PRODUCT NEWS: Southern Sandstone Climbs - A New Rockfax

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 UKC Gear 24 May 2017
Southern Sandstone Climbs cover, 5 kbA new Rockfax guidebook and app package is due at this summer. Southern Sandstone Climbs will cover the popular sandstone climbing found in in southeast England, on the borders of Kent and Sussex.

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 ewanjp 25 May 2017
In reply to UKC Gear:

In the photos of the book there seems to be two grades for each climb - sport and then something else (uk tech grade?) does someone know the score?
 Munch 25 May 2017
In reply to ewanjp:
UK tech grade has alway been used on Southern sandstone up to now. The rockfax guide has moved to French grades, apparently to make it easier for indoor climbers to move outside as well as splitting up the higher grades is to smaller divisions.
Post edited at 10:37
 DamonRoberts 25 May 2017
In reply to Munch:

I missed this key point when I first climbed there, and hence got a bit concerned the amount of suffering I was enduring on my way up some of the 5's.
 CurlyStevo 25 May 2017
In reply to Munch:

are they font or sport?
 Fiend 25 May 2017
In reply to UKC Gear:

> It is an interesting area for us since the local ethic is one of top-roping and bouldering dictated by the softness of the rock which can't take normal runner placements without wearing out and causing serious damage to the rock.Lead climbing on hand-placed protection is in fact banned. This has required us to take a new approach to grading and documenting climbs to fit in with the tradition of the area.

Cos that hasn't been going on for several decades already.... ???
pasbury 25 May 2017
In reply to Munch:

down with this sort of thing!
 Munch 25 May 2017
In reply to pasbury:

Down with what sort of thing? I'm more than happy with the English grading system, it's served me fine for the last 10 years.
 deacondeacon 25 May 2017
In reply to UKC Gear:
Good stuff. If you're climbing 6b or or higher the grades are too vague. French system will be a welcome addition.
 Mike Highbury 25 May 2017
In reply to deacondeacon:
> Good stuff. If you're climbing 6b or or higher the grades are too vague. French system will be a welcome addition.

As Fiend points out above, Southern Sandstone has subsisted on a mix for many years.
 Rob Parsons 25 May 2017
In reply to UKC Gear:

What does this add to the existing CC guide? Seems like a potentially controversial move.
 Oceanrower 25 May 2017
In reply to Rob Parsons:

You mean, other than it's 9 years newer than an update to a 22 year old guide?
 Rob Parsons 25 May 2017
In reply to Oceanrower:

I don't 'mean' anything.

Are there new routes in it, for example?
 Daimon - Rockfax Global Crag Moderator 26 May 2017
In reply to Rob Parsons:

We are using the French grade for routes and the Font grade for bouldering. As part of the writing process of this book, grades were looked at in detail for a number of reasons. We had to depart from the UK Tec grade as it no longer works especially, as pointed out, in the higher grades, but to be honest anything from UK 4c and up, things begin to overlap and go out of sync.

For this guide, we are undertaking a transition process concerning the move to French grades. The UK Tec grade will still be there, but in a more minimal manner, to help many of us make the move over. This will also help people stop overworking routes they mistake for easy French grade whereas, in fact, they are hard UK Tec grades.

The book is also a step to help modernise certain aspects of sandstone climbing, primarily as a guide book but also concerning climbing practices and how these are communicated. Hundreds of new climbers come to sandstone each year and we want to ensure they have the best possible information in their hands from day one.

There are plenty of new routes and problems as well as correct ones which have become miss-leading in the past.

Hope this helps.

 James Rushforth Global Crag Moderator 26 May 2017
In reply to Daimon - Rockfax:

I've not seen the finished article but the photography in the sample pages looks great. Nice work Damion.
 Munch 26 May 2017
In reply to Daimon - Rockfax:
When you talk about a transition, are you suggesting that in future editions, the UK tech grade will be phased out completely? I don't mind seeing both grades, but I can't see the benefit of dropping the UK grade completely? As others have said, it's worked ok (not perfectly, but ok) for years, and most of the regulars are well accustomed to it.

And from a sentimental perspective, it would be sad to lose the tech grade from sandstone, seeing as it originated here from the (French) Font grading system.
Post edited at 17:35
 harrison 28 May 2017
In reply to UKC Gear:

The new guidebook looks fantastic. I think the decision on sport and font grades is a good one.

A sport grade + a uk tech grade tells you how hard the climb is and what the most technical move is, and is more in line with the top-roping ethos, and font grades are much more in line with highball problems (especially if you don't include an adjectival component in a UK grade!). I also think keeping the UK grade will help people learn the UK grade.

I think the omission of the adjectival grade (and I understand the intention not to confuse people into bringing their nuts and cams) for the UK grade causes a loss of information (ie an S 4b will feel different to an HS 4b).

I really like the way the javu guide for dartmoor uses a V grade and a uk tech grade for bouldering. Its maybe overkill but you get a good understanding of the problem (hard crux problem V3 6a, or sustained moves V3 5c).

I would support keeping the UK tech grade as an addition to the sport/font grade in the future

 Daimon - Rockfax Global Crag Moderator 30 May 2017
In reply to Munch:
I to have a sentimental attachment to the UK Tec grade on sandstone. But if we are to move forward to help solve and fix a number of issues, we need to make changes.

It has become clearer the UKC Tec grade as used on sandstone has mutated. It has become more of an incremental sandstone grading system and has fallen out of sync with the rest of the UK in places.

This is primarily due to the nature of the climbing and the difficulty in translation when say compared to some gritstone climbs.

It is my intention to drop the UK Tec grade in the future. It is currently dropped from the app anyway. With more flexibility to finely tune the upper grades and lower, to be honest, the French grade is hugely powerful for us to utilise. Take Target at Bowles. A constant battle of UK 5c or 6a? Well, it’s just a lot of 5c moves stacked on top of each other making it harder that those 5c s with fewer moves. The French grade gives us that ability to deal with this by giving it a French 6c.

With regards to the points Harrison made. He is right re the adjectival grade but my intention is for the French grades to stand alone and be self-supporting which it currently does in the world of sport climbing.
 DampRice 04 Jun 2017
In reply to Daimon - Rockfax:

Do you believe the French sport grade works sufficiently well for the very cruxy routes common on sandstone? It is not uncommon to find routes with stopper moves which I don't think the sport grade alone describes that well.
 Daimon - Rockfax Global Crag Moderator 05 Jun 2017
In reply to DampRice:
Sport grades do this very well. There are many sport routes out there that have stopper moves on them. Climbers will always use other grading systems to describe a single move though, but the sport grade will still stand to give the overall impression.

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