UKC

/ Is there any point in grade choices like Low HD?

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Iain Thow - on 05 Mar 2018

Is there any point in logbook grade choices like Low HD or High HVD? Because of the space allocated they make it impossible to opt for V Diff on a Diff or Severe on a V Diff (or vice versa). Why not cut HD, HVD (& HS?) to one line?

Coel Hellier - on 05 Mar 2018
In reply to Iain Thow:

I've argued in the past that the actual grades are:

Easy, Mod, Diff, VDiff, Severe, VS, HVS ...

and that "hard" Diff, "hard" VD, "hard" Severe, and "mild" VS are just subdivisions. 

Iain Thow - on 05 Mar 2018
In reply to Coel Hellier:

I agree, so therefore no point in subdividing the subdivisions further in the logbook voting.

mrphilipoldham - on 05 Mar 2018
In reply to Iain Thow:

Maybe we should go back to the original gradings of routes instead of making ourselves look better. All them Joe Brown HVS/E1/E2s back to VS for starters. Then them Puttrell VDiffs back to HDiff. That should sort the problem out!

Post edited at 10:41
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Iain Thow - on 05 Mar 2018
In reply to mrphilipoldham:

And drop a grade if you put in any runners?

Post edited at 10:46
Trangia on 05 Mar 2018
In reply to mrphilipoldham:

> Maybe we should go back to the original gradings of routes instead of making ourselves look better. All them Joe Brown HVS/E1/E2s back to VS for starters. Then them Puttrell VDiffs back to HDiff. That should sort the problem out!

Absolutely. 

You also learned to accept there were V Diffs and then there were Scottish V Diffs. You were silly if you thought they were the same.

The latter really meant Severe

Mark Kemball - on 05 Mar 2018
In reply to Iain Thow:

I think the grades HVD (there's quite a bit of disagreement on this one), MS and MVS are redundant, I'd keep HS. (Surely HS is the same as MVS). Similarly E1+ or E2- etc. - I don't see a need for subdividing the E grades. 

Oujmik - on 05 Mar 2018
In reply to Iain Thow:

I made this point myself a while ago. It makes the voting system pretty dysfunctional for low grades as you can't even vote a route a whole grade easier or harder (according to the definition of 'whole grade' used by almost everyone). Most beginner crags feature a mix of Mod, Diff and VDiff but it's pretty much impossible to suggest a Diff should actually be VDiff or vice versa

summo on 05 Mar 2018
In reply to Iain Thow:

The grades stem from an era when people would have generally climbed these grades in mountain boots and the differences can be more noticeable. I say leave them as they have historical value. 

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Mark Kemball - on 05 Mar 2018
In reply to summo:

While I can see your point, the reason for grades, guidebooks and such is to convey information about the routes to climbers. "Historical Grades" and "Scottish VS" etc. are at best confusing and I feel should be confined to a short note in the description.

Iain Thow - on 05 Mar 2018
In reply to Oujmik:

Exactly.

 

Iain Thow - on 05 Mar 2018
In reply to summo:

I'm not arguing for the abolition of HD, HVD etc in the guidebooks, it's the oversubdividing in the voting for grades section on UKC that I think should be changed, as it often makes the grade voting useless in the lower grades (as Oujmik above says).

Iain Thow - on 05 Mar 2018
In reply to Mark Kemball:

I tend to assume that HVD and HS mean that there's a move harder than the VD or Severe grade but with decent gear, while MS & MVS mean technically easy for the grade but either very sustained or poor gear.

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C Witter on 05 Mar 2018
In reply to Iain Thow:

There are two different issues here: 1) the issue raised by the OP about the functionality of this website, re: grade votes; 2) the issue some have responded to, are these subdivided grades worth keeping? 

On the first issue, yes, it's a bit annoying. Climbing at local crags, you sometimes come across quite improbably graded lines, not checked by guidebook editors, where a Diff climbs like a Severe or a Hard Severe like a Diff. It's "nice" to have a little outlet for your opinion - though most people seem to use logbook comments for this. 

On the second issue, clearly the actual grades are not: "Easy, Mod, Diff, VDiff, Severe, VS, HVS" without subdivisions, as Coel argues. Few would argue that HS should be done away with for climbs like Doorpost, Right Angle, Tennis Shoe, Christmas Curry, Tophet Wall or Ardverikie Wall - classics at the grade.

Moreover, grades are significantly about tradition, and some areas have particular traditions. In the Lakes there are lots of MVS routes, and a fair few MS routes. You can't just do away with a grade because, e.g., you don't find many MVS routes in the Peak. The same with HVD - a grade that might describe an otherwise pleasant climb with an awkward mantle at the start; and a grade that speaks of a particular history, beyond the 'inconvenience' of fitting it in between more usual grades.

Having said this, some editors are using "VS-" instead of MVS, and gradually working it out of print. But, to be honest, I struggle to interpret that minus more than MVS: MVS takes into account technical difficulty set against seriousness. But, with "VS- 4b" I'm never sure whether it means "a bit bold, but it's only 4b" or "safe and only 4b". "MVS 4b" could communicate more... Though, either way, the proof is in the climbing...

 

1
Iain Thow - on 05 Mar 2018
In reply to C Witter:

I agree with all that, although on issue 1), having a method of voting for grade changes is much more likely to get them changed than just the odd logbook comment (and although there are a few places where you might wish to change Diff to Severe or vice versa, not being able to switch between D/VD and VD/S is ridiculous).

In reply to Iain Thow:

This is something that we have plans to change but unfortunately the whole grade system needs re-writing. Once that is done it will allow more flexible voting on grades.

Alan

Iain Thow - on 05 Mar 2018
In reply to Alan James - UKC and UKH:

Good. Presumably this will also change scramble voting choices from 1/2/f3, and Mod from Diff/Mod/XS?

tripehound - on 05 Mar 2018
In reply to Iain Thow:

Having climbed some local routes loads of times, it depends how you tackle it. Sometimes a route can be a breeze while the next time itcan seem quite awkward. So someone climbing a route once then grading it could be easily out by a grade either way.

summo on 05 Mar 2018
In reply to Iain Thow:

> I'm not arguing for the abolition of HD, HVD etc in the guidebooks, it's the oversubdividing in the voting for grades section on UKC that I think should be changed, as it often makes the grade voting useless in the lower grades (as Oujmik above says).

It's only a bit of fun in an online log though. Hardly the end of the world if you can't say that some polished start was severe and not vdiff. 

Iain Thow - on 05 Mar 2018
In reply to summo:

Of course, but then climbing as a whole is just a bit of fun anyway.

Dave Kerr - on 05 Mar 2018
In reply to Iain Thow:

> I'm not arguing for the abolition of HD, HVD etc in the guidebooks, 

I would. They're not proper grades and lots of areas get by without using them.

 

1
In reply to Iain Thow:

Having used the logbooks to help write guidebooks for Rockfax and for my own climbing, I think it is good to have the spread of grading and the voting. As  it gives a good consensus. However, I am also one to open up the logged ascents and look for the comments on the routes and to be honest even who made them.

I am not sure if this is preventing me getting the 'onsight' though. Maybe UKC needs a Logbook Book Beta ascent option!!!! ;-)

Bulls Crack - on 12 Mar 2018
In reply to Iain Thow:

That's what I've always assumed and see little point in abolishing them to fit some sort of  subjective neatness. I've done many a pleasant MVS and awkward HS. ..let them be!

In reply to Iain Thow:

You can choose more grades to vote on on the climb page now.

Gordon Stainforth - on 12 Mar 2018
In reply to mrphilipoldham:

> Maybe we should go back to the original gradings of routes instead of making ourselves look better. All them Joe Brown HVS/E1/E2s back to VS for starters. Then them Puttrell VDiffs back to HDiff. That should sort the problem out!

I'm sure I've said quite a few times in the past how surprising I find these discussions of the lowest grades of rock climbing. They seem even more astonishing in 2018 ... That, with all our advanced protection techniques and amazingly sticky modern climbing shoes, Puttrell's subtle adjectival grades are no longer subtle enough for us! I was such an average climber really (surely?), with my grade for 40+ years fluctuating around in the whole spectrum of VS to E2 depending on how fit I was/how long other things in life (work etc) kept me away from any kind of training. Not to mention the fact that I got scared quite easily. 

I'm not exaggerating: even in 1967 to 68, when we first started climbing seriously and were based in Hertfordshire far outside any kind of climbing arena, we felt that 'real' climbing only really started at VS. Below that, it was all just varieties of jug hauling. If there was any need for any subdivisions at all it would probably have been something like 'nasty' or 'easy', e.g. a nasty Severe or an easy Severe.

Of course, quantifying the technical difficulty of individual moves/cruxes etc is quite a lot easier than measuring whole routes, because the technical grades of individual moves is much more meaningful. But once you get into 'measuring' sequences of moves or long sustained stretches of roughly similar moves, it gets much more difficult.

The big question, though, is: Why – more than ever now, it seems, in this modern age – is there this urge to reduce everything in life to quantities? I think at this suddenly rather bleak period in our history we should be concentrating more on qualities than quantities.

Gordon Stainforth - on 12 Mar 2018
In reply to Bulls Crack:

> That's what I've always assumed and see little point in abolishing them to fit some sort of  subjective neatness. I've done many a pleasant MVS and awkward HS. ..let them be!

The main thing is that this kind of connoisseurship is quite fun. As you say, leave them as they are. Adjectives have the merit of being funny and human.

Iain Thow - on 13 Mar 2018
In reply to Paul Phillips - UKC and UKH:

Cheers Paul,

That works, and solves "problem 1" quite neatly.

Offwidth - on 13 Mar 2018
In reply to Gordon Stainforth:

It's pretty easy and I'm surprised you can't answer your own question as we have been here several times before. Lower grade trad had simply  become proportionately more popular at the time when its grading was finally being rescued from its rather dusty neglect.

Treating lower grading seriously used to be standard practice up to the post WW2 period: too seriously in my views, as some guidebook descriptions describe, move by move, how to overcome a crux and seriousness is overly warned at times. Top roping is sometimes recommend. Yet if you simulate the experience and equipment of the time most gradses then made good sense. However, as time moved on and onsight leads becme almost fetishied alongside increasing standards, these grades were neglected and the new sport of sandbagging became firmly entrenched on the easier new lines in the old gaps .

My lead standards are not dissimilar to yours (same numbers but about a grade or so below in terms of historical equivalence ) and I can understamd very well the differences between Mods, Diffs, VDiffs and Severes. It comes from experience, watching sympathetically and tricks like climbing in approach shoes and/or soloing to enhance views on uncertainty and risk averseness of lower grade climbers.

I've helped fairly upgrade several Diffs to VS and a Severe to E3 as part of the most recent series of BMC guides but this includes about 40% of all unstarred Peak grit routes grades being changed (some downwards) to equate to a reasonably experienced climber at the grade on the rock type with modern gear and to match the current agreed grades of grit classics (which of course had usually shifted up with the times). I've climbed pretty much everthing lower grade on any significant Peak Grit crag and am happy now with most guidebooks and was part of a group of like-minded climbers in that. I know some areas of the UK need similar treatment from lower grade enthusiasts as those dusty grades and sandbags are alive and well (including starred classics like Land's End Long Climb... a more serious HS than the great UK classics of that grade and yet still down as VD).

I've also encouraged improvements in quality of description. I was entranced by how Steve Ashton did this for scrambles and easier climbs... death defying adventures or titanic struggles awaited for mere mortals.

 

Post edited at 16:42
Martin Hore - on 13 Mar 2018
In reply to Coel Hellier:

> I've argued in the past that the actual grades are:

> Easy, Mod, Diff, VDiff, Severe, VS, HVS ...

> and that "hard" Diff, "hard" VD, "hard" Severe, and "mild" VS are just subdivisions. 


That's rather inconsistent (as I'm sure you appreciate). Why "HVS" but not "HS".

From Severe upwards, there's a rough correlation between the adjectival grade and the technical grade. Average Severe = 4a (or average 4a = Severe), average HS = 4b, average VS = 4c, average HVS = 5a, average E1 = 5b. All with a roughly two grade spread either side from these "norms" to indicate seriousness (and possibly sustainedness - another topic). Drop HS (or HVS) and the correlation breaks down. Of course, we know it currently breaks down above E3 anyway, and isn't used much below Severe, but it's useful at the grades I like to climb at. In principle it could work across the whole grade range. 

Martin

Offwidth - on 14 Mar 2018
In reply to Martin Hore:

For some BMC and YMC chapters (eg Birchen and Woodhouse Scar) we experimented with technical grade centred lower adjectival grades... HVD 3c, VD 3b, HD 3a , D 2c and M 2b. Its nice to be able to use the positive benefits of UK adjectival grading as a lower grade onsight leader... eg a HVS 4b would be a super safe technical cruxy route and otherwise easier climbing..... HVD 3a would be very bold and serious.  Our Offwidth site covers most of lower grade Peak grit for those interested (and extends up to low extremes).

http://offwidth.uptosummit.com/guides.html   (Flash player required)

 

 

petestack - on 14 Mar 2018
In reply to Offwidth:

> eg a HVS 4b would be a super safe technical cruxy route and otherwise easier climbing.....

?

 

Offwidth - on 14 Mar 2018
In reply to petestack:

HVD 4b misspelt or auto corrected and eyesight too poor to spot it.

petestack - on 14 Mar 2018
In reply to Offwidth:

Ah, right! Which didn't occur to me, hence my mystification.


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