Who is the best? Who climbs the hardest? These are common questions from the mouths and keystrokes of climbers these days. If there was one, which country would win the Sport Climbing World Cup? Portugal wouldn't stand a chance? Brazil wouldn't even qualify. Surely the French and the Germans must stand a chance as they invented the beautiful sport climbing game? England has a strong team, the brash young Rich Simpson, the enigmatic John Gaskins all held together by the vast experience of the team captain, Steve McClure. We must have a fighting chance with these climbing crusaders, all three have climbed the magic 9a and maybe harder. Time to unfurl the St.George cross, crack the Bud open, read the pre-match analysis in the Daily Mail and switch channels from Big Brother to the big game.
This is a boulder problem linked into a route, right? If you exclude this the UK drops below the US ... which sounds correct'ish. If you include it, what about other stamina problems like Dai Koyamada's links in Japan and Australia?
From what I remember from the photos, it's a long initial ceiling problem protected by mats/ spotters which turns into a bolted up-route. But I don't think the route can be reached by an easier alternative. ie it isn't contrived in that sense.
In reply to tobyfk: Given the size of the ceiling (of a cave?) and the difficulty given to the grade of said climbing, I'm sure there must be easier alternatives traversing in to the start of the roped climbing, but don't quote me on it.
In reply to Chris Fryer: Akira was done using a step ladder to work the various roof sections of the start, its not miles from the ground but you cant just pull on anywhere thats for certain. It was bouldered out to the lip of the cave where a rope was clipped and the final section done, I think theres an article on fred rouhling kicking around that explains this. Dont know if it was done when pads were around?
> (In reply to Chris Fryer & toby)
> Good points. If an article is going to be this nerdy about standards and stuff (not a bad thing!) then it should be very clear about where the boundaries are drawn.
But then the nerds would have nothing to be nerdy about......and what would they do then?
> (In reply to tobyfk) Given the size of the ceiling (of a cave?) and the difficulty given to the grade of said climbing, I'm sure there must be easier alternatives traversing in to the start of the roped climbing, but don't quote me on it.
I don't think you'll get anywhere near the start of the 'climb' by other methods.
> If an article is going to be this nerdy about standards and stuff (not a bad thing!) then it should be very clear about where the boundaries are drawn.
Too right. Akira, Pilgrimmage and Wheel of Life all deserve route grades and places on this list. They are all stamina fests of the highest order.
Some more on Akira, before it gets dismissed:
> The line runs from the deepest corner of the cave directly out to the mouth. It is sixty-five feet long and rises perhaps ten vertical feet over that length. You can reach any point on the first forty-five feet of the route with a four-foot stepladder, which is exactly what Rouhling did in 1995.
> For three consecutive months, he worked out the unrelenting dynamic bouldering movement. Pinches, slopers, crimps, and pockets lead to a jug rest near the lip of the roof where, on “redpoint,” Rouhling was handed a rope to lead the last fifteen feet of climbing.
There's a long tradition of giving route grades to stamina problems. Boulderers are understandably irked when people claim these atypical problems are the pinnacle of bouldering achievement; really they are far more akin to routes - differing only by being far more accessible and involving less fiddling with string and metal (which surely is only supposed to be a means to an end).
Akira should stay in. FR first did it as a complete route, rather than as a boulder problem with extension. There's even some quote from him (in the Climbing article?) where he says that if he was doing it today, he'd only go to the lip and stop - doing it as a pure boulder problem instead of a route.
The Fly should also stay in for similar reasons - it's only regarded as a highball now after considerable improvement of the landing, and the ground-breaking actions of Jason Kehl.
Bloody hell Tim, good effort. Got some more via emails.
Got my work cut out there.
Brownstones! It were great Robin...nice friendly holds, excellent moves, nice height, cool temps, early morning sesh, got bit by a mozzy....off to the Chew Valley with the Thaw tonight to do some roped stuff.
> (In reply to Mick Ryan - UKClimbing.com)
> I know it is not your article, but surely this is like saying who would win a world cup by having the biggest stadiums, as it is the players/Climbers who play in the world cup, not the venues/Climbs.
> Which country would win it with climbers?
We could work that out as well when we've updated the list with the info above.
But will you use the fifa ranking system, which would bias american climbers as they only go on rubbish ;0) crags or english climbers? After all didnt we invent the dammed sport and didnt we win the world cup ages ago! therefore we have a divine right to win it and jonny foreigner cheats anyway.