Bubbling under the surface of top trad climbing is a question: 'Do these big E grades really exist?'
E grades are designed to be used for an on-sight ascent, but at the very highest levels this is only theoretical. Are the top grades skewed? Does the British grading system fail above E7?
How hard would it be to on-sight E11? Does it matter?
What role does the climbing media play in the push for higher grades? Does the media encourage these stratospheric numbers? Is the media to blame for the grading system getting de-railed?
In these two editorial articles E is for mEdia and The E Grade. Is it broken? Can it be fixed? I have a look at the issues surrounding these questions. I look at alternatives to the E grade and I look at how the media shines in on the big numbers.
Top climber Dave MacLeod also gives me his thoughts on the subject, as well as discussing how he graded Rhapsody E11, and what his thoughts are for Echo Wall.