UKC

/ whats going on with London climbing walls ?

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racodemisa - on 04 Jan 2018
After 6 month absence I was lured back to one of my favourite walls here in london.
I say lured back as its walls had been recently reprofiled I felt I had to go see.
What I saw did seem an improvement and I thought...ah nice job.
What had not improved was the scarcity
of problems that were medium hard so font 6a+ to 6c (V2-V4).
Very disappointing and IMO blights other walls as well here in london.
Walls like the Works and Depot in Manchester manage to keep things inteteresting (+Stronghold here in london) at this level but it seems hard to find in London.
I am not decrying the hard work that setters do and the skill often on show.
Am just puzzled really.
My hardest worked grade is around V6 right now....more or less.
Lord_ash2000 - on 04 Jan 2018
In reply to racodemisa:

I've never been to any London walls, but what typically would you say the grade distribution is at these places?

Most of the bouldering walls I've been to recently (Eden Rock, Boulder UK and The Valley Bouldering Centre) have had most of their problems in that sort of grade range. Mainly because that's what most people climb so it opens the wall up to the maximum number of people.

Personally, I'd love a bouldering wall where 90% of the problems are V6 and up as it would keep me busy for weeks but unfortunately, it'll never happen because such a wall would go bust in a few months due to lack of punters though the door.

caver - on 04 Jan 2018
In reply to racodemisa:

An odd posting. After an absence, you visit one Wall (which I suspect was the Westway) and use that experience to criticise most of the other Walls in London. The Arch, Mile End and the Castle each have multiple circuits within these grades; plus set problems. Hardly a scarcity. Or is this just an unsubtle advert for Stronghold?
racodemisa - on 05 Jan 2018
In reply to caver:
No it was the Arch.But you can apply to most walls in london.
The problem remains the same.
In concentrating on what makes money in the short term ...that is attractiing a client base of pure beginners the middle to upper middle grade climber is being forgotten.
I know these grades well V2-V4 as have been climbing them for about 25 yrs outdoors and indoors.
The arch is a strange example imo as it went from being in 2012 to about 2015 at the cutting edge in terms of middle grade provision,to the present a nice wall but @Building 1 yesterday it seemed very ' little for the middle grade climber.
Re the Stronghold no i do not work there but its got alot more to offer imo for the middle/upper middle grades.
Post edited at 09:21
mouseliveson - on 05 Jan 2018
In reply to racodemisa:
I'm interested to know, what exactly are you looking for?
You say middle/middle upper grades? Is that V2-4?

In which case the Arch has plenty of problems in that grade range.
In fact, I think the centre is marketed exactly for that grade range.
Either way you'll have far more choice this year as as far as I know there are at least 4 more new centres opening.
Post edited at 09:53
MischaHY - on 05 Jan 2018
In reply to racodemisa:

Perhaps some training could increase your average grade and eliminate the problem somewhat? ;)
racodemisa - on 05 Jan 2018
In reply to mouseliveson:
In B1@the arch yesterday i counted about 10 V2s .. could not see any V3s.
The blues were VO-V1
The red probs looked V4 to V5+ish
In 2012-2014 when the biscuit factory opened there would be about 200 probs from V1 to V4.
joshtee25 - on 05 Jan 2018
In reply to Lord_ash2000:

Come to Oakwood. Whilst it's not 90% hard stuff, there's a pretty even spread across the grades, including some pretty heinous stuff. And an awesome LED woody (about 4 metres wide @ 45 deg.)
galpinos on 05 Jan 2018
In reply to racodemisa:

> In B1@the arch yesterday i counted about 10 V2s .. could not see any V3s.

> The blues were VO-V1

> The red probs looked V4 to V5+ish

> In 2012-2014 when the biscuit factory opened there would be about 200 probs from V1 to V4.

200 problems between V1 to V4? Wow. The Manchester Depot doesn't have that many if that's your comparison, I think they have 30ish a circuit and that range would cove the blue, black and at a push red so about 90 problems. Add maybe 10 extras on the comp wall and you get 100*.

*Which is plenty imo, bearing in mind they change a circuit a week and spend time/money setting good problems at this grade using a really good variety of holds.
racodemisa - on 05 Jan 2018
In reply to galpinos: yup it was great.
Very busy somrtimes but there was a clear progression ladder.

mouseliveson - on 05 Jan 2018
In reply to racodemisa:
The yellows/pink green/purple circuits are all grades between about V3-5. I'd add half of the red circuit too. That's a large bulk of circuits set. If there are about 10-15 problems per circuit that's over 50 problems. In addition all walls are reset each month.

If you're climbing 50+ problems per month, perhaps you should consider working harder grades, unless you have no interest in improving? If your max worked grade is V6 probably half of the harder circuits (red, white, green) are also probably accessible to you too.

In addition they now have a traverse wall, four system boards, and a campus board which you can use to match your abilities. How can you possibly complain??
Post edited at 10:43
racodemisa - on 05 Jan 2018
In reply to mouseliveson:
looks good on paper what you say.
Prefer not to get personal but most of what you say is off the point
Post edited at 10:54
trouserburp - on 05 Jan 2018
In reply to racodemisa:

You go to one wall and generalise it all to London. The wall replies they have loads of climbs at V3 and you say it's off point.

What are you trying to say - you want loads of V1 and V2 problems? For any regular climber that just invites swarms of beginners ruining everything and most London walls are not exactly desperate for business
Postmanpat on 05 Jan 2018
In reply to racodemisa:

On which topic, there seemed to b shortage if 6a's at Westway pre-Christmas. It's a pretty popular grade across the spectrum from a target for beginners to a warm up for better climbers. Seems odd to have so few.
racodemisa - on 05 Jan 2018
In reply to trouserburp:
No .
The original point was the lack of middle to upper midde grades at the arch and the arch should not be singled out imo.In the past Miile end and the foundry in sheffield resorted to 3 or 4 coulours
with a very vague estimations of trickyness maybe this is best.
Post edited at 11:33
Offwidth - on 05 Jan 2018
In reply to galpinos:

Depot problems in that V2 to V4 range are normally top end black upwards. They label V grades completely wrong on the lower grade circuits.
galpinos on 05 Jan 2018
In reply to Offwidth:

> Depot problems in that V2 to V4 range are normally top end black upwards. They label V grades completely wrong on the lower grade circuits.

Doesn't everywhere? I've never been to a wall with "accurate" grading. They generally start to have some kind of correlation with the outdoors around V6/Font 7a in my experience but this is around my current limit so that might just be me.

I do think, regardless of the accuracy to outdoors, that the circuits are reasonably consistent grade wise across the center (with soft touches for the ego and sandbags to keep you honest in all circuits, as it right!) and allows a good path for progression. It also sets imaginative lower grade problems with a variety of holds which is lacking in many centers.
trouserburp - on 05 Jan 2018
In reply to racodemisa:

This is just nonsense, most of the problems are V3-V5
Bandage - on 05 Jan 2018
In reply to racodemisa:

Okay. _This_ is the problem:

> could not see any V3s.
> The blues were VO-V1

The arch grades Blues (from memory) at V2-V3.
Does it have to be said that indoor grades do not reflect outdoor grades?

If its your opinion that these are too easy and don't count towards your "v2-4 medium hard" blocs you're after, climb the next hardest circuit.
Not enough hard climbs for you? Start projecting, get on the training board, do some 4x4s,

racodemisa - on 05 Jan 2018
In reply to trouserburp:
grading lessons are obviously needed.
V0=british tech 5b
V1=british tech 5c
v2 =british tech 6a(so about the same as a crux of a 6c sport rt)
v3= british tech 6a/b
v4= british tech 6b so about the same as the crux of a 7b sport rt harder if after lots of pumpy climbing !)
V5= british tech 6b
the above does not include endurance problems.
v0 to v4 indoors in london can vary according to the wall.
When I last climbed much at the Arch 6 to 7 months ago the grades only become consistent at around v4/5. Below this they felt pretty inaccurate.It looked that way yesterday with a handful of exceptions.
The result is a lot of the the time it means genuine middle to upper middle grade grade climbers are missing out IMO.
Same goes for other walls in london .
Post edited at 14:09
trouserburp - on 05 Jan 2018
In reply to racodemisa:

Yes I boulder, climb trad and sport and have been indoors and outside. I don't see how comparison of grading systems or indoors/outside has anything to do with the pitch of bouldering difficulty in London

Would you like to clarify your issue with the problems available at Building 1/all of London? I think the Arch walls are very favourably geared towards a once a week climber (middle grade climber) - which is great for me - there's loads at V3-V5, fair few V6-V8 then the unfortunate upper grade climbers are stuck with training areas

What I think you are getting at is there aren't many V2s at Building 1 - I've got a few beginners up V2s on their first visit so not sure that's a middle to upper-middle grade but if that's your gripe maybe stick to it so we know what you're on about
Offwidth - on 05 Jan 2018
In reply to galpinos:
Most other walls I use most regularly to boulder are pretty close to UK outdoor grades.. Unit, NCC, Station, Works etc. Depot can be 4 grades over on the label (ie an advertised V4 can be V0; in UK tech terms thats calling a 5a/b problem 6b). I wish they would sort it out as the ranges are right for the customers and in my experience the setting is excellent in Nottingham, Leeds and Manchester. People going from climbing these indoor grades to outdoor stuff are in for a massive shock: as well as the grade shifts they have to cope with different styles, especially on grit or sandstone (and extra risk over less than perfect landings)
Post edited at 15:00
racodemisa - on 05 Jan 2018
In reply to trouserburp:
eg blue probs on steep angles in main area they seemed like V0 maybe V1 to me.
the yellow probs out of the cave nr reception are possibly V3 but longer so maybe continuous V1 with hardet bits as well.
But touching on the original point why do they not have twice the number of probs that exist right now anyway ?

trouserburp - on 05 Jan 2018
In reply to racodemisa:

I cannot follow your argument because it's something different each time so will just say - Building 1 my vote is no to any more V0-V2s, it's busy enough
racodemisa - on 05 Jan 2018
In reply to trouserburp: well you better write into a forum about that do some constructive brainstorming....;-)
Maybe something will come of it...
trouserburp - on 05 Jan 2018
In reply to racodemisa:

Bankroll me to start a climbing wall in South London? (market wide open)
becauseitsthere - on 05 Jan 2018
In reply to racodemisa:

The argument about grading never seems to go away and tbh its something that we as climbers all love talking and arguing about.

Some walls get it bang on. Others don't. To add my tuppence worth (no brexit comments pls) I often feel that setters that are climbing in the 8s have difficulty grading routes in the 5s and 6s and can be well out. It also seems to be frowned on if their judgement is questioned.
Lord_ash2000 - on 05 Jan 2018
In reply to racodemisa:

It sounds like what you're saying is, although there are plenty of problems graded V2-V4 at the climbing wall, most of them are much easier than V2-4 and you're using your personal idea of what is which grade wise rather than the grades the walls give stuff which is throwing everyone off.

So I assume your frustration is partly at the overgrading of low-end problems at many walls and partly at the lack of problems which you deem to actually be V2-V4?

I'd agree many low-end problems indoors are over graded, I think it's because the V grade system was invented outdoors and designed to start at a reasonably high level already as bouldering at the time was only really done by fairly hardcore climbers either training for routes or seeking new challenges.

Indoors though problems start very easy for novices and easy warm-ups, so you'd be a bit stuck in grading 20% of the problems as they would mainly all fall at or below V0.

So walls naturally have just spread the lower end of V grades out a bit to suit the typical range of difficulties at a wall. i.e the easy circuit is V0-V1, the next one up is V2-4 etc even if in reality, outdoors they would be probably all come in as different shades of V0/1. Once you get back into harder grades the grades tend to balance out a bit, normally around V6 typically.

The solution to your problem though is quite simple, just don't give a sh!t about what 'grade' you're climbing indoors as they are basically meaningless and the problems won't exist in a few weeks anyway. Most of the places I climb indoors have broad grade bands to the point where it could be anything from V4 to V8+ so basically you just climb what you can climb and fall off what you can't. It'll soon become apparent which are hard and which aren't, you don't need a little bored with numbers on to tell you that.

So just go out and enjoy yourself and have a solid session, if you can flash it then it's too easy, if you can barely pull on then it's too hard and if you just about manage it after a few goes then you've found that sweet spot.

racodemisa - on 05 Jan 2018
In reply to becauseitsthere:
Yes if i get up the green circuits in the secret garden at Mile End or similar graded circuit@Stronghold ..normaly over 2 or 3 visits I know I have reestablished an important bench mark for myself.
Its nice to be able to do this.
I train alot on boards in london as well...the biscuit factory upto 2016 before it was reset and then more recently @the Stronghold.
I set my own probs...rules etc
Actually this what i enjoy most
Post edited at 17:24
galpinos on 05 Jan 2018
In reply to Offwidth:

I only really climb at the Depot so they might be right out of kilter compared to other walls but they seem no worse than all the other walls i’ve Climbed at over the years.

On the V4 being a V0 scenario, I don’t really get that as they grade in bands. So, if the problem was black, it’d be V2-V4. If it’s really easy for a black, then I guess it was meant to be V2, so not a million miles out and most indoor V2s would be V0s outside anyway!
alx on 05 Jan 2018
In reply to racodemisa:

Indoor wall grades :-D

yesbutnobutyesbut - on 05 Jan 2018
In reply to racodemisa:

> grading lessons are obviously needed.

> V0=british tech 5b

> V1=british tech 5c

Rubbish. V0s at London walls are set for beginners who could never climb UK 5b. Most V0s would struggle to be UK 4B.

Offwidth - on 05 Jan 2018
In reply to galpinos:

Which other walls do you think grade like this?

If a band starts at V4 and the easiest problem (on a uncommon occasion) turns out to be around V0 5b the logic is pretty clear. The Reds are supposed to start at V3 (f6A+) and if I normally flash a few and work about a third to a half of them I know from my ability that can't be true; the easiest reds in my view are normally V1, and occasionally V0.
racodemisa - on 05 Jan 2018
In reply to yesbutnobutyesbut:
I was stating objective grades...so i agree with you.
Whats important though is that this development that you describe has crept up through the grades and reduced the number of problems in the middle grade bracket.
I know how hard something is.
Maybe the Foundry system is best....
easy... medium....hard...elite...
or something like that.
Si dH - on 05 Jan 2018
In reply to racodemisa:
> grading lessons are obviously needed.

> V0=british tech 5b

> V1=british tech 5c

> v2 =british tech 6a(so about the same as a crux of a 6c sport rt)

> v3= british tech 6a/b

> v4= british tech 6b so about the same as the crux of a 7b sport rt harder if after lots of pumpy climbing !)

> V5= british tech 6b

> the above does not include endurance problems.

I think you are a grade out at the lower end. To me V2 (outside) has always been tech 5c, v3 6a, v4 6a/b, v5 middling 6b. In font grades 5+, 6a, 6b, 6c.
I've no opinion on what you say about london walls but it's interesting what people say about them all being very soft. I agree with Offwidth that it isn't the case everywhere. I think the Unit is actually generally on the hard side compared to outside, but obviously only if you are experienced outside. It doesn't really matter if the v3/4s are tough though because they have 3 qhole circuits that never go above v2.
Imho though it's only worth thinking about colours and 2/3 grade bands indoors , not specific grades. Too morpho and also surprisingly conditions dependent.
Post edited at 21:09
Offwidth - on 06 Jan 2018
In reply to Si dH:
As far as I'm aware V2 was first formally equated with UK tech 5c in Rockfax. Most people in oudoor guidebooks stuck with what was a more standard equivalence of V2 ~ f6A ~ UK single move tech 6a. I've been told V0 in Hueco Tanks is about f5 in font, ie brutal (think medium difficulty depot red problems). So, which outdoors do you mean as what I regard as V0 would be about f3+ to f4 in font about V0 in the Peak BMC grit guides, f5 in the new BMC limestone guides and f4+ in YMC grit.
Post edited at 10:08
racodemisa - on 06 Jan 2018
In reply to Offwidth:
I go by
banana finger =v2
gypsy trav =v3
reemergence Standing start =v4
Roughly speaking
Grades indoors and outdoors ought to be the same imo.
Offwidth - on 06 Jan 2018
In reply to racodemisa:
I'd say there is no such thing as indoor grades: they are either the same as outdoors or wrong. Grades are the average difficulty of working any problem for someone with the right skills.

Indoor colour circuits seem to retain consistency of grades from set to set, so its not like walls can't tell how hard things are compartively; it's just the the labels that need changing on the easier circuits. Eg for the Depot: Green... fun to VB; White... fun to V0-; Blue .. VB to V0; Black... V0- to V1; Red ...V0+ upwards; Woods.. V2 upwards.
Post edited at 14:51
Dax H - on 06 Jan 2018
In reply to racodemisa:

If you don't like how things are done you have a few options.

1. Talk to the center manager and explain what you think is wrong. Don't be surprised if they have a very valid reason for their choice though.

2. Go somewhere else.

3. Put a business plan together, find a location, obtain funding, build your own wall and run it how you think it should be run and be prepared for the odd whiny person who thinks your way is wrong.

Alex1 - on 06 Jan 2018
In reply to racodemisa:

I find this a slightly strange comment - there were two entire circuits (both the ones with two colour holds) at around this grade range down there when I went on Thursday.

The wall is packed most evenings and does a decent job of spreading people around the available wall space so as a business they are clearly getting something right with their setting choices. Yes there is enough wall space that they could double the number of problems but this would reduce the reset frequency and up number of holds they would need to buy. As the walls are at capacity at peak times more problems wouldn't mean more people climbing.

In the end the majority of London climbers probably climb at <V2 so its only right that a lot of the main centre space is dedicated to this. Between biscuit and B1 The arch has fantastic facilities for advanced climbers in dedicated areas (comp wall, two big boards, moon board, well equipped training area etc) so I don't think you can expect the entire centre to be loaded with harder problems.
Wayne S - on 06 Jan 2018
In reply to racodemisa:

I tried to follow the tread, the issue, and any point you were making, but to be honest I gave up.

It seems to come down to this:

It’s too hard......Try something easier.
It’s too easy......Try something harder.
Not enjoying where I am or what I am doing.........go do something else.




Offwidth - on 07 Jan 2018
In reply to Wayne S:

I thought the point was pretty simple: the London walls need more problems that are genuinely in the V2 to V4 range (irrespective of wrong labels or different correct labels like f6A to f6B), like most of the best walls outside London. I rarely climb in London so can't comment on the veracity of this claim but the point seems pretty obvious and his grading equivalences very sensible. Given the increasing popularity of indoor bouldering and the need to cater for 'Rockfax green spot' ability boulderers and top end facility requirements you can see how the bottom middle might get squeezed. The walls I mainly use seem to have the balance about right.
stp - on 07 Jan 2018
In reply to yesbutnobutyesbut:

> Rubbish. V0s at London walls are set for beginners who could never climb UK 5b. Most V0s would struggle to be UK 4B.

They're graded wrongly then. You need to go to Hueco, where the V grade system originated, to know what each V grade represents. If they want to grade easier problems then why don't they use the font system instead which accomodates easier problems? Or they could just use their own system: easy, medium, hard etc. or just straight numbers. Using the V system but then changing the difficulty seems like daft idea and an obvious source of confusion.
stp - on 07 Jan 2018
In reply to Alex1:

> I find this a slightly strange comment - there were two entire circuits (both the ones with two colour holds) at around this grade range down

I think a lot of comes down to perception of what is good use of a space. Once you visit better walls you can see the mistakes the poorer walls are making. At the Sheffield Climbing Works, which I don't think is bigger than the London venues discussed, there are 5 circuits covering that range of difficulty, with about 40 problems each. And they all get absolutely hammered too.


> In the end the majority of London climbers probably climb at <V2 so its only right that a lot of the main centre space is dedicated to this. Between biscuit and B1 The arch has fantastic facilities for advanced climbers in dedicated areas (comp wall, two big boards, moon board, well equipped training area etc) so I don't think you can expect the entire centre to be loaded with harder problems.

These days I don't think V2 to V4 really counts as advanced, though maybe it appears that way to climbers who climb less than V2. Remember the grading scale now goes up to V17.

If the standard of climbing in London is really that low then you have to wonder why. Maybe it's the lack of harder setting that holds people back?
Alex1 - on 07 Jan 2018
In reply to stp:
> Once you visit better walls you can see the mistakes the poorer walls are making. At the Sheffield Climbing Works, which I don't think is bigger than the London venues discussed...

I've been to the works multiple times, it's a great wall however the difference is that in Sheffield the average standard of climbing is just much higher and there are way more people operating at the grade ranges mentioned. It's self selection - dedicated climbers are simply more likely to live in Sheffield. I don't think you can call the arch 'a poorer wall' for setting it's problem mix to match the customer base!

> If the standard of climbing in London is really that low then you have to wonder why. Maybe it's the lack of harder setting that holds people back?

The average standard is low because there are a lot of casual climbers who just view it as a gym alternative. Whilst in the grand scheme of things V2-3 isn't hard it does require some technique & strength which requires time and effort to develop. There is not a real lack of problems in this range (particularly as London now has about 10 decent walls) it's just that there might be 20 set on the main walls of a gym as opposed to 60 at the works.
Post edited at 10:39
AlanLittle - on 07 Jan 2018
In reply to Alex1:

Generally agree although ... I bet you've never been to Highball in Norwich.

I have because I have family nearby, so I went along for my visit visit expecting to be trying to make the best of a session on kids' birthday party jug ladders. Oh no. Highball in Norwich has some of the stiffest grading, and least jug-laddery easy problems, of any wall I've ever been to. Whilst being as far away from actual climbing as it's possible to get in the UK. Great place. I love it.
cameronmurdoch on 07 Jan 2018
In reply to stp:

In defence of the London scene there are quite a few strong climbers here

In my opinion the Arch grades have pretty much always been a bit soft especially in the lower grades. There is usually one or two problems per circuit that are harder for one reason or another but as someone else pointed out the wall is set for their main market. This is mainly the after work gym crowd. If other walls set stiffer (possibly more reslistic) grades then some people might not go there as their ego will receive a bashing, so it can become a bit of a vicious circle. Climbing walls want to set consistent well grades problems, but also need enough easy stuff to attract the punters that pay the bills, etc.
L
thebigfriendlymoose - on 07 Jan 2018
In reply to racodemisa:

I understand that the Depot tailors it's grade distributions to the location - how "developed" the setters perceive the local scene to be. Say, at all the Depots, the red circuit is V3-5 but in Leeds and Manchester they set a relatively higher proportion of V5s, whereas at Nottingham and Birmingham, there are more problems at the low end of the range.
thebigfriendlymoose - on 07 Jan 2018
In reply to thebigfriendlymoose:

*its
stp - on 07 Jan 2018
In reply to Alex1:

Interesting. I was a little surprised if only because I used to climb on London walls in the 80s and there were plenty of people climbing V2-3 even back then. But I suppose they were all proper climbers who were using the wall to train for climbing on rock. If people are using climbing walls as an alternative to gyms then it sounds like the walls have to cater to a slightly different population I suppose.

I agree that there's a bit of self selection in Sheffield but I suspect that affects the higher grades rather than V2 to V4. I've certainly met and chatted to climbers at the Works who have never climbed outside or have any interest in climbing outside and often they can climb at decent standard too.
Offwidth - on 07 Jan 2018
In reply to thebigfriendlymoose:

There are no easier reds that are V3 at any Depot circuit I've tried: they are all around V1. Did a Depot wood today that was V0 at most. The labeled grade bands for most circuits are just wrong and need sorting out.
Chops - on 08 Jan 2018
In reply to mouseliveson:

Are these new London walls you speak of the new projects from Vauxwall (HarroWall, Vauxwall East and RavensWall) and the Yonder bouldering in Walthamstow....or are there any others in the pipeline that you're aware of?

http://www.thisisyonder.com/

http://www.vauxwallclimbing.co.uk/news/lakeland-climbing-centre-major-projects-update/

Thanks



mouseliveson - on 08 Jan 2018
In reply to Chops:

There is also a new Arch centre already in construction in West London in the Ealing area.
Malarkey on 08 Jan 2018
In reply to racodemisa:

A lot of people in this discussion seem to be basing their view of grading on how hard you have to pull. In my experience only about a third to a half of the mid level (yellow to red?) Arch problems are like that.

You will frequently get shut down on a problem that is several grades below your max just because you cannot step high enough or flex, cannot balance round a corner, or have poor agility or timing to readjust balance after a dynamic movement. You may see ostensibly weaker (or smaller/taller) climbers do these things without much thought.

Then other times you can easily top out some max difficulty problem and go round humble-bragging about how you find stanage or moonboard much harder.

que sera.



TonyB - on 08 Jan 2018
In reply to Offwidth:

> The labeled grade bands for most circuits are just wrong and need sorting out.

I totally agree that the labelled grade bands are wrong, but could you explain why you feel that they need sorting out?



racodemisa - on 09 Jan 2018
In reply to Dax H:
I climb at most of the walls in london and have spent most of my life climbing all over the Uk and the world doing ..trad...bouldering...sport climbing and have climbed alot indoors all over the uk.
So I have a fair amount of experience.
Just to reiterate
London walls it seems in focusing on the 'gym crowd' and the revenue this brings in (possibly)have reduced the number of middle grade problems thetefor there is often a gap in the ladder of progression at aroumd V2-V4.
Those climbers that frequent just this or that wall are being let down imo.
In the case of the Arch between 2012 when the Biscuit factory opened upto 2014 It seemed very balanced consistent setting out of 450 probs in the centre 150 ? would be V1-V4.
It was busy sometimes to crowded the grading/ setting was not putting people off so I think thete was a strong community of climbers novices and experienced who liked what was on offer.


stp - on 09 Jan 2018
In reply to racodemisa:

Sounds like there's a similar phenomenon in the US. This is from a spoof article on Climbing.com

A quarter of the routes are sandbagged 5.13s/V10s our elite setters set just for themselves, while the rest are 5.6/V0 jug ladders for the birthday-party kids and first-date crowds. There’s nothing in between: Research has shown that our clientele is not interested.

https://www.climbing.com/places/unsent-welcome-to-sendhaus-americas-hippest-new-climbing-gym/
Offwidth - on 10 Jan 2018
In reply to TonyB:
Lets flip that question: if you are going to use grades why on earth would you accept and retain obvious errors? I and others have been through the list of problems of soft touch indoor grading for lower grades many times on UKC (the top of which is giving a false idea to climbers moving outside who also have to deal with the transition to different styles of movement and with much more risk from landings).
Post edited at 10:12
thepodge on 10 Jan 2018
In reply to Offwidth:

The only reason grades need to be consistent or correct is for those that move between gyms or outside.

I suspect that this is an ever reducing number or people based on the current typical new gym member.

Its also confusing / misleading that some places use Font and some use V grade, add to that you have The Works who use font but really they use colours its easy to see how grades can all go awry.
nniff - on 10 Jan 2018
In reply to racodemisa:

Verm's original definition of V1 is "a standard that would require effort from a fit novice. .......a novice climber who could do ten pull-ups could do a safe V1, but only after a few tries"

That followed on from the closed-ended B system, in which "B1 equalled hard, B2 equalled stinkin' desperate, and B3 equalled unrepeated"

In consequence, B2 began to get clogged. B1 was the standard of the hardest roped climbs of the day, so in the 1960's sat at about 5.10, but by 1998 would have been 5.14. As a closed system, problems should be down-graded, but they got stuck in the 1970's and some standard problems became definitive B2 (the Pinch Route in Colorado). V-grades were originally designed to unclog the system and so V1 was originally pitched at the B2 benchmark problems, which didn't help much. Hence V1 got moved down to fit novice level and B2 (the Pinch Route) became V6. The hardest problem in the 1991 Hueco guide (in which the whole place was graded by Verm) was V9.

Verm's final word on the matter? "As with all climbing ratings, the true value of V-grades is their ability to be forgotten"

TonyB - on 10 Jan 2018
In reply to Offwidth:

> Lets flip that question: if you are going to use grades why on earth would you accept and retain obvious errors?

I think if you were designing a new grading system you obviously wouldn't. But given that the systems already exist, is it practical to reform them and would the benefits of doing so outweigh the trouble to implement such a system?

I would argue that "generally" grading of indoor routes work well indoors. They offer an increase in difficulty, spread across the grades, but with particularly high resolution in the lower grades which is of interest to many people climbing indoors and of commercial interest to the centres. I would even say that given that almost every bouldering wall grades their easiest problems incredibly softly, you can almost transfer the grades between centres.

I fully agree that these reflect outdoor grades poorly. However, I don't see how the existing systems (especially V grades) can ever produce the resolution accurately required at the lower levels. So I see you have a few choices, either except the lack of parity between inside and outside grading, try and force a modified V system including grades like VB and V0 or come up with a new system for grading indoors. I think that given the difficulty of getting the majority of climbing walls onboard any widespread regrading of indoor problems isn't likely.

Is it a problem if there is a lack of parity between inside and outside grades? I can see it's a problem if people expect indoor and outdoor grades to be transferable, but I'm not sure that they do. I think that there's a general understanding that V1 outdoors is very different to a V1 indoors, and that for most people, the V1 outdoors would be harder.


Steve Hayward - on 10 Jan 2018
In reply to AlanLittle:

Spat off there quite a few times... but like you I love the place. One if the best vibes around if you travel a bit and try lots of different walls. Really friendly and genuine.
Offwidth - on 10 Jan 2018
In reply to TonyB:

For Vermin there is fun, VB and V0- which gives reasonable discrimination, sub V0. Then there are UK tech grades and font grades. There is no shortage of gradated labels nor, on any introductory stuff, any need to use a label at all.

Your implied indoor universality is a myth. Some walls grade consitently with outdoors, some very soft and some in-between. Even the ones that roughly correspond might have bigger differences for some styles. Yet 2+ V grades out consistently (as per the easier depot circuits) is much softer than typical softer indoor standards: its just bad grading in my view and needs changing.
TonyB - on 10 Jan 2018
In reply to Offwidth:

> Your implied indoor universality is a myth. Some walls grade consitently with outdoors, some very soft and some in-between.

Ok, I have to confess that I haven't been to the Nottingham Depot for over a year. If they are especially soft then it makes sense to suggest that they regrade. I was thinking more about indoor grading in general. Out of curiosity, which climbing centres do you think grade consistently with outdoors?

On a different note, I went to The Project in Poole recently. We didn't see a grading table for the different colour circuits, and had great fun free trying problems that felt hard, but free from any knowledge of the grades. On the way out we asked about the grades. The staff told us which of the colours were generally harder than the others, but explained that they didn't grade their routes. I thought that this was a really refreshing approach.

steveriley - on 10 Jan 2018
In reply to TonyB:

The Boardroom has a whole pile of 'competition' routes without grades. Much more rewarding than getting bogged down in all that "I should really be able to get up the blues", or whatever. Actual grades go from sub V0 up to maybe V8 or 9 and you need to your actual mind or have a go, to judge likelihood of success.
caver - on 10 Jan 2018
In reply to steveriley:

Do you mean the Secret Garden at Mile End. Boardroom is their training room.
steveriley - on 11 Jan 2018
In reply to caver:

No, this lot: http://www.theboardroomclimbing.com/ in The North - brilliant setup.

Steve Perry - on 11 Jan 2018
In reply to caver:

> An odd posting. After an absence, you visit one Wall (which I suspect was the Westway) and use that experience to criticise most of the other Walls in London. The Arch, Mile End and the Castle each have multiple circuits within these grades; plus set problems. Hardly a scarcity. Or is this just an unsubtle advert for Stronghold?

Its called moaning, give the guy a break.

caver - on 11 Jan 2018
In reply to Steve Perry:

Are you moaning.......

caver - on 11 Jan 2018
In reply to steveriley:

Oh those 'Johnny come lately's'...copied the name.

Steve Perry - on 11 Jan 2018
In reply to caver:

No, just enjoying the OP's


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