/ Milestone grades

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dinodinosaur - on 08 Mar 2019

Flicking through some guidebooks and I had a thought what are considered the big milestones in a climbers career? And are there grades that are under-represented either in the UK or at certain crags?

For example I think the milestones go VS, E1, E5, E7 (assuming you get that far). And looking through guidebooks I feel like E4 is a bit of an under-represented grade at a lot of low extreme grade crags, where I find there are far more E5s of quality.

What do y'all think about this? 

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alan moore - on 08 Mar 2019
In reply to dinodinosaur:

Depends how good you are probably.

For me the big milestones were M, D, VD. S, HS, VS, HVS, E1 and E2.

Any further won't be a milestone, but will just mean that I've found a route that is overgraded...

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Kevin Woods - on 08 Mar 2019
In reply to dinodinosaur:

I've always felt E6 is rather under-represented, at least in Scotland. I incidentally seem to know a lot of climbers that plateau at E5 and I wonder if this has something to do with it.

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Gordon Stainforth - on 08 Mar 2019
In reply to dinodinosaur:

For me, the great milestones were doing great routes. The grades were always all over the place, but I suppose the great 'barriers' were VS and E1. But even then, they didn't mean so much because there were just so many anomalies. All these silly letters and numbers. Our original Edwardian system was pretty good, and fun, because it had to be a little bit tongue-in-cheek, surely? I mean, how can anyone take something like 'Just Hard Very Difficult' seriously?

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McHeath - on 09 Mar 2019
In reply to Gordon Stainforth:

I agree with you on the barriers. My first jammed VS lead was a magnificent feeling, whereas my first E1 (Debauchery) was just a great climb, although made a bit more exciting when my partner arrived at the belay and pointed out just as I was about to start the second pitch that my waist knot wasn't a knot any more and was about to depart from my harness.

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profitofdoom on 09 Mar 2019
In reply to dinodinosaur:

> ...........what are considered the big milestones in a climbers career? > What do y'all think about this? 

S, VS, HVS, E2 for me personally. VS was the big one: I found my first one just as easy as the Severes I'd been doing and realized grades were mostly a head game*, well that was/ is my thinking anyway

*Edit, until I got to E3 5c when I kept falling off even though I was confident and sure I could do it - turned out to be too hard at the time for me, both leading and seconding, my fingers & feet just wouldn't stay on the rock

Post edited at 00:19
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Michael Gordon - on 09 Mar 2019
In reply to dinodinosaur:

HVS and E2 for me. I've always thought of E5 as a 'milestone' grade, but don't think that will be achieved in this lifetime!

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Michael Gordon - on 09 Mar 2019
In reply to Kevin Woods:

> I've always felt E6 is rather under-represented, at least in Scotland. 

Probably because it's quite hard?

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Yanis Nayu - on 09 Mar 2019
In reply to Michael Gordon:

> Probably because it's quite hard?

No, that’s QH...

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remus - on 09 Mar 2019
In reply to dinodinosaur:

VS, E1, E5, E7, E8, E9 and your current grade + 1

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andi turner - on 09 Mar 2019
In reply to dinodinosaur:

I always thought Yorkshire E3 was a good milestone.

E1 is a milestone in my mind simply for the step into "extreme", but in reality I can't think of that many amazing E1's especially when compared to HVS or E2.

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Mike505 on 09 Mar 2019
In reply to dinodinosaur:

I'd say HVS or E1 are the milestones most new climbers aim for, in addition to that once you're solid at these grades there will always be a route for you at most crags.

But once beyond that I'd say my milestones are simply things of my making. E3 felt like a milestone but not because of the grade, but simply becasue of the number of routes I had on my to do list that happened to have been given that grade. I'm sure on that premise E4 and E5 will be viewed in the same way.

Post edited at 10:00
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mrphilipoldham - on 09 Mar 2019
In reply to andi turner:

I think if your average joe reaches HVS, there’s enough climbing to last a lifetime including some of the best routes in the country so HVS is a definitive milestone. 

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Gordon Stainforth - on 09 Mar 2019
In reply to McHeath:

Agreed re Debauchery - one of my most memorable climbing experiences. I never got on too well with limestone and found it quite near my limit (felt like E2 for about 10-15 feet on the second pitch), but it was just magnificent ... all the way.

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Ciderslider on 09 Mar 2019
In reply to dinodinosaur:

I think that VS and E1 are the two main ones. Although it really just depends on the day and the route - My first onsight grit route springs to mind as a milestone goliaths groove- what a Bastard struggle that was ! Although elated on crawling over the top.

Still also regard leading flying buttress direct as a milestone- a route that I’d walked past so many times ( thinking I’ll never be brave/strong/good enough)

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harold walmsley - on 09 Mar 2019
In reply to dinodinosaur:

E4 under-represented? From a wide range of crags and rock types what about the following:

Mau Mau, Pagan, Gt Wall (Cloggy and Forwen), Axe, Fingerlicker, Cream, Gates of Delirium, Decadence, Banana Groove (The Ben), Wee Doris, Bitter Fingers, Downhill Racer, Acid Drop, Wings of Unreason and so on. Too many top quality ones to provide hem all as links!

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Pursued by a bear - on 09 Mar 2019
In reply to Gordon Stainforth:

> For me, the great milestones were doing great routes. The grades were always all over the place, but I suppose the great 'barriers' were VS and E1. 

Spot on, for me at least.  That first VS lead took me a while, but I'd determined in advance that it was going to be Samarkand (VS 5a).  Once I got on it, it wasn't too bad and after that progression came quickly.  My first HVS and E1 leads were seven months apart and whilst it was nice to get to those levels, it was always about being capable of doing a route I really fancied; Kipling Groove (HVS 5a) and Suicide Wall (E1 5c) for example.

I did my share and had my eye on more at both grades and harder too, but it wasn't to be.  Enjoyed it all though!

T.

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Offwidth - on 09 Mar 2019
In reply to Gordon Stainforth:

Of course the Edwardian grading system was gently tongue in cheek. Having soloed many in approach shoes, knowing the tactics and comparative skill sets then (they were amazing on wide cracks and balance climbs), they also seemed pretty accurate to me. Lower grade sandbags arrived in the much later macho eras, where the humour was much harsher and the legend of the hard onsight was developed.

I was so used to many grades in my home area of the Peak in the mid 90s being nonsense it was hard to regard any grade as a barrier. I was, when at my best, nearly killing myself soling a horror sandbag Diff one day and cleanly seconding mid extreme or breezing the odd E2 bold onsight the next. The UK climbs I'm most proud of onsighting are nearly all HVS.

Post edited at 11:41
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ianstevens - on 09 Mar 2019
In reply to alan moore:

> Depends how good you are probably.

> For me the big milestones were M, D, VD. S, HS, VS, HVS, E1 and E2.

> Any further won't be a milestone, but will just mean that I've found a route that is overgraded...

so... every grade?

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GridNorth - on 09 Mar 2019
In reply to dinodinosaur:

For me it was Severe, then Very Severe then Extreme.  After E1, E2, E3 etc. were introduced each one became a milestone for me.  I never did many E5's and E4 was reserved for a "good" day so I always considered myself a competent E3 climber but the grade that always caused me the most problems was HVS especially on grit.  That may be because we tended to treat HVS as "only" VS but a bit tougher whereas in reality many of them were harder than the Extremes we were climbing.

Al

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steve taylor - on 10 Mar 2019
In reply to dinodinosaur:

It's all so long ago, but I remember reaching E2 being quite a significant "thing" for me. I fell off the first one I tried (Pincushion) and managed the next (The Strand) a couple of days later. After that it was E5, but I only ever did a few of those and it took quite a while to get to that stage.

In terms of sport climbing - 7a and 7b were big milestones back in the day, with 7b+ always being just out of reach...

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