
6b - low 7s
6c - above my paygrade
HeMa on 21 Sep 2016
In reply to GridNorth:

> The thing I don't understand about French Sports grades is why they used so many characters, f6a+ (4) for example, to describe a simple linear progression. Why not just go with 1, 2, 3 etc.

Beats me... kind of like the trad grades in UK. How come it's E4 6A and some nonsense like that. Would't a simple linear number work, a'la Ewbanks grade of 25.

Dangerous Dave - on 21 Sep 2016
In reply to Owen W-G:

Is English 6a same as Scottish 5b?
What about Irish and Welsh tech grades where do they come in.....
Dave Kerr - on 21 Sep 2016
In reply to HeMa:
> Beats me... kind of like the trad grades in UK. How come it's E4 6A and some nonsense like that. Would't a simple linear number work, a'la Ewbanks grade of 25.

Trad grades need at least 2 numbers because the relationship between the 2 tells you something about the nature of the route.
Post edited at 11:50
Ian Parsons - on 21 Sep 2016
In reply to GridNorth:

> The thing I don't understand about French Sports grades is why they used so many characters, f6a+ (4) for example, to describe a simple linear progression. Why not just go with 1, 2, 3 etc.

To be fair, Al, you could say that about most systems apart from the Australian one! Our tech grades could be reduced to one figure by using three times as many numbers and binning the letters. The UIAA system could do similar but bin the -/+. And the YDS? I think the truth is that they all evolved from simpler beginnings and dealt with problems of grade crowding and the occasional need for more subdivision as they went along; it was always easier to modify what was already there than to discard it altogether - when everyone was largely familiar with it - and start again from scratch. In the French case the old Welzenbach VI evolved through the addition of - and + to 6a, 6b,6c - still pretty wide so people kept inserting 6b/c etc until the + suffix became a separate grade. The f - which I think should be F (f's font, isn't it?) - isn't part of the grade. but simply something we've added to distinguish it from UK Tech.

HeMa on 21 Sep 2016
In reply to Dave Kerr:

> Trad grades need at least 2 numbers because the relationship between the 2 tells you something about the nature of the route.

We've been this road numerous times... and yes, 2 independent variables help... but sometimes they also confuse.

Not to mention people outside UK have seemed to work out just fine what to climb with only one variable. Eg. Ozzies seem to climb just fine using the Ewbanks grade, and it works both for trad and sport... and oddly enough translates rather easily to other commonly used grades (like french or YDS).

It was more a of jab anyway to GridNorth about numerous variables (of which the last one was either commitment level or quality of protection... on an alpine route, something which the UK more or less lacks).
HeMa on 21 Sep 2016
In reply to Ian Parsons:

> The f - which I think should be F (f's font, isn't it?) - isn't part of the grade. but simply something we've added to distinguish it from UK Tech.

Almost... generally f means french (sport grade) and F means Fontainebleau bouldering grade.
Willi Crater - on 21 Sep 2016
In reply to GridNorth:

> I've always thought it made more sense to compare the French Sport Grade with the UK Adjectival Grade.

> If you did that then added a UK Technical Grade for the hardest move you could do away with French grades altogether for sports routes, much more sensible.

> Al

Thank you. You've brightened up a really shitty day.
GridNorth - on 21 Sep 2016
In reply to Ian Parsons:

I know, I'm just feeling mischievous but having said that the UK grade does give a little more information and is more than just a one dimensional, linear progression .

Al
Ian Parsons - on 21 Sep 2016
In reply to GridNorth:

I'm voting for Drummond!
Robert Durran - on 21 Sep 2016
In reply to GridNorth:

> I know, I'm just feeling mischievous but having said that the UK grade does give a little more information and is more than just a one dimensional, linear progression .

It would be like the situation in N.America where the YDS is used for both trad and sport but where they are in effect different systems just happening to use the same numbers; when used for sport, the YDS translates directly to French grades, and when used for trad it....... well no one actually knows what it is......
SDM on 21 Sep 2016
In reply to HeMa:

> Almost... generally f means french (sport grade) and F means Fontainebleau bouldering grade.

The sooner this practice dies, the better.

7A = bouldering, 7a = sport

No need to distinguish between UK tech and french as the context will always make it clear which one is being discussed.
Jon Read - on 21 Sep 2016
In reply to SDM:


> No need to distinguish between UK tech and french as the context will always make it clear which one is being discussed.

I did a 6c+ which had a 6b crux ... hmm...
ads.ukclimbing.com
Mick Ward - on 21 Sep 2016
In reply to HeMa:

> Not to mention people outside UK have seemed to work out just fine what to climb with only one variable. Eg. Ozzies seem to climb just fine using the Ewbanks grade, and it works both for trad and sport... and oddly enough translates rather easily to other commonly used grades (like french or YDS).

Well, if I was wandering up a 5.9 (not that I ever have), I might just have a passing interest in whether it was HVS 5b, E1 5b, E2 5b or indeed E3 5b. But hey, that's probably just me.

Mick

Ian Parsons - on 21 Sep 2016
In reply to HeMa:

Hah! It's a distinction about which I often have to pause and scratch my head - but I thought I'd got it right this time. Are you sure, though? I note that UKC's database seems to use the lower-case f for bouldering grades, not the capital; at least it's not just me.
Mick Ward - on 21 Sep 2016
In reply to Jon Read:

> I did a 6c+ which had a 6b crux ... hmm...

I can think of a 6c with (probably) a 6b crux. Oops, it's one of mine! (Maybe shouldn't have let my mate grade it.)

Mick
GridNorth - on 21 Sep 2016
In reply to Ian Parsons:
> I'm voting for Drummond!

His system did seem to provide what many people are asking for now but it didn't last long did it? I've still got the guide lurking somewhere around the house.

Al
Post edited at 13:31
Robert Durran - on 21 Sep 2016
In reply to HeMa:

> Not to mention people outside UK have seemed to work out just fine what to climb with only one variable. Eg. Ozzies seem to climb just fine using the Ewbanks grade, and it works both for trad and sport... and oddly enough translates rather easily to other commonly used grades (like french or YDS).

Of course they cope OK but they either don't know or (apparently like you) don't understand what they are missing in the elegant informativeness of the UK two variable system.
HeMa on 21 Sep 2016
In reply to Ian Parsons:

> Hah! It's a distinction about which I often have to pause and scratch my head - but I thought I'd got it right this time. Are you sure, though?

Yeah, it's the common way. But as was also noted above, 6c is the same as f6c meaning french (sport) 6c. 6C means F6C so Font 6C.
Jon Read - on 21 Sep 2016
In reply to Ian Parsons:

Yes, I've always though F was routes and f was font... but I'm a product of the 90s climbing scene.
GrahamD - on 21 Sep 2016
In reply to SDM:


> No need to distinguish between UK tech and french as the context will always make it clear which one is being discussed.

Not sure that is true with Southern Sandstone grades which are effectively boulder problems traditionally given only UK technical grades
GridNorth - on 21 Sep 2016
In reply to Owen W-G:
I do not have any issues with two systems. One for sport and one for trad but it does get a little tiresome when climbers, usually from a sport background, keep asking what the sports grade would be for a given trad route. FFS learn the system, it works well, at least up to E5. I'm not qualified to judge after that. Very few conversions will be accurate in any case.

Al
Post edited at 13:44
SDM on 21 Sep 2016
In reply to GrahamD:

> Not sure that is true with Southern Sandstone grades which are effectively boulder problems traditionally given only UK technical grades

Boulder grades are already distinguished by the capital letter so the only possible confusion comes between UK tech and french sport.

The huge gulf in difficulty between say 6b UK tech and 6b french sport grade should make it obvious which one is being discussed.
1poundSOCKS - on 21 Sep 2016
In reply to HeMa:

> 6c is the same as f6c meaning french (sport) 6c. 6C means F6C so Font 6C.

As others have mentioned, I thought lower-case was Font, and upper case French. My UKC profile seems to agree (f7A for boulder).
Ian Parsons - on 21 Sep 2016
In reply to Jon Read:

> Yes, I've always though F was routes and f was font... but I'm a product of the 90s climbing scene.

Think yourself lucky; I started in 1967! And, of course, Alan was a frequent sight in the 1980s lurking in the bushes with his sketchpad under many a Peak limestone crag; maybe that's why the database - and, presumably, Rockfax - seems to agree with us.
Mark Bull - on 21 Sep 2016
In reply to Owen W-G:
To see why the comparison is difficult, I find it helpful to think of grades like this:

For trad routes (assuming no objective dangers, bad rock etc.) there are three main variables that contribute to the difficulty of a route:

1. How hard the crux move is.
2. How strenuous/sustained the route is.
3. How good the gear is.

The UK tech grade takes into account 1 only.
The Sport grade takes into account 1 and 2.
The UK overall grade takes into account 1, 2, and 3.

In order to deduce all three variables (without other information such as guidebook descriptions, which normally suffices) you do, in principle, need to know all three grades.
Post edited at 15:40
AJM - on 21 Sep 2016
In reply to GridNorth:

> I do not have any issues with two systems. One for sport and one for trad but it does get a little tiresome when climbers, usually from a sport background, keep asking what the sports grade would be for a given trad route. FFS learn the system, it works well, at least up to E5. I'm not qualified to judge after that. Very few conversions will be accurate in any case.

But as I'm sure you well know, the French grade is one of the most widely used trad grading systems in the world - most modern continental alpine topos, continental trad like Orco, Jonte etc, semi-bolted alpine sport (similarities to some of our slate and other sparsely bolted areas in approach) and anywhere further afield that people used to that system go climbing use French grades, sometimes with the "obl" and "expo" additions to give an idea of commitment/danger. And let's face it is rapidly becoming a common reference point for our own hard trad routes too despite this "better" system we currently have.

I think you're going to have to get used to it. Some people prefer to know the overall physical difficulty of the route before setting off, and in the UK neither the adjectival, the technical nor a combination of both grades allows you to determine that in isolation.

French Erick - on 21 Sep 2016
In reply to Owen W-G:

I just like climbing as hard and safely as I can wherever I am. I will accept the ego rubbing and not try to compare. That's my rule of thumb now...after many a spanking ;)
Michael Gordon - on 21 Sep 2016
In reply to 1poundSOCKS and HeMa:

I don't think there is any particular rule for lower/upper case f/F. As you know, the way you distinguish is by the letter after the number.
1poundSOCKS - on 21 Sep 2016
In reply to Michael Gordon:

> As you know, the way you distinguish is by the letter after the number.

What about Font 5+?
andy farnell - on 21 Sep 2016
In reply to snoop6060:

> Doesnt the start to wild in me get font 6c+? Too much time in Yorkshire, andy

It may be 6C+ to the first jug, but to get to the third clip felt well 7A+. And I've only been to Yorkshire once this year, and not much since 2010/11

> But yes youre probably right. There may be be a few but I wouldn't say it's that common. And they are likely to be the start moves which skews it a bit.

> New dawn always seems v6 to me, that start is friggin nails for shorties. But no doubt someone will be along to say man it's like v3 tops

New Dawn is V5ish. I can see how it would feel V6 if you were used to Peak grades ;)

Andy F
GridNorth - on 21 Sep 2016
In reply to AJM:

> I think you're going to have to get used to it. Some people prefer to know the overall physical difficulty of the route before setting off, and in the UK neither the adjectival, the technical nor a combination of both grades allows you to determine that in isolation.

Then we shall have to agree to disagree. If we take a route like Vector at Tremadog, for example, lets say, for the sake of argument, that it's f6b. What does that tell you that E2, 5c doesn't? Serious question by the way.

Al
AJM - on 21 Sep 2016
In reply to GridNorth:

> Then we shall have to agree to disagree. If we take a route like Vector at Tremadog, for example, lets say, for the sake of argument, that it's f6b. What does that tell you that E2, 5c doesn't? Serious question by the way.

Well, at the risk of this seeming obvious, it tells me it's fr6b climbing. E2 5c could cover about 3 French grades (6a, 6a+ or 6b without it getting too silly on the boldness or sandbagging ends of the spectrum although I'm entirely sure there will be examples falling more widely than that) depending on how sustained it is, how hard it is for E2 and of course the protection, so the French grade gives me considerably more precision in determining exactly how hard the climbing is going to be.

I generally find I can do both cruxy and sustained routes at the sort of French grades I'm happy to lead on trad gear and so it's far more important for me to know the overall difficulty than the hardest move, which to be honest doesn't really give me that much useful information at all.

This becomes even more pressing as the tech grade starts to correlate less well with the overall difficulty (as the overall difficulty starts to derive from stacking moves atop each other and as the technical grades get broader and therefore less precise).
Robert Durran - on 21 Sep 2016
In reply to AJM and Grid North:
Nobody is seriously suggesting we replace the UK adgectival + tech grade system with a French grade alone (clearly that would give less information and a poorer indication of whether the route is within one's abilities). However, people are often interested in knowing the French grade IN ADDITION to the UK grade and this is perfectly reasonable since almost everybody does some sport climbing these days and it adds to the information. Likewise, British climbers abroad faced with a French grade for trad will almost always be glad to find out what UK grade the route is (usually from other British climbers), since this is an indication of overall challenge and therefore of whether the route is within one's abilities. There is a strong case for adding a French grade in addition to the UK adgectival and tech grades at least for harder routes (or, more arguably, replacing the tech grade with it).
Post edited at 23:40
AJM - on 22 Sep 2016
In reply to Robert Durran:

> There is a strong case for adding a French grade in addition to the UK adgectival and tech grades at least for harder routes (or, more arguably, replacing the tech grade with it).

I'd prefer to just have a specific danger rating like a pg/r/x or an obl/expo sort of setup personally. If you use an overall grade you need to know what the "normal" French grade for an overall adjectival grade is (E5 fr6b+ only says "necky" if you have the additional information that a normal E5 has a French grade of 7a or whatever, whereas 6b+ expo just says it's necky outright).

The trade-off is losing that overall difficulty assessment but that's actually quite personal anyway. I don't tend to do bold routes at my limit really any more, so an equivalence of readiness to tackle them for me would be something like bold E2 and well protected E3, if that makes sense. Hence I'm not too fussed about knowing the "average climber" view on overall difficulty that the e grade represents because I know I'm not the average climber so it probably won't stack up for me.
Michael Gordon - on 22 Sep 2016
In reply to GridNorth:

> Then we shall have to agree to disagree. If we take a route like Vector at Tremadog, for example, lets say, for the sake of argument, that it's f6b. What does that tell you that E2, 5c doesn't? Serious question by the way.
>

God knows, if you didn't know the route then depending on the gear and where it is in relation to the hard moves it could be anything (within reason). If this ever hypothetically was to happen the first thing I'd do for areas I didn't know would be track down old guidebooks which still used a decent grading system!
GridNorth - on 22 Sep 2016
In reply to Robert Durran:

I don't disagree totally but my concern would be, and this is borne out by some posts on UKC, that a sports climber who climbs f6b may be tempted to try something like Vector, because the seed has been planted that it's within his capabilities and adding the sports grade encourages that mindset.

Al
Rick Graham on 22 Sep 2016
In reply to Robert Durran:

> ........There is a strong case for adding a French grade in addition to the UK adjectival and tech grades at least for harder routes...........

The FRCC guides have been doing exactly that for a few years now.

In reply to GridNorth
If a 6b sports climber gets on Vector, they will probably enjoy it, if they can place all the good gear available

These comparisons are probably only valid if you are at least average ability in gear placement and finger strength etc. I think it also depends on your background either sports or trad initiated or like a lot of folk nowadays in the UK, a bit of everything, indoor, bouldering,sport and trad.

In visiting a new area, just best to try easier routes first to get a feel for the grading and climbing style.
Its hard enough comparing trad or sports grades with each other, never mind trying to convert between the two.

AJM - on 22 Sep 2016
In reply to GridNorth:

> I don't disagree totally but my concern would be, and this is borne out by some posts on UKC, that a sports climber who climbs f6b may be tempted to try something like Vector, because the seed has been planted that it's within his capabilities and adding the sports grade encourages that mindset.

I suppose I'm more optimistic in my belief that British climbers are no more stupid than all those elsewhere who seem to cope just fine with using the same measurement system for both types of climbing. I mean, it's hardly rocket science is it...

HeMa on 22 Sep 2016
In reply to Rick Graham:

> Its hard enough comparing trad or sports grades with each other, never mind trying to convert between the two.

It really isn't. The onsight grade is going to be a plus or two higher for sport, simply due to the fact that it takes less effort to clip the bolts. How ever, I'm now talkin' about granite and limestone. Other forms of rocks might be different, especially if the rock and line are difficult to read (makin' gear placements even more consuming).

For redpoint (or headpoint) it really is about the same.


Bold trad routes (or solos with a rope) might be a different thing, as I have already enough damage on my body and don't really see the point on risking getting more.
GridNorth - on 22 Sep 2016
In reply to Rick Graham:

Some of you guys have more confidence in sports climbers transitioning to trad than I do. The worst case I witnessed was someone who climbed 7b indoors, ending up a gibbering wreck on a VS vowing never to climb trad again. He did eventually and now climbs VERY hard trad. In another instance I climbed with a guy who had only climbed indoors, again he was regularly climbing 6c but could not, no matter how many times he tried get up a 6a outdoors. Extreme I know but that's my limited experience

Al
HeMa on 22 Sep 2016
In reply to GridNorth:

> Some of you guys have more confidence in sports climbers transitioning to trad than I do. The worst case I witnessed was someone who climbed 7b indoors...

Sport and indoor climbing are two completely different things.

So 2 out of 2 of your examples are not really valid...

It's like stating that Moto GP drivers make bad Formula 1 drivers... and the continue to give 2 examples of your friends that were shite at Formula 1... albeit they had not really driven Moto GP either, more like they had a few times tried a childs pedal bike...

;).
Robert Durran - on 22 Sep 2016
In reply to GridNorth:

> Some of you guys have more confidence in sports climbers transitioning to trad than I do. The worst case I witnessed was someone who climbed 7b indoors, ending up a gibbering wreck on a VS vowing never to climb trad again.

That's not so bad - I thought you were going to say he jumped straight on an E6 haven been told it was 7b climbing! I suspect you are overstating the problem - I think all pure sport climbers I know either think that trad is crazy or would approach it extreme caution if they did any.


Mick Ward - on 22 Sep 2016
In reply to Rick Graham:

> If a 6b sports climber gets on Vector, they will probably enjoy it, if they can place all the good gear available

Rick, I'd be amazed. I know lots of 6b climbers who wouldn't have a cat's chance in hell of getting up Vector.


> In visiting a new area, just best to try easier routes first to get a feel for the grading and climbing style.

Totally agree. That's exactly what I've always done - but increasingly people don't. Most weekends there are loads of folk on Portland discovering that 6a or whatever at the wall doesn't translate to 6a outdoors.

And they generally feel kind of cheated.

Mick



Robert Durran - on 22 Sep 2016
In reply to AJM:

> I suppose I'm more optimistic in my belief that British climbers are no more stupid than all those elsewhere who seem to cope just fine with using the same measurement system for both types of climbing.

I'm sure British climbers would cope fine too, but we are lucky enough to have a superior trad grading system onto which the French grade is increasingly tagged unofficially (and will I suspect in the future be tagged officially).
GridNorth - on 22 Sep 2016
In reply to HeMa:

Well I'll attempt to re-validate one. He climbed 7a/b sport outdoors as well. Must be more careful with my wording in future

To clarify, I think the difference between indoors and outdoor sport is considerably smaller than the difference between sport and trad.

Al
JHiley on 22 Sep 2016
In reply to GridNorth:

It's my experience (in punter-land) that people who can do toprope 6a ok generally can't do HVS on toprope. Although my personal opinion is that 6a and well protected, solid-ish HVS are about the same.

Among climbers I've met in real life (and not on the internet) the Rockfax grade comparison table is generally seen, at best, as a kind of climbing 'in joke' designed to mock sport climbers transitioning to trad.
The fact that currently the 'bold routes' table gives higher equivalent sport grades than the 'safe routes' table doesn't help.

I think this is because in each grading system the top and bottom of each grade is (inevitably) completely arbitrary so lining up two systems next to each other is never going to work. They'll match up some grades higher up the table so it's inevitable that the lower end gets skewed.
HeMa on 22 Sep 2016
In reply to GridNorth:
> To clarify, I think the difference between indoors and outdoor sport is considerably smaller than the difference between sport and trad.

And from my experience it's the other way around.

Placing protection is not really rocket science... but finding the next hold (that isn't neon green) can be hard.

I've taken my fare share of indoor climbers out and seen them struggle (while lookin' for the elusive holds that are hiding in plain sight).

And I've also taken competent bolt clippers out and shown them a bit about placing protection and have them clean after me a few times. After which they've casually OS f6c cracks on gear (of course, if you climb f7b then 6c isn't really all that hard), I guess those lines would get something like E3 or E4 in the UK.
Ramblin dave - on 22 Sep 2016
In reply to AJM:

> I'd prefer to just have a specific danger rating like a pg/r/x or an obl/expo sort of setup personally. If you use an overall grade you need to know what the "normal" French grade for an overall adjectival grade is (E5 fr6b+ only says "necky" if you have the additional information that a normal E5 has a French grade of 7a or whatever, whereas 6b+ expo just says it's necky outright).

Personally I'd say that adjective grade plus danger rating would be the most useful two-part grade. I want to look at the adjectival grade to decide whether a route's within my capabilities, beyond my capabilities, or marginal, and then at the danger grade if it's marginal and I'm not sure whether to have a punt anyway. About the only thing that I ever use the UK tech grade for is as an imperfect way of guessing how necky a route is going to be.

A sport grade plus danger rating would make a lot of sense for similar reasons, but you'd lose the nice "everything summed up in one grade" thing, and also the look on newbies faces when you explain the adjectival grading system to them for the first time.

I mean, the UK trad grading system is adequate for most purposes as it is, but that doesn't mean that it's perfect.
Rick Graham on 22 Sep 2016
In reply to Mick Ward:

> Rick, I'd be amazed. I know lots of 6b climbers who wouldn't have a cat's chance in hell of getting up Vector.

OK then, 6b+ climbers who can use their feet
GridNorth - on 22 Sep 2016
In reply to HeMa:

OK I will concede to your greater experience. I can only call on those specific two events. In the first case it was a matter of the guy, in reality a youngster who was in the UK Team, not having the bottle for it at that time and the other, as you say, not being able to read the route because of the lack of obvious holds.

Al
GridNorth - on 22 Sep 2016
In reply to Rick Graham:

> OK then, 6b+ climbers who can use their feet

I've not seen many of those indoors ;-)

Al
AJM - on 22 Sep 2016
In reply to Robert Durran:

I get that you like it, but what exactly do you see as the advantage of adjective+tech over adjective+French, which is the way the system seems most likely to evolve if it stays as 2-factor (I don't see explicit danger grades happening)?

French allows a clean separation of difficulty and danger and also avoids the vagueness of higher end UK tech grades. What's your counter argument to support the tech grade?
AJM - on 22 Sep 2016
In reply to GridNorth:

> To clarify, I think the difference between indoors and outdoor sport is considerably smaller than the difference between sport and trad.

Maybe if you mean sport climbing on continental orange rock covered in white permachalk, but I'd agree with the other poster that outdoor and indoor climbing are way less similar than sport and trad on most UK rock types. I get that relying on "sport=indoor" is pretty helpful for a lot of the arguments, because everyone loves a good "strong indoor climber clueless outdoors" stereotype, but most UK sports climbing is nothing like the indoor wall.
Chris Craggs - on 22 Sep 2016
In reply to HeMa:

>
> Placing protection is not really rocket science...

But placing gear you have total faith in when you are under pressure is something you can't learn in five minutes,

Chris
Robert Durran - on 22 Sep 2016
In reply to AJM:

> I get that you like it, but what exactly do you see as the advantage of adjective+tech over adjective+French, which is the way the system seems most likely to evolve if it stays as 2-factor (I don't see explicit danger grades happening)?

I would quite happily have adjective + French, especially in the higher grades. What I don't want is to lose the adjectival grade and being faced with F6b+ of 5.10b and not knowing whether it is a safe E2 to romp up or a bold E4 to avoid, like I've been faced with abroad! Danger grades do help but I like the single grade reflecting the overall challenge of the route.

> French allows a clean separation of difficulty and danger and also avoids the vagueness of higher end UK tech grades. What's your counter argument to support the tech grade?

None!

Robert Durran - on 22 Sep 2016
In reply to Chris Craggs:

> But placing gear you have total faith in when you are under pressure is something you can't learn in five minutes,

Absolutely - it's a hard won art. I suspect HeMa is coming more from perspective of plug and go granite cracks rather than fiddling in a clutch of small wires and wondering whether to go......

Mick Ward - on 22 Sep 2016
In reply to Chris Craggs:

> But placing gear you have total faith in when you are under pressure is something you can't learn in five minutes,

Absolutely. The 'under pressure' factor cuts right across any grade equivalence. And I suspect a lot of sport to trad climbers feel significantly under pressure the minute they look up and start to agonise about where their next good piece of gear is coming from.

Mick

ads.ukclimbing.com
wbo - on 22 Sep 2016
In reply to Owen W-G: these differences are not helped by the apparent inability of many walls to resist soft grading. My ego gets a regular battering at my local wall, but if you climb 6b there you will climb 6b outdoors,

Mick Ward - on 22 Sep 2016
In reply to Chris Craggs:

Woops, Robert got there first. Why do I spend so long pondering?

Mick
Will Hunt - on 22 Sep 2016
In reply to Owen W-G:

Surprised that this thread is still rumbling on. The short answer is: don't bother trying to convert UK tech grades (in fact, unless they're being used on UK trad routes, don't expect the UK tech grade to make much sense at all).

I think 1poundsocks was on the money with this:
"But it is surprising how easy UK 6b can can feel when there's a bolt protecting it."

The same move will generally attract a higher tech grade the further it is above the gear. I know it's not supposed to, but it happens. We discuss it at length at the crag (endless opportunities for conjecture). One climber I know, who paths whatever you put in front of him at E4/E5 and makes nonchalant headpoints up to E7 says that his least favourite grade on grit is E3 5c. Because it generally means pain potential, and because, whereas 6a is generally going to involve a basic strenuous pull, 5c means anything that you don't have to pull hard enough on to be 6a, but is too hard to be 5b - the scope for slopey 3D weirdness is boundless!

FWIW, Troller's Gill is home to some pretty soft grades. The "top end" 7b I did there on the weekend was bouldering up three bolts to a rest at the fourth bolt, then easy, with a final technical move on a slopey crimp to reach the finishing jug. No individual move was harder than 6a. The soft 7c next door has an opening sequence that's supposed to be 7A into similarly non-taxing climbing. Isn't Raindogs reputed to be 6a, but 6a from floor to chain?
Michael Gordon - on 22 Sep 2016
In reply to AJM:

I love the tech grade. I admit there MAY be a problem with quantifying exactly at the top end but at most grades there's just not a problem. I could try and justify it (since Robert won't) but is there any point? You like one, I like the other and these viewpoints tend to be formed through use, not debate.
andrewmcleod - on 22 Sep 2016
In reply to Owen W-G:

I would be quite happy with french grades plus danger grades - 6b U/PG/15/18/X for the UK

I know the 'situation seriousness' bit gets lost, as does the 'hardest move' bit, but the first is usually pretty obvious (if it is a 10m grit route, the only danger is hitting the ground, whereas a 100m sea-level traverse is obviously more serious regardless of the state of the gear) and I can live without the second.

At the lower grades it would avoid the tendency to give bolder VS routes 'VS 4b' and a tricky but super-safe VS 'VS 5a' regardless of the actual tech grades... you would instead get the same French grade of maybe 4c but with appropriate danger grades. It also solves the problem of when you put a VS 4b on top of a HS 4c, which logically is VS 4c but with boldness of a VS 4b...
Michael Gordon - on 22 Sep 2016
In reply to andrewmcleod:
>
> At the lower grades it would avoid the tendency to give bolder VS routes 'VS 4b' and a tricky but super-safe VS 'VS 5a' regardless of the actual tech grades...


That doesn't make any sense to me. Bold 4b usually gets VS and bold 4c usually gets HVS. Sounds as though you're just talking about badly graded routes.


"It also solves the problem of when you put a VS 4b on top of a HS 4c, which logically is VS 4c but with boldness of a VS 4b..."

The description usually solves that problem. I don't see how the other way does though - without a description you still are no wiser as to whether the hardest moves are the bold ones or not.
Post edited at 17:48
andy farnell - on 22 Sep 2016
In reply to Will Hunt: Raindogs crux is 6b. The rest is mostly 5c/6a. But 20+ moves at that level are a little draining.

Andy F

HeMa on 22 Sep 2016
In reply to Robert Durran:

> Absolutely - it's a hard won art. I suspect HeMa is coming more from perspective of plug and go granite cracks rather than fiddling in a clutch of small wires and wondering whether to go......

Yes, as I actually stated above. Placing cams or wires in a solid granite crack isn't really rocket science.

And keepin' ones cool is also rather easy, if you're operating well below your OS limit (in sport).
andrewmcleod - on 22 Sep 2016
In reply to Michael Gordon:

> That doesn't make any sense to me. Bold 4b usually gets VS and bold 4c usually gets HVS. Sounds as though you're just talking about badly graded routes.

There just aren't enough grades that VS can realistically have to accurately indicate the danger grade. With the exception of silly routes, VS can only take 4b, 4c or 5a. A safe VS can reasonably take any of these values: 4b if it is very pumpy/sustained, 4c normally, 5a if well-protected (but can still be sustained at the grade - see Lost Horizon!). A bold VS would normally be 4b although some soft VS 4c might be a bit bold. You can't know if a VS 4b or 4c route is bold from the grade alone; in my (limited) experience a VS which is bold will be given 4b. In other words, the tech grade is used to indicate the danger rather than the actual tech grade of the hardest move...

> "It also solves the problem of when you put a VS 4b on top of a HS 4c, which logically is VS 4c but with boldness of a VS 4b..."

> The description usually solves that problem. I don't see how the other way does though - without a description you still are no wiser as to whether the hardest moves are the bold ones or not.

The danger grade would tell you. If you have bold 4b (4c) moves on a 'VS', then danger grade would be medium (high). If you have safe 4c moves but some sketchy 3a moves, the danger grade is low. 'Danger' is precisely the feeling of boldness of a route.

French grades are the best predictor of whether or not you will get up a route.
Tech grades give you some warning of whether there is a stopper move (but are rubbish at the top and bottom end).
UK adjectival grades tell you whether trying the route is a good idea or not... :P
Danger grades let you choose the scale of your own adventure.
Misha - on 22 Sep 2016
In reply to Robert Durran:
Spot on. In fact some guide books include French grades in addition to the trad grades for harder routes.

To those who have an issue with the trad grading system I would say this: trad requires a degree of competence and experience and that includes understanding how the grading system works and being able to figure out what a route is like from the grad, the topo, the guide book description and finally from looking at it in real life. If you can't do that, perhaps trad climbing isn't for you...
Misha - on 23 Sep 2016
In reply to AJM:

> I'd prefer to just have a specific danger rating like a pg/r/x or an obl/expo sort of setup personally. If you use an overall grade you need to know what the "normal" French grade for an overall adjectival grade is (E5 fr6b+ only says "necky" if you have the additional information that a normal E5 has a French grade of 7a or whatever, whereas 6b+ expo just says it's necky outright).

If someone doesn't know what physical difficulty of climbing to expect on an E5, they shouldn't be getting on an E5!

Misha - on 23 Sep 2016
In reply to AJM:

> I suppose I'm more optimistic in my belief that British climbers are no more stupid than all those elsewhere who seem to cope just fine with using the same measurement system for both types of climbing. I mean, it's hardly rocket science is it...

A lot of overseas trad is based on crack climbing, where the gear is good, so you mostly focus on the physical and technical challenge. Not everything of course.
Robert Durran - on 23 Sep 2016
In reply to andrewmcleod:

> French grades are the best predictor of whether or not you will get up a route.

No, they tell you whether you'd get up it on a you rope.

> UK adjectival grades tell you whether trying the route is a good idea or not...

No, they tell you whether a well rounded climber at the grade would onsight it.

The combination of all information in the grade or otherwise tell you whether you personally should try it and if so how likely you are to onsight it.

AJM - on 23 Sep 2016
In reply to Misha:
> To those who have an issue with the trad grading system I would say this: trad requires a degree of competence and experience and that includes understanding how the grading system works and being able to figure out what a route is like from the grad, the topo, the guide book description and finally from looking at it in real life. If you can't do that, perhaps trad climbing isn't for you...

Patronising crap. Not understanding it and thinking it could be improved aren't the same thing.

Trying to play the "maybe it's just not for you" card is weak argument - debate the issue, don't try to belittle the posters.

I could choose to say that people wedded to the UK system are wedded to it because they lack the experience to have travelled widely and seen some of the good things that other climbing cultures do in grading routes. But I don't because I know that some of the people discussing these issues are experienced, are widely travelled but haven't reached the same conclusions I might have done, and so I don't disrespect them by opting for that dismissive approach.

Think about that the next time you tell people with significant amounts of trad experience that maybe trad climbing isn't for them just because they think the current way of measuring it's difficulty could be improved.....
Post edited at 06:58
AJM - on 23 Sep 2016
In reply to Misha:

> A lot of overseas trad is based on crack climbing, where the gear is good, so you mostly focus on the physical and technical challenge. Not everything of course.

Well, of course not everything. There are plenty of "fiddly" trad venues outside the uk. Do people moan it doesn't work at all those other venues?
Si dH - on 23 Sep 2016
In reply to GridNorth:
> Some of you guys have more confidence in sports climbers transitioning to trad than I do.

The vast majority of sport climbers I know in the UK have transitioned 'from' trad. Low grade sport climbing round here isn't the best so almost everyone starts outside on trad, and only takes up sport when they get strong enough and fancy a chang after a few years.
Certainly your average party on a sport route in cheedale will be a more competent trad pairing, and more able to understand any grading system, than your average party on any popular grit crag.

Fwiw I think adjectival+tech means more to me in the lower grades than adjectival+french. They are more refined; Vs 4+ just wouldn't tell me anything, and that's what they would all be. Conversely, in the higher grades the UK tech system is crap and therefore adjectival+french is much better than adjectival+tech (tech 6a, 6b etc being so broad.) The transition for this in my view is about E1/E2 ish. At Hvs I'd definitely rather have uk tech, at E3 I'd definitely rather have adjectival.
For some harder grit routes, adding an extra dimension to this, what you really want is adjectival+font.

Si
Post edited at 07:01
Michael Gordon - on 23 Sep 2016
In reply to andrewmcleod:

> There just aren't enough grades that VS can realistically have to accurately indicate the danger grade. With the exception of silly routes, VS can only take 4b, 4c or 5a. A safe VS can reasonably take any of these values: 4b if it is very pumpy/sustained, 4c normally, 5a if well-protected (but can still be sustained at the grade - see Lost Horizon!). A bold VS would normally be 4b although some soft VS 4c might be a bit bold. You can't know if a VS 4b or 4c route is bold from the grade alone; in my (limited) experience a VS which is bold will be given 4b. In other words, the tech grade is used to indicate the danger rather than the actual tech grade of the hardest move...


Don't know Lost Horizon but sustained well protected 5a should usually be HVS


> The danger grade would tell you. If you have bold 4b (4c) moves on a 'VS', then danger grade would be medium (high). If you have safe 4c moves but some sketchy 3a moves, the danger grade is low. 'Danger' is precisely the feeling of boldness of a route.
>

But the example you used earlier was an HS 4c into a VS 4b. If bold, the danger grade I presume you'd have on the high side but that still doesn't tell you if the bold moves are 4b or 4c which is what a HS/VS/HVS climber would want to know.
GrahamD - on 23 Sep 2016
In reply to andrewmcleod:

> A safe VS can reasonably take any of these values: 4b if it is very pumpy/sustained, 4c normally, 5a if well-protected

With VS I disagree. I can't think of many (any) routes that are a) genuine VS 4b (rather than stupidly overgraded HS) that warrant the grade for sustained climbing.

I absolutely disagree that"French grades are the best predictor of whether or not you will get up a route." on the lead. To second maybe. In terms of an overall lead prospect, taking everything into account, the UK adjectival is a perfect indication for a well rounded trad climber as to how hard they will find it.

>'Danger' is precisely the feeling of boldness of a route.

No it isn't. Danger is a combination of a number of factors including environment, landing, competence of the climber and partner and protection. Boldness is subjective. To me a route feels bold if my feet venture a metre above my last runner, even if a fall would be almost certainly 'safe'.
Robert Durran - on 23 Sep 2016
In reply to Si dH:

> anything, and that's what they would all be. Conversely, in the higher grades the UK tech system is crap and therefore adjectival+french is much better than adjectival+tech (tech 6a, 6b etc being so broad.) The transition for this in my view is about E1/E2 ish. At Hvs I'd definitely rather have uk tech, at E3 I'd definitely rather have French.

(I presume you meant French)

I don't think the transition is a grade thing. Tech for cruxy, French for steep and sustained. I'd prefer the French grade to be given in addition where it is appropriate at any grade, which will, more often be in the higher grades though not always.

Personally I have never found the UK grade "crap" at the grades I have climbed up to E5. In fact it works well for me: 5c tricky, 6a hard, 6b desperate, 6c forget it.

> For some harder grit routes, adding an extra dimension to this, what you really want is adjectival+font

If there are grading systems out there which people are familiar with and which work for some routes, then we might as well use them.

Robert Durran - on 23 Sep 2016
In reply to AJM:

> Patronising crap. Not understanding it and thinking it could be improved aren't the same thing.

Indeed and I think what frustrates many people about criticism of the UK adjectival grade is that people from abroad deride it and claim is unintelligible without making any effort to work out or find out how it works, which isn't really all that difficult.

On the other hand, it is possible to climb extensively in the States, make a real effort, consult locals and still find the YDS hopeless.



GridNorth - on 23 Sep 2016
In reply to Si dH:

I don't disagree with what you say and I have no issues with people wanting to supplement UK grades with another descriptor but like you I do not believe this is necessary in the lower grades. What annoys me though is people who want to replace UK grades because they do not understand the UK system and believe that the French system is "better".

Al
GrahamD - on 23 Sep 2016
In reply to GridNorth:

> I don't disagree with what you say and I have no issues with people wanting to supplement UK grades with another descriptor but like you I do not believe this is necessary in the lower grades. What annoys me though is people who want to replace UK grades because they do not understand the UK system and believe that the French system is "better".

> Al

What is the French system even ? in the Alps, its Alpine grades. On boulders its Font. On sport routes its the f6a+ system (whatever its called).
1poundSOCKS - on 23 Sep 2016
In reply to GrahamD:

> On sport routes its the f6a+ system (whatever its called).

It's not just sport, regular (i.e. not Alpine) trad uses this system. And since we're talking routes, I think you can ignore boulder grades.
Robert Durran - on 23 Sep 2016
In reply to 1poundSOCKS:

> It's not just sport, regular (i.e. not Alpine) trad uses this system.

It's used a lot on Alpine rock as well and other places for trad around the world.

GrahamD - on 23 Sep 2016
In reply to 1poundSOCKS:

> It's not just sport, regular (i.e. not Alpine) trad uses this system. And since we're talking routes, I think you can ignore boulder grades.

I don't think you can ignore boulder grades for a couple of reasons: a) A lot of our short grit 'routes' are boulder problems both in terms of climbing and in terms of lecngth relative to Font b) from a punters perspective there seems to be a trend at the top to describe cruxy moves on a route in terms of Font grade rather than UK technical. For sustained routes the adjectival seems to be augmented (NOT replaced by the French sport grade).
1poundSOCKS - on 23 Sep 2016
In reply to GrahamD:

> I don't think you can ignore boulder grades for a couple of reasons

I think you're over complicating things. We know what was meant by 'French system', that was my only point.
GrahamD - on 23 Sep 2016
In reply to 1poundSOCKS:

> I think you're over complicating things. We know what was meant by 'French system', that was my only point.

Which is a fair point. Mine was that some people don't seem to understand that it has major limitations when applied to different styles of climbing.
Ian Parsons - on 23 Sep 2016
In reply to Robert Durran:

> It's used a lot on Alpine rock as well and other places for trad around the world.>

I'm a bit out of touch with alpine guidebooks these days. Does anyone know of any modern French guides to alpine areas - Alps or Pyrenees - that don't now use French grades for the rock pitches, whether bolted or not? ie Do any French guidebooks still use "old" (UIAA) Roman numeral grades for rock?


HeMa on 23 Sep 2016
In reply to Ian Parsons:

> Do any French guidebooks still use "old" (UIAA) Roman numeral grades for rock?

Some do, most don't... it's the french (sport) grade for rock pitches.
Ian Parsons - on 23 Sep 2016
In reply to HeMa:

> Some do, most don't... it's the french (sport) grade for rock pitches.

Ah - thanks. I'd rather assumed that none did anymore. Do you know which ones still use "old" grades, and whether they're recent editions or simply old ones that have never been superceded by something more current?
HeMa on 23 Sep 2016
In reply to Ian Parsons:

Generally those form German (or Austrian) publishers might still use the UIAA rock grade. And I've seen some Italian topos as well, with UIAA grades.

But majority of new topos I've seen, seem to use the french grade these days. So in sort, part of them have been old and some from legacy/heritage reasons (IUAA grade after all is a legacy product of around that region... albeit I seem to recall the actual history is from Elbesandstein, which is in CZ).
GrahamD - on 23 Sep 2016
In reply to HeMa:

The East German part of Elbanstein, at least, seems to have a grading system all of its own ! Its certainly not standard UIAA
Pero - on 23 Sep 2016
In reply to JHiley:
> It's my experience (in punter-land) that people who can do toprope 6a ok generally can't do HVS on toprope. Although my personal opinion is that 6a and well protected, solid-ish HVS are about the same.

Looking at what the same climber can do on a top rope or seconding has to be the best measure for comparing tech grades. But, you need a climber who has a reasonable experience of both.

I can generally second UK 5b, but 5c is a grade too far. And I can usually top rope Sport 6a, but 6b is definitely beyond me. For my climbing, I find:

4c = 5/5+; 5a = 5+/easy 6a; 5b = 6a/6a+; 5c = 6b = unclimbable!

It depends of course on the climber and his/her expereince. A lot of sports climbing is closer to indoor wall climbing. Whereas, generally trad requires a different range of techniques. I've seen those who can top-rope a "straight up" fingery 6b yet be stumped by a gritstone VS 4c.
Post edited at 17:11
Chris Craggs - on 23 Sep 2016
In reply to Pero:

> I can generally second UK 5b, but 5c is a grade too far. And I can usually top rope Sport 6a, but 6b is definitely beyond me. For my climbing, I find:

> 4c = 5/5+; 5a = 5+/easy 6a; 5b = 6a/6a+; 5c = 6b = unclimbable!

That seems to be a quite a bit out to me:

F4+ = 4c
F5 = 5a
F5+ = 5b
F6a = 5c
F6b = 6a

(F = French not Font)

Chris
Si dH - on 23 Sep 2016
In reply to Robert Durran:
> I don't think the transition is a grade thing. Tech for cruxy, French for steep and sustained. I'd prefer the French grade to be given in addition where it is appropriate at any grade, which will, more often be in the higher grades though not always.

I would agree with that, except that I think (a) the french grades are too broad to be useful at the bottom end (everything from easy severe to tough VS being 4/4+?) and (b) I think UK tech grades are too broad to be useful once into the 6s (as someone who has climbed E3 trad, 8a sport and 7B+ font, tech 6b can be anything from an easy flash to completely impossible after multiple sessions.) If cduxy then a Font grade would be much btter - climbing at that level is always very dependent on personal strengths, but it would still be far more precise than tech grades. For the majority of (non-grit) harder routes though, they aren't that cruxy, so french grade would be better.

Edit: of course for cruxy routes we could just 'fix' the tech grade system. (I need that 'can of worms'emoticon from ukb at this point.)
Post edited at 18:03
Michael Gordon - on 23 Sep 2016
In reply to Chris Craggs:

> That seems to be a quite a bit out to me:

> F4+ = 4c

> F5 = 5a

> F5+ = 5b

> F6a = 5c

> F6b = 6a
>

I would say the routes would have to be quite cruxy for those grades to feel similar.
Chris Craggs - on 23 Sep 2016
In reply to Michael Gordon:

> I would say the routes would have to be quite cruxy for those grades to feel similar.

I should have added these are 'French' French grades and not 'Greek' French grades - if you know what I mean!

Chris ;-)
springfall2008 - on 23 Sep 2016
In reply to Chris Craggs:

> That seems to be a quite a bit out to me:

> F4+ = 4c
> F5 = 5a
> F5+ = 5b
> F6a = 5c
> F6b = 6a
> (F = French not Font)

HVS 5a's retro bolted usually end up as F5c

Basically you can approx add 2 grades from British tech grades to French grades if the route has the average adjective grade (e.g. HS 4b = F5a, VS 4c = F5b, HVS 5a=F5c, E1 5b = F6a)

But I've seen outdoor climbers who can climb F6a failing to second a VS 4c and visa-versa.
Misha - on 23 Sep 2016
In reply to AJM:
I didn't meant to say it can't be improved. It can be, by adding a sport grade, which some guide books are doing for harder routes. What I meant is people dismissing the trad system as inadequate or not fit for purpose. It's good enough but could be better.
Misha - on 23 Sep 2016
In reply to AJM:

> Well, of course not everything. There are plenty of "fiddly" trad venues outside the uk. Do people moan it doesn't work at all those other venues?

Probably because they don't know about our wonderful system ;-)
Misha - on 23 Sep 2016
In reply to Robert Durran:

> Indeed and I think what frustrates many people about criticism of the UK adjectival grade is that people from abroad deride it and claim is unintelligible without making any effort to work out or find out how it works, which isn't really all that difficult.

Yes. Same for some UK climbers. I don't mean AJM, I'm sure he has at least as much trad experience as me. AJM - please don't take my post personally, sorry if it annoyed you.
Misha - on 23 Sep 2016
In reply to GrahamD:
Increasingly, sport grades are being used for pitches on Alpine routes instead of the traditional Alpine grading system (which was used in the AC guide books for example). That's a good thing as it means one less grading system to understand! Sport grades are fine for Chamonix granite cracks as the gear is good but don't work as well for granite slabs, it's a bit like giving slabby grit a sport grade. A trad grade would be far better... but you get used to it. May be that's the real point, you get used to whatever you come across regularly.
AJM - on 24 Sep 2016
In reply to Misha:

> Sport grades are fine for Chamonix granite cracks as the gear is good but don't work as well for granite slabs, it's a bit like giving slabby grit a sport grade. A trad grade would be far better... but you get used to it. May be that's the real point, you get used to whatever you come across regularly.

I suspect if you spent a lot of time climbing bolted granite slabs whilst cragging you'd find using them in the mountains perfectly logical too - a trad grade probably makes more sense because there are few bolted cragging slab areas that UK climbers tend to visit whereas in the UK there's the trad experience from Cornwall and Scotland and so on to fall back on. Which is your last point, really...
Pero - on 24 Sep 2016
In reply to Chris Craggs:

> That seems to be a quite a bit out to me:

> F4+ = 4c

> F5 = 5a

> F5+ = 5b

> F6a = 5c

> F6b = 6a

> (F = French not Font)

> Chris

On top rope, I've been climbing successfully and often crusing F5/5+ for years, but I can't think of many 5a/5b's I've cruised on second. Whatever anyone else can climb, those grades would make no sense for me personally.

Robert Durran - on 24 Sep 2016
In reply to Pero:

> On top rope, I've been climbing successfully and often crusing F5/5+ for years, but I can't think of many 5a/5b's I've cruised on second. Whatever anyone else can climb, those grades would make no sense for me personally.

Agreed. I'd like to think that I'd find almost any F6b a path, but I would find any tech 6a move pretty hard.
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dereke12000 - on 25 Sep 2016
In reply to Owen W-G:

I'd suggest to avoid further confusion we reorganise all these systems:

E (European) grades e.g. E1, E2, E3 to replace all these French (European) systems,
F or f grades to show how hard it actually Feels e.g. F6a, f7a,
and S (Sport) grades e.g S (sport), HS (hard sport), HVS, etc.
JHiley on 25 Sep 2016
In reply to springfall2008:

> HVS 5a's retro bolted usually end up as F5c

> Basically you can approx add 2 grades from British tech grades to French grades if the route has the average adjective grade (e.g. HS 4b = F5a, VS 4c = F5b, HVS 5a=F5c, E1 5b = F6a)

> But I've seen outdoor climbers who can climb F6a failing to second a VS 4c and visa-versa.

I think that seems sensible but a HVS that gets retro-bolted isn't likely to have been all that well protected to start with.
I think it's better to look at trad routes which are very safe if comparing them to bolted routes.
I do think quite a few well protected HVS are worth sport 6a. Neb Buttress (HVS 5a) and Coral Seas (6a) are very comparable in the same style (Although I'm pretty sure Joint Effort (HVS 5a) is barely a 5)
JHiley on 25 Sep 2016
In reply to Chris Craggs:

> That seems to be a quite a bit out to me:

> F4+ = 4c

> F5 = 5a

> F5+ = 5b

> F6a = 5c

> F6b = 6a

How could they line up so neatly given that each grade inevitably has a completely arbitrary low and high limit and they weren't specifically developed to be comparable?!

Are you sure you aren't lining them up at a higher grade and therefore skewing the lower grades? (where punters like me hang out)


Bulls Crack - on 25 Sep 2016
In reply to JHiley:

It's not an exact match; its grades you might expect to find at those levels.
Robert Durran - on 25 Sep 2016
In reply to Bulls Crack:

> It's not an exact match; its grades you might expect to find at those levels.

If I found moves that hard at those levels, I would consider myself sandbagged.
springfall2008 - on 25 Sep 2016
In reply to JHiley:

> I think that seems sensible but a HVS that gets retro-bolted isn't likely to have been all that well protected to start with.

Depends on the crag, for example Ban-y-gor has many trad routes retro-bolted just because it's permitted and is now really a sports venue.

On the other hand Wintour's Leap has routes that depend totally on rusty pegs but they can't be replaced with bolts - go figure!

Bulls Crack - on 25 Sep 2016
In reply to Robert Durran:

Yeah..maybe max grades you might be unlucky enough to find!
Misha - on 26 Sep 2016
In reply to Robert Durran:

I agree, no way does the average F6a have 5c moves on it or the average F6b have 6a moves. I'd expect some (not many) 5c moves on a F6b and again some (not many, probably just the crux) 6a moves on a F6c.
andrewmcleod - on 19:26 Mon
In reply to Robert Durran:
> No, they tell you whether you'd get up it on a you rope.

OK, that is what I meant/should have said (I am, I guess, failing to account for the additional difficulty of placing the gear on lead, and I am deliberately NOT choosing to consider the mental fear factor which should be accounted for in the danger grade). I have no interest in grading routes as harder because they are 'bolder' but safe if the technical difficulty is the same...

> No, they tell you whether a well rounded climber at the grade would onsight it.

Well, yes and no... you could have two routes that a climber would be equally likely to onsight but one involves a significant chance of death should they fail! Hopefully these would not have the same grade...
Post edited at 19:28
andrewmcleod - on 19:36 Mon
In reply to Michael Gordon:

> Don't know Lost Horizon but sustained well protected 5a should usually be HVS

I could agree with that, as opposed to top-end VS, but I don't see the grade changing any time soon (the new guidebook will appear at some point though!).

> But the example you used earlier was an HS 4c into a VS 4b. If bold, the danger grade I presume you'd have on the high side but that still doesn't tell you if the bold moves are 4b or 4c which is what a HS/VS/HVS climber would want to know.

A HS 4c + VS 4b would get a higher danger grade than a HS 4b + VS 4c (or just VS 4c). If the dangerous moves are 4c then it is presumably not VS; if for some reason it still was then the danger grade would be even higher again. Danger is a relative thing; 4b moves from which you would deck low down are presumably not that 'dangerous' on an E3. The only E3 I have ever seconded was Comes the Dervish; the overall route would probably get a lower danger grade than just the bottom 8m which would presumably be HVS/E1 4c or something...

(PS as someone else pointed out, boldness /= danger, replace anything I said earlier about boldness with danger)
Robert Durran - on 21:43 Mon
In reply to andrewmcleod:

> I have no interest in grading routes as harder because they are 'bolder' but safe if the technical difficulty is the same...

You may not, but I can assure you that a route with a totally "safe" 80ft fall from a5c move is not going to get E2.

> Well, yes and no... you could have two routes that a climber would be equally likely to onsight but one involves a significant chance of death should they fail! Hopefully these would not have the same grade......

They should do if climbers declining to attempt the route with the death fall are included in the statistics as failures (as, of course, they should).

Misha - on 21:58 Mon
In reply to andrewmcleod:
Assuming standard technical / physical difficulty for the route, eg E1 5b. Bold but still fairly safe, ie decent fall potential but shouldn't break anything = E2. Same for dodgy rock. Dangerous fall potential = E3. And E4 = very bad news / welcome to Gogarth!
Jon Stewart - on 22:32 Mon
In reply to andrewmcleod:

> Well, yes and no... you could have two routes that a climber would be equally likely to onsight but one involves a significant chance of death should they fail! Hopefully these would not have the same grade...

You seem to have got the point and missed it at the same time.

They wouldn't have the same grade because climbers of different abilities *wouldn't* have an equal chance of onsighting them. The better climber would be happy to solo the crux, the weaker climber would either back off or have to get rescued unable to do the crux. That what happens when you get on a route that's too hard, you don't just carry on until you meet the limit of your physical ability and then fall off.

There is no distinction between boldness and danger, they are the same thing. Taking a fall isn't safe, it's a risk. The gear could fail, and/or you can hurt yourself, particularly by inverting (ever taken a big fall onto a 'baby bouncer', or on double ropes on a traverse?). If you're miles above your gear, you may be reasonably safe from decking, but you can still hurt yourself, and badly if things go wrong. If you're miles above your gear and the moves are at your limit, you will be terrified - this is what the E-grade tells you. It's much more about this - how hard the route is to climb, i.e. how it feels - than about the actual consequences of a fall which is pretty much untested.
springfall2008 - on 08:38 Tue
In reply to JHiley:


> Among climbers I've met in real life (and not on the internet) the Rockfax grade comparison table is generally seen, at best, as a kind of climbing 'in joke' designed to mock sport climbers transitioning to trad.

I think it's a bit like if you compare guitar and violin music grades, they might line up but that doesn't mean someone good at guitar can play a violin at the same level. I think the comparison table is about right in that someone with around the same level of competence with both outdoor sports and Trad would fine their difficulty similar. However, most people start climbing sports and then move to Trad later, so they tend to be better at sport climbing to start with...
GrahamD - on 10:02 Tue
In reply to springfall2008:

> However, most people start climbing sports and then move to Trad later, so they tend to be better at sport climbing to start with...

Not sure how true that is. Maybe it is these days but most people I know coming through the club didn't start on sport. They started with a basic love of the outdoors. Maybe that's because Cambridge doesn't have a leading wall.
1poundSOCKS - on 12:25 Tue
In reply to Jon Stewart:

> There is no distinction between boldness and danger

I tend to think of bold climbing as intimidating climbing, so it could be run-out but fairly safe above bomber gear, or maybe more dangerous with obvious things to hit. Hopefully the guidebook will use the work 'serious' where necessary. Obviously any fall can be dangerous, but on well-protected steeper routes, a lot aren't very. Any trad climb involves danger, but not all are bold.
Jon Stewart - on 13:56 Tue
In reply to 1poundSOCKS:

> I tend to think of bold climbing as intimidating climbing, so it could be run-out but fairly safe above bomber gear, or maybe more dangerous with obvious things to hit. Hopefully the guidebook will use the work 'serious' where necessary. Obviously any fall can be dangerous, but on well-protected steeper routes, a lot aren't very. Any trad climb involves danger, but not all are bold.

Yes, I agree that lots of trad routes - mainly cracks - are really very safe and you'd be very unlikely to hurt yourself at all on them. I was just making the point that the E grade doesn't really tell you about the consequence of a fall, it tells you how hard it feels. For example, you tend to get not very high grades for objectively dangerous boulder problem starts where there's a high probability of sprains and broken ankles, but big grades for run-outs on big cliffs (which might be safer, but who can say until you get a few hundred people to take the fall and see what happens to them). There's no distinction made on the basis of objective danger, just an overall assessment of how hard the route feels.
1poundSOCKS - on 13:59 Tue
In reply to Jon Stewart:

> There's no distinction made on the basis of objective danger

I thought there were some parameters used, for example Sunset Slab is 4b and HVS, but only because it'd be a very bad idea to fall off that 4b move.
Jon Stewart - on 14:07 Tue
In reply to 1poundSOCKS:

Fair enough, I think at the extreme end where there's no gear and you'll hit the ground from way up - similarly Californian Arete (E1 4c) the objective danger is what makes the adjective grade way out from the technical grade.

But at something more normal like E2 5b, it could either be a possible groundfall from not very high, or it could be a bold-feeling run-out above good gear, or lots of tiny, untrustworthy gear where the objective danger is hard to call. The E grade isn't telling you what happens if you fall off, it's saying "this route feels a bit scary (or is sustained and pumpy)".
1poundSOCKS - on 14:16 Tue
In reply to Jon Stewart:

> The E grade isn't telling you what happens if you fall off

For sure, I rely on the description, and my eyes.

Regarding grading generally, I don't actually want a French grade added, I wouldn't even mind if the tech grade was lost. I just want the adjective grade and have some idea of how dangerous the route is.
Jon Stewart - on 14:27 Tue
In reply to 1poundSOCKS:

> Regarding grading generally, I don't actually want a French grade added, I wouldn't even mind if the tech grade was lost. I just want the adjective grade and have some idea of how dangerous the route is.

That's quite an extreme position! I'm pretty keen on knowing how hard the climbing is. I don't really care if it's a french grade or UK tech, although I suspect the UK tech is better for the routes I do.

It comes back to this:

http://www.ukclimbing.com/forums/t.php?n=650077&v=1#x8395280

1poundSOCKS - on 14:39 Tue
In reply to Jon Stewart:
> That's quite an extreme position!

I thinks it's because in reality I often botch a sequence a bit and end up doing a 5c move on a 5a route (or it feels a lot harder than I think 5a should), or I can't reach so the 4b move is more like 5b. I don't know, it's just hard to relate the reality of climbing to the tech grade given often, so I don't pay so much attention. The adjective grade seems to be a lot more consistent, and if it's E1 or whatever, I generally have some idea of the amount of struggling that the route will involve.

Take the most recent route I led, Peapod at Curbar. That's the opposite really. Gets 5b and seems to involve lot of shuffling up to easy climbing above. Whereas some 5b feels desperate, the crux of Bow Wall at Bosigran for example. How do those relate? I don't think they do. And that's not uncommon, it seems to happen to me as often as not. But in each case the adjective grade seems reasonable. Just tell me where the safe-ish ones are, even if they are a bit bold.

EDIT: Although having seconded The Toy and Elder Crack at the weekend, The Toy is a lot harder (on a top-rope anyway, but I'd rather lead Elder Crack with my big cams).
Post edited at 14:42
Jon Stewart - on 15:08 Tue
In reply to 1poundSOCKS:

> Take the most recent route I led, Peapod at Curbar. That's the opposite really. Gets 5b and seems to involve lot of shuffling up to easy climbing above. Whereas some 5b feels desperate, the crux of Bow Wall at Bosigran for example. How do those relate? I don't think they do.

I haven't done Peapod (it's a personal boycott against polished HVS chimneys, I can't think of anywhere I'd less like to spend my leisure time), but the crux of Bow Wall simply isn't 5b, it's full fat 5c.

> EDIT: Although having seconded The Toy and Elder Crack at the weekend, The Toy is a lot harder (on a top-rope anyway, but I'd rather lead Elder Crack with my big cams).

Again, The Toy is just graded wrong and everyone knows it. It's solid 5c, placing gear all the way up without a good hold to do it from: solid E2. I reckon if there was a load of easy climbing up to a good rest and then The Toy, it would get E3 in most places, even though it would be safer than doing that climbing from the deck.

1poundSOCKS - on 15:17 Tue
In reply to Jon Stewart:

> it's a personal boycott against polished HVS chimneys, I can't think of anywhere I'd less like to spend my leisure time

Polished E1 chimneys maybe. But it's a lovely route, I think you should do it soon. It isn't even that polished.

> Again, The Toy is just graded wrong and everyone knows it. It's solid 5c, placing gear all the way up without a good hold to do it from: solid E2. I reckon if there was a load of easy climbing up to a good rest and then The Toy, it would get E3 in most places, even though it would be safer than doing that climbing from the deck.

I'd have to say I totally agree with that. I think it evens makes a 'joke' about the grade being E2 in the guidebook text, but still gives it E1. So you'd expect a tough E1 I think, despite the 'joke'. Seems a bit daft really, if you're writing a guidebook to knowingly put the wrong grade down, if that's what they've done.

Anyway, slight thread hijack, but my main point is adjective grades might be a bit out, they're mostly reasonable, but tech grades seem to feel out (sometimes way out) far too often for me to take them seriously.
Jon Stewart - on 15:39 Tue
In reply to 1poundSOCKS:

> I'd have to say I totally agree with that. I think it evens makes a 'joke' about the grade being E2 in the guidebook text, but still gives it E1.

There are loads of these, I think it funny. Merchant Man (E2 5b) given E1 in one guide says "might be E2" - it really blatantly is. Cinturato (E2 5b) "feels E2"; Sentinel Crack (E3 5c) "the E2 grade is a joke". It's giving you the same information, just with a nod and a wink, while still resisting grade inflation.

> Anyway, slight thread hijack, but my main point is adjective grades might be a bit out, they're mostly reasonable, but tech grades seem to feel out (sometimes way out) far too often for me to take them seriously.

I think both grades are helpful and arbitrary in equal measure, in equal measure.

Robert Durran - on 15:44 Tue
In reply to 1poundSOCKS:
> Adjective grades might be a bit out, they're mostly reasonable, but tech grades seem to feel out (sometimes way out) far too often for me to take them seriously.

All grades, Adjecticval, Tech , French, Font etc will feel out some of the time, but that is because they are graded for an "average" climber and do not take account of your individual strengths and weaknesses. Tech grades, especially at the upper end, may be particularly prone to this because harder moves become more specific to height, limiting power etc.
Post edited at 15:48
Robert Durran - on 15:47 Tue
In reply to Jon Stewart:

> I haven't done Peapod (it's a personal boycott against polished HVS chimneys, I can't think of anywhere I'd less like to spend my leisure time), but the crux of Bow Wall simply isn't 5b, it's full fat 5c.

I agree about Bow Wall - 5c done from a strenuous position. Also agree about Peapod - hideous polished awkwardness. It was the first of very few climbs I've ever fallen off when I was pushing HVS in my youth and I did it again more recently and slapped up it by the skin of my teeth. Don't bother!
1poundSOCKS - on 15:59 Tue
In reply to Robert Durran:

> Tech grades, especially at the upper end, may be particularly prone to this because harder moves become more specific to height, limiting power etc.

I agree...apart from the upper end bit, cause I don't really do them on trad. Let's scrap them eh?

> Also agree about Peapod - hideous polished awkwardness

The hideousness and awkwardness are subjective so that's fair, but it's not really polished to any great extent.
Michael Hood - on 17:06 Tue
In reply to 1poundSOCKS & others: It's a long time since I've done Peapod but it was 5a when I did it and I can't see why it would go up to 5b, unless it has become very polished - another example of grade inflation.

Also what's wrong with Cinturato at E1 5b - seemed ok to me but then I was ok on slabs at the time. As Robert mentioned above, depends on your strengths and weaknesses.

If your body shape is particularly non-average then you'll notice even more grade "anomalies".

Michael Hood - on 17:08 Tue
In reply to Robert Durran: You should have prepared for Peapod by going to the lakes and doing a load of traditional VDiffs

Ramblin dave - on 17:18 Tue
In reply to Robert Durran:

> All grades, Adjecticval, Tech , French, Font etc will feel out some of the time, but that is because they are graded for an "average" climber and do not take account of your individual strengths and weaknesses.

No disagreement here. And I also think this is probably quite pronounced in the lower tech grades, where people tend to have very pronounced strengths and weaknesses but perhaps lack the experience to know what they are.

On the other hand, we all break if we hit something hard enough, which is why my route choice is generally more influenced by, say, the Rockfax "fluttery heart" symbol than by the tech grade, and another reason that I'd also consider adjectival grade plus a danger / seriousness grade to be a marginally more useful system than adjectival grade plus tech grade.
Jon Stewart - on 18:12 Tue
In reply to Michael Hood:

> Also what's wrong with Cinturato at E1 5b

Unprotected 5b moves above a leg-breaking fall?
GrahamD - on 18:31 Tue
In reply to Jon Stewart:

E1 5b does not mean "no leg breaking fall", just as VD doesn't.
Robert Durran - on 18:48 Tue
In reply to GrahamD:

> E1 5b does not mean "no leg breaking fall".

Not if the leg breaking fall is off an easy bit, but if certainly should mean that you won't break a leg falling off the 5b bit.
Jon Stewart - on 18:50 Tue
In reply to GrahamD:

In a lot of places, E1 5b means "well protected 5b" but on gritstone it can mean 5b, with or without any gear.
Michael Gordon - on 21:14 Tue
In reply to Ramblin dave:

The fluttery heart symbol seems to cover both very serious routes and those that just have a bit of a bold feel. I've done routes with that symbol that I'd consider pretty safe (at least on the hard moves). I think the smiley face symbol (see On Peak Rock) is more useful as the really well protected routes are less open to different interpretations of 'safe'.
Michael Hood - on 21:15 Tue
In reply to Jon Stewart: If I remember correctly the 5b bit on Cinturato is low down - although any fall would stop well below the bottom of the route unless you used the belayer at the side.

Jon Stewart - on 21:16 Tue
In reply to Michael Hood:

I remember it being 5b to get to the break, with the lower moves no harder nor easier.
Michael Hood - on 22:25 Tue
In reply to Jon Stewart: Just looked up my ascent - even though I tend to have good route memory, I suspect your recollection is more accurate since it's likely to be more recent than my lead 29 years ago

Jon Stewart - on 22:29 Tue
In reply to Michael Hood:

I've only done it once and years ago, which is odd considering how often I go out soloing on Stanage. I'll nip out and have another look on a day with nice crisp conditions.
andrewmcleod - on 00:37 Wed

Perhaps what is needed is symbols for 'what happens if I fall off the hard bits?'

(including bits that are not the crux but are also hard, hard being relative to the grade)

You could have symbols for a broken ankle, broken leg, smashed skull, dead...

(this is pretty much what I want from a danger grade)
Post edited at 00:37
Rob Davies - on 07:53 Wed
In reply to Michael Hood:

You really should do it again. I repeated Peapod last year after a 38 year interval and was a bit shocked at how hard it seemed, even seconding!
GrahamD - on 09:09 Wed
In reply to Robert Durran:

> Not if the leg breaking fall is off an easy bit, but if certainly should mean that you won't break a leg falling off the 5b bit.

Why ? its probably only a 10m 'route' anyway. If the 5b bit was well protected it would be HVS.
GrahamD - on 09:17 Wed
In reply to andrewmcleod:

> Perhaps what is needed is symbols for 'what happens if I fall off the hard bits?'

> (including bits that are not the crux but are also hard, hard being relative to the grade)

> You could have symbols for a broken ankle, broken leg, smashed skull, dead...

> (this is pretty much what I want from a danger grade)

You could read the description or look at the route ? thing is different people have different views an which the difficult bit is or the dangerous bit so trying to oversimplify things doesn't help.

I also think danger grades are misleading - a case in point being the Yorkshire P grades where it was easy to interpret P2 as "safe" (despite what the words actually said if read in detail) rather than rely on ones ownjudgement as to whether the route is safe for you.

Like a lot of people,in the heat of the moment I equate being in a scary position with being in a dangerous position - and vice versa which further confuses the interpretation of 'safety' grades - people will see them as not scary grades.
galpinos on 09:21 Wed
In reply to GrahamD:

E1 5b is the grade of a "standard" E1, i.e. neither bold, nor sustained, just middle of the road. If the route is sustained at 5b or the consequences of a fall from the hard climbing are bad, it should be E2 imo. Grit is a bit tricky as the consequences often depend on how you hit the ground, you might be fine, you might be in a very bad way.
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GrahamD - on 09:33 Wed
In reply to galpinos:

Thing is grit quite often isn't 'middle of the road' in length, so it can never be middle of the road in terms of the sustained nature of the climbing. That means it needs to 'earn' its e points by being relatively strenuous or necky when compared with a 40m route or a multipitch mountain E1.

Part of the difficulty with grades, I think, is in terms of thinking of grit as typical when benchmarking when, in reality its far from it. In fact many grit 'routes' at even Font would be run of the mill boulder problems.
galpinos on 09:47 Wed
In reply to GrahamD:

> Thing is grit quite often isn't 'middle of the road' in length, so it can never be middle of the road in terms of the sustained nature of the climbing. That means it needs to 'earn' its e points by being relatively strenuous or necky when compared with a 40m route or a multipitch mountain E1.

> Part of the difficulty with grades, I think, is in terms of thinking of grit as typical when benchmarking when, in reality its far from it. In fact many grit 'routes' at even Font would be run of the mill boulder problems.

But we have one grading system that has to be moulded to fit all these route lengths and rock types, as such you get a degree of local grading. Wrt grit, the description I wrote in my previous post holds true imo.

In general, I find the climbing harder on a grit route for the grade than I do on a long mountain route of the same grade.
Michael Hood - on 10:55 Wed
In reply to galpinos:

> E1 5b is the grade of a "standard" E1, i.e. neither bold, nor sustained, just middle of the road. If the route is sustained at 5b or the consequences of a fall from the hard climbing are bad, it should be E2 imo. Grit is a bit tricky as the consequences often depend on how you hit the ground, you might be fine, you might be in a very bad way.

Ok - say "consequences of a fall from the hard climbing are bad" which would tend to push the grade up, but this might be compensated by "the hard bit is very short" which would take the grade back down (to E1).

Anyway the difficulties and nature of a route like Cinturato are obvious by just looking at it so as long as the technical grade is correct, it shouldn't be difficult to decide which end of the rope you should be on.
GrahamD - on 10:56 Wed
In reply to galpinos:


> In general, I find the climbing harder on a grit route for the grade than I do on a long mountain route of the same grade.

In general, I'm the opposite. So on a sample of 2 the grading is applied pretty well across rock types
Michael Gordon - on 17:57 Wed
In reply to GrahamD:

>
> I also think danger grades are misleading - a case in point being the Yorkshire P grades where it was easy to interpret P2 as "safe" (despite what the words actually said if read in detail) rather than rely on ones own judgement as to whether the route is safe for you.
>

I know what you mean here. I would never interpret P2 as 'safe' but at the same time I don't expect a nasty ground fall from 8m! The trouble is you tend to expect some gear at P2 so can just keep climbing up expecting a usable break while if you just had the E grade system for info you might exercise a bit more caution. A guidebook getting the P grade wrong seems more risky than a slight sandbag on the overall grade.
ian caton on 19:31 Wed
In reply to Owen W-G:

Remember grades are fun but they are bollocks. Don't take any of it too seriously, just because you can redpoint 7b+ at malham doesn't mean you can on sight 6b in the verdon etc etc. They are just to give you a very rough idea of what you are getting into.

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