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Rainbow feet

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 David Coley 23 Mar 2021

Hi, for many years I have been suggesting to walls that the following might be a useful thing to do.

Alongside the grade written at the base of a route, a second grade is given for doing the same route, but with rainbow feet (i.e. using all available holds for feet whatever their colour). E.g. 7a+(6c). My logic is as follows:

1. this kind of creates more routes for very little expense (a route setter or member of staff needs to do the route to set the rainbow grade, maybe again if holds are changed on another route. This I assume would have a very low time cost compared to bolting on the holds in the first place?)

2. lots more footholds compared to handholds is what outdoor climbing is all about, so this creates a better training facility, for those that climb outside.

3. for kids and shorter people this solves a lot of issues of indoor climbing being a reach issue, whereas outdoors one can build the feet on holds.

4. although it is possible to say to a child, “it is okay for you to use rainbow feet because you are short”, this does not go down well because unless it is on a label at the base of the wall it isn’t a real route or proper in their mind.

5. saying much the same to a woman, doesn’t really tick the inclusive box.

I have suggested this inclusive approach to both male and female staff at various walls since my kids started climbing 15 years ago, so I have quite a few data points, each time it has been dismissed, but never with a solid reason.

Conclusion, I guess there must be a really good reason for not using this idea that I’m missing. If not, please can we make this a common, almost cost free, way to increase inclusivity – I’m also betting many outdoor climbers would love these routes, even the tall ones.

I’d love some feedback on this from, young / female / short / trad climbers. Thanks.

There must be some walls doing this already?

 heleno 23 Mar 2021
In reply to David Coley:

Where routes are given 'rainbow' grades, I usually find these much softer touches than the single colours, as there are fewer reach problems (I'm 5'1).

And though in theory I can make my choice to climb rainbow, it's certainly much more motivating if a rainbow alternative is given a grade.

Your idea of rainbow feet is certainly interesting - though I think if you were climbing 7a+ fingers with 4+ buckets for feet it might make quite an unusual route!

 gravy 23 Mar 2021
In reply to David Coley:

I think you're suggesting something that already exists.  Anyway can take the serving suggestion and amend it adding or subtracting moves or holds.  You don't need the permission or the route setters blessing to do this, just crack on.

 AlanLittle 23 Mar 2021
In reply to David Coley:

> There must be some walls doing this already?

Back when there used to be open climbing walls in Germany - a long time ago now - some of them had started doing this.

 DaveHK 23 Mar 2021
In reply to David Coley:

In a similar vein (well opposite really) when I worked at the Glasgow wall we would sometimes offer alternative grades for feet on features. Obviously that only worked on walls with lots of features.

 jdh90 24 Mar 2021
In reply to gravy:

I think the key points are around 4 and 5.

As a child or pre-growth spurt teen I would have sulked a bit when invited to play by special kiddy rules of rainbow feet when that isn't what the adults are doing.

As someone who got into climbing as an adult, I was keen to fit into the social norms of this new environment so I didn't stand out as the clueless punter people might quietly joke about.*  At most walls I've been to, most people climb the roped routes as set.  Now I wouldn't care, but to begin with, it would have hurt my fragile masculinity.

As someone who takes beginners to the wall, it would be useful to have had someone grade a rainbow feet variation to help me choose appropriate routes, while increasing the number of options for them.  I'll add holds to their climbs if they're struggling, but without the route sheet at the bottom legitimising that as an option, it can detract from their sense of achievement.

As someone who doesn't train enough to feel like anything in the 7s will ever be achievable, it would be nice to have a bit more guidance on what variations might be in grade for me.

Maybe its a regional thing, but most walls I've been to haven't graded variations such as rainbow or features. Its something I'd like to see more of.

* I then walked headlong into this by buying a pair of Mammut Realization harness shorts. "Ere mate, have you put your harness under your shorts?" "Has he tied into his belt?" Now I just embrace it and round out the outfit with a pair of cheap, comfy shoes with socks.

 Jenny C 24 Mar 2021
In reply to jdh90:

What i do when climbing with someone vertically challenged is let them have a bonus hold, so they can select (just) one extra hold to get them to past that section. Making them think which hold they want for the bonus is part of the challenge and given that grades are always subjective, if they manage the rest of the route dues to it make that much difference to the grade?

 David Coley 25 Mar 2021
In reply to gravy:

There are 2 issues with that, firstly there is no grade given, and climbers love to know the grade before they set off or to measure themselves against; kids in particular don't feel they are doing a real climb. 

 nniff 25 Mar 2021
In reply to David Coley:

i used to go to a wall (I think it was one in Canada) that used rainbow grades on lots of its lines.   It also used to do the opposite sometimes, with a FOFO grade - feet on features only.  It enabled them to get more routes per panel and spread people out

 David Coley 25 Mar 2021

This is all sounding very positive:

1. no real argument against it voiced so far

2. people seem to like the idea

It would be great to have some comments from those that work at or run walls.

 Arastradero 25 Mar 2021
In reply to David Coley:

I think there are some valid reasons why walls are not so keen to do this.

Good route setters will put a lot of effort in to ensuring routes are well balanced with a sustained difficulty level, force climbers in to a variety of interesting moves and are not unnecessarily morpho. Climbing a route using whichever other footholds happen to be on the same bit of wall will almost always be worse climbing than the intended route.

Setting quality is a major selling point for walls and I can see why they may well be reluctant to dilute it by officially endorsing substandard variations of routes. Climbers are free to include or eliminate holds to suite their own needs and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that but I don't see any need for walls to grade them. The problem of excessively reachy moves is best solved by better setting not by telling your customers that the set routes don't matter.

The differences in opinion are probably down to whether you think indoor climbing can be worthwhile and aesthetically pleasing in its own right or if you just think its just good for getting in some mileage when its raining outside. 

 Donotello 25 Mar 2021

I personally don’t think climbing needs watering down any more than it already is. 
 

An alternative suggestion for squeezing in more routes but also not affecting the 2/3 routes on that line, are to perhaps add one or 2 unique coloured holds next to a crux. First off climb the route using these holds then try the crux without them. 
 

Have used this method when I owned a wall and it was a great way of having a 6b and a 6c on the same line. For example. 

In reply to David Coley:

Can you not already climb rainbow feet if you like?

 David Coley 26 Mar 2021
In reply to bouldery bits:

> Can you not already climb rainbow feet if you like?

Absolutely. But climbers being climbers really like to know the grade before they set off. They look at the labels looking for a 6b (or whatever), and given some of the comments above and having discussed this with a wide range of climbers, many like the idea. If you climb a 7a with rainbow feet but no label, you don't know if you have climbed a 7a, 6c+, 6c and 6b+. People like to know.

With kids I have found that unless there is a label they are cheating.

It is far more inclusive to have a label than to say: because you are short / female / young the rules are different for you - you can rainbow. It seems much better practice to put another label for rainbow whoever might climb the routes.

In reply to David Coley:

I think my argument against is that in any good gym there are such a large grade range of routes and grades that there 'should' be something for everybody to achieve. Routesetters put a huge amount of time and effort into creating routes that to suggest they don't cater for all shapes and sizes is a bit insulting. Also a part of commercial routesetting is to create visually appealing routes and walls. Spraying a bunch of footholds all over the place detracts from the look of the wall.

Also, and this was a point I raised in a previous thread when somebody claimed that routes aren't catering for shorter climbers or females I would argue that maybe the route is too hard for the climber and they need to drop a grade so can actually do it without cheating/rainbowing. I know a bunch of climbers of a range of heights and sizes and none of them have ever needed to add feet or handholds to assist them they just climb to their ability and when they want to push the grade they accept it's hard and might fall off or need to figure out the Beta that works for them.

 David Coley 26 Mar 2021
In reply to Arastradero:

Thanks for that input. Really interesting.

So we might have a tension. It would be interesting to explore this at a wall. How about augmenting the grades as I suggest for 3 months, seeing it it becomes popular and asking the users if they want the policy continued? If this was done at a wall with no local competitors the wall would have little to lose?

 David Coley 26 Mar 2021
In reply to McKEuan:

Thanks for the input. Just to clarify a few bits:

> I think my argument against is that in any good gym there are such a large grade range of routes and grades that there 'should' be something for everybody to achieve.

I'm sure that is true. But this doesn't seem a reason not to just write (6b+) on a label if the users would like it. 

>  Also a part of commercial routesetting is to create visually appealing routes and walls. Spraying a bunch of footholds all over the place detracts from the look of the wall.

That is not what I'm suggesting. The other footholds are only these of routes that are already there on co-located routes.

> Also, and this was a point I raised in a previous thread when somebody claimed that routes aren't catering for shorter climbers or females I would argue that maybe the route is too hard for the climber and they need to drop a grade so can actually do it without cheating/rainbowing.

I think I get this, but they could do this even if (6b+) was on the label. But it would be their choice, and it would be an informed one. At the moment, if they choose to rainbow feet it is an uniformed one (grade wise)

My additional point was that having many more footholds than handholds is for more representative of outdoor climbing. Often in indoor climbing (particularly at lower grades) the handholds are the footholds most of the time, this is completely different to outdoor climbing. My suggestion caters for this, but without the staff having to add any extra holds, or really do any extra work. The users could even supply the rainbow grade on a whiteboard.

In reply to David Coley:

Surely any line which has a four on it then caps out at 6aish unless the holds are completely useless? 
 

Good route setting makes climbs more accessible for the short by adding intermediate feet or smaller holds where necessary, rather than completely changing the crux moves and removing the challenge elsewhere entirely. 

In reply to David Coley:

I think your final argument is with the thinking that people care how realistic the route is compared to outdoors. Nowadays indoor climbing is its own sport with I'd say at least 50% of climbers never even wanting to take it outdoors.

Also the option to rainbow is already there if you're suggesting people just use any hold. As you've said it would be the climbers choice and if they've read the route and decided they really need that extra foothold then they can use it, I don't think it needs to be an advertised option though. 

I personally would use the extra foothold to try and figure out the correct sequence with the intention of working the route then doing it clean using the correct foot holds.

 girlymonkey 26 Mar 2021
In reply to David Coley:

I don't see any particular problem with grading the rainbows for feet, but I do feel the focus should be far more on having diversity in the route setting. 

I set at our wall and I am tiny and female. My routes are quite different in style often. I wouldn't mind grading rainbow for feet too, but I would argue that you shouldn't need to with a range of setters.

 David Coley 26 Mar 2021
In reply to McKEuan:

> I think your final argument is with the thinking that people care how realistic the route is compared to outdoors. Nowadays indoor climbing is its own sport with I'd say at least 50% of climbers never even wanting to take it outdoors.

I'm sure you are correct with respect to most indoor climbers. However, I think there is a reasonable number who would like to make the link to outdoors a little deeper. I have asked around a bit, and I'm judging "reasonable" relative to the effort it would take to do this. Basicly the same idea as having fruit tea in the cafe: most climbers might not order it, but it takes so little effort one might as well offer it. My experiment above is designed to target this: if after 3 months there is a reasonable number making use of this information (and it is just information, nothing else is being changed) then the wall could decide in an informed way whether to remove the information or not.

> Also the option to rainbow is already there if you're suggesting people just use any hold. As you've said it would be the climbers choice and if they've read the route and decided they really need that extra foothold then they can use it, I don't think it needs to be an advertised option though. 

It doesn't need to be, the question is would some people prefer it to be? I suspect yes. And if it was the norm would ask for it back if it was removed. But I don't know.

 David Coley 26 Mar 2021
In reply to girlymonkey:

> I don't see any particular problem with grading the rainbows for feet, but I do feel the focus should be far more on having diversity in the route setting. 

Thanks for that. Agreed. But I can see that shift taking some time. In the meantime this seems a small helpful low cost quick move in the right direction. And kind of falls into the "why not?" box.

> I set at our wall and I am tiny and female. My routes are quite different in style often. I wouldn't mind grading rainbow for feet too, but I would argue that you shouldn't need to with a range of setters.

Agreed. But, as I said, I also wonder about whether some would welcome a label that provides a grade for the use of a more outdoor-realistic number of footholds. So this is about more than just reach.  

 Arastradero 26 Mar 2021
In reply to David Coley:

While climbing with rainbow feet is ok it should only really be done with a specific training goal in mind or as a way to build up to climbing routes properly. Climbing like this reduces most moves to simply working your feet up on the large jugs before statically stretching up to the next hand hold and I don't agree that this reflects outdoor climbing. Instead the climber should be improving their contact strength, lock off strength, dynamic/deadpoint technique and body positioning to make progress, this is what you get on high quality routes. Shorter climbers actually have some physiological advantages over taller climbers when doing these kinds or moves which is why top climbers are a mix of heights, watch the youth team at your local wall for more proof!

Encouraging too much rainbow climbing beyond absolute beginners will definitely delay the climbers development in my opinion. I certainly don't think it should be encouraged by walls or anyone else to climbers operating in the 6s and above.

In reply to girlymonkey:

There is diversity in route setting and just claiming because you're small and female and therefore can't do certain routes/moves is hogwash. You just need to get better or figure out the sequence that works for you. Sorry to be blunt.

I know people who large/small, thin & fat and they can achieve routes that I can't or vice versa. To say you can't do something just because of size is lazy. When you can't do a route outdoors do you reach for a hammer and chisel to make new holds or do you figure out how to make it work for you? Climbing is a puzzle. 

If you see any youth competitions there are a whole heap of different sized kids climbing in the same age category. They don't feel the need to add special holds for the short kids then so I don't see why they should need them for adults.

Post edited at 16:58
 girlymonkey 26 Mar 2021
In reply to Arastradero:

Should? Why?

If that is how someone enjoys climbing, crack on! As long as they are safe, it is entirely their choice how to climb!

 girlymonkey 26 Mar 2021
In reply to McKEuan:

I never once claimed I couldn't do certain routes because I am small and female. But I do set routes differently because I move differently! It would be very odd if I set routes of the same style as a lanky guy! Naturally I favour balance, footwork, high steps with rockovers, flexible moves etc. My routes often appeal to people of a similar build to myself. 

Nowhere did I say I don't climb and enjoy the other routes, just that having a variety of setters gives a variety of styles of routes to choose from.

In reply to girlymonkey:

But this isn't the first thread where you've brought up routesetting not being diverse enough.

In my experience taller route setters are normally so aware of setting reachy stuff they end up setting bunched problems or routes.

Indoor climbing will never be perfect with routesetting but if people are trying to claim its not diverse enough then, I'm sorry, it starts coming down to ability. Occasionally, yes, people set absolute clangers that are total crap but less so nowadays with people being so uber critical. 

If 90% of the customers are happy with the routes and just 10% are saying it's not inclusive/diverse enough then I'm sorry the route maybe not your style or you're just not good enough.

if you're going to grade rainbow the best idea is just use a colour of foot holds you don't use anywhere else in the centre and make them the footholds for all routes. biggest problem with that is you would limit the grade range massively because the feet would be so generic.

 girlymonkey 26 Mar 2021
In reply to McKEuan:

I'm glad you have local walls with diverse route setting. This is not a universal picture. 

In reply to girlymonkey:

And its not a lack of diversity or inclusiveness its crap routesetting.

There isn't some stigma against women specific routes or a bunch of men setting routes for men only and not caring about anybody else.

Stop trying to suggest there is.

Post edited at 19:38
 girlymonkey 26 Mar 2021
In reply to McKEuan:

It's not about setting FOR anyone in particular. But in general, mens and women's bodies move differently. Some women find that they get more enjoyment from climbing routes set by other women as their bodies are much more likely to move in a similar way. That is not to say that they wouldn't climb routes set by men, but the challenges are different and people often like the style of routes which suit their movement style. 

It's not necessarily bad route setting, but it's about creating the diversity of routes to suit the diversity of climbers. 

In reply to girlymonkey:

But that is an entirely unrealistic expectation? Because regardless of who's set the route male or female they aren't setting it thinking they're setting for a man or women they're setting to a grade and adding specific moves in (of they're any good).

A route is the grade its given based on its hardest move and that is the grade the setter gives it based on a setters experience.

If they're a crap routesetter it's going to be alot harder for them to hit the required grade and set a route with good movement and positions in it. 

So yes it is entirely down to the setter and not a lack of diversity in routes.

Best thing I've seen was in Germany on their harder routes on the card it said if you're under a certain height it adds a + to the grade. That is acknowledgement that people have different body shapes but also that they can do a route just may be abit harder for them.

 girlymonkey 26 Mar 2021
In reply to McKEuan:

> A route is the grade its given based on its hardest move and that is the grade the setter gives it based on a setters experience.

Thanks for the mansplaining!

Have a nice evening, enjoy your climbing 🙂

In reply to girlymonkey:

Mansplaining? Sorry that I have an opinion that differs from yours and you don't like it.

 Cobra_Head 28 Mar 2021
In reply to David Coley:

Why do you need a grade? Surely you can climb what you want, Rainbow Feet, Rainbow Hands and Feet, Features for Feet, you don;t really need a grade for each of those, do you?

 If people are chasing grade, they're not likely to need Rainbow feet grades. If they're climbing with competent climbers, surely the competent climber can give it a grade, for Rainbow feet.

Isn't this more of a problems of "tell me how good I am" rather than simply enjoying what you're doing?

It all sounds a bit too competitive from my point of view. If you NEED to know you're grade then climb a graded route, otherwise instil in beginners, "it's about the journey" not how hard you can climb.

Rainbow feet is quite possibly the worst way of teaching someone to climb, a much better way is reds for hands, greens for feet, scenario. This makes the climber more aware of their feet and more precise than just clomping up anything.

But again this doesn't need someone to give it a specific grade, people can work that out for themselves, if it's that important.

If I'm teaching someone to climb the very first thing I tell them is, "don't look at the grade, because it means nothing at the moment", "is there anything that look good?"

Being grade-centric is a sure way to put any self conscious person off for good. Save it till later if that's there point, but 5C and under what's the point?

Post edited at 18:42
In reply to Cobra_Head:

> Isn't this more of a problems of "tell me how good I am" rather than simply enjoying what you're doing?

Of course it is. That is a partly what grades are for, especially in training context.

 Cobra_Head 28 Mar 2021
In reply to Robert Durran:

> Of course it is. That is a partly what grades are for, especially in training context.


but if you're training you're not likely to need rainbow feet are you?

And if your climbing 7a+ with 6C for rainbow feet, I'd suggest you should really be able to work out the Rainbow grade for yourself, or you have a very fragile ego.

Post edited at 18:46
 Cobra_Head 28 Mar 2021
In reply to girlymonkey:

> It's not necessarily bad route setting, but it's about creating the diversity of routes to suit the diversity of climbers. 

I think it probably is bad route setting, because at a general public wall, they should be routes for everyone to have a go at.

Many wall think setting a hard route is a route where everything is just a stretch out of reach.

Our wall seems to cater for everyone and still maintains interest.

In reply to Cobra_Head:

> but if you're training you're not likely to need rainbow feet are you?

Why not?

> And if your climbing 7a+ with 6c for rainbow feet, I'd suggest you should really be able to work out the Rainbow grade for yourself, or you have a very fragile ego.

That argument could be applied to all grades, rainbow or not.

 Fishmate 28 Mar 2021
In reply to girlymonkey:

> I never once claimed I couldn't do certain routes because I am small and female. But I do set routes differently because I move differently! It would be very odd if I set routes of the same style as a lanky guy! Naturally I favour balance, footwork, high steps with rockovers, flexible moves etc. My routes often appeal to people of a similar build to myself. 

> Nowhere did I say I don't climb and enjoy the other routes, just that having a variety of setters gives a variety of styles of routes to choose from.


I could make many comments here as a setter, but will stick to a couple. Our core setting team at work consists of two guys, both at 5'11" (181cm), myself at 5' 8" and a young lady at 5'4". A reasonable spread of heights across 4 setters, I'm sure you'll agree. Our ages range from 19 to 53 and we set weekly. I can absolutely guarantee you that if a member complains a problem is too reachy or non inclusive, they are, as McKEuan stated above, lacking in either/both technical knowledge or physical strength 99% of the time.

Here's the reason why. In addition to our setting team who test all problems and ensure that problems up to f6a are highly inclusive, we have a number of testers who are chosen for specific reasons. That could be height, size, reach etc. We have children test our problems below f6a as we run NIBAS courses. For all problems f6a and above we have testers from 5'1" to 6'3". If they can't do a particular move at the grade then the problem is revised until the move is achievable without compromising the quality of the movement or its difficulty. If a member complains, it is therefore easy to show them the technique or a movement skill they are missing.

Respectfully, it sounds as though you don't get to set in the best environment if that is your experience. Setting to your preferred style is ultimately limiting for a setter. Surely it's your job to show other climbers that people your size CAN do problems in other styles? The biggest problem with 90% of climbers is that they tend to stick with styles that maintain the comfort zone.. As a setter it's our job to encourage them to look beyond that...

 climbingpixie 28 Mar 2021
In reply to David Coley:

> It is far more inclusive to have a label than to say: because you are short / female / young the rules are different for you

Maybe this would be good for kids but as a short woman I'd rather fail on a route as it's set than success on the basis of some sort of special treatment. And I find the notion a bit patronising tbh. 

 Fishmate 28 Mar 2021
In reply to David Coley:

> This is all sounding very positive:

> 1. no real argument against it voiced so far

> 2. people seem to like the idea

> It would be great to have some comments from those that work at or run walls.


Whilst I read the whole thread, that would be a little optimistic from the responses. This is my take as some who is predominantly an outdoor climber and an indoor route setter and coach.

Whilst the following may not apply to all setters, it most definitely does for those I work with and myself.

Primarily, climbing is a movement and skill based discipline. It is not at best an achievement through numbers discipline. Whilst I understand the modern world with its Fitbits and Step Counting want more random numbers and information, that seldom gets utilised and has little lasting value for most.

To bring beginners into climbing and have them believe merely getting to the top to claim a number prize is important is simply detrimental to their learning and valuing principles of movement. Setters spend as much time as possible on rock, many of us have the luxury of weekday climbing and mileage adds up. This in turn informs our setting. Trying to create moves or sequences from real problems or routes is an amazing process and a good days setting should leave a setter knackered, mentally and physically. This is because, we want other climbers to feel that movement and embrace doing something they didn't quite know existed. It is a more thinking discipline when you are on the ground and more feeling based when climbing. To turn the act of climbing experience into a thinking based process misses the point.

If people love climbing they will soon understand the arbitrariness of grading and cease pursuing it as a main objective. Pursuing grades encourages people to climb in a safe preferred style that suits them, when spreading their wings will only serve to make their preferred styles stronger.

More objectively, a good reason as Cobra Head mentioned lies in the fact that apart from the easy routes, i.e. up to 6a, the holds are placed to effect a sequence. These moves (if the setting policy is any good) will be rehearsed until the setter/team is satisfied that movement up the whole line flows and makes sense to the climber. A proposal for the grade is made by the setter and a consensus is made by the team and testers.

As an example, let's exclude the fact any grade could be rainbowed as a training protocol or to familiarise with certain handholds. Anyone requiring rainbow feet merely to ascend a route or problem isn't climbing 6a yet. As such, the line they will be on will feature a couple of lines in the 4 to 5+ range. Most of these will have large footholds. To rainbow these grades would in most cases reduce the grade to about 2 or 3. You would ultimately be teaching someone to thug their way up a line without much thought for the important factors that underpin any healthy climbing performance, i.e. footwork, movement. Technical learning will be discouraged just success or fail.

Climbing is a beautiful way to waste your life. Why deny people the opportunity to discover that.

In summary, I think your question is a good one. It made me think for a while and I learnt from that, so cheers. I disagree, because it ultimately turns climbing into a "clip and climb" disposable, succeed/fail, fun thing to do. I accept for some that is the case and acceptably so. If introducing someone to climbing let them discover its magic. Let them discover they can do more than they believed, just like we all did at some point and still do. There's enough grades at walls and some of the climbing, such as rainbowing should be left to the climbers creative mind.

 Cobra_Head 28 Mar 2021
In reply to Robert Durran:

> Why not?

Because if you're at the point of "training" it usually means you have some experience, you are hardly likely to be a beginner, and know nothing about grading, therefore you'd have trouble grading a route,with rainbow feet.

> That argument could be applied to all grades, rainbow or not.


Obviously bollocks because if you're climbing at 5a, 6c and 7a+ will be exactly the same and you have no experience of them. If you're climbing at 7a+ the chances are you've worked through the 5a stage to get there.

Are you just arguing for the sake of it, because this seems pretty obvious to someone who isn't a total noob?

There are loads of ways to make routes easier, or indeed harder, after climbing for a year or more, I think you'd have an idea of the grade, without needing it written down on a piece of paper.

Try climbing without lifting you elbows above your shoulders.

Post edited at 23:34
 Cobra_Head 28 Mar 2021
In reply to climbingpixie:

> Maybe this would be good for kids but as a short woman I'd rather fail on a route as it's set than success on the basis of some sort of special treatment. And I find the notion a bit patronising tbh. 

I agree, if we're teaching new people who might be they type that gives up we tend to try to be honest with them. "You can't do it now, but you might be able too", etc. also a way to be inclusive for shorter people, rather then rainbow feet, we try and climb within there parameters, e.g. you can only use a hold if you can touch it with your wrist first.

I get it that everyone's different, but focusing on grades is just daft, it ends up, and I've been party to this, "can we go there, because it's easily graded", nowt to do with how good the climbing is.

I know people who think they can climb 6b+ when they've rested, been pulled up, and generally dogged their way up a route. It's self deception and gains nothing.

 Qwerty2019 29 Mar 2021
In reply to David Coley:

I meant to stay out of this but can’t help myself.  Nothing against the op, he is one of many who post these kind of threads.  This type of conversation is symptomatic of what’s wrong in British sporting activities all over.

I have been involved in football for decades.  I coached for 7years and started with 6 yr olds and took them through to 13.  We tried to be different building a player instead of a team.  Find their weaknesses, improve them all round and eventually start moulding a team.  It worked well other than one thing.....THE PARENTS.  They just couldn’t stop trying to force us to concentrate on making the team function properly as a priority. We lost kids to other teams because the parents wanted a measure.  They wanted success and they didn’t care if their kid stopped learning to achieve it.  Some left to stand on the sidelines and watch their new team as subs.  These parents completely ruined the fun.  Strangely nowadays you play for a team and then pay for the service we were giving as an extra.  All these coaching academies who charge £10 per hour, we were doing it free.  
 

So what relevance has this got to the original post.  Well in my eyes it’s all about measuring. Climbers like to pride themselves on being easy going, non judgemental, non conformist etc etc.  But they are all as bad as each other.  They want a measure.  They don’t understand that a grade is just one part of improving.
 

Let’s face it we are all learning all the time unless we are Ondra.  Of course we want to know how much that Lattice plan which measures absolutely everything has improved our climbing etc.  But is it so important that everyone spend every second of every climbing session worrying about what grade they are climbing.  Who cares?  If you need to rainbow, rainbow.  If you need an extra foot then do it.  Who cares.

I will tell you who cares.  Society.  Parents want a measure of how good their kids are.  How much value their money is getting for coaching.  Coaches need it to measure how good they are.  Climbers need it to show how much they have worked and improved.  Etc etc

Thank god there are some who don’t live by this set of rules.  I remember starting out at Eden rock with my daughter.  The saying was they are a toolbox and they will fill it with tools/skills over the years to improve them.  Crikey we didn’t know the grading system for about 3yrs because it didn’t matter.  It’s obviously more of a focus these days but there are times where a fun climb is still much more important than a grade.

Every thread like this reminds me that we are putting ourselves in these little boxes, desperate to measure ourselves against the system.

Post edited at 08:35
In reply to Cobra_Head:

No idea what you are on about.

 Cobra_Head 29 Mar 2021
In reply to Robert Durran:

> No idea what you are on about.


Read your post and my reply, it surely can't be that hard to work out, or if there's a specific aspect ask about that.

 Cobra_Head 29 Mar 2021
In reply to Qwerty2019:

> Every thread like this reminds me that we are putting ourselves in these little boxes, desperate to measure ourselves against the system.

Totally agree, we have a few people, and it usually new comers, who are that desperate to be climbing to 6b, they're prepared to "cheat" ,resting, getting pulled up, etc., so they can think they've done 6b. I makes no sense.

And into ALL that's been said the variation of grades across many walls any anyone with any climbing background knows grades at walls are pretty pointless, they're a rough estimate at best.

And as GirlMonkey says above, if the route setting is poor then, even more so for different sized people.

A good wall is a wall which offers a variety of climbing styles and grades, the rest you make up for yourself, surely!

Having to have everything codified and graded, doesn't prepare you well for the great outdoors.

 David Coley 01 Apr 2021

Thanks everyone for your input.

So far we have various views, but I think only one comment on why a wall might not want to do it.

The others who are against it seem to have a more personal reasoning, but I'm not convinced by the augments that it would do much harm. So it might be worth trying. It is almost zero cost, might be liked, and, unlike some moves on Grit, completely reversible.

Those that think it isn't the work of the Devil and work at a wall or know people who do, it would be great if this could be tested, maybe just on one section of the wall, and to know if 3 months down the line people use the routes and would like the idea expanded to the rest of the wall, or hate the idea and there is a strong desire to remove the information.

Let's have a UKC generated experiment, even if the results will be anecdotal.

And thanks again for your input.

 springfall2008 01 Apr 2021
In reply to David Coley:

Interesting idea.

One of our local walls did the opposite to this for a while, where some routes they also graded them with less feet (e.g. only use screw on/splats and no coloured holds). I thought that was cool as you can have say a 6a+ that turns into a 6c due to lack of feet.

 Cobra_Head 01 Apr 2021
In reply to David Coley:

> So far we have various views, but I think only one comment on why a wall might not want to do it.

Why a wall might not want to do it :-

It's more work.

If you change one route on a section that's part of your Rainbow, you need to change the grade.

Grading is subjective anyway.

Does it really matter? Why are people concentrating on grades?

If you're climbing over 6a I  think you can grade a route yourself for Rainbow feet.

You then get people asking :-

"What's the grade with just greens for feet?"

"What's the grade for just blues for feet?"

"What's the grade for Green for left foot and Blues for right foot?"

"What's the grade for... " well you get the picture.

Our wall has a smallish space at the bottom of the wall that has the grade for the routes in that section, I doubt they have space for all and extra three for Rainbow feet.

Other than that I don't see why not.

I still don't understand why you would want an "official" grade, why can't you climb it and tell your wife/children/mates what grade you think it is for Rainbow feet?

 David Coley 01 Apr 2021
In reply to Cobra_He

Thanks for that. 

> Why a wall might not want to do it :-

> It's more work.

True. But very little compared to setting. 1 minute to resend? 

> If you change one route on a section that's part of your Rainbow, you need to change the grade.

True. But at my local wall to wall is reset as a whole section, not route by route. Maybe this is unusual? Either way, a resend is 1 minute 

> Grading is subjective anyway.

True. But we do it for non rainbow feet 

> Does it really matter? Why are people concentrating on grades?

Good question. Yet the wall places them at the base of every route 

> If you're climbing over 6a I  think you can grade a route yourself for Rainbow feet.

Very true. But then you could let people grade for using single colours too. Yet the wall stamps it at the base. 

> You then get people asking :-

> "What's the grade with just greens for feet?"

> "What's the grade for just blues for feet?"

> "What's the grade for Green for left foot and Blues for right foot?"

> "What's the grade for... " well you get the picture.

Interesting. Is that based on evidence? 

> Our wall has a smallish space at the bottom of the wall that has the grade for the routes in that section, I doubt they have space for all and extra three for Rainbow feet.

Really? For 4 extra characters? 

> Other than that I don't see why not.

> I still don't understand why you would want an "official" grade, why can't you climb it and tell your wife/children/mates what grade you think it is for Rainbow feet?

Human psychology I guess.. Particularly of children. 

In reply to David Coley:

There's plenty of walls have a general 'features for feat' rule and it works fine as long as there aren't many features on the wall surface and they are small relative to the holds.  When there are a ton of features the route setter needs to say they are out to make a hard route.

Rainbow feet is going to be p*ss easy when there are three or four routes on a panel and some of the routes are easy.  You'll be turning your 7a into a 4 rather than a 6c.  The chances of having a massive hold on another line just where you need it is too high.

 David Coley 02 Apr 2021
In reply to tom_in_edinburgh:

> Rainbow feet is going to be p*ss easy when there are three or four routes on a panel and some of the routes are easy.  You'll be turning your 7a into a 4 rather than a 6c. 

Thanks Tom. I'm not sure I'd see that as a disadvantage. The wall gains an extra 4 graded route at almost zero cost. If I look at my local wall, the lower grade routes 4 to 6a+ seem to be the most popular. Whereas the area with most of 6c to 7c the least used and often empty of any climbers 

 Cobra_Head 02 Apr 2021
In reply to David Coley:

> In reply to Cobra_He

> True. But very little compared to setting. 1 minute to resend? 

And then someone to write it on the card, think of the admin!

> True. But we do it for non rainbow feet 

It would be a strange wall to have route setters and then not grade it, the whole point is, the grade is decided before the route is put up, the wall will "order" if you like a number of routes at certain grades.

> Good question. Yet the wall places them at the base of every route 

> Very true. But then you could let people grade for using single colours too. Yet the wall stamps it at the base. 

But they do this already, at least at most of the walls I go too (3 different) people can suggest the grading, if it's wildly out from the original, it gets changed.

> Interesting. Is that based on evidence? 

Based on evidence, we already have people wanting grades for Rainbow feet.

> Human psychology I guess.. Particularly of children. 

You seem to lack authority.

 Cobra_Head 02 Apr 2021
In reply to David Coley:

>  The wall gains an extra 4 graded route at almost zero cost.

The wall already has these routes, you simply need to decide what grade you want to give it, at zero cost.


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