/ Maximum grade of a punter?

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Greasy Prusiks on 12 May 2017
There seems to be a worrying trend developing of climbers who climb quite hard routes claiming to be "punters". Only last night I heard someone who I know onsights E1 claiming to be "a bit of a punter". Obviously this is completely unacceptable.

To avoid dangerous punter inflation I think we should set down some boundaries for what constitutes a punter. For example no true punter should climb HS without it being a second involving plenty of swearing, sweating and shaking. Ideally s/he should also pull on every other bit of gear (denying so afterwards naturally) and ideally take at least 30mins per pitch but that's more advanced stuff.

What other criteria need to be met before you can be said to have truly reached the punter state of mind?
climbwhenready - on 12 May 2017
In reply to Greasy Prusiks:

It's not about how hard you climb.

It's about taking your rope to the bouldering wall.
It's about toproping with a rack of cams... indoors.
It's when people avoid you at the wall because they know you're going to go on about your "total epics" again.
And yes. I'm sorry to say. It is about the beanies.
climbingpixie on 12 May 2017
In reply to Greasy Prusiks:

I think you're confusing punters and bumblies and there's certainly some 'hard route' inflation going on in your post. I may be misremembering from a very old thread but I thought the accepted definitions were:

Up to VS - bumbly
HVS - E4 - punter
E4 - E6 - wannabe
E7+ - superstar
Kevster - on 12 May 2017
In reply to climbingpixie:

What if you wannabe a punter?
Greasy Prusiks on 12 May 2017
In reply to climbingpixie:

Blimey E4 a punter.

That's a bit worrying.
ebdon - on 12 May 2017
In reply to Greasy Prusiks:

Weirdly the harder i seem to climb the more of a punter i feel. Is this the dunning kruger effect or somthing? The more experience you have the further you realise there is to go?
SenzuBean - on 12 May 2017
In reply to Greasy Prusiks:

I'd say it's not about grades. It's about how much effort you put in.

Climb once every few weeks, way more interested in hanging out with mates at the pub "after" than climbing = bumbly
Climb twice a week on average, not interested in specific training = punter
Climb three/four times a week on average, interested in specific training, spends almost all holidays on climbing = climber
Climb five/six times a week on average, doesn't have an answer when asked "what do you do other than climbing?" = dirtbag climber
climbingpixie on 12 May 2017
In reply to Greasy Prusiks:

Maybe it was HVS to E3, there's overlap otherwise. I think you can climb up to E3 without really training but all the E4s I've fallen off seconding have felt quite hard.
FactorXXX - on 12 May 2017
In reply to climbingpixie:

Up to VS - bumbly
HVS - E4 - punter
E4 - E6 - wannabe
E7+ - superstar


You appear to have missed out the most important one of all and that is of course - Wad.
Will Hunt - on 12 May 2017
In reply to Greasy Prusiks:

I used to be a punter who aspired to become a wad. As I've become better I've realised that there is only, at any one time, one wad on Earth. At the moment it's probably Ondra. We others are, all of us, punters.
To cap it all, as you get better, you inevitably associate with better and better climbers, so if you ever feel like a big fish it's because your pond's too small.
Misha - on 12 May 2017
In reply to Greasy Prusiks:
I've done a few E5s and I'm a punter compared to some people I know. It's all relative...
Misha - on 12 May 2017
In reply to climbingpixie:
I think the top level is 'wad' rather than superstar. Starts around E6. I guess there's 'pro' as well.
Misha - on 12 May 2017
In reply to climbingpixie:
You can climb up to E5 6a without really training...
Morty - on 12 May 2017
In reply to Misha:

> You can climb up to E5 6a without really training...

Something like London Wall?
Rock to Fakey - on 12 May 2017
In reply to Greasy Prusiks:

> Blimey E4 a punter. That's a bit worrying.

Must be a Punterstar?
planetmarshall on 12 May 2017
In reply to Misha:

> I think the top level is 'wad' rather than superstar.

What is the origin of that term? Urban dictionary suggests it's an acronym for 'What a Dick', which seems unfortunate.
kermit_uk - on 12 May 2017
In reply to Greasy Prusiks:

Also I have regularly said " I puntered off . . " an E2 or HVS it doesn't matter. Also climbing with people much better than you makes you feel like a punter so all fair.

I would say E4 is a bit past punter. E6 is only wad status if ground up!
Wood for Trees on 12 May 2017
In reply to Greasy Prusiks:

above E1 a punter becomes Turbo-Punter
paul__in_sheffield - on 12 May 2017
In reply to Morty:

> Something like London Wall?

Misha is right, and yes, you can climb London Wall, and for example all the Allen and Bancroft routes without training
ebdon - on 12 May 2017
In reply to paul__in_sheffield:

I bloody well can't
Chris Craggs - on 12 May 2017
In reply to paul__in_sheffield:

> Misha is right, and yes, you can climb London Wall, and for example all the Allen and Bancroft routes without training

Presumably when you say 'you' - this refers to yourself - and not the rest of us!


Chris
alx - on 12 May 2017
In reply to Morty:

It also has a lot to do with your local climbing scene. Some places the local wad is the person who does the 7B boulder problem down the wall, other places mums with full time jobs and two kids boulder 8A between body pump and power lifting classes.
JMarkW - on 12 May 2017
In reply to planetmarshall:
Waddage
Post edited at 20:28
planetmarshall on 12 May 2017
In reply to JMarkW:

> Waddage

That term has considerably more unfortunate connotations.
Greasy Prusiks on 12 May 2017
In reply to Misha:

You've never met my Gran have you? ;)
ena sharples - on 12 May 2017
In reply to Misha:

no doubt Pete Livesey would have agreed with that statement.
keith-ratcliffe on 12 May 2017
In reply to Greasy Prusiks:
As a hard core 'bumbly' I would like to offer a thought here. The accent has been on how hard is the grade but for me what is more important is the quality of the climb. How about a 'connoisseur' status for those who only ascend the very best rated climbs no matter what the grade, or at the other end 'scavenger' who takes what they can get at any level?
Wayne S - on 12 May 2017
In reply to Greasy Prusiks:

If you look at "All User" graphs then the average grade has slipped from VS to HS, so it would seem we are getting worse!

So my range would be:

So going to the climbing wall wearing a nut key through to - HS= bumbly
HS - HVS/E0 = punter
E1 - E3 = Turbo Punter
E4 - E5/6 = Good Climber
E6+ Hero Worship Due!

The spread is interesting last time I looked, it was around about 6 percent of UKC logbook users who's best logged grade was E3 or above.

So I'm mostly a punter but have hit turbo punter when provoked!
FactorXXX - on 12 May 2017
In reply to planetmarshall:

What is the origin of that term? Urban dictionary suggests it's an acronym for 'What a Dick', which seems unfortunate.

This is my guess: -

King Wad is a Paul Pritchard route on Scimitar Ridge in the Pass. It had a bit of a reputation for being a bit wild and out there and was seen as a rite of passage for aspiring hard climbers. Upon climbing it, you became a 'Wad'.

King Wad (E6 6b)
https://www.ukclimbing.com/images/dbpage.html?id=242999

A wad is also a roll of bank notes put into your trousers to impress the girls in more ways than one...
paul__in_sheffield - on 12 May 2017
In reply to Chris Craggs:

> Presumably when you say 'you' - this refers to yourself - and not the rest of us!Chris

Hi Chris,
Starting from first principles, JA climbed all his routes without training ;-)
The rest of us are standing on the shoulders of giants
Paul
knighty - on 12 May 2017
In reply to climbingpixie:

In my eyes, a punter isn't really about what grade someone climbs, but more so a general impression of how they go about climbing.

For example, the amount of faffing before, during or after a route due to rope tangling or an inability to coil a rope properly. Or another example being putting gear in for the sake of it or taking 10 minutes to place a straightforward nut.

Correct me if I am wrong!
Mike Mead - on 12 May 2017
In reply to planetmarshall:

> What is the origin of that term? Urban dictionary suggests it's an acronym for 'What a Dick', which seems unfortunate.

Crispin Waddy.
Ade in Sheffield - on 12 May 2017
In reply to ebdon:

Ha, the Dunning, f***ing Kruger effect, its taken over my professional, and now personal life !!!
Kevster - on 12 May 2017
In reply to knighty:

I've met many self confessed bimblies, who can coil a rope with greater speed and precision than trump pressing the "you're fired" button.
I don't think years on the crag and experience or basic skills have any bearing on proficiency as the op defines it.
Bimblies can be great calculated risk takers, they just apply themselves at the other end of the curve to trad wad on sighters.
Bulls Crack - on 12 May 2017
In reply to ebdon:

> Weirdly the harder i seem to climb the more of a punter i feel.

Patience Grasshopper - it is wisdom you learn.
ripper - on 12 May 2017
In reply to Misha:

> You can climb up to E5 6a without really training...

I don't 'train' and I definitely can't climb E5 6a. Or at least, not unless I finally get my shit together and have a proper go at Snivelling Shits (rather than just standing looking at it, then walking away)
Misha - on 12 May 2017
In reply to Morty:

> Something like London Wall?

I didn't say you can climb *every* E5 6a without training. London Wall is top of the grade and quite possibly E6 from what I've heard.

It depends what is meant by training of course. To my mind, training involves structure, high frequency and quality of sessions, perhaps a proper training programme, some finger boarding and so on. By that definition, I don't really train (just go down the wall at most twice a week, plus climbing outdoors most weekends during the summer season) but I've led about 20 E5s. About half of them were onsight and the rest with falls by a lot of those falls were down to technical errors or poor route reading rather than lack of strength or stamina etc. Clearly I'd be a better climber with proper training but I'd say it's absolutely possible to climb some E5 6as (and not just bols grit slabs) without proper training, as long as you have a good head for trad and climb regularly outdoors.
summo on 13 May 2017
In reply to Greasy Prusiks:

I'd say VS, a person who is reasonably fit and coordinated should be able get themselves up it. Rarely are the holds so small, moves complex or unique, or sustained that a climber can't work them out in a reasonable time scale.

Hvs-e3 can be achieved will mileage and training. There will be exceptions due to boldness or well protected cruxes, but with regular climbing they can be achieved.

E4 plus I personally think you need some level of ability, be it balance, coordination, strength, mental out look. There will be a fair proportion of the population who have these natural traits, but there will also be some who don't, no everyone will be able to balance of a small nobble of rock, whilst pulling on a shallow two finger crack, placing a wire, 50m above the ground.

I've seen people whose admin is complete putter; gear explosions at the bottom of the crags, rope faffs... but once on the rock and climbing it's like they were born on it. And of course the complete opposite on classic vdiffs, you are behind a pair about to set off, everything looks good, no massive racks, ropes neat... then they set off and you spend an hour plus waiting for them to finish the first pitch of Hope, by which time you've lost the will to live and are two pitches up tennis shoe.
Si dH - on 13 May 2017
In reply to climbingpixie:
Trad grades alone are insufficient for this purpose.

VS = bumbly
Up to E1 = punter
E2 + = go to sport/bouldering criteria

Up to sport F7b+ = punter
F7c or above = wannabe (but, if you boulder 7B, you're a wannabe at F7b+)
F8b+ or above = wad (but, if you boulder 8A, you're a wad at F8b)
Post edited at 07:20
Wayne S - on 13 May 2017
In reply to Misha:

I understand where you are coming from, and not sure you really deserve dislikes. I do however think you are making judgements from a certain perspective. Sorry I don't really know you, but we have a mutual friend and we did once have a passing chat at the top of high tor left wing one evening (hi again!). From that little knowledge I suspect you have some basic physical advantages when it comes to climbing in terms of build etc. So your perspective may be a little different to others.
I have no natural advantage when it comes to climbing, I would have been better taking up rugby. I might not be pulling up a campus board as training, but I have made significant adaptions to lifestyle and supporting activities to nudge my climbing forward. Even with that effort low E grades are hard enough.

For some E2/3 may be a reasonable ceiling without resorting to very structured training. You can't discount natural talent and genetic predisposition.
AlanLittle - on 13 May 2017
In reply to ebdon:
> Weirdly the harder i seem to climb the more of a punter i feel. Is this the dunning kruger effect or somthing? The more experience you have the further you realise there is to go?

Quite possibly. There was a tread on another forum where folk were surprised that a 7a+ that Magnus Midtbo was climbing looked easy. They had the fixed idea that 7a+ is a "hard" grade, rather than realising that most of us could make a route ten grades below our onsight limit look easy.

Or maybe not, and perhaps I just stumbled across a working definition of punter: somebody who can make any route, no matter how easy, look hard
Post edited at 08:12
Skyfall - on 13 May 2017
In reply to AlanLittle:

> I just stumbled across a working definition of punter: somebody who can make any route, no matter how easy, look hard

I like this as I probably progressed past bumbly and hit punter status but always with a certain amount of faff and rarely believing I'd actually get up routes I could almost certainly climb. But I would do that with VS's or E1's alike.

I sound like I'm retired from climbing but I'm not really, I'm just going through the same phase with sports climbing, though at relatively lower levels. A man who can make a 5+ or 6b look equally hard. Which in sports climbing terms is probably bumbly level.
1poundSOCKS - on 13 May 2017
In reply to Misha:

> To my mind, training involves structure, high frequency and quality of sessions, perhaps a proper training programme, some finger boarding and so on. By that definition, I don't really train

Call me cynical, but it does sound like you've defined training, so that you can claim you don't train.
planetmarshall on 13 May 2017
In reply to Misha:

> To my mind, training involves structure, high frequency and quality of sessions, perhaps a proper training programme, some finger boarding and so on. By that definition, I don't really train (just go down the wall at most twice a week, plus climbing outdoors most weekends during the summer season)...

I know you really, really want to be able to claim that you don't train - but that *is* training, Misha.

Andy Peak 1 - on 13 May 2017
In reply to Greasy Prusiks:

Punter= somebody who won't try

Wanabe=somebody who will try

Wad=somebody who doesn't no how not to try
Grades are usually reflected by these trates.
Misha - on 13 May 2017
In reply to Wayne S:
It's true that natural build does come into it.
Misha - on 13 May 2017
In reply to 1poundSOCKS and planetmarshall:
May be but the wads will be training properly...
Gordon Stainforth - on 13 May 2017
In reply to Greasy Prusiks:

Thrilled to see that I belonged to the dizzying elitist ranks of the "turbo-punter". Though I didn't know it at the time ...
Kemics - on 13 May 2017
In reply to Greasy Prusiks:

I've been reliably informed you have to onsight E5 to be a climber. Less than that, you're a punter.
alan moore - on 13 May 2017
In reply to Greasy Prusiks:

Would a punter also be defined by what they climb?

Say, famous routes from Classic and Hard rock, between 9am and 5pm, on dry bank holidays, usually at the head of, or as part of a queue?
ads.ukclimbing.com
HeMa on 13 May 2017
In reply to Greasy Prusiks:

You're a punter, if you ain't clockin' 7s (french or font). Style of protection doesn't really matter (bolts or cams, or none).
Wsdconst - on 14 May 2017
In reply to knighty:

> In my eyes, a punter isn't really about what grade someone climbs, but more so a general impression of how they go about climbing.For example, the amount of faffing before, during or after a route due to rope tangling or an inability to coil a rope properly. Or another example being putting gear in for the sake of it or taking 10 minutes to place a straightforward nut.Correct me if I am wrong!

Well' I'd say Im definitely a punter then because that description is me.
TobyA on 14 May 2017
In reply to Greasy Prusiks:

I'm very happy to consider myself a punter, so for me it's up to about E1-ish as that's the best I've managed. But I think punter is more of an attitude than a grade - you really love climbing, but you're not terribly good at it considering however long you've been doing it. Also although you love climbing, you're not that into training, so if your climbing improves its because you're getting out lots, not because you're following Gresham's latest training regime from which ever of the mags is currently paying him a few quid currently!

I actually have a little dictionary definition of punter at the top of this:
http://lightfromthenorth.blogspot.co.uk/2013/09/stetinds-sydpilaren-south-pillar.html
Greasy Prusiks on 14 May 2017
In reply to TobyA:

Yes that is it! The best definition so far.

"sub-cultural, chiefly Brit. climbing: an active, often experienced climber with a genuine enthusiasm for the sport but who isn’t actually very good at it."

Have a pint. (a key part of being a punter in my opinion)
davidbeynon on 14 May 2017
In reply to keith-ratcliffe:
The technical term is "star tart"
Post edited at 23:45
GrahamD - on 15 May 2017
In reply to Greasy Prusiks:

I always thought 'punter' derived from what guides called their clients rather than it being a grade question. I don't think it was ever intended to cbe complimentary (unlike bookies' use of the term which seems to be less derisory)
NoddyBoulder on 15 May 2017
In reply to Greasy Prusiks:

Should "punter" be added to https://www.ukclimbing.com/articles/page.php?id=33 then?
Michael Gordon - on 15 May 2017
In reply to GrahamD:

> I always thought 'punter' derived from what guides called their clients rather than it being a grade question. I don't think it was ever intended to cbe complimentary (unlike bookies' use of the term which seems to be less derisory)

There appears to be two different meanings of the word. It definitely derives from the bookies ('taking a punt') which then evolved to refer to the paying public (doing something to 'bring in the punters'). The climbing meaning seems to be totally different, referring to an amateur (in the 'put down' sense).
C Witter on 16 May 2017
In reply to Greasy Prusiks:
I'm no sociologist, but I've developed my own kind of stratification of climbing types:

The Newbie: Someone who professes that they love climbing, until you take them up a multipitch, as which point they become like a cat stuck up a tree. After you finally coax them down, reassuring them that "it was a bit exposed", they never contact you again.

The Annoyance: Someone who expresses a passing interest in climbing, follows you up anything you can throw at them with nonchalant ease, then moves on to continue their happy, fulfilling, successful life elsewhere. If you let them lead, they'll probably send an extreme whilst asking you, calmly: "so, what do you do with these nut things again?"

The Bumbler: Climbs VDiff perennially; occasionally sweats and shakes their way up a Severe. Is happy with that and has a great time.

The Overly Keen: Climbs VDiff whenever they get the opportunity; feels obliged to regularly sweat and shake their way up a Severe. Despite this, professes a desire to "get comfortable at VS" whilst training hard with the other gym regulars where they climb french 6c.

The Clubber: Aged between 34 and 80, they've been climbing VS - E2 for years, with a level of competence that makes climbing look a little dull...

The Dark Horse: Probably has kids or prefers fell running, and rarely gets out for a climb, but nevertheless climbs E1 - E4 with a complete lack of concern, although they remain nostalgic for climbing days past...

The Wad: turns up at the crag, warms up on E1, then goes on to spray sandbagged pseudo-beta at everyone, abseils off every climb, climbs through other parties, never sending a route from top to bottom but cherry-picking the best pitches, whilst talking loudly about "this great E5 I did right up the face here..." Annoyingly, they're actually quite good.

The Pseudo-Wad: turns up to the crag, warms up on an HS, then, after struggling, swearing "that's never HS" and getting the ropes tangled on the abseil descent, goes around spraying pseudo-beta at everyone, before complaining loudly about greasy conditions and making for the pub.

I've not encountered anyone above Wad level - but I imagine they ride to crags on the back of a unicorn.
Post edited at 16:58
ericinbristol - on 16 May 2017
In reply to Greasy Prusiks:

There's footage of Ben Moon getting back on Statement of Youth after many years forgetting to take a quickdraw for the top and he says 'What a punter!'

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_nGdx1IGh48 at 7 mins 20 seconds.

If he's a punter, I can't imagine what I am...
C Witter on 16 May 2017
In reply to Greasy Prusiks:

I forgot to mention that the Wad, despite looking like something a VW van barfed up, is usually accompanied by an attractive blonde with a highly dubious belaying technique...

On reflection, I might be just ranting about one person, though...
planetmarshall on 16 May 2017
In reply to C Witter:

> ...an attractive blonde with a highly dubious belaying technique...

Sharma?
Knut R. - on 16 May 2017
In reply to climbwhenready:

I had to dislike your post, because of my beanie.
ukb & bmc shark - on 17 May 2017
In reply to Skyfall:

> I like this as I probably progressed past bumbly and hit punter status but always with a certain amount of faff and rarely believing I'd actually get up routes I could almost certainly climb. But I would do that with VS's or E1's alike. I sound like I'm retired from climbing but I'm not really, I'm just going through the same phase with sports climbing, though at relatively lower levels. A man who can make a 5+ or 6b look equally hard. Which in sports climbing terms is probably bumbly level.


Calling it 'sports' climbing has definitely demoted you back to bumbly again.

Wayne S - on 17 May 2017
In reply to ukb & bmc shark:

And if you go "Sports" climbing in the Peaks, do you get Turbo Bumbly status?
wercat on 17 May 2017
In reply to Greasy Prusiks:
There is something about the word punter to me that suggests a kind of chancer, not in the sense of being reckless but of having a gap of arbitrary size between their sense of their own level of proficiency and their actual level of achievement, such that the actual proficiency is less than the estimated level.

Thus a real achiever canot be a punter as the gap probably doesn't exist. Correspondingly, a bumbly, being competent but probably not being an excessive risk taker will keep to the limitations imposed by their accurate knowledge of the level they are happy with. In any event the bumbly would avoid a situation where any gap between perceived ability and actual ability might be put to a substantial test.

So the net result is that you could probably be a punter at any level. Punters have a flaw that may sometimes be exposed and will not experience limitations on confidence or self esteem that would prevent them risking exposure
Post edited at 21:04
Lion Bakes on 17 May 2017
In reply to Greasy Prusiks:

Someone pushing mild moderate?

davidbeynon on 17 May 2017
In reply to Lion Bakes:
Thank god for that. I managed to break hard mod this year.
Post edited at 22:27
stp - on 12:13 Mon
In reply to Misha:

That's a misleading, in fact meaningless statement about training. By that definition one could say that it's possible to reach 9b+ without training since most of what Sharma does is simply go climbing regularly. It's often said the best training for climbing is climbing anyway. Going to an indoor wall could certainly be construed as training since walls were built and designed specifically to train fitness and strength to get better at climbing outside. Going to the wall twice a week and climbing at weekends will make a massive difference to how you could climb if you were completely 'untrained'.
davidbeynon on 12:18 Mon
In reply to stp:

I think the key is to do training that you don't actually enjoy
Mike505 on 16:25 Mon
In reply to C Witter:

I'm now worried that I'm an aspiring 'Clubber' is there a way to avoid this and improve without becoming a 'Wad' or is my fate predetermined?
French Erick - on 16:54 Mon
In reply to Greasy Prusiks:

I often drift between 2 states: from frustrated Bumbly to happy Punter.

Punter because I often punch above my weight* and get rewarded.

*(only once in a reckless manner and whilst being successful learned my lesson and never did it again)
Lion Bakes on 19:49 Mon
In reply to davidbeynon:

> Thank god for that. I managed to break hard mod this year.

Must have been all the flags on your scooter ;-)

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