Let's face reality here. Lots of indoor bouldering walls use V grades. For simplicity they start at V0 then V1 etc. Beginners don't want to cope with nomenclature such as V0-, V0+ etc (nor does anyone else for that matter).
Therefore, V0 and V1 are going to be novice/warm-up sort of difficulties, which means starting around 4b and 4c. Further, since loads of people boulder indoors, these grades are going to creep outside also.
Anyhow, outdoor bouldering grades have never made the slightest sense to me (even internally within a system). The new Rockfax may have the beginnings of rational system, though I haven't got it yet so can't tell.
PS I think Sherman should be shot for inventing a system starting at very hard problems.
PPS Whoever invented putting font grades in the same typography as French grades and English tech should also be shot (though I do realise that all these originated as the same system, and then diverged).
In reply to Offwidth: So...
V grades are bad because they don't start low enough and indoor centres heavily overgrade, and at the top end miss out a Font grade.
English tech grades are not familiar to anyone who doesn't do trad, don't go down below 4 (or at least are not used), are very wide grade boundaries as you get higher up, and are easily confused with French or Font grades.
I never understand what is wrong with Font grades - after all, English Tech is just a bastardized version of Font grades derived via Southern Sandstone, and from what I understand anything involving Southern Sandstone can't be good? :P
Font grades definitely go low enough (I climbed a 1a in Font this spring).
> Fully agree, I think of bouldering in font grades now and they are the only thing that works lower down the system.
Agreed. As far as I can see, there are two basic arguments against using them:
i) lower grades in Font are all over the shop and
ii) lots of walls use V grades.
i) is solved by picking your favourite mapping of UK tech to Font grades and sticking with that regardless of what the French think (you could even give the UK tech in brackets to for low grade problems until everyone's got used to it...), ii) is their problem and has an obvious solution.
In reply to Offwidth: I think in reality within the UK Font grades are generally used for the hardest blocs certainly 7a and above, V grades are usually the choice at around V2-V6 whereas the english tech grades are most often quoted for the easier bouldering 4a-5c. I also think that for the easiest climbs below 4a descriptive route grades are usually used.
The layout in the new Peak Bouldering by Rockfax does a good job at reflecting this however...
It is frustrating that every new bouldering guide feels the need to tweek the conversion table below V1. This can only add to the confusion for the easier climbs. That said I think that the grades used in the 2014 Peak Bouldering Rockfax could finally become the definative grades for many of the easier boulder problems.
They are UK grades with V grades up to V3 when they swap to a combination with font grades. For the low end stuff its not so far from most of the more honest indoor walls I know that use V grades and the alignment also works for what is happening in the new YMC guides F4~4c etc.