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Have I onsighted E2? Upgrading conundrum.

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Recently, the route Kayak (E2 5b) has been upgraded to E2 5b. Back when I climbed it in 2020 it was E1. Does this mean I have onsighted E2? 
 

Does it count as E2, even though at the time I considered it E1, so the psychological stress was easier? Would I have attempted it knowing it was E2? 
 

Obviously I want to count it as an E2, if only to get a one up on one of my mates! 

2
 Michael Gordon 19 May 2022
In reply to will_mcmahon:

When you did it at the time, did it feel significantly harder than the other 'E1's you'd done? In other words, and regardless of consensus, in your opinion does the upgrade seem justified? Those should give you your answer.

 nastyned 19 May 2022
In reply to will_mcmahon:

> Obviously I want to count it as an E2, if only to get a one up on one of my mates! 

In that case, definitely!

1
 GrahamD 19 May 2022
In reply to will_mcmahon:

In my mind, ots what you thought it was when you did it.  That's the physiological battle you went through.

1
 deacondeacon 19 May 2022
In reply to will_mcmahon:

Are you over 5'11? 

E1 if you're taller😉

 Chris Craggs Global Crag Moderator  UKC Supporter 19 May 2022
In reply to will_mcmahon:

> Recently, the route Kayak (E2 5b) has been upgraded to E2 5b. Back when I climbed it in 2020 it was E1. Does this mean I have onsighted E2? 

It was E2 5b in Peak Grit East which was published 21 years ago - you have been using the wrong guidebook

Chris

 alan moore 19 May 2022
In reply to will_mcmahon:

It's a bit frustrating isn't it? As routes get upgraded, I'm now starting to collect E3 ticks that I never knew I could climb. If only I'd known how good I was I would have done so much more.

Post edited at 20:53
In reply to GrahamD:

That means I’ve onsighted at least E6 then!

In reply to will_mcmahon:

It doesn't matter how much you invest in training, the biggest performance gains you see are on the publication of a new guide book.

Northern Rock has given me a few 1980s teenage E3s. The older I get, the better I was. 

 Kevster 19 May 2022
In reply to will_mcmahon:

I take the view that you get what you believed it was on the day of ascent.

 alan moore 19 May 2022
In reply to will_mcmahon:

> Recently, the route Kayak (E2 5b) has been upgraded to E2 5b. Back when I climbed it in 2020 it was E1. Does this mean I have onsighted E2? 

Kayak's a weird one though. I'm sure it was guidebook E2 5c when I did it. Must be unusual to have both the technical and adjectival grades going up and down with each re-write!

In reply to will_mcmahon:

When things were simply graded "Extreme" degrees of difficulty within in the grade tended to be based on word of mouth. Everyone simply knew that route A was easier than route B and that route C was even harder still although they would all be graded Extreme. The current open ended system, I think it was proposed by Pete Botterill, was a stroke of genious and opened up the opportunity for endless debates like this.

 jkarran 19 May 2022
In reply to will_mcmahon:

I'd call it e2 if you want to, it won't be your last and if it is you might as well have it. That's not based its actual grade, I can't remember anything about it other than ticking it off the crag.

Jk

Post edited at 22:00
 alan moore 19 May 2022
In reply to Gaston Rubberpants:

>  Everyone simply knew that route A was easier than route B and that route C was even harder 

Would have thought you'd struggle to find two people who agreed on this...

In reply to alan moore:

I seem to recall that there was more concensus than there is now but the concenus groups were much smaller of course. I don't remember much disagreement amongst my, admittedly small group of peers, at that time. There was more disagreement amongst those same peers when the open ended system appeared on the scene but I suppose that's inevitable with a more finer tuned system.

 bouldery bits 19 May 2022
In reply to will_mcmahon:

E1.5

 Shani 19 May 2022
In reply to will_mcmahon:

We need

> Does this mean I have onsighted E2? 

We need a benchmark. Have you climbed Three Pebble Slab? If so, what grade was it?

 profitofdoom 19 May 2022
In reply to bouldery bits:

> E1.5

E1.87500436

Let's all try and be accurate

In reply to will_mcmahon:

Sorry, do you mean that  Kayak (E2 5b) isn't still HVS?

 ianstevens 19 May 2022
In reply to profitofdoom:

> E1.87500436

> Let's all try and be accurate

If that’s what you want… Font 5

In reply to will_mcmahon:

Given that it is reasonable to assume that revised grades are more accurate, then, unless the revision  is due to an actual change in the route like a hold breaking off or extreme polish, then obviously you have climbed a route of the revised grade.

And I say this having had several of my "hardest" leads downgraded (including my only E6 to E5) and no real benefits of upgrading.

Post edited at 23:15
In reply to will_mcmahon:

HVS (+) when I led it in ‘79.

In reply to will_mcmahon:

Of course. Enjoy the retro tick!

 TomYoung 19 May 2022
In reply to will_mcmahon:

As one of the mates he's trying to 'get one up on', I would have said it was even soft for E1 (but I am over 6 ft). But then I found Thirst For Glory hard on the solo so what do I know...

 Michael Gordon 20 May 2022
In reply to Robert Durran:

> Given that it is reasonable to assume that revised grades are more accurate,

In general terms that may be a reasonable assumption, but on a case by case basis it may well not be.

> And I say this having had several of my "hardest" leads downgraded (including my only E6 to E5) and no real benefits of upgrading.

I note the quotes. Does this mean that in grade terms they were the hardest but in real terms they weren't?

And perhaps not what you meant, but "no real benefits" is perhaps true. After all, upgrading a route doesn't suddenly make the climb you did before any more difficult, it's just that the grade has changed.

 henwardian 20 May 2022
In reply to will_mcmahon:

> Obviously I want to count it as an E2, if only to get a one up on one of my mates! 

As long as this is the rationale, then 120% yes, it is E2.

If it's whether you genuinely have then [grade debate].... which I can't summon the enthusiasm for right now. Personally I would eschew the one-route-only metric and measure it more in terms of "I can on-sight [insert grade]*" which would require me to have done it at least a handful of times rather than on a single occasion. Doesn't mean I can do every one by any means but does mean if it's my style and I'm in good shape, I should be in with a good chance.

* the number of qualifiers added to this statement in real life can be quite long.

 Offwidth 20 May 2022
In reply to will_mcmahon:

Beta alert:

It entirely depends on how you did it. If you smeared up the left or diagonally right on 'nothings' it's hard E2 5c. If you teetered right on the line of poor footholds and you are tall enough to reach the good handhold it's easy E1 5b. Not being so tall I was on the border of those and had to step through so that I had my left foot at the end of the footholds to reduce the chances of popping on the stretch to the hold (I moved back and swapped as the reach felt too sketchy from my right foot).

In the old days grading was if you could reach, with a warning if you couldn't. I actually think that's a bad idea and think E2 as a guide book grade is OK, providing its obvious reach can tame it ..... I know it was E1 for me.

The same infamous arguments occur on a few grit routes with different lines, most notably 3PS (that Rockfax foolishly downgraded despite logbook votes being for E1). Sneaking up and left after the tough 5a crux on 3PS is top end HVS . Padding up the slabs on the right, as pictured in the topos is almost definitive precarious E1 (4c). Every year the key gear placement gets more worn and the grade genuinely creeps upwards.

1
In reply to Kevster:

> I take the view that you get what you believed it was on the day of ascent.

I used to do a bit of hill running and a few times I got myself in a situation where there was a choice between scrambling up something or a long detour. I later found out a couple of those 'shortcuts' were in a climbing guidebook as Diff or VDiff.  On the day of ascent I'd not started climbing as a hobby and had no idea about climbing routes, I was just going up some rock that looked climbable for fun and to save myself a longer run.

Nevertheless, I wouldn't see any ethical reason for not logging those climbs retroactively. Climbed is climbed.

 Mick Ward 20 May 2022
In reply to Mark Kemball:

> HVS (+) when I led it in ‘79.

That wouldn't be Steve's little joke book, would it?

Mick 

In reply to will_mcmahon:

I'd bet a significant proportion of ascents nowadays use a mat, so what it really needs is a sliding scale of font grades, to be awarded according to height. I'm quite short. On my on/offsight I messed up the footwork, peeled and landed in my mate's arms, much like a bride being carried across the threshold. That was a proper catch. Got back on, did the crux, put a cam in and fell off the top! Sigh. Not one of my best days.

In reply to Mick Ward:

No, the 1978 Frogatt Area guidebook. Note, E grades had only just been invented and weren’t used in that book. 

In reply to alan moore:

> >  Everyone simply knew that route A was easier than route B and that route C was even harder 

> Would have thought you'd struggle to find two people who agreed on this...

I would these days but that was my point.  I also said the peer group was smaller than it is now so I will concede that "everyone" was a bad choice of words. Amongst the 40 or 50 people I knew at that time I can't recall any serious grade disagreements. These seemed to start when the finer tuning appeared i.e. technical grades and open ended adjectival grades. I think this can be explained by the fact that one person saying I found route C harder than route A was more of a personal expression than an attempt to assign an "objective" measure and therefore less open to debate and diagreement.

Post edited at 07:50
In reply to Mick Ward:

> That wouldn't be Steve's little joke book, would it?

I think it's earlier than that and it would surely have been HVS (-) at most in that magnificent publication. Easier than Parallel Piped (E3 5c) which was only given HVS 4c IIRC - I'd never have attempted this let alone got up it if I'd have thought it was E3 (or E4 as it was for a while).

HVS (+) would have been the Orange Froggatt guide from the late 70's, the one where the only XS (+) in the whole guide was Southern Comfort (E3 5c).

I'm fairly sure Kayak (E2 5b) is HVS in the 80's Derwent Grit guide (not at home this weekend so can't check).

 Mick Ward 20 May 2022
In reply to Mark Kemball:

Ah, as I recall, that was more in line with mainstream thinking. Although have never been a fan of HVS (+). Seem to remember it first appearing in Ron James (or the first time I saw it, anyway).

Mick 

 Mick Ward 20 May 2022
In reply to Michael Hood:

From (dodgy) memory, it is about E2, isn't it? Have got vague memories of doing it with a rope on but no runners (no cams?) Reach dependent?? Even though it was Curbar, it didn't have the adrenaline producing qualities of stuff like Shock Horror Slab or Daydreamer. Still, always best to keep your wits about you - especially at Curbar. 

Think the OP should just take the higher grade. Revel in your time! 

Mick 

1
In reply to Mark Kemball:

I think that Orange guide was the first Peak guide with technical grades. The (+) and (-) were already in the Green Stanage guide but not used on XS IIRC.

Not 100% sure about the red Chew Valley guide that came out between those two but think it was the same as the Green Stanage.

In reply to Mick Ward:

Very reach dependent. After tiptoeing right I could reach the hold (I was 6ft but I may have shrunk 😁) so HVS felt reasonable, and the top moves are less reachy than below, as long as you're in the correct place along the break.

IIRC I had fairly poor fitting Canyons on my feet (does anyone remember those).

As for mats, they were still many years away.

Post edited at 08:10
In reply to Mick Ward:

> never been a fan of HVS (+). Seem to remember it first appearing in Ron James (or the first time I saw it, anyway).

The Ron James has (+) and (-) all over the place but (2nd edition) no technical grades.

Although it's amusing to see things like Cenotaph Corner (E1 5c) as HVS+ I think his grading was fairly internally consistent.

In reply to will_mcmahon:

> Recently, the route Kayak (E2 5b) has been upgraded to E2 5b. Back when I climbed it in 2020 it was E1. Does this mean I have onsighted E2? 

>  

> Does it count as E2, even though at the time I considered it E1, so the psychological stress was easier? Would I have attempted it knowing it was E2? 

>  

> Obviously I want to count it as an E2, if only to get a one up on one of my mates! 

The description says 'a grade easier for the tall' are you tall?

In reply to GrahamD:

> In my mind, ots what you thought it was when you did it.  That's the physiological battle you went through.

In that case I'm claiming a grade or two harder for quite a few routes.

In reply to DubyaJamesDubya:

> The description says 'a grade easier for the tall' are you tall?

But it fails to say whether that's the overall grade or the technical grade or both; i.e. E1 5b, E2 5a or E1 5a.

In reply to will_mcmahon:

My first E1 turned out to be E2. The upgrade did you a favour and gave you confidence to have a go, reading the route from the ground. Never done it, looks great, enjoy the glory

 Mick Ward 20 May 2022
In reply to Michael Hood:

You're right - the Ron James gradings were pretty internally consistent. Was it the first Selected Climbs? He certainly did a thorough job. Unfortunately it was fashionable among the early '70s denizens of Humphreys Barn to ridicule it at every opportunity. Youth! 

Yep, remember Canyons well and even had a pair. Have always been clueless at choosing climbing shoes. If it's really crap, I've probably worn it. 

Mick  

 galpinos 20 May 2022
In reply to will_mcmahon:

It's one of those routes, it depends.....

In the three guides in front of me it's E1 5b (POD) E1 5c (BMC/Wired) and HVS 5b - E2 5c (Hoey).

Take your pick.

Unless you used a mat? If so, Font 5(ish)

In reply to will_mcmahon:

> Does it count as E2, even though at the time I considered it E1, so the psychological stress was easier? Would I have attempted it knowing it was E2? 

I don't think you're likely to get a satisfactory answer to this question.

Rock climb difficulty is a continuum, and highly subjective. Meaning that one person's "Soft E2" is always going to be another's "Hard E1". At some point the guidebook editor has to make a decision one way or the other - try not to get hung up about it.

If you really want to consider yourself to have onsighted E2, you need to pick a so called "benchmark route", or something high in the grade - but of course you then have the conundrum that that is unlikely to be anyone's "first E2", as that will typically be something that sits on the boundary.

In reply to planetmarshall:

...to put it another way, there is absolutely no difference - none - between a top end E1 and a bottom end E2.

 Hardonicus 20 May 2022
In reply to planetmarshall:

What the difference between top end HVS and low grade E1?

E Nothing.

To further sow confusion E0 is actually easier than top end HVS.

Post edited at 13:35
In reply to Hardonicus:

> What the difference between top end HVS and low grade E1?

In my experience the HVS's tend to feel harder

Post edited at 13:52
 Nick1812P 20 May 2022
In reply to will_mcmahon:

>Does this mean I have onsighted E2? ... Does it count as E2? 

Nope, obviously, or you wouldn't be asking here.

> Obviously I want to count it as an E2, if only to get a one up on one of my mates! 

Just get on an E2 then... everyone knows it's cooler to downgrade stuff anyway so get on your mates hardest lead and say it was piss.

But you do have something that money can't buy! The ability to come on UKC and say "It was only E1 back in my day!" and grumble something about young people, pads and grade-creep, most people on here have waited decades for that opportunity.

In reply to Michael Hood:

> But it fails to say whether that's the overall grade or the technical grade or both; i.e. E1 5b, E2 5a or E1 5a.

If it was 5a it would almost certainly have to be E1

 mutt 20 May 2022
In reply to will_mcmahon:

On the other hand at least I can now chalk the fall from Ocean Boulevard (E3 5b) as an entirely expected failure on an E3 rather than a dismal display on a E2 

Post edited at 15:19
In reply to Gaston Rubberpants:

This is generalising and only my opinion of course but on Peak grit, top end HVS tends to be physically hard (strenuous and/or technical) whereas bottom end E1 tends to be bold.

And that's why loads of people find easy E1 easier than hard HVS because on a top rope it is easier, but as an onsight lead the grading is correct.

Post edited at 15:49
1
 Michael Gordon 20 May 2022
In reply to Michael Hood:

But the grade is for trying something onsight, not for toproping it... 

In reply to Michael Gordon:

> But the grade is for trying something onsight, not for toproping it... 

If you don't fall off and don't mentally go to pieces, a bold E1 will be easier than a high technical grade HVS.

I seem to remember failing miserably on Orpheus Wall when comfortable on Left Unconquerable.

Post edited at 14:14
 Jon Greengrass 24 May 2022
In reply to will_mcmahon:

E1 for the tall that can reach through to the break, I did it over a a bouldering mat and wasn't worried about much more than a sprained ankle if I fluffed it. Sundowner (E2 5a) is a solid E2 slab that I would not want to have fallen off.

 Michael Gordon 24 May 2022
In reply to DubyaJamesDubya:

Depends. Maybe the HVS if it's a gritstone brute, but in most areas the E1 will feel harder.

In reply to Jon Greengrass:

> E1 for the tall that can reach through to the break, I did it over a a bouldering mat and wasn't worried about much more than a sprained ankle if I fluffed it. Sundowner (E2 5a) is a solid E2 slab that I would not want to have fallen off.

Sundowner - nice side-runner(s) are available - HVS or at most E1 that way.

Post edited at 18:22
In reply to will_mcmahon:

The best way out of this conundrum is to climb a range of routes graded e2 across a variety of rock types. That way you can feel confident that you’ve onsighted e2 as some of them will be successful. The routes on kayak slab are a poor representation of what climbing ‘e2’ feels like. Local to that you could try insanity or synopsis or elder crack or go to millstone and climb Knightsbridge or great west road and regent street. The Stoney e2’s of scoop wall and flakes direct are fantastic as is Des Irae and the joyful Carl walk crack. Forget about this thing of ‘have I onsighted e2’ and get involved in the apprenticeship awaiting you. I’d be very excited about that...

 Chris Craggs Global Crag Moderator  UKC Supporter 24 May 2022
In reply to schrodingers_dog:

> The best way out of this conundrum is to climb a range of routes graded e2 across a variety of rock types. That way you can feel confident that you’ve onsighted e2 as some of them will be successful. The routes on kayak slab are a poor representation of what climbing ‘e2’ feels like. Local to that you could try insanity or synopsis or elder crack or go to millstone and climb Knightsbridge or great west road and regent street. The Stoney e2’s of scoop wall and flakes direct are fantastic as is Des Irae and the joyful Carl walk crack. Forget about this thing of ‘have I onsighted e2’ and get involved in the apprenticeship awaiting you. I’d be very excited about that...

Top reply

Chris

In reply to will_mcmahon:

If you really want to get one up on your mates, you could climb it unencumbered by ropes or sticky boots or chalk. Then you could justify claiming the very honourable grade of Hard Very Severe (1970 vintage).


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