Question: what bouldering grade is the threshold for newsworthy? Is it Font 8B?
I ask because with sport, my sense is that the threshold is roughly:
9a if it is ultra classic and someone notable doing it
9a+ as above, and in the past for a female ascent (though less so now as women are increasingly less far behind men)
9b and up guaranteed newsworthy.
The thing is, a lot more 8B/+ boulders seem to go up every week than say 9b sport climbs. OK that's probably in part because there are a lot of boulders and a lot of boulderers working towards the top end, perhaps more so than in sport.
But if the hardest sport route is f9c, and newsworthiness kicks in around f9b, shouldn't bouldering newsworthiness kick in around F8C (as the hardest is F9A)?
Not trying to be an ass, genuinely just wondering what the criteria for inclusion is, and on what rationale? Full disclosure: I'm not that interested in bouldering so don't really pay much attention to what is going on over there, I care a lot more about route climbing (sport and trad)
Yeah ok that makes sense.
Is it just me or does the fact there are so many more “top” bouldering sends per week than sport sends imply that the really big hitters are concentrating on sport, because that is agreed amongst the big hitters to be the truest proving ground?
For what it's worth, there are a lot more 'hard' boulders out there than 'hard' sport routes. By my count there are 56 sport routes that are 9b or harder in the world and at least 133 boulders that are 8C or harder (probably quite a bit higher than this, my list of boulder problems is pretty incomplete). I suspect this is at least partly why it's trickier to discern noteworthy bouldering ascents, because there's a lot of problems graded 8C and it's not obvious which ones are newsworthy and which are not so hard.
I also imagine that as a function of there being that many more boulder problems at the high end, there just that many more people trying them. (Likewise, much easier to clean a boulder and start projecting that than it is to clean and equip a full sport route.)
But does that mean the “hard” boulders are as hard as the “hard” sport routes, relative to the respective discipline (it’s just that there are more boulderers because there are more boulders, so these get climbed more). Or as I suspect, is F8C not “as hard” on a cosmic scale of climbing achievement as 9b, and that is why you get a lot fewer of the latter than the former? Or somewhere in between?
> Is it just me or does the fact there are so many more “top” bouldering sends per week than sport sends imply that the really big hitters are concentrating on sport, because that is agreed amongst the big hitters to be the truest proving ground?
I don’t follow your argument at all. There are plenty of ‘big hitters’ who spend the majority of their time bouldering, but when they do put on a rope they are elite in sport climbing too. It seems likely that if any of the top boulderers took the time to get fit they would be performing at the very top level of sport climbing too
Interesting discussion. Perhaps bouldering fits the modern media and climbing world better than sport at this moment in time. Here are a few possible reasons:
1 - You can go by yourself or with a few friends, bring a few pads, and try your proj as much as you want. No belayer needed and you don't have to fly to Spain, Greece, Norway etc.
2 - You can typically get pretty good footage of bouldering sends from bystanders and even a phone on a tripod, whereas longer routes require dangling dedicated photographers in order to get anything better than butt shots. As such, media attention and Insta posts will naturally favor bouldering over sport.
3 - At this point in time there might just be more boulderers than route climbers. The skills required to gain entry to high end bouldering are simpler as is the gear - no ropes, harnesses, belay techniques, anchor cleaning, boinking, lowering, quickdraw cleaning required in bouldering. Just bring a few crashpads and have at it, maybe a static rope to suss moves on high ball routes.
4 - As has already been mentioned, it's much less work to clean and prep a boulder problem than a long route. On a related front, the opportunities for new, longer lines on cliffs gets smaller and smaller every year, so you end up with linkups of different sorts, which to me are really not that interesting. Completely new bouldering lines are much more likely to be found.
I'm sure there are other reasons out there.
I, for one, am happy to look at bouldering vids because the movement is generally more interesting and creative than routes, unless you're talking about Adam Ondra.