THE LOWDOWN: The difficult Walk of life

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[The LowDown: The difficult Walk of life, 2 kb]James Pearson's The Walk of life, on the North Devon coast, has been repeated by Dave MacLeod, who suggests a downgrade from E12 7a to E9 6c. Given the swiftness of Dave's repeat, this seems reasonable, and although E9 6c is still very impressive the downgrade is absolutely massive. This is not an...


Some of these replies were posted on Björn's old blog website, and so won't be from registered UKC users
Anonymous 28 Sep 2009
Sharma said the Mandala was "the hardest thing he had ever done." Since he had done Crown of Aragorn-V13 and others, the media assumed it was V14 or even V15.
Anonymous 28 Sep 2009
I agree that bouders are difficult to grade. But, I think bouldery 40 foot headpoints, and scary slabs that dont require fitness are probably even more difficult to grade.

Does it just feel hard because you are scared? Are you scared because the moves are really hard and at your limit? I think a significant danger of getting hurt makes it difficult to grade something accurately.
Anonymous 28 Sep 2009
Since you bring up the Sharma comparison- Sharma didnt grade the Mandala, but the climbing media had it pegged at V14 if not harder. Nowadays it is considered low end V12.
Tim 28 Sep 2009
I think that the boulder flashes are a red herring as James did not grade the boulders. However it is hard to argue that there is not a pattern of overgrading in these route. I am inclined to agree with Bjorn's evaluation.
gian 28 Sep 2009
Myself I am quite puzzled.

After all, all three of these routes have been presented as "last great problems" that have been tried by many others before...

So, my suspect is that on one side yes, in the start JP was probably being "generous" in his evaluations (expecially, a common point in these ascents is that he presented the route as much more risky than repeaters thought or tested).

But, on the other side, I have this other suspect that for some reasons the repeaters chose to be overly harsh and bold in the downgrade, evaluating more than just the route.

DMC blog was expecially clever in this : with its long praise to the FA, it really sounds like "very well done kid, but you still have a lot of homework to do"
@ Anonymous 1: Good point! How do you know how scared you are compared to others, and how much the perceived difficulty is affected? Experience I suppose.

@ Anonymous 2: 'The Mandala' turned out to be 8A (a hold has broken since, making it 8A+), and still, to Chris, it was most probably the hardest thing he had ever done cause it didn't really suit his strengths. Grades are extremely subjective...
True, but Sharma is hardly to blame for what media says. It would have been a different story if he'd called Mandala V14 himself. But then again, bouldering is, because of its nature, more difficult to grade, at least if you want to reach some kind of consensus. 8A for someone can very well be 7C or impossible for someone else.
Narc 28 Sep 2009
There is also the issue of the 3 8Bs that James flashed to much fanfare all being considered very soft for that grade with many considering them 8A+ or easier. Flashing them was certainly impressive since noone else seems to have been able to match the feat, but it seems to fit into a pattern.
Narc 28 Sep 2009
sharma also used a harder sequence on the FA...

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