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/ Depot Manchester: Grades.

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L David Cohen - on 13 Apr 2018

Is it me or are the grades at the Depot totally random?

I know there is supposed to be a spread within a colour but some of the blacks have felt like 6b+ and some of the recent reds would struggle to get 4+

I'm not complaining about the quality of the setting which is always good but it would be nice to have a proper cross over between black / red and red / purple.

 

McKEuan - on 13 Apr 2018
In reply to David Cohen:

Pretty bang on to me. There's always Gunna be some that feel hard but that's how it's set so there is cross over so top end blacks will feel like bottom end reds

L David Cohen - on 13 Apr 2018
In reply to McKEuan:

The point I was making is that there often isn't the cross over.

At least one of the recent blacks was about V5 and at least one of the current reds is no more than V0+/V1.

 

Ian Patterson on 13 Apr 2018
In reply to David Cohen:

> At least one of the recent blacks was about V5 and at least one of the current reds is no more than V0+/V1.

Not sure if you're talking about the current set of blacks?  Latest blacks and reds are both easier than they have been I think.  As with previous sets there's a significantly wider range of grades then given, blacks more like V0/1 - V4, reds V1 - V5 (roughly?) both have a few significantly easier than the grade problems and few more difficult than average.   However as holistic view doing all the blacks is significantly easier than doing all the reds,  my daughter is around black level and has probably done about 70% (struggles with upper body strength on some of the steep ones) compared to about 30% of the reds.    

The Grist - on 13 Apr 2018
In reply to David Cohen:

It is probably trying to replicate Font or bouldering outside. For example some V4s outside are easy and some are hard. 

Personally I think the setting at the Depot Manchester is great and I find the Blacks are generally pretty easy and the reds are harder and the  purples are harder still. I can always do about 2 or 3 yellows. I find the setting spot on. 

Bulls Crack - on 13 Apr 2018
In reply to Ian Patterson:

What is the point of having such a big range ie V1-5?

L David Cohen - on 13 Apr 2018
In reply to Bulls Crack:

Agreed, the quality of the setting is almost without exception high but the spread of grades is a bit well, random.

The gap between the hard reds and easy purples seems (and this isn't just my view) far more than one might expect given reds are supposed to be V3-5 and purples V5-7.

And yes, the current sets are a bit of an ego massage  

winhill - on 13 Apr 2018
In reply to The Grist:

> For example some V4s outside are easy

Where's that? I could use the help.

I don't think there is a boulder centre in the UK that approximates to outdoor grades, V0 usually a simple ladder but outdoors an english tech 5a (IIRC)? 

 

Offwidth - on 13 Apr 2018
In reply to winhill:

Nottingham CC nearly always did but I haven't bouldered there for nearly a year.. Any Depot V0 is normally V0- , VB or fun (about f1 to f3+) they really need to use fun, VB and V0- grading.

thebigfriendlymoose - on 13 Apr 2018
In reply to David Cohen:

> The gap between the hard reds and easy purples seems (and this isn't just my view) far more than one might expect given reds are supposed to be V3-5 and purples V5-7.

I'm never sure whether perceived "gaps" between circuits are objective or subjective.  At the Leeds Depot, I generally do most reds in a go or two, get most of the purple circuit in the first session, but pretty much never manage yellows.  To me there is a massive gaps between purple and yellow... but is that because my own limit is precisely at that boundary (indoor V7), or is it a systematic aspect of the setting?

Post edited at 21:18
thepodge on 14 Apr 2018

All sorts of factors at play. 

I'm currently finding the yellow (5+ - 6a+) at the Works easier than their blacks (5 - 5+) but then I think some of the yellows were set by different (shorter) people and the blacks seem heavily focused on slopers which I'm rubbish at. I'm also 1 or 2 V grades better at Rockover in Manchester than I am at any in Sheffield. 

L David Cohen - on 14 Apr 2018
In reply to thebigfriendlymoose:

My rule of thumb is if you can't do it in 3 goes move on, certainly until that's the only problem on the circuit you can't do.

However if reds for example are supposed to be V3 - 5 and there are 30 problems then I would expect there to be say 7 V3's 14 4's and 9 5's.  

If purple is 5-7 with 30 problems I would expect a similar distribution i.e. and overlap of 16 problems.  If climber a can do 28 out of 30 reds he should be able to do at least 3 purples if the grading is consistent.

1poundSOCKS - on 14 Apr 2018
In reply to thebigfriendlymoose:

> I'm never sure whether perceived "gaps" between circuits

Not sure I've noticed any gaps either, at the Leeds Depot anyway. The few hardest reds can be a bit harder than the easiest purples, but they are thereabouts. Same with blue to black to red too I think. Generally very well set and the relative grading is pretty accurate. I never do the few hardest purples, and I've never done a yellow, so hard to comment around V7 and up.

Offwidth - on 14 Apr 2018
In reply to David Cohen:

I've never climbed on a red circuit where the easiest problem wasn't below V2, some were V0. The hardest reds do seem to match the range (but are too hard for me). Someone above said there are easy V4 problems outdoors... that's almost certainly true but most are probably badly graded V3 (or easier?). I know that even with correct grades things can be low in the grade or suit ones style (so feel easier). On the other hand as people get used to these indoor grade distortions it leads to a real mess. Firstly people coming from indoors putting up new problems start grading to wrong standards: most exeprienced boulderers are grading V2 as around UK standard f6A which should be sustained  UK tech 5c or easier 6a tech (with execption of the odd Rockfax V graded guide when they defined V3 as f6A) . Secondly when people are moving outdoors for the first time meet real outdoor grades with less than perfect paddable landings it could be serious.

sheppy on 09:35 Wed
In reply to David Cohen:

Its also worth remembering that route setters are only human and not machines!

We cant always get the every grade spot on, sometimes time runs out to do enough tweaking and like every job "shit can happen" so dragging attention away to something else.

I am sure the Depot guys will take note of your comments and try harder next reset ;-)

Post edited at 09:35
Offwidth - on 10:41 Wed
In reply to sheppy:

I think a majority typical range is a better idea than a hard range. Font circuits often have really hard stellar finishes for the grade. The main thjng about all the Depot centres I've been to (and from the views of others) is that the setting is usually excellent all the way down to the whites.  Its just really annoying about this V0 thing. V0 is a UK tech 5a problem or sustained 4c even on soft Rockfax grades. They need to start using the fun, VB and V0 - grades. As they expand venues this problem becomes more important. It doesn't help when talking to Steve D last week that I forgot to nag him about this.

galpinos on 10:48 Wed
In reply to David Cohen:

 

Personally I wouldn’t say the Depot is any worse than anywhere else. There are soft and hard problems in each band and they follow the general indoor trend of being soft compared to outside up to about the V5/6 band.

However, I believe there are two reasons the colour bands feel out of sync at times

1.      They use the same style of hold of each colour band each time. For example, the reds are always the slope-y font holds and the blacks seem to have a lot of evil crimps. This can lead to one set feeling soft and one hard depending on your personal strengths.

2.      The colours are re-set as a block. Tis sometimes leads to people thinking everything is a bit soft, so when, for example, the blacks get re-set, there are made a little stiffer. However, the reds are still the old “soft” set so the boundary between the colour sets is blurred and the overlap increased. It can also happen in the other direction and across all colour sets/levels obviously.

That said, the whole facility and setting in general takes some beating, it’s a great wall.

 

Andrew Kin - on 15:51 Wed
In reply to David Cohen:

Never managed to get my head around this hang up for grades.

Eden Rock set

Purple/Green/Orange/Yellow/White/Blue/Red/Black/Woods in ascending order of difficulty.  There is overlap and climbs which are more suited to particular climbers.

We go so regular that every new reset (Very regular) is greeted with glee and even the Purple set is dispatched to make the most of it. 

I believe they are graded somewhere in the centre with a up/horizontal/down arrow showing the difficulty within the set but tbh I have seen my daughter flash the harder ones and struggle with easier.  Been going there for 5yrs and still don't know the gradings. 

Surely the most efficient way of looking at a set is to try them all.  Work on the ones you cant do and then move onto the next set.  Who really cares what the grade is?  We are dreaming of the day when we complete the full set.

Andrew Kin - on 16:00 Wed
In reply to David Cohen:

Do people go to indoor centres and chase the grades rather than the actual climbs that test them?

Eg if there is a harder (Higher grade) climb which suits your style, would you go for that rather than the easier grade which doesn't suit your style but might improve your technique more over the long term.

steveriley - on 16:11 Wed
In reply to Offwidth:

Combine this compression at the bottom end with some stiff local outdoors grading and all merry heck can ensue when wall-bred boulderers emerge blinking and stumbling into the light for the first time. It's fine by me of course, I don't want to be the only one getting spanked

L David Cohen - on 20:21 Wed
In reply to steveriley:

Apparently everything outside is over graded compared to 1978 :0)

Coel Hellier - on 21:49 Wed
In reply to Offwidth:

It would be better if walls used a different indoor grading system that didn't pretend to be the same as an outdoor one.    The outdoor V-grade system is not a sensible one for a wall to use, since it starts high and much of their custom climbs the easy ones.  

 

thepodge on 06:43 Thu
In reply to Andrew Kin:

If you're a beginner to intermediate and use different walls you have to chase grades otherwise how do you know where you are. 

Similarly if you're limited on time it's nice to lap a grade, some you'll find easy, some hard.

Andrew Kin - on 07:10 Thu
In reply to thepodge:

How do you know where you are.  

I struggle on slopers - find a color / climb with slopers

i struggle on crimps - find a crimpy set or climb

i struggle with power - find a powerful set or climb

Must admit that's one of the biggest benefits of Eden rock.  You can actually decide what you fancy working before you even get there.  The color sets have been pretty constant for 5yrs

 

Offwidth - on 09:43 Thu
In reply to Coel Hellier:

Well I think grades are grades and can be used on anything and why people think we need yet another system just because its indoors when we have 3 systems already in operation in the UK is beyond logic to me.. The grades exist for those operating below V0 : .... fun, VB and V0 -  (or alternately all the font or UK tech grades). If I owed a wall I'd say a colour set had a range around a particular grade and leave it at that. The able grade obsessives always have the fixed woodies.

Depot Greens are around fun,  Whites around VB, Blues around VO-, Blacks around VO, Reds around V2, etc (but contrast that with the current labels).

Post edited at 09:51
Coel Hellier - on 19:22 Thu
In reply to Offwidth:

> and why people think we need yet another system just because its indoors

Because the quality of landing is very different (even if you and your mates bring a whole stack of mats) and because the holds all feel very different ...

> Depot Greens are around fun,  Whites around VB, Blues around VO-, Blacks around VO, Reds around V2, etc (but contrast that with the current labels).

But a large part of an indoor wall's income is from beginners and kids groups, etc. They'd just be confused by a system that went VB, V0-, V0, V0+, V1, V2 ..., so you can excuse walls for not adopting that. 

V0, V1, V2 makes much more sense to the novice, therefore walls are going to use it, and therefore they'll apply it with V0 and V1 being the sort of climbs that beginners and novice kids can attempt. 

Post edited at 19:23
thebigfriendlymoose - on 21:20 Thu
In reply to Offwidth:

> Depot Greens are around fun,  Whites around VB, Blues around VO-, Blacks around VO, Reds around V2, etc (but contrast that with the current labels).

 

Which Depot is that?  I go to the Leeds one, and have always found the given grades pretty reasonable as indoors goes, red V3-V5, purple V5-7, woods straddling the two (V3-V6ish).  I usually do nearly all the reds and woods pretty quick, do the purples that suit in the first session, with a fair few seeming hard to be bothered with, but never manage any yellows (>V7) ever.  That accords reasonably with my outdoor performance - given that my predilection is for stretching between crimps, rather than the "leap between blobs" that rules indoors.

Offwidth - on 11:12 Fri
In reply to thebigfriendlymoose:

Nottingham for reds as I've never climbed reds or wood problems elsewhere. Last sets I worked half of the reds and about 2/3rds of the woods and its very rare I work V4/f6B outdoors unless it suits my skills perfectly. Leeds and Manchester seem a bit harder on the blues and blacks but not that much. On the latest Nottingham Blue circuit I did last night, the hardest problems are about V0+. Its a brilliantly set circuit, ideal for the customer base but labeled with completely the wrong grades.

Offwidth - on 11:43 Fri
In reply to Coel Hellier:

In my experience the range of feel of different modern indoor holds is little different to the range of feel on real rock (albeit different ranges).

On the mat front, beginners seem more likley to go out in a group initially but yes the risks increase (not the least of which include getting back down safely). Consistently using V0 indoors for VB problems and V2 for V0 problems  (as Depot does on middling Whites and Blacks) massively increases that risk of moving outdoors for climbers operating at those grades.

I don't see many climbers getting confused by VB and V0- when you put them in a number line or when they use guidebooks which include them, and if it's that big a problem just use Font grades.

 

 

Post edited at 11:45
Coel Hellier - on 12:17 Fri
In reply to Offwidth:

> I don't see many climbers getting confused by VB and V0- when you put them in a number line ...

Would a wall really want to be continually explaining to novices why the problems are labelled VB, V0-, V0, V0+, V1 etc? 

Offwidth - on 12:28 Fri
In reply to Coel Hellier:

Thats why they might use a poster or a picture with a number line in order of increasing difficulty to explain grades, like the guidebooks do. Yes some customers might still ask questions but answering such seems to me part of duty of care. The simple story when starting is ignore the grade labels for the moment and just remember each circuit is a bit harder than the last and overlaps in difficulty. 

People going outdoors for the first time thinking lower grade labels mean something that is two grades out from outdoor grading standards, with all the other additional risk complications of going outdoors (variable heights, variable landings, varaible descents, different technical needs, lower grade problems being much more likely to be sandbag graded etc) , is very bad news in my view.


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