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Stevie Haston13 Dec 2009
Having looked at the long list of folk who are in the grade 8 thing, I thought I,d be a wee bit cheeky and ask the question . As most of the Scottish grade 8 boys cant climb above E2 ( or a big percentage) it looks that this grade 8 must be the easiest, yes or no? Of all the grades this one does seem to have suffered the most dumming down, softer grades and better equipment etc. I remember for instance talking to Murrie and Cubby along time ago and them both saying that you had to be soid E5 onsighter if you had any pretentions on the mixed, so its not just from me. Merry Xmass Stevie Haston
In reply to Stevie Haston: had a mate who was crap on rock back in the 70,s and 80,s never got above VS ..But who regularly led Scottish 5,s on snow and ice ,could never realy understand how he did it..
Stevie Haston13 Dec 2009
In reply to victorclimber: hello V, yes its a bit odd. But then again some scotish grade V is VS. When Big Ron Fawcet tried his hand at mixed he told me it was piss, he was solid E5, and he said there was a long way to go. luckily for everybody at the time he gave up . Stevie
In reply to Stevie Haston: Well, I don't have a scooby about grade VIII's as that's outside my experience. But I can climb tech 5 on second (not confident enough to lead yet) and I'm EXTREMELY weak! I've got nerve problems that cause my hands to go numb and the muscles in my arms to go all weak, and I've got a torn meniscus in my knee and can still manage to climb.
I think a lot of winter climbing is to do with how much balls you've got, how keen you are to put yourself 'out there' and just how determined you are. Confidence is a big thing I think. I certainly know guys who are strong and that can climb much, much harder than I can on sport routes but only climb the same as me in winter. Physically, they should be capable of much, much more!
I also think that with rock climbing it is much easier to get more mileage, you can do 100's and 100's of routes within one year, especially if you clip bolts. But with winter climbing and fickle conditions getting that all important mileage and experience is much more difficult. And certainly, the folk I know that climb say VI and above have years of experience. Mind you, with all the dry tooling that's being done now and all the facilities available you'd think you would see more strong climbers.
Shouldn't you have put this thread in the winter climbing forum btw?
Stevie Haston13 Dec 2009
In reply to SonyaD: Hey Sonya hello, sorry about your problems. If you have a torn miniscus maybe you should think again about climbing in crampons, they always cost me the most with my knees. See a docter (a good one, then a specialist) knees are more serious than you think. I didnt put it in the winter climbing because I thought it might be of interest to both groups and it was a boulderer who asked me to start the thread. He thought that bouldering was way harder than Scottish 8, and that many of the people who climb scottish routes may be tough but are generally unfit for hard things on rock. I was thinking of doing a bit of writing on the subject, and realised that here in europe people who climb that grade in the mountains generally are a bit better at rock climbing. Anyway thanks, Stevie H
> (In reply to SonyaD) He thought that bouldering was way harder than Scottish 8
The statement is right i recon, harder yes but only in the technical dept. From my experience winter climbing is all about toughness as you say. There are so many variables that go into it, you don't have so much choice as to routes etc due to weather/conditions so you make the best of what is 'in'. Could well be a route that doesn't suit your style but gung ho and all that! Climbing in a sack, Climbing with restrictive clothing, accepted that the route doesn't have much gear, not 100% confidence in the gear you do have, hotaches, massive (comparativly) walk-in and out, darkness, navigation, cold etc etc
Rock gives most climbers a 'safe' sub-conscience but winter tends to have the climber accepting the risks before leaving the car park. Maybe thats why they climb harder grade when put side by side to rock routes? They have accepted the risk and that acceptence puts the fear to the back of the mind so it isn't interfering with their climbing.
Only my own experience and I'm not a particularly hard or skillfull climber. I've led E2 and winter V.
In reply to Stevie Haston: Thanks Steve. I only really mentioned my injuries to emphasise that I'm weak and crap but can still get up some semi hard stuff. I agree with your bouldering friend that bouldering is harder (out of interest, I assume that your bouldering friend *has* climbed VIII to make the comparison?) But bouldering is just technical moves, winter climbing is so much more than the moves (as I'm sure you know!)
It would be very intesting to hear people like Dave Mac's thoughts on your thread as he is obviously a very competent all rounder, rock, winter and bouldering.
Maybe it's too hard for many folk to spread themselves wide and be good at everything? Do most folk not tend to specialise, ie they are either shit hot boulderer, or shit hot rock climber, or shit hot at winter, but less good at everything else. Take yourself for example. You recently climbed 9a on bolts (excuse me if I got the grade wrong) and you must have trained well and worked up to it no? And I assume that you weren't out winter climbing or doing alpine stuff at the same time (excuse me again if I'm wrong!)
Personally, I'd much rather push myself as hard as I can in winter than or rock, as strangely enough I find rock climbing less enjoyable than winter and bouldering puts far more strain on my knee (ie falling off lots :oD ) than being in crampons does. And I have a feeling that most folk are the same, ie there is an area or a style that they tend to excel in.
> (In reply to Stevie Haston)
> Rock gives most climbers a 'safe' sub-conscience but winter tends to have the climber accepting the risks before leaving the car park. Maybe thats why they climb harder grade when put side by side to rock routes?
In reply to Stevie Haston: Im guessing this is a troll and your not the stevie haston who used to write really boring narcissistic articles in climb? Anyway 'As most of the scottish winter boys cant climb above E2' What?
Best onsight grades of some noteable or media freindly grade VIII climbers.
Ian Parnell e6
Moran e5 (6?)
Id challenge you to name one grade VIIIer who cat get up more than e2 let alone prove that most cant. Just another crazy assertion i think.
I think there are a number of different facets to the answer.
Firstly, how many climbers would climb E5 or even E2 if they only did 6 or 10 routes a year? After all that's about the number of routes the average climber gets done in a season.
Secondly, Scottish winter climbing and rock climbing are quite different and appeal to different sorts of people. It's very often been the case that the most active and talented winter climbers are not that great on rock. When talented rock climbers do go winter climbing they generally do very well but most would rather go bouldering in Northumberland in January than get up at 05.30 on a Saturday morning to walk 6 miles and 2500ft up a hill to alternatively freeze their arses off on a belay for an hour then scare themselves shitless on 120 feet of poorly protected icy Vdiff climbing.
So the answer to your question is probably "yes" in the strictest terms but when one considers the practicalities of it all the answer is perhaps "no".
The main reward in climbing of course comes from pushing your personal limits and so absolute numbers don't really matter.
> (In reply to Stevie Haston) Im guessing this is a troll and your not the stevie haston who used to write really boring narcissistic articles in climb? Anyway 'As most of the scottish winter boys cant climb above E2' What?
> Best onsight grades of some noteable or media freindly grade VIII climbers.
> Ian Parnell e6
> Kirkpatrick e3(4?)
> Birkett e8
> Macleod e7
> Nisbet e3
> Moran e5 (6?)
> Bullock e7
> Id challenge you to name one grade VIIIer who cat get up more than e2 let alone prove that most cant. Just another crazy assertion i think.
Hello, thats a bit rude. Taking your above list, Parnell, Kirkpatrick, are way, out ask them yourself, so clearly your more than a bit off. I thought about this thread a bit before putting it up, as I was more than a bit confused about what I thought myself, hence the question marks in the title of the thread. Theres no need to be nasty, its not a troll and I am inclined (not convinced ) to think that bouldering Font 8 is indeed harder than Scotish 8, which is a suprise. Stevie
Stevie Haston13 Dec 2009
In reply to Wee Davie: hello its more relavent today, than ever because the gear is so good, and the grades are softer, Stevie
In reply to Stevie Haston: Ian Parnells best OS on his profile is E6. If AK has done VIII then in something he wrote in i think high a few years back mentioned he'd done comes the dervish and apparently some e4 5b. Im just asking for evidence which youve failed to give still so go one present evidence to back up the assertion. Name a high percentage of grade VIIIers who can get up no more than E2 or take it back. You got paid to write the articles i think they were poor, you just seem to be too hung up on the absolute technical difficulty of climbs and assume that as you want to climb hard the same must be true of everyone.
> (In reply to joe larner)
> They don't just fail they get spanked! If you don't understand the difference then try following these simple steps.
> 1) Picture somebody failing on a route.
> 2) Now picture someone getting spanked on a route.
I always get spanked by routes, both those that I fail and succeed on!
Which of the new VIII/IXs have you done to be able to say they're soft?
I know you're capable of them but the armchair downgrade is a bit poor, surely?
gaston lagaffe13 Dec 2009
In reply to jl100:
> (In reply to gaston lagaffe) What is this craze of using 'spanked' instead of fail? its quite odd.
They don't just fail they get spanked! If you can't understand the difference try following these simple steps.
1) Picture somebody failing on a route.
2) Now picture someone getting spanked on a route.
3) Consider the differences between these two images.
4) Now wonder at the richness of your dynamic and constantly evolving language.
ps if you get the same image in steps 1 & 2 you may well be suffering from imagination deficiency syndrome. This is common in old fogies but a bit of a shame at the tender age of 19.
pps top Euro climbers don't 'climb Scottish winter routes with ease', they piss up them!
Stevie Haston13 Dec 2009
In reply to Wee Davie: yes wee davie, just remember I soled Les Comperes, Lafails hardest mixed route, but also try to remember, this isnt about me.Now then if things dont get too personel we might learn something. Its an interesting topic, more interesting than I thought.
I guess I fall just short of your mark at E1/2ish, 6/7ish, here's my take on it.
8 as a benchmark hard grade is easy, it can't be that hard because I'm not a million miles away and I aspire to punterdom. E5 is a million miles away for me. I always viewed IV as loosely VS, V as HVS and so on. This makes VIII E3 and would just about fit your concerns.
I have tried to analyse why I climb "better" in winter than in summer. It boils down to 3 factors
1 I enjoy it more
2 less finger strength required/ more cardio rather than strength based
3 Joe average percieves winter climbing to be much harder than it actually is. (without factoring in commitment)
Continental mixed is much technically harder, if M7 is equivalent to 8, which I believe is the consensus. I have lost count of how high the M grades go.
Equipment, technique and training are centred towards continental and north american climbing, this skews their benefit towards M style climbing. Scottish Winter climbing is a minority sport compared to this big bucks game.
If we wish to compete (I hold no desire to) with continentals/americans then our climbers would benefit from some bolted M style crags and drytool venues (quack quack). I think you wrote an article many years ago slating the lack of specific training in uk winter activists. Since then training has improved, kit improved in some ways but no specific high grade scottish mixed kit has been developed, just misused icefall/continental kit. I think the Alien axes with all their faults were the last tool specifically designed for scottish climbing.
Can you find me a enjoyable, safe, overgraded 8 to try so I can join "the club" and pretend to have played with the big boys?
In reply to Stevie Haston: Ha ha, good banter Stevie. Its a bit like comparing the Olympic hundred metre participants with the marathon de Sables. And saying the marathon guys are wimps 'casue they can't run under 11 secs. makes a good thread though eh! As for that list the top players on the whole are OK rock climbers. Guy Roberston regulalrly climbs E6 (some onsight I believe) and has done 8a. Ally Coull now climbs 8a+/8b, Blair Fyffe has climbed E6 onsight, Bullock's E7, Pete Benson 7c+, Garth E6 onsight and 7c+, theres loads more whether you choose to believe it or not. I think Dave Mac's even gone rock climbing occasionally As for my own rock climbing its fairly crap. 5 to 10 years ago I was regularly onsighting E5 (30 odd routes at the grade) but only 2 E6s (one of which got downgraded). Funnily enough I was climbing Scottish VI then now I'm better at the Scottish mixed but don't get out rock climbing much (I haven't rock climbed for various reasons for 4 months but would probably climb E3 at the mo).
Anyway all good banter, come over and try some scottish stuff some time Stevie, Dave's Ben Nevis route will genuinely be right up your street.
In reply to fishy1: no leashes back when he was doing 5,s Fishy and no axes and hammers like now....
Stevie Haston13 Dec 2009
In reply to Ian Parnell: Ian , so you climb E3 at the moment, good effort. I am aware that some people climb harder than E3 and climb hard scottish mixed routes, that is not the point. The point was as some people also think that scottish grade 8 might not be what people think and gosh oh gosh that it might be a hell of a less lengthy journey than bouldering Font 8A(shock horror). My father left Scotland on a push bike when he was 14 never to return, I dont hate the place like him but then again I have no reason to return, except to see relatives. Stevie
In reply to gaston lagaffe: Mr Gaston, sorry to be so simple - I'm obviously a sufferer of IDS! but which "Euro climbers" having "pissed up HARD Scottish winter routes, apart from Ueli on the Secret? Not saying they couldn't its just apart from Ueli they haven't. Also you seem to have an odd view perhaps too imaginative? about the incompetence of UK climbers in the Alps, or on the ice. Very few have actually tried M stuff - Stevie (he's a Brit by the way) did OK, as did Chris Cubitt, Dave Mac and Scott Muir.
Oh and please show us more richness in your dynanic and constantly evolving language rather than your obsession with flagellation and bodily functions.
In reply to Stevie Haston: As I said Stevie climbing E3 at the mo is crap - I'm under no illusions. I'm also under no illusions that 8 (which really is not hard - there are grade VIs with that tech grade) or more importantly VIIIs are that hard (no where near Font 8A in my view). This isn't something Ive tried to hide, that was part of the point of my list to show how many climb this grade already, in a recent blog I speculated that at least 20 UK folk had the potential to climb grade IX, its probably more than that.
Pity you don't fancy Scotland, in my view its got some of the best climbing experiences in the world and despite Mr Gaston's view Dave's XIs and 11s are unrepeated I think you'd enjoy the challenge of an onsight of those.
As an aside what rock grade did Guy Lacelle climb. I think I recall him telling me it was modest perhaps about 5.11 - didn't seem to slow him down on the ice though
In reply to Ian Parnell: I reckon any good sports climber could do well at M climbing if they wanted, and there is a host of strong sports climbers in the uk. It's just that it seems kind of perverse to most of them to use steel to climb steep rock when they have perfectly good fingers!
In reply to Erik B: The answer is easy for that one Erik. There are hardly any IXs compared with VIIIs. At least half of them are very conditions dependent - Mort, Guerdon Grooves etc. So the opportunities are minimal. But the main reason is reputation and self belief - you yourself have stated that you have only climbed 8 by accident. People put limits on themselves and so won't try things. A good example is Stevies own Scotch on the Rocks which was hyped as desperate and a new level in Alpine mixed climbing, it took a while to get repeated but is now a trade route.
Stevie Haston13 Dec 2009
In reply to Ian Parnell: hey Ian dont get wierd I graded Scotch 7, its not a trade route, Damilano used aid on it, M11 lads failed on it, its now over pegged, got chipped etc and done in. The ^point of the thread was interesting this remark is not. Lets get back on track a bit, Stevie
In reply to Stevie Haston: The third sentence of your post is simply wrong as youve not yet named one who cant climb more than E2. Also how many VIIIs have you done? this is important if your saying the grade has suffered dumming down as youd need to have done a good spread of them. If your going to respond by asking how many grade eights ive done or with more willy waving statements about how nails your routes are and how shit other people are it won't be relevant as im not giving an opinion on how hard VIII is relative to 8a 8A E8 or 8000m (how hard is that btw Lafaille got up 13 how about you?).
In reply to Stevie Haston: Not trying be weird Stevie, just illustrating a point to Erik who I think is put off by reputations, and thats one of the reasons why more people don't climb VIIIs. Back on track Scottish winter climbing is closer to full blown mountaineering than say M climbing, and so while many "theoretically" could climb VIII they don't. The reasons? they can't endure any proper hardships, they are weak of mind and they are lazy - I'm beginning to sound like you Stevie
Interestingly (one for Gaston) on the international meet which has had a reasonable collection of visitors, almost to a man (and the occasional woman)they have come away saying that while absolute technical standards might not compare with the continent that the harder Scottish routes are still a tough day out. There seems to be universal respect by those visitors who have actually tried it. Or perhaps they were just being polite?
In reply to Ian Parnell: I would argue that the majority of IX's are serious, hence why no orderly queue. big difference between hopping on a safe route than hopping on a serious route and therein lies the reason why so many people on your grade VIII list.
this ties in with stevies comments, the safe VIII's are confusing what defines a scottish grade VIII and what this involves.
to me a true VIII journey would blow away the journey involved in climbing a font 8a, afterall you are not going to kill your mate if you fall off a font 8a
I just think it's a pity to see top climbers arguing in public that grades most of us will never get near are 'piss' (think the thread title did originally say that?) when that maybe shows a lack of perspective which belies your own huge achievements...
Which you could take as another way of saying that perhaps Joe Larner has a point!
Stevie Haston13 Dec 2009
In reply to Erik B: Yes Erik you dont die on font 8A, and you could on the old hard Scotish routes I agree. But as my bouldering friend pointed out you really have to put in a lot of training for the Font 8A and very little for modern scottish 8, He's a mate very strong done E5 and followed a bit of scratching in scotland, first to admit he has balls the size of peas, it is an interesting thread, as when he first asked me I was inclined to say it was the other way around. Yes also to La gaffe, many hard routes in europe which are not M routes. Night of the long knives good name for a mixed route ,eh! Stevie
The idea of doing all the 8's is surely to prove that you are an exceptional all rounder, the difficulties are never going to be anywhere near comparable. I guess if I devoted enought time to it I could climb VIII, possibly even 8a (not too sure about that), if I had enough cash, I could climb 8000m. Not a chance of any of the others though and so it should be, I am on the subs bench for the pub sunday league team compared with the Peles and Bests who have done them all
In reply to Stevie Haston: by the way, there is a difference between VIII and 8 . your mate is spot on. Most folks exposure to tech 8 or VIII's are on the short safe 'testpieces'. these routes create the wrong impression and are easy for strong rock climbers.
the real routes require an adventurous spirit, big balls, strong partnerships, long days out with climbing in the dark (only 8 hours daylight in scotland in winter) with bold climbing. lots of variety of geology as well to factor in. eg the well protected northern corries granite is very different from the vegetated and icey torridonian sandstone for winter climbing. To me the journey involved in being able to climb the big VIII's on the big cliffs on the different rock types takes many years of experience. well it should anyway, however this particular debate of mine rages on
Stevie Haston likes stirring. It's why his On the Edge columns were worth reading. It's actually quite good to see top end climbers arguing on here again as it's been lacking since Norrie departed. It brightens the place up a bit.
I totally agree with you Erik. What you describe are real routes and worthy of their VIII moniker, the unfortunate problem stems from the grading system used.
I am sure therer are loads of Billy Bigballs spouting in the pub about having climbed an "eight", guess which "eight" they are on about?
petejh13 Dec 2009
In reply to Stevie Haston: Hi Stevie good topic, my £0.02p worth is that Welsh (or even scottish) VIII or 8 can't be 'hard' because I'm not far off doing it. But more to the point why did you choose grade 8 for your example, who's making out that it is 'hard' in the first instance?
Could it be that that old companion of climbers and climbing media - hyperbole, has manipulated the notion of what's impressive to some gullible viewers/readers...
...and as for VI 6 = M5, VII 7 = M6, I'm not convinced. M6, M7, on gear is hard, M8 is HARD in a physical, pumpy sense - equivalent physically to F7a-F7b, and yes you can compare them - point any psyched sport climber who o/s's F7's at an M8 and he'll get it pretty quickly is my bet. British mixed climbing just isn't very physical in a climbing sense (yes getting there, surviving and getting off is), it's more balancey, more tenuous, more heady and more of a battle. In my limited experience it's been more like VI 6 = M4 VII 7 = M5 and the one technical 8 (unconfirmed) felt like M6 physically.
Project that to VIII/IX/X/XI and loads of people are capable of doing them it's whether they have the patience, the inclination, the time, the money to travel or living in the right location.
A bit like Font 8a I suppose, (except in Parisella's, which is impossible for mortals).
spindrift13 Dec 2009
In reply to Stevie Haston:
Wind them in Stevie! Class act. Loves it. Can see you chuckling away at these responses. Stevie wouldnt be stevie without the whirlwind!
petejh13 Dec 2009
In reply to Erik B: 'by the way, there is a difference between VIII and 8 . your mate is spot on. Most folks exposure to tech 8 or VIII's are on the short safe 'testpieces'. these routes create the wrong impression and are easy for strong rock climbers.'...
True that but the same could be said for trad climbing everywhere, which is all winter climbing is, trad climbing with axes. It's excepted that leading an E1 at a tame crag is not the same as leading an E1 on Cloggy or wherever, but we manage to live with it so what's the differenc, why the preoccupation with VIII having to mean you're going to die twice and be damned to hell if you fall off??
Its a shame that last message by i think pete was deleted i was just going to disagree with something, but instead i will probably just state it.
Whilst out in the alps recently i was climbing a route that was thin ad out of condition by normal standards and whilst slow didn't turn into a VII as i thought a route given M5 or M6 in poor nick would (i can't remember the grade or the name of it, it wasn't that memorable) rather it was pretty soft touch if thin scott V. When i commented on this to my climbing partner who is a cham resident and more in tune with M grades than me, he commented that perhaps 'mountain' M grades are different to valley cragging M grades. Just to illustrate this he totally burnt me off at a valley crag the next day. The explanation went that they perhaps they 'feel' harder in the context of the North face of the Grand Jorasse or where ever. This got me thinking as i only ever really think in Scottish grade terms in the high mountains and i was quite surprised to see what M grades were given to routes that i have climbed in the past.
Anyway, i state this mearly as observation that a simple M5 = or M6= is not really applicable.
I do think that there is a lot of back ground stuff going on in Scottish winter climbing rather than how long you can hold on before your ability to do one arm leashless pull ups. I'm not trying to say that we're ll well hard up north rather that it is part of a bigger picture.
In the 90's as far as i can recall most of the then leading Winter activists didn't do too much above E3, but then was back when we all used leashes without feeling guilty.
I am absolutely sure however that Mr Haston (i don't feel that i have yet earned the right to use his first name) has more of this back ground stuff that i allude to than most of the previous posters put together, but perhaps Ian when late for the baby sitter or Erik after a few bottles of Buckie could pull of similarly impressive performances!
Another day of seeing more Golden Eagles than people in the NW again today...
> But more to the point why did you choose grade 8 for your example, who's making out that it is 'hard' in the first instance?
I can't comment on the difficulty or otherwise of these various winter activities/grades as I know nothing about them. But the reason Stevie has picked the grade 8 (I think, please correct me if I'm wrong) is due to lots of recent discussion regarding who had done all the 8's(E8, 8a, 8A, M8, VIII, 8,000m, various other icy 8's whose grading systems I know not) and as an obvious extension of that which was the hardest, and which was easiest.
Of course there isn't a right answer to the question, as is apparent by the various posts on this and other threads, different people find different things hardest. But it's something to chat about I suppose...
In reply to James Edwards:
My lips(like my wallet!) are firmly sealed!
petejh13 Dec 2009
In reply to James Edwards: It's back up I edited something.
You can't take too much from one route in the alps, it could have been overgraded, sounds very much like it was. But that's not very shocking, dick waving in Chamonix?
On the same note the solitary M graded route I did in the alps felt about spot on at it's grade of M5/scottish technical 7. I'm only putting out an opinion, based on what I've done.
I too don't think you can say x = y. But you can judge how physically hard something is, trad route to sport grade, winter route to M grade. You can say it's applicable, many just wouldn't choose to for their own reasons which I imagine range from lack of experience through to stubborn refusal.
As I have nothing better to do on a sunday evening... all the 8's is an arbitrary collection of different grade systems - it would be a miracle for them all to match up on 'difficulty' at the number 8. At a very rough (mostly uneducated guess) I'd reckon Scotty VIII, M8 and maybe 8a (redpoint) all take a similarish amount of 'talent/effort', E8 (onsight) and font 8a a good bit more, 8000m (no Oxy) a lot of willpower/effort and a headache, and WI 8 a labotomy.
There are as you allude incidents of scottish winter 'hardmen' wimpering away on 'easy' icefalls or failing to get up the warm-up M route, but there are equally incidents of regular M10/WI6 alpinists passing on the lead in scotland. Then there are the few who are sufficiently talented (and psyched) to perform across the board - Dave Mc being the obvious Scotland based example, and elsewhere Ueli 'speedy pants' Steck, the uber Hubers etc...
Oddly enough I think climbers get good at the type of climbing they do most of/enjoy most/live closest to - scottish winter climbers are good at walking through bogs in blizzards and spending three hours scraping ice out of a mossy HVS crack, continental winter climbers at drinking coffee in the sun and ambling up ice pillars/figure fouring across roofs, the residents of Sheffield at sitting in Outside complaining about the friction and eroding the ground beneath boulders etc.. etc...
enjoy the weather... looks like the cold is coming brrrrr
I wonder how Malcolm Gladwell's 10 000 hours of practice required to become world class at something, applies to these different disciplines of climbing?
What counts as "practice" for winter climbing? I would have thought it was a bit more complicated than just some technical ability, and lots of risk aversion. Maybe winter climbing to a high standard also requires a lot of experience and understanding of different weather conditions, ice, snow, and turf conditions, and logistical skills? Though perhaps this level of craft is a base level that applies across the grades to some degree, and doesn't need to rise quite in line with technique and courage up the grade ladder?
Are the grade consolidation pyramids of both disciplines comparable? I would guess it's a lot easier to get a high volume of boulder problems done than to get a high volume of winter routes done (a problem can be done in a matter of seconds, a winter climb often takes a full day), so could you compare it through time spent while climbing at a certain grade rather than number of ticks?
Dear Stevie, had a great idea this morning. I think you should get in touch with Ken Russell (film making version of Ken Wilson... but who looks like Ian Smith) and talk about doing a film of your life.
Think it would be be amazing, like The Devils meets Women in Love (you and JIm Perrin wrestling naked in front of an MSR stove springs to mind), maybe with a hint of Tommy thrown in (you used to have Roger Daltry hair in the early days).
I'm thinking of a musical of your life, with big music numbers with you and the late JC lafialle, Martin Burrow smith and Steve House (and number called "wanking in the toilet").
Ken's not working much these days and I'm sure he's be up for it (he can't climb for toffee, so I'm guessing you'd get on like a house on fire).
BTW have you ever heard that saying “like drinking poison while you wait for your enemy to die”? Always think of that saying when I read your less than positive view on us Brit climbers (who having no real mountains, dry rock, big walls don’t do too bad).
Hope this is you Stevie, because I’d like to say welcome back.
Stevie wake up man; there are more young climbers in Scotland climbing Font 8a than there are climbing grade VIII in winter these days. Lots of finger strength, no gonads. Most of them can't even on-sight E5 never mind E4.
> There are as you allude incidents of scottish winter 'hardmen' wimpering away on 'easy' icefalls or failing to get up the warm-up M route, but there are equally incidents of regular M10/WI6 alpinists passing on the lead in scotland.
The difference being that the Scottish 'hardmen' are not flailing on the hard or even the moderate routes. Like you say they are having a hard time on the EASY routes. Now there are two possibilities here.
1) If this same dry-tooling route were covered in hoar frost, had a 2 hr walk-in & no bolts in it, these flailing climbers would suddenly turn into demons and thrash their way up it.
2) Grade VIII can be technically/physically easy. ie easier then M6. Which I think is the point that Stevie is trying to clarify.
James, you're quite right. M grades in the high Alps are all over the place. Some people grade as if they were on a sport route, others tend to take into account other factors - protection, approach etc. Nobody really seems to care - it's just another variable to take into account when choosing a route. Interestingly Simon Anthamatten graded the crux pitch on his route on Tengkampoche M7+, saying it was his hardest ever lead. Since he is world dry-tooling champion I think it's fair to assume that he graded it as if it were a valley sport route. I guess that would be at least Scottish IX, but as it's on a Himalayan face rather than in a Scottish corrie it probably doesn't count for some people.
Ian, when I said that plenty of top Scottish climbers get spanked on Euro ice/mixed routes I did not have Stevie Haston, Dave Mac or Chris Cubbitt in mind (I suspect you know that). Those guys are all climbing 8c/9a so I would expect them to piss up M5/6. However the fact that they're good at climbing doesn't make everybody else good as well. That's the mentality of football supporters.
In reply to gaston lagaffe: you seem to forget that winter climbs dont need to be overhanging or even vertical to be extremely hard, both physically and mentally.
Yours sounds like a typical sport climbers response to the debate to me. However, you have hit on another bugbear of mine. I am fedup seeing Brit alpinists giving indicidual pitches of their new routes scottish grade VIII, this shows the inherent problem with the grading attitude and again paints the wrong picture. A grade of VIII should be given to a route as a whole not an individual pitch.
In reply to Kendal47: It gets VIII, 9 does it not? Theres plenty of examples of euros coming over here and doing hard scottish routes but not cutting edge ones like the god delusion, dont die of ignorance or even shorter routes that are in condition regularly like the hurting. Im not saying that strong european climbers could't just that they haven't. Its similar to the idea that strong 8c onsighting sport climbers could come and onsight E9 in theory yes they could but it hasn't happened yet.
In reply to jl100: fair point, the hurting is M10 covered in rime ice and powder, probably verglas due to its aspoect with shite gear and ground fall potential from high up. I dont see scots queing up let alone euros
> (In reply to gaston lagaffe) you seem to forget that winter climbs dont need to be overhanging or even vertical to be extremely hard, both physically and mentally.
> Yours sounds like a typical sport climbers response to the debate to me. However, you have hit on another bugbear of mine. I am fedup seeing Brit alpinists giving indicidual pitches of their new routes scottish grade VIII, this shows the inherent problem with the grading attitude and again paints the wrong picture. A grade of VIII should be given to a route as a whole not an individual pitch.
So all the routes in the Northern Corries would be graded I-IV like they used to be. Then a modern short hard mixed Northern Corries route could easily be Grade II,8 or less?
In reply to robinsi197:
"What routes would you be doing if you had 10000 hours logged in these different disciplines? That's a 40 hour week for 5 years, roughly. "
Yeah, I was hoping some well-informed person(s) here would be able to offer an answer to that. I'm pretty unclear about how relative difficulties are being quantified, and don't have anywhere near enough experience to even hazard a guess about how "difficult" these things are.
The question of relative difficulties *is* sort of interesting (even if in this thread it's been cast in more of a flame-baiting than thought-provoking way), but it maybe needs more parameters to be meaningful, and is difficulty (however it's being defined here) the sole salient quality? I bet playing Paganini's Caprice no 24 is more difficult than climbing 8A and VIII. Any competitive discipline with a large number of participants will probably have a higher top level than one with a small number of participants, won't it?
So if the top standard of X is higher than Y, what follows from that? Y participants should try harder? X participants should have done Y instead ?
In reply to Ron Walker: a sustained safe tech 8 in the N corries would get VII,8 (in non verglassed condition) this could be 1 pitch or 2 or 3, a short section of 8 and the rest 7 or 6 or 5 or 4 would be VI,8 etc etc
In reply to Ron Walker: why do we still use a full grade for easy gullies? move the easy stuff down an overall grade and use grade I for current grade II routes, would stop any squeezxe at the grade III and IV level
Stevie Haston14 Dec 2009
In reply to KeithAlexander: Hello Keith, some of the best comp climbers do 20 hrs, a week some 35, fairly specific. If you climb on the ben half your time could be walking , a quarter belaying, and a quarter climbing, with maybe an hour doing something hard. Very gifted climbers take maybe two years to get to font 8(approx) but a good climber can nearly alwats manage a soft V111, that why in the end the world cup ice climbing thing was taken over by the pro rockclimbers. Or to put it another way , you are not going to see the world cup plastic tournament sudenly won by a guy in a balaclava from the northen corries covered in frost. The whole point of the thread was that it seems clear that the road to Font 8a is longer and given equal sized gonads (Wry Gob) the boulderer would become very quickly a good mixed climber. Stevie
In reply to Stevie Haston: I don't make a habit of getting involved with all this nonsense, but seriously I don't understand how there is even a case to answer here...
Isn't the whole point of a traditional/adjectival grading system that you can show a route's technical difficulty *AND* the danger involved? It seems absurd to compare bouldering grades to scottish winter grades in any way, or trad or alpine grades for that matter. It's probably very true that you'll spend many more hours practising to climb Font 8a, but none of those hours will be spent in the conditions of objective hardship and danger that accompanies scottish winter or alpine climbing.
Likewise any attempts made to compare sport grades to trad grades tend to fall flat on their face, since sport grades assume the greatest safety possible. (sidenote: I'm currently living in the north of Spain, and the distance some of these boys leave between bolts leaves me wondering whether they should use trad grades after all!).
All of these disciplines have *different* grading systems. This should tell you something about them: they're not comparable. All of these things are hard - they're just hard in different ways.
And before anybody asks, as I'm sure they will, I've climbed E2, but I damn near shat myself on Scottish IV, and The Frendo Spur was easily in the top 5 most terrifying (and fulfilling) experiences of my life. I've climbed 6c on sport in the UK, but I got here to the north of Spain and got my arse handed to my on a plate by a multi-pitch V+ slab, where the bolts were 6m apart and there was no gear - whilst it was objectively safe, I just couldn't convince myself that a 10m fall was a good idea. The numbers that we put on routes try show the difficulty for an average climber, not taking into account particular strengths and weaknesses, and you can find discrepancies within single disciplines (see my sport climbing example): there are people who run up slabs but can't hack the smallest overhang; there are people who can hang forever off a single handjam, but can't stick small edges.
God knows that it's difficult enough to keep consistency within a single grading system, so I have no idea what you're trying to achieve by comparing chalk to cheese.
> (In reply to KeithAlexander) Hello Keith, some of the best comp climbers do 20 hrs, a week some 35, fairly specific. If you climb on the ben half your time could be walking , a quarter belaying, and a quarter climbing, with maybe an hour doing something hard. Very gifted climbers take maybe two years to get to font 8(approx) but a good climber can nearly alwats manage a soft V111, that why in the end the world cup ice climbing thing was taken over by the pro rockclimbers. Or to put it another way , you are not going to see the world cup plastic tournament sudenly won by a guy in a balaclava from the northen corries covered in frost. The whole point of the thread was that it seems clear that the road to Font 8a is longer and given equal sized gonads (Wry Gob) the boulderer would become very quickly a good mixed climber. Stevie
Out of interest, what V111's have you done, or are you not a good climber?
From what i can understand, the theory is, if you took out the walk-ins, the fear, the conditions, the cold and the general unpleasant and inconvience of winter climbing - then more people would climb scottish VIII than font8A.
As it is, although it's much more demanding in terms of physical training requirements, it's possible to practice bouldering specific skills, technique and strength in your bedroom, and most people have high levels of sanity/small gonads, so more people climb font8A than Scottish VIII.
Personally I find that cheese tastes better on toast, but chalk keeps my hands drier.
In reply to Stevie Haston: Why don't all these strong climbers come over and walk up grade IXs, Xs and XIs then? id gues its because doing them requires a bit more than strength. People being able to in theory walk up hard scottish climbs isn't the same as actually doing it. Also if 8A strength transfers to climbing VIII can a part of the 8A training be seen also as training for VIII as there are clearly stransferable skills.
Stevie Haston14 Dec 2009
In reply to jl100: If people will look at the original thread, it was meant to highlight scotish 8 perhaps being the most acessable 8, I had many E.mails conferming this , some from very big scotish mixed climbers, none of them want to be abused by folk for holding an educated or informed opinion.Stevie
In reply to Stevie Haston: Out of interest as your quite a good climber even taking into account your bragging and over hyping your own acheivements why haven't you done more hard winter climbs. AFAIK youve only done one VIII which really isn't that impressive your one of about 50-60 grade VIIIers according to Ians thread. If VIIIs piss why haven't you done more?
In reply to Stevie Haston: Im not saying VIIIS harder than 8A how could i ive done neither? It seems from people whove done both that 8A is harder. But your posts seem to be too focused on strength, assertions with no evidence and lies. Comparing it to other 8s then it seems it may be similar in effort to 8a RP and perhaps harder than 8000m and M8 RP.
Can I also maybe point out that comparing the same number within different systems purely on the basis that that number is 8 has about as much sense as comparing a size 3 nut and a size 3 friend. But I don't think this was really Stevie's point so much as what other people have construed...
In reply to davepwsmith:
But I don't think this was really Stevie's point so much as what other people have construed...
"If people will look at the original thread, it was meant to highlight scotish 8 perhaps being the most acessable 8" Mr Haston
Really? i think that was exactly his point. Along with giving a chance to tell us all how wonderful he is.
petejh14 Dec 2009
In reply to jl100:
Joe, you're being an obnoxious cock. It makes no difference if you admire Stevie Haston or not - he's asked a genuinely interesting question which deserves a thoughtful response, there's nothing to do with bragging in it from what I can see, I think you must have imagined that bit all by yourself.
The best thing about questioning the status quo/realizing that Scottish VIII may not be that hard in the overall scheme is that it shows how much further there is to push, that's pretty exciting is it not? I don't see bouldering grades progressing very quickly from now on but I can see lots of potential still for advances in British mixed difficulty, that's good for all of us interested in the activity isn't it?
In reply to Stevie Haston:
Are the skills definitely that transferable? I read something by Mark Twight on the ice climbing world cup, in which he quotes Will Gadd saying that the organisers admitted that the format of the competitions was deliberately massaged to give the advantage to strong sports climbers, because it made the competitions a better spectator sport.
Is your conclusion that bouldering is better training for winter climbing than winter climbing because you can put in more climbing specific training, and the winter specific training (endurance, weather/snow/ice assessment skills, navigation, ice tool use, pro placement, etc etc) is not the 'long apprenticeship' it is supposed to be?
Or is it that top boulderers are harder working / more talented athletes than top winter climbers?
Stevie Haston14 Dec 2009
In reply to KeithAlexander: The skill in climbing is in the climbing if this makes sense? And all climbing can be deconstructed to basic moves, the people who do the best moves, most gymnastic etc should be the best in every facet of the sport, gonads being equal. And you cant really have a comp which would favour big gonads, too dangerous. I do think the best sportsmen are the ones who work the hardest and this has not always been the case with mixed climbing, there was a shift to a more pro approach in the 90s, which gave a big kick to mixed. And if you have noticed it has all slowed down again as the money has become worse. There was enough money in it a few years ago to surport a climber now there is less and less. The lifestyle of a boulderer can be subsidised easily as its a cheap activity compared to going mixed, just look at the gear and look at the locations.I hope this helps, Stevie
In reply to jl100:
Re your comment "Out of interest as your quite a good climber even taking into account your bragging and over hyping your own acheivements why haven't you done more hard winter climbs?"
Do you have any idea how foolish and misinformed this makes you appear?
In reply to petejh: Its not like VIIIs the cutting edge though is it the cutting edge is XI. Who's saying scottish VIII is hard? Ive no real opinion on the matter how could i? My problem is with arguments with no evidence to back them up other than the forcefulness of the assertions or a climbers reputation. Ive no opinion on Steve Haston as a person just from what he comes across as publicly i guess. This could be any topic for all i care but my argument remains the same; no evidence no point.
> (In reply to Stevie Haston) Why don't all these strong climbers come over and walk up grade IXs, Xs and XIs then? id gues its because doing them requires a bit more than strength.
Er no, it's because there are plenty of M7 & M8 routes on trad gear to be done in the Alps. For continentals the Alps are closer than Scotland and you have more chance of finding good weather and reliable conditions there. Superior food and drink is also available. I'm surprised you have to ask.
In reply to nb: Many have come over though but none have cruised cutting edge routes. Good point about food though the fact the scottish lot get up these routes on buckie and deepfried haggis surely has to be factored into this debate too.
Brianw197514 Dec 2009
In reply to Stevie Haston: I was hoping this thread was started by some saddo who was using your name but it seems it really is you, I must say what a huge disappointment, thought your achievements especially at your age were something to be admired but I dont admire obnoxious people and certainly not ones up their own arse, what a ridiculous thread to even start the reasons for which have already been mentioned above, I for one certainly wont read anything wrote by you or about you ever again
"The skill in climbing is in the climbing if this makes sense?"
No, not really; climbing mountains without pre-practice is about a lot more than movement over rock, especially in winter. A key skill in Scottish winter climbing is understanding and reading vegetation.
In reply to Pagan: Because ive post over two days and spent maybe 3 hrs on UKC in this time while revising for an exam you conclude i never get out winter climbing? Im happy with the amount ive got done so far this year. Easy stuff but nice days out.
In reply to Stevie Haston:
To the UKC admins:
Could we have readonly access to the SQL database (I'm guessing there must be one) behind the logbooks? Then we could run queries to immediately prove/disprove some of the assertions above and/or construct our own troll bait. Or would that spoil the fun?
Sandy Allan14 Dec 2009
In reply to Stevie Haston:
Cool to hear from you Stevie, long time no see, but I hear you are still getting the occasonal wee technical rock route done! Me,I am still impressed.
Funnily enough we were climbing Deep Throat yesterday and the summer grade came into our conversation. V,6 equates to VD or maybe Severe.One does wonder if doing such a climb in the summer is worthwhile and if so would the garde truly reflect the rotten rock and expanse of depleting turf?
Black Mamba, King Rat/the Rat Trap, the Hurting and many others have much higher technical summer grades and perhaps one should repeat those before exploring the subject from the armchair!
Do you not think its all a bit silly anyway? In the good old days they climbed cramponless with only one axe. Now we have superbly engineered ice tools, one for each hand, amazing crampons, outstanding technical clothing and leightweight but warm boots.Right now many of us dare not to use leashes and think we are ok! It simply does not compare to what the "good old boys" got up to and really, by comparison, we are all a bunch of softies.
Strangley enough many of them were eccentrics from down south too!!!
Next time you all jump in your cars and drive to Scotland to winter climb, just remind yourselves, its bloody ace and you are truly very very welcome. Reminds me of what Tut Braithwaite said to me on one alspine winter when we were discusing climbers and climbing "you are all like a collie dog chasing after the wheels of a moving car, if you caught the bloody thing you would not know what to do with it!" Good one Tut!
> It would be a bit unfair to name names as some of the climbers getting 'spanked' are sponsored hero types
Why is it unfair? You claim this has happened on a number of occasions but don't actually say who to or on what route. Its one of those lovely climbing stories, but without actually saying who the said Scottish hardmen were, and what route they got spanked on, its just a story. Did it happen to one guy on one route? Perhaps he was just having a shit day or isn't actually that much of a hardman. Has it happened to two hardmen on four different routes? Then its an anecdote even if it doesn't prove much. Has it happened to six supposed Scottish hardmen on 25 different routes? Well then you're making a point. But at the moment we have a bloke with a pseudonym sharing very vague gossip.
I've been told by lots of people that Obama is a Muslim communist who was born in Kenya not Hawaii. What d'ya reckon? Should I believe them?
Stevie Haston14 Dec 2009
In reply to Sandy Allan: As you very well, know the only thing I ever liked about Scotland was Tower ridge and some of the highland malts. Scotish hospitality was never up to my thirst, I hope you all have a good season , learn to read threads (and read veg, I hear thats the new thing), and stay safe. Bonne grimp from someone a bit further south than most. Stevie
In reply to Stevie Haston:Stevie, I would tend to agree with your original post. 8 seems to be the "in grade" these days and is increasingly attainable. But Scottish hospitality.. C'mon!
You had just done Empire Strikes Back or whatever you called it before i think, in Cogne , maybe 1999 or 2000ish and we invited you to Albinos for a drink. After much persuasion you took a hot chocolate from us!
> As most of the Scottish grade 8 boys cant climb above E2 ( or a big percentage) it looks that this grade 8 must be the easiest, yes or no? Of all the grades this one does seem to have suffered the most dumming down, softer grades and better equipment etc. I remember for instance talking to Murrie and Cubby along time ago and them both saying that you had to be soid E5 onsighter if you had any pretentions on the mixed, so its not just from me.
Do not make it to the grade 8 (not VIII I assume) yet but I think I have it in me...no way I'll ever make it to sport 8 or Font 8.
I think it easier to achieve Scottish tech 8 simply because it's more a mental thing than physical one for me. So probably agree with you.
But admittedly talking of nowadays tech 8s (BSaFT on Beinn eighe, Citadelle on SS Nocando crack...),which some people may not think proper 8s.
I love winter climbing in Scotland because I love the hills here, because I'm too much of a whimp to commit on big things back home, because it is possible to brag about climbing a VS route and getting some respect from my peers and because I can do it to a reasonable level whilst beeing a weekend warrior with a wife and a mortgage.
It would be unfair because I'm a bloke with a pseudonym. If I want to damage people's reputations then I should post under a real name. But in any case I'm not interested in denting anybody's reputation. I'm not a journalist, just a climber contributing to a thread about the relative difficulty of Scottish winter routes. If you want names you should start your own thread specifically asking for them. I personally won't be posting on it.
But why the incredulence? There's nothing particularly surprising about some of Scotland's top winter climbers (grade VIIIers) being unable to do steep ice or warm-up routes at dry-tooling crags. Have you ever tried any sport mixed routes? Even at the easier grades they can be strenuous and technical, often requiring wierd axe placements. Check out vscott's & James Edward's posts.
In the end it's not that important if you believe or not. I mean we're not talking climate change, WMDs or Obama's reputation. In fact it's probably best for all concerned if you don't.
ps who are all these people that tell you Obama is a Muslim communist? Is he?
In reply to gaston lagaffe: No theres not much suprising about grade eighters not being able to do hard bolted mixed routes as ist very different. Theres lots of font 8a bolderers who cant get up E3 off-widths as again its a very different thing. Equally theres 8a boulderers who get up E7 offwidths onsight, Scottish grade VIIIers who get up M11 and 8A boulderers who climb XI. People are good at different things some scottish winter climbers make major contributions in the alps others dont. A few euros come over and get up grade VIIIs. You can argue an infinite number of things from this but its impossible to sustain an argument that one discipine is in absolute terms harder than another. If you present some evidence then you may get somewhere put by pretenting your some sort of omniscient oracle whos word should be taken as given wont convince anyone to your point of view. Don't mention something if you cant prove it.
In reply to gaston lagaffe: Evangelical christians, al-qaeda, neo-liberals (maybe best no go there?) and fascists rile people. Do they speak the truth? Im happy to beleive that most VIIIers cant get up more than E2 but i want evidence, or that all scottish winter climbers get beaten, spanked, fail on routes in the alps. But your right you shouldn't name names unless you post under your real name. Everyone else in this debate who's claiming to know about hard climbing is (note im not claiming to know about hard climbing) except for wry gob (though i think everyone knows who he is anyway?) is posting unde their real name.
gaston lagaffe14 Dec 2009
In reply to jl100:
"Don't mention something if you cant prove it."
Please prove that lots of font 8a boulderers can't get up E3 off-widths.
petejh14 Dec 2009
In reply to Dave Morrison:
He clearly entered the realm of cockdom when he started making statements like this about a guy almost three times his age who could climb rings around him in every discipline - '..your posts seem to be too focused on strength, assertions with no evidence and lies.' and 'your not the stevie haston who used to write really boring narcissistic articles in climb?'
No need to get personal or accuse someone of lying in order to shoot down their argument...
unless you're being obnoxious.
This was potentially a really good thread but people seem to need attack the messenger rather than the message.
In reply to Stevie Haston: Stevie is kind of right and kind of wrong about Scottish VIII (tech 8 is a misleading argument, eh Stevie).
Sure would take a bit longer to train from square one to Font 8a than VIII. But although it requires more hours, Mr Font 8a shouldn't pat himself on the back too hard - training for bouldering at this level requires showing up at a nice warm bouldering wall for some hours each week, have a chat and climb some problems and then maybe go for a beer. It's no great hardship. A lot of climbers who could stomach this regime would tire rapidly of an apprenticeship on the Scottish boggy hills.
It does seem like grade VIII has been applied with increasing frequency in recent years and I'm not so sure the climbers are all that much fitter or bolder. Maybe some of them are not as hard as the old school VIIIs?
I did all the main climbing disciplines with more or less equal effort right through my climbing. I did my first Font 8a, E6 onsight, F8b route, E7 headpoint and winter VIII all at about the same time if I remember correctly.
I'd expect an VIII to feel like onsighting a proper hard E6 6b. But then I have known plenty of climbers who just don't seem to get rock climbing who are amazing with tools in their hands. Alan Mullin when his head was focused was a perfect example.
For me, out of that list of different 8s, Font 8a would probably be easiest when compared to a proper VIII. But in real life you could find a nice soft touch VIII that would go down a lot easier. I think if you look at climbers with a good few VIIIs behind them and at least one 'proper' one, most of them would be climbing mountain E5 or E6. And out of the rest would be wily mountain men like Nisbet or have a fiery psyche and a long neck like Mullin. Either of those climbers would make your average Font 8a youth look just as out of place on an VIII as Nisbet would get on in Parisellas cave.
In reply to petejh: Stevies age or the fact hes a world class all-rounder and i at best a lazy punter matters not as my argument wasn't based on willy waving. If hes lucky there may be one grade VIIIer who cant get up more than E2 but hardly a high percentage. Have you read his articles in climb its my opinion obviously but he doesn't write them anymore maybe personal choice but probably people with a similar opinion to me writing in and complaining. Ive no problem with the message but just want if proved before its spoken as if its gospel.
In reply to ab tat: I disagree, there is a problem round about the grade III/IV level for MIXED routes. too easy to give a safe mixed route IV 4 instead of III,4 because of the use of grade I for snow plods
lots of IV,4s, no III,3s few V,5's
use II,3 for mixed III, III,3 for bold mixed 3, III,4 for well protected mixed IV,4s
why on earth does a grade I snow plod get a grade now with modern equipment? many people ski and snowboard grade I gullies now! Dorsal arete should be I,2 now I say! sorry Guides!
Dave Macleod, thanks for confirming what I have been arguing
You could also say the same about diff/v.diff/severe etc, when you bring modern equipment into it. But at the end of the day, most people operate at the lower end of the spectrum and changing the grades of easier routes is not the answer.
Grade 2 - 4 climbers generally don't have any problems with their end of the grade table, so why change it to suit the tiny minoritory at the top end - is that not slightly elitist?
In reply to ab tat: if you want to compare rock climbs to what im saying then i would give a grade I snow plod the grade of a challenging summer hillwalk. what im saying is basic arithmetic and logic, nothing to do with elitism
In reply to Erik B:Erik,
There's been much interest in your thoughts on the present grading system.Why not clearly outline a workable alternative for discussion?Perhaps splitting ice routes from mixed maybe an idea,as suggested by some?A dedicated thread would be the place to do it.
Look forward to that.
In reply to Erik B: I'd say overall grade to match the tech grade when it's safeish. Up one overall grade if runout, down one if loads of gear.
Out of interest, a route with a short (say 10m) section of tech 4, rest of it easy climbing, no good gear on the route, and even the belay might rip. Fall on the tech 4 section would result in possibly death for both. What overall grade would you give that?
In reply to petejh: Fair enough, just thought you were a bit out of line with your opening statement. You could have got your point across better without it.
Stevie Haston15 Dec 2009
In reply to Dave MacLeod: Dave read the thread please. Its not a misleading arguement. I asked a question, theres a question mark. For me Font 8 is a harder proposition than tech 8 scotish, simple. Can I do a tech 8 when grossly overwieght, yes. Can I do font 8 when grossly overwieght, no. Simple. Anyway hope you had a great time in spain and did some ace routes.Your second paragraph was I think, bang on the money, but of course others may question it. But it looks that in general it would indeed be true to say that the journey to Font 8 is longer than tech 8, wow. Stevie
In reply to fishy1: We've done a few routes that have really short techy sections and the rest of the ground is around III/II and I. If the gear has been a bit sketchy we've still given it III 4 as you can pretty much ALWAYS find a belay somehow (if you're experienced enough)
And if you can't find a belay, your partner simply starts climbing so you're moving together (with runners/a runner) between you. Can be a bit scary and you probably wouldn't want to fall. But that's winter climbing for you no?
Easier routes with REALLY techy sections *and* okay gear at the techy are sometimes III 5.
> I dont hate the place like him but then again I have no reason to return, except
to repeat Guerdon Grooves with Mr Leigh ? but watch out in the carpark !
Stevie Haston15 Dec 2009
In reply to Ian McNeill: Ian, would that be Mr Liegh the forgotten man of british climbing, a man who has obviously done tech 8 and V111, but is of course on no lists because he has no friends. Ah Scotland, land of my fathers . Theres a bottle of Lagavulin in the house, undrunk. I better invite him over, as I am tee total and my new sport is learning to suck eggs-the prescribed Scotish way ofcourse . Stevie
Stevie, while you're on can you tell us a bit more about your horror-show winter route in North Wales, as there is very little written down about it. I do remember grades of IX or even X being bandied about; is this accurate or mythologising?
> If I want to damage people's reputations then I should post under a real name.
Why would it damage someone's reputation? I climb about E1-ish, but I've fallen off a VS in the past, vaguely embarrassing but probably something that has happened to all climbers at their comparative level at some point or other. That someone who climbs hard in Scotland got closed down by steep mixed doesn't surprise me at all - it's a very different form of climbing. Give them a few weeks training/practice at it and those who are all rounders will probably improve quickly (just like a super strong continental mixed climber shouldn't be expected to waltz up a VII,8 straight away but could probably do it after doing a decent handful of Scottish routes going up the grades). I know some Finns who blasts up vertical pillars very impressively but went to Scotland, tried a V, and one of them cruised up the steep bit then fell off the snow slope above. He ended up in Fort William hospital with various broken bones. The steep ice tends to end in flat forests here so you just don't get much chance to wander around on worrying snow slopes.
> But in any case I'm not interested in denting anybody's reputation. I'm not a journalist, just a climber contributing to a thread about the relative difficulty of Scottish winter routes.
But then we still don't know if this happened to one chap who happened to have the flu that day, or to a dozen people on a score of routes. So it doesn't really show anything about relative difficulties of any routes.
> ps who are all these people that tell you Obama is a Muslim communist? Is he?
In reply to Jamie Bankhead: Well I've not done Zero, but does it have lots of easy stuff between? Does it not really depend on the steepness and the overall feel of the route too? Like there might be a pretty run out section of tech climbing but it's above a big snowy ledge, so it feels less serious regardless of lack of gear or difficulties? I don't think it's an exact science and you can only grade as you found things on the day I think (or in my meagre experience anyway)
Of everything written this gave me the most heart:
> But although it requires more hours, Mr Font 8a shouldn't pat himself on the back too hard - training for bouldering at this level requires showing up at a nice warm bouldering wall for some hours each week, have a chat and climb some problems and then maybe go for a beer.
I can climb Font 8a without giving up beer! Is this a quote from your new book?
> (In reply to Dave MacLeod) Dave read the thread please. Its not a misleading arguement. I asked a question, theres a question mark. For me Font 8 is a harder proposition than tech 8 scotish, simple. Can I do a tech 8 when grossly overwieght, yes. Can I do font 8 when grossly overwieght, no. Simple.
OK fair enough. If you want to stick firmly to your original comparison - sure Font 8a is certainly much, much harder than picking the easiest route with some Scottish tech 8 you can find. There are plenty of VI,8s and even some V,8s. When I do dry tooling masterclasses students will do Scottish 8 within minutes of picking up ice axes for the first time ever. End of thread. Totally uncontroversial.
But take those tech 8 cranking student novices and ask them to do the same halfway up Centurion a long way above a runner and it's obvious it wont happen. At the international meet I took some of the Giri Giri boys up a new VIII on the Ben and between them they fell off about 15 times seconding on the crux pitch. The day before they were dancing about on the M10 at Birnam nae problem.
Tech 8 in isolation = easy
Tech 8 on a grade VIII = not easy for nearly everyone, even Font 8a crankers
I think most folk on the thread already get this, hence all the discussion about VIII.
Monty if I may be so bold (Jon) surely you have followed this we need your wisdom now!!
Stevie Haston15 Dec 2009
In reply to Dave MacLeod: Good one on the book front, hope it does well for you. So interesting, you agree with me. The point you make at the end however is completly wrong, most folk on this thread and reading it dont know the difference, thats one of the reasons people find it interesting. And of course the arguement could easily be extended to include a font 8a boulderer who did have balls, then ofcourse the roman numerical eight grade might fall with a tiny bit of tuition. Another question Dave, were any of the giri giri lads font 8 boulderers, that might shed more light on things. Finally when was Gueron Groove (sp?) done, I cant remember. cheers Stevie
In reply to Stevie Haston: I think everyone knows the difference. Framed in the context of the all the 8s argument as you have done above. Surely its scottish VIII which makes the list? otherwise its like substituting E8 for 8a english tech ie silly as it is trad climbing which the e8 represents and even you must concede that a scottish winter route is more than simply the hardest move which the arabic number denotes. Also your original thread title if i remeber read 'scottish VIII piss or not piss'. If routes were only graded by the arabic number there would be a vast increase in winter routes/boulders as i could probably do a scottish 8 if i emptied the contents of my freezer onto my wall and worked a a couple of moves getting off the ground. The only real argument to be had is concerning VIII as this is the grade of the route, the arabic numer merely provides additional information.
Saying that because lots of people can do 8 they can do VIII is like saying because ive done a couple of 6b moves first time i can onsight Strawberries or Requiem.
Toby I've read a few of your posts and you convey yourself as an average, not particularly rad climber who is more interested in enjoyment than performance. That is commendable. If you can't do the warm-up routes it's hardly going to damage your reputation. Sponsored climbers who try to convey a gnarly image of themselves don't have that luxury.
"a super strong continental mixed climber shouldn't be expected to waltz up a VII,8 straight away"
Maybe not but they have an irritating habit of doing just that. Not just on international meets either.
"But then we still don't know if this happened to one chap who happened to have the flu that day, or to a dozen people on a score of routes"
In that case I'm even more bemused to the big mystery around it. Besides anything else I can't really think of any "Scottish hardmen" who are 'sponsored hero' types - there's never been enough money in Scottish winter climbing. Some folk maybe get some bits of free gear or a photo deal, but perhaps making Stevie's point for him to certain degree - many of the long serving "Scottish hardmen" have very normal 9 to 5 jobs five days a week and only get out on Sundays. If I heard that Simon Richardson or Dave Heselden (actually I think they might both be English, but you take my point) hadn't got up some overhanging valley M7 in Cham, I don't think it would change my impression of them as very talented climbers at all. I can't imagine why you would want to lie about this, but currently your point still rests on "no seriously, this has happened loads, but I shouldn't tell to whom, when, where or why. But trust me...loads..."
> "They're often referred to as Republicans."
It was meant as a joke. Not all Conservatives are Birthers*, although virtually all Birthers are Conservatives.
> (In reply to victorclimber) I could understand it quite easily, you just got to hang on leashes or massive jugs when climbing with axes, you don't need to be pulling hard on small(ish) edges.
Yeh try pulling with axes on small edges or in poor ice when balance is more important. There's more to ice or mixed climbing that having big hand holds in yer hands. They have to be stuck somewhere for you to get up!!!!
In reply to Lone Rider: The post of mine you referenced was intended to mean that finger strength is not really a limiting factor in winter climbing, unlike bouldering where it is. I can see how that could be misinterpreted though.
Balancing with axes when you're static is not the tricky part I find, it's moving up while keeping those axes held statically enough on the small holds to avoid them popping off and smacking you in the face.
> (In reply to Dave MacLeod) Good one on the book front, hope it does well for you. So interesting, you agree with me. The point you make at the end however is completly wrong, most folk on this thread and reading it dont know the difference, thats one of the reasons people find it interesting. And of course the arguement could easily be extended to include a font 8a boulderer who did have balls, then ofcourse the roman numerical eight grade might fall with a tiny bit of tuition. Another question Dave, were any of the giri giri lads font 8 boulderers, that might shed more light on things. Finally when was Gueron Groove (sp?) done, I cant remember. cheers Stevie
Armchair people who don't actually go winter climbing Scotland aside, I've not met many folk who don't understand that you can get a tech 8 move on a mid grade route like a VI or a VII. I did actually ask the Giris what their best boudering grade was, but they looked quite strong at Cummingston on wet Sandstone after a heavy night in the splodge bar (for me at least, but that might not be saying much).
Guerdon was 1984.
As an off topic the Sabart cave has been niggling away in my mind since driving past it during summer. I think I'll pay a visit soon to hang out there for a bit.
Stevie Haston16 Dec 2009
In reply to graeme gatherer: hello Graeme, Empire Strikes Back seems sooo long ago, and was. Sorry I didnt see your post, wasnt paying attention as usual. Anyway meant to Pm you but thought it better to do it here, as I wouldnt want people thinking I have a downer on all things Scotish.Thanks for looking after me and buying me a coco, its great when climbers are pleasent to fellows in need. Last night I talked to ten Scots (by Email) and one welsh person, and no sassenachs. Last night I also missed the wise council of Fred Harper (ex head of the guides) who suffered terribly, because of his friendship for me, a true friend,a great man, and a Scot, I hope the trout are big and biting, and the powder deeep where you are Fred.
To Pete stack , no lots of folk havent a clue, its easy to see ftom some of their responses.
To Dave MacCleod, the cave is dry, you are welcome, no soft touches like in Spain, and I,ll give you all the beta. Its a freezing but I hear you Scots are tough. Stevie
"Wooooah Mr Gob, you're coming across all touchy-feely now. Understand the vegetation eh!"
Miss Brodie (I presume); 'tis not dissimilar to climbing ice which, if I recollect (from quite a long time ago) one must "read" to affect steady upward progress. It's certainly more touchy feely than looking for the next chalk mark down at The Zoo! It brings to mind French alpinists, who as we all know quickly learn to "read" ancient pegs so they can safely pull on them quicker :-D
No vegetation up high so ancient pegs are def fair game. Ditto for rotting tat and wooden wedges - all part of the mountain. Nothing quick or safe about it tho. It's often quite fiddly getting the carabiner in and you don't get a very good grip on a quickdraw. I'd stick to aiding on your ice-axes for the mo and progress to in-situ gear only when you feel completely ready for it.
BTW your ex-side-kick has now totally defected to the other side. Chalk ticks, drilled placements, shiny bolts, power grunts, the lot. We have to drag him away when it gets dark. He’s starting to look solid on the warm-ups so who knows, Scotland might even get some hard routes if ever he decides to go back.
> (In reply to Stevie Haston) Im guessing this is a troll and your not the stevie haston who used to write really boring narcissistic articles in climb?
I considered Steven Haston's articles important to the quality of "Climb Magazine". When they no longer published his articles I changed my BMC subscription to another magazine. Additionally, when you ascribe 'narcissism' as a personality disordered characteristic and yet fail to recognise this in your own writings, it is called projection.
In reply to Stevie Haston:
Couple of thoughts. This so called list of 8 is pretty meaningless, as it has no alpine climbing. So list lovers, what shall we add? Alaskan 6? ED3? Mount Cook 7?
I can see why many strong rock climbers don't migrate to the mixed, thy are pretty different. My question, if we have so many grade VIII climbers, why are so few kicking it off in the alpine? Seems a pretty natural progression to me. If you can climb VIII, there can't be many alpine climbs you can't get up?
> My question, if we have so many grade VIII climbers, why are so few kicking it off in the alpine? Seems a pretty natural progression to me. If you can climb VIII, there can't be many alpine climbs you can't get up?
too expensive, too time consuming, too damn cold, too continental =)
I can understand where your coming from, I tried winter climbing last weekend, in 3 days i was comfortably leading a IV 5. I lead E2 comfortably on rock, but my climbing partner technically climbs stronger than me but hates going above gear, so i think it has far more to do with mental strength than physical climbing ability. I could see grade VII 8 being achievable with more technical axes and crampons.
Not sure how much of this has already been said, didnt have enough time to read it all above.
> I can understand where your coming from, I tried winter climbing last weekend, in 3 days i was comfortably leading a IV 5.
Have fun, but take care. That you chose to do IV,5 shows your good sense to start off with but its worth mentioning again what you probably sussed out yourself: that the actual pitched climbing is often the least dangerous bit of the day - particularly if you are doing mixed routes with ok gear. But its well worth reading Franco's account of his first trip to Ben Nevis. http://francocookson-climbing.blogspot.com/2008/04/munro-bagging.html He obviously got up V no problem but that fact that he got avalanched and this mates then got injured in another eff' up shows that just because you're strong doesn't replace having mountain experience. He underplays the seriousness of the situation to my mind (oh to be 18 and invincible again) - they were lucky that they all didn't end up in much worse way.
Thank you for advice, dont worry i dont intend to make it to that grade for a couple of seasons yet... Ive got quite a bit of mountain experience but not as much winter exp. yet as i need. Ive read the link, and im less worried about avalanches because ive done an avalanche course and so understand the snow pack, but the strength of ice screws and iced cracks is still a bit of a worry to me. Also I havent done a V under hoar, or rime so i havent had the fun of digging out all of the cracks for gear. Which means I might end up changing my mind about my previous statement. Cheers again and have a good christmas!
> (In reply to Stevie Haston)
> I can see why many strong rock climbers don't migrate to the mixed, thy are pretty different. My question, if we have so many grade VIII climbers, why are so few kicking it off in the alpine? Seems a pretty natural progression to me. If you can climb VIII, there can't be many alpine climbs you can't get up?
> (In reply to James Edwards)
> I can better that, James I too saw eagles. nae people AND an osprey(also in the NW).
Unlikely to have seen an Osprey as they have all migrated to Africa a couple of months ago with one being monitored by satellite currently in Guinea roosting in a mangrove swamp. Check out Roy Dennis's website for more info.
In reply to Stevie Haston: I could agree more - we equated our traditonal grade VII of Red Slab to rock climbing E6 in the fridge. well done on 9a dude - inspiring
ps I hope your still playing chess Steve! -re Petes eats 1985!
Stevie Haston17 Jan 2010
In reply to markmcgowan01: hello Mark, thanks, are you really 3 stone overwiegth? Good luck on El Cap. The more I look at Scottish grades the more confused I get, there are some routes in Europe ,if you gave them a Scottish grade, there'd be in the mid teens. Will be in Scotland soon, see you? Stevie.
In reply to Stevie Haston: cool - maybe i will have lost some pounds by then -trying to edge my way back in to climbing and general fitness for el cap in summer - give me a shout if your up here - I live just north of Glasgow - can give u a doss.
I'm always surprised that M-grades get such a load of hype. Maybe the only M-Style route I've done is wildly overgraded but, at the time, I was climbing Scottish V, E2 and about Font 7a and I managed to onsight an M7.
These days I'm on about Scottish VI, Font 7b+, Fr7c and E5.
Yes, the technicality of Scottish winter routes is a lot less than the equivalent bouldering/trad grades, but, I still think for most mortals getting up a proper Scottish VIII is harder than Font 8A.
God save our projects if you get back into climbing - I'd stay on the couch if I were you
Maybe if Mr Haston comes up to Scotland this fine winter you can take him out and show him that tech 8 can feel quite tricky when strong forearms are as much use as chocolate tampons and the gear is shite.
Hi Wry Gob
Stevie soloed stuff in the alps with one boot that would make our lips stick together.. the only thing i could show him is the cheapest flight home once he wound things up good style. all good fun...
In reply to mark mcgowan01: Hi Mark, are you still running your retail empire? I was the English bloke working in the Scout Shop with Jamie and Gordon whilst you were still a rep, and I remember you opening the Byers Road shop. I think Jamie went and worked for you after didn't he?
You told me about Red Slab once and do I remember right, that there was a dyno involved?
Interesting thread Stevie, sorry haven't got enough life to spare to read it all. But I've always been surprised that VS leaders can lead E5 but I guess if you live in Scotland that's the way it is. I'm sort of retired form winter climbing now (can't face the drives and the walks!) But did a couple in Wales this year, I climb on emotion.
emotionally Maria felt VS/HVS and The Devil's Appendix felt E2, I'm sure that'll add to your debate!!
good to hear from you. The Empire got Crunched Im afraid and tumbled down the mountain like humpty dumpty! however, im enjoying getting my body back from fatsville and getting back outdoors again.
take care. gordon went to cornwall and becme a surfer whilst Jamie and I lost touch...
In reply to mark mcgowan01: There are hundreds, if not thousands of phenominally excellent potential routes out there at high grades.
People tend to keep such information to themselves/there parteners/friends, not broadcast it on the in internet.
And guerdon grooves, from what I've heard, doesn't sound that great. Quite a winding line, not often in condition. IX,8 to me means the belay is in doubt. Plus the first ascent relied heavily on pegs. Without pegs there may be no runners whatsoever, making soloing just as good as anything. But there aren't many out there soloing tech 8.
> i don't understand the problem with mentioning a few inspiring lines?
Some people (just me actually) are just selfish motherf*ckers on ego trips and like getting first ascents. I think getting to name routes makes us feel important. A bit like rich middle aged guys getting fast cars, except cos we aren't rich, we climb things that would be HS in summer, but with a bit of snow, and a few hyperboles, they become cutting edge winter lines. Then everyone worships us and we become gods.
Roam about the highlands in summer and you'll see loads of stuff and think, with a bit of whiteness covering it, that could be ace. Or, that wet patch on that rock, if it gets cold and freezes, that'd be an amazing thin ice line.
Once you step out of lochain/schnedacht/the ben, there's loads of lines.
> Also, are a pegs a big no no now for bold winter routes?
I would say there's more of a shift towards gear other than pegs. Many still use them. Very hard routes have been done without them, which from what I gather, back in the 80's would have been unthinkable.
In reply to fishy1:
"I would say there's more of a shift towards gear other than pegs. Many still use them. Very hard routes have been done without them, which from what I gather, back in the 80's would have been unthinkable."
good stuff fishy1 - can you give me some examples of such routes so i can understand better at my end.
"I would be exited on Guerdon Grooves! - but i am living in the past i suppose..."
Yeah I'm sure it's tricky enough, just not particularly inspiring for me personally. IMHO there are better, harder and more logical winter lines on that cliff for sure. So there you go Mark, something to get excited about
In reply to Wry Gob: I suppose Shibboleth IS THE line on Slime Wall - but am too scared!!!!!!!!!!
Stevie Haston31 Jan 2010
In reply to mark mcgowan01: hello Mark, its Face right? Guerion grooves was nearly completed by a Welch team, benighted near top, no headtorches or they may have finished. There are very few great hard lines In scotland IMHO, the place doesnt lend itself, and the poor winters dont help genuine good conditions? Anyway I am sure that some one of your capapbilitie with modern gear would have nai bother on big numbered E4s. Bye the bye, saw you compete in Vienna in '90, didnt get a chance to chat as Cubby was in a hurry. The future of Scottish mixed lies in a cheap air ticket to much better places and conditions. The point about pegs is very interesting, and I may add that scratching up rock always felt decidedly bad form to me unless the line was poor in summer, Many of the popular famous hard rotes in europe are getting very damaged, and I did notice this in Scotland. Wont be in Lanberis, but will take your offer of hospitality in Glasgow. Cheers Stevie
"There are very few great hard lines In scotland IMHO, the place doesnt lend itself, and the poor winters dont help genuine good conditions?"
I think I know what you mean here Stevie - there are no good dry tooling crags in Scotland, and the future of mixed climbing lies in dry tooling. Such a shame coz there are loads of climbers over here who seem to excel at dry tooling really quickly, but struggle when on real winter climbs
> (In reply to mark mcgowan01)
> "I suppose Shibboleth IS THE line on Slime Wall - but am too scared!!!!!!!!!!
> Not at all Face I was thinking of the obvious line that's not been done summer or winter
I haven't been up there for a few years in winter, so i don't have a clue what obvious line you speak of on Slime Wall - North Buttress has been done i think?
By the way Mark if you're heading out (esp onto a hoared up E4) you should know that the rules of engagement have changed quite a bit since your day -your allowed to ab the line, check the gear and the placements, try the route in summer first etc before you man up for the winter lead. Or maybe it was it always like that? Some folk of course don't embrace these enlightened ways and (as I think Stevie once said?) are still in the Dark Ages, bumbling about on grade VIII's and IX's.
> (In reply to mark mcgowan01)
> By the way Mark if you're heading out (esp onto a hoared up E4) you should know that the rules of engagement have changed quite a bit since your day -your allowed to ab the line, check the gear and the placements, try the route in summer first etc before you man up for the winter lead. Or maybe it was it always like that? Some folk of course don't embrace these enlightened ways and (as I think Stevie once said?) are still in the Dark Ages, bumbling about on grade VIII's and IX's.
i probably couldn't get passed the water slab at the moment wrybob
As for winter ethics in 'my day', i can only speak for myself: i didn't abseil inspect any winter line (but i dont see the problem), i lead Zero Gully when I was 15 on my 2nd weekend to Ben nevis let alone abseiling the route first
i am sure that when ground breaking standards are pushed, then it is inevitable that ethics and methods are "tinkered with" as the reality of breaking barriers requires both an adventurous spirit and intelligence in respect of facing up to the reality of potentially huge falls. these falls are extremely likely on hard technical ground and I suppose need to be genuinely evaluated when pushing physical limits.
Stevie and i differ on the point regarding scratching on established classics but i still believe that for barriers to be broken, then we need to adopt universal change from across the globe otherwise, we will have another 10 year gap in breaking substantially new ground in difficult routes. dry tooling will strengthen traditional mixed in the same way that sport climbing improved traditional climbing (substantially ).
Agags Groove first ascentionist were deemed "extremists" by their piers for taking such risks on steep rock and their use of piton protection...
Climbing has obviously moved on since 'my day' in that it is more transparent and professionalized but it is always an adventurous spirit who will wander up a mountain on their own and invest time and risk in analyzing their objective in an intelligent and considered way as much as someone who will on sight free solo with no one around but the "big man"- i think!
Stevie Haston01 Feb 2010
In reply to Wry Gob: High Mr Gob, there are very few great hard lines In scotland IMHO, the place doesnt lend itself, and the poor winters dont help genuine good condition' , thats what I wrote and strangely thats what I meant, you can misunderstand if you wish, it was meant in good spirit and to be helpful. Get a tickit go and do a few hard routes in europe that would get X1 if they were in the gairngorms and try and understand. I did some great routes none of them were dry tooling they were all mixed lines and in the end shied away from developemeant as it became to rocky.By its very nature the climbs in Snotland will also be like this, its a shame. Now then if you buy a ticket and go explore you might come across something more intereting, lets say Norway. 1000 metere lines with ice and steep rock. Lets say the dolimites with very interesting mixed and very beautiful ice, in a more reliable climate. Mr Gob theres another thread which argues that scotland is not good value because of the weather and lac of good conditions, read it please. When Scotland is good its worth climbing in, but when you see the unfortunatly rarely formed Mardalfossen formed in Norway you might understand the differene. The cornice over the top of the waterfall was one of the biggest I have ever seen maybe overhanging for 80 foot? and over 1100 meters of ice in fantastic shapes and splash zonesvery inspiring. Guy Lacelle said that Norway was the place he was interested the most in climbing and I was staggered by the things I saw.I have some photos of these things, there is a photo of a Scotish X or X1 on my Blog if you would care to look. Good luck Gob, yours Stevie
I agree with most of what you're shouting, except the bit about Scotland not having any good winter lines. I've done a few mixed routes around the world, and Scotland is top drawer. It's certainly different, and that's half the pleasure. I you don't like predictability, Scotland will suit. I agree about Norway, and they haven't even discovered turf climbing yet.
I've never been M-stylin in Europe, and a recession and a gaggle of kids means I won't for a while. Shame coz it looks ace. I've got mates who have done some o your routes (M11's - years ago) and thought they were brilliant, but not that hard. As you know there are other, higher profile Scots who have done a load of hardish M-style stuff who are not particularly outstanding Scottish mixed climbers. Horses for courses eh.
Sorry to hear about the Welsh failing on Guerdon Grooves - some more preparation and they might get it next time.
I've not climbed in Romsdal Mark - too many other places in Norway with better, less developed cliffs. Certainly more solid rock. I think the Rimmond is the most climbed route on Trolltinden but I doubt you could call any of the routes "classics". In fact i think one / some of them fell down recently??
Are you seriously taking up climbing again? That would be well cool.
I'm thinking of going to Kjerag this winter - now there's an inspiring winter crag.
im trying to get fit for a planned trip to El Cap with some old friends in the summer (depending on available cash etc - recession and two kids here also), so just trying to lose weight and do some upper body training so i can get up the route - i think it is A1 and E3 and lots of sack hauling.
so i have a long way to go as i haven't climbed since 1995ish and probably only climbing about 6a French at moment due to jaba..
Ha ha F6a that's funny - I'm sure you'll surprise yourself!
Kjerag is not far from Stavanger - about the same height and steepness as El Cap but with a growing number of funky ice lines in a cold winter. Gulp. Being a Scot in a globally warmed world I'm about as at home on sustained ice as the Pope at Ibrox, so I'm looking forward to stirring my cup on some of this shit - http://www.climbing.com/news/hotflashes/awesome_big-wall_ice_in_norway/. I've a mate out there with a light aircraft as well, which is handy..
I think the transferability of skills from one discipline to another is fascinating and a little under explored here.
I've had several 7B+ onsight partners that haven’t quite cut it in the hills, some struggling to manage grade IV satisfactorily. Has anyone else experienced this?
For them , I would hazard, it had something to do with both physical and mental organisation at a quite basic level.
For me, as for them, there is no straight comparison between a grade in one discipline and another.
What’s really at work here from the point of view of comparability is the type of physical and mental recruitment that is required to perform at one level in one discipline relative to another. For some of these friends of mine the transferability of skills has stalled on something as simple (or as difficult) as being comfortably able to rack one’s gear in winter, and then place the gear with gloves on.
I agree John, I think there are a couple of things at play in terms of comparing one to the other.
But i am certain with all these challenges in that a persons performance in most sports is mostly effected by their mental approach.
I suppose another factor in this is that in a mixed climbing environment, you are detached from the rock (in terms of sensitivity) by the axes, crampons, rucksack and the increased apparel which has a huge effect on ones ability to asses their physical position on the climb.
I feel there is a definite compatibility between communicating a mixed Scottish winter route say (VIII,8) to a summer traditional E6 6b. it conveys both the technical and the immediate danger of the pitch - i suppose the objective dangers of the mountaineering are not considered - but that is usually taken care of during one's general mountain 'apprenticeship' - thats what the issue could be; to be plucked out of the ledge at say Malham Cove - wiggle your nose - and suddenly find yourself on the crux pitch of Orion Face. as apposed to spending a few years in the hills in winter first.
Having said that - a few of the guys on here would rather solo a VIII on the Ben in a storm than take the walk of shame across the Malham ledge after pumping out at the 2nd bolt! i found it quite intimidating edging my way into the sport climbing scene (but eventually really enjoyed it).
i think as mixed climbing pushes fwd that the differences between rock climbing/sport climbing and mixed winter, will dramatically lessen and that innovation in tools and protection will help this along its way further.
For me - its the mental attitude that rules all this, starting from the appetite to succeed in the first place and the level of risk one is prepared to take and the confidence in ones ability and true knowledge of oneself in such positions.
Stevie Haston06 Feb 2010
In reply to mark mcgowan01: and John of the previous post, very well thought out posts and polite too, thanks for contributing to an interesting thread. John try this its a reversal of one of your points, have you ever seen a Scottish grade 1V punter on sight a 7B+? You see my point. The gear thing is very interesting many people dont like too much faffing around and there certainly is a lot in Scottish type scratching, however to some this can be an attraction. Also the medium you operate with snow, verglas, slidy little ledges, even veg (laughs)it all makes for a bit of a learning curve. Still look at the star of the thread and you might get back on track(if you want ofcourse)Font 8a is harder than Scottish 8,cheers Stevie
"i think as mixed climbing pushes fwd that the differences between rock climbing/sport climbing and mixed winter, will dramatically lessen and that innovation in tools and protection will help this along its way further."
In reply to mark mcgowan01: Theres a lovely route just been put up by Yann Chequers, he didnt grade it, very modest bloke( 8b onsighter), 3 pitches, rock roofs to nice hanging ice. Every year a few good routes are done, the gear helps, but so does desire as Birkit just showed with that beutiful rout on Scafel. Anyway hope everybody stays safe, theres an avalanche risk in the Pyreenes by the by. Stevie