/ Grades of a few easy routes at Stanage

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Jamie Wakeham 06 Sep 2019

I had a day of running up some easy routes at the Popular End of Stanage yesterday and was struck by what seemed to be a discrepancy to me.

We first did Black Hawk Hell Crack, S 4a.  I thought there were two distinct crux moves, both of which felt middling 4a, both of which had a fantastic runner at head height.  Looking at the logbook voting I see that it's regarded as a middling 4a, and fairly graded at Severe.  All good.

Then we did Sociology, S 4a.  The initial moves felt like tough 4b to me, but I figured that they were only the ground moves and not terribly significant.  But then the move to get up in reach of the mantleshelf also felt really sketchy - easily 4b, and significantly harder than anything on BHHC - and the gear at this point was some way below my feet.  And yet, the logbook voting is mostly for mid Sev (with a few votes for high Sev or low HS) and mid 4a.

Am I missing something?  Are lots of people using the big ledge to the right to make the upper moves easier (I'd thought that ledge was for the next route, Anatomy)?  I can't square these two routes being, on paper, the same grade.

And whilst I'm asking- has something happened to the upper section of Grotto Slab?  There's a fairly new looking scar.  I last did it years ago, and seemed to remember the upper part being a bit out of character with the lower slab, but not terribly difficult.  I wonder if the broken piece has taken both a gear placement and a critical hand hold - that move onto the ledge now feels too hard for Mod.

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Bulls Crack 06 Sep 2019
In reply to Jamie Wakeham:

Maybe not missing something - just reading too much into slight differences in people estimation of grades

Offwidth 06 Sep 2019
In reply to Jamie Wakeham:

In my opinion Black Hawk Hell Crack is at the very bottom of the Severe grade for Stanage (and would be VD on some of the Moorland or YMC crags... compared to a classic, like say Answer Crack). Sociology is top of the same grade for Stanage and arguably heading towards HS due to TR polish). UKC logbook votes are all but useless in forming internal graded lists across gritstone as the popular easier Stanage classics get beginner and confirmation bias uplifts and quieter harder classics elsewhere get the opposite.

I think someone trundled something down Grotto Slab.

mrphilipoldham 06 Sep 2019
In reply to Offwidth:

Indeed. Black Hawk Hell Crack and Berties Bugbear.. both Severe 4a, but only one is really actually a Severe..

Post edited at 18:00
Jamie Wakeham 06 Sep 2019
In reply to Jamie Wakeham:

Thanks, all. I had wondered if BHHC was actually at the bottom of the grade, but I'd let myself be persuaded by logbook voting. Your point about beginner bias is a good one. It would make sense to me if BHHC was a soft severe (it did feel easier than some other classic severe routes) and Sociology was very top 4a and perhaps HS. 

Post edited at 18:59
Tom V 06 Sep 2019
In reply to mrphilipoldham:

There's a definite agenda in most of your posts. 

mrphilipoldham 06 Sep 2019
In reply to Tom V:

I'm glad we know where we stand However you'll note that I was merely agreeing with, and indulging further in Offwidth's comments.

cragtyke 07 Sep 2019
In reply to mrphilipoldham:

Having climbed with the both you  and Tom, I'd say kindred spirits.

Post edited at 00:06
Luke90 07 Sep 2019
In reply to Jamie Wakeham:

> And whilst I'm asking- has something happened to the upper section of Grotto Slab?  There's a fairly new looking scar.  I last did it years ago, and seemed to remember the upper part being a bit out of character with the lower slab, but not terribly difficult.  I wonder if the broken piece has taken both a gear placement and a critical hand hold - that move onto the ledge now feels too hard for Mod.

A friend of a friend took a small fall on Grotto Slab back in May this year. Not sure which ledge you're referring to but she fell off attempting the move up to a higher ledge and landed on a lower one. In the process, she pulled off a chunk of rock. I think she had gear behind it and was also using it as a handhold, though I'm not clear whether it came off when pulled on or when fallen on. In any case, it certainly seems plausible that it might have made the move in question both harder and bolder.

Jamie Wakeham 07 Sep 2019
In reply to Luke90:

That would make sense - the scar looks pretty new and is in the right location.

Hope she wasn't hurt!

Post edited at 16:25
TobyA 08 Sep 2019
In reply to Jamie Wakeham:

My logbook says I soloed Sociology 25 years ago on my first proper visit to Stanage. But I've done Anatomy and Physiology a number of times in recent years and did Another Ology this spring. I reckon its just that they are all so squashed together a tall person could probably use most of the holds on the neighbouring routes whilst climbing sociology. If you stay totally blinkered and don't touch any of the holds that are arguably on other routes, maybe its hard, but presumably most aren't so ethically pure!

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