Condensing of the grades?

I mentioned the other day the possibility that the upper grades in bouldering are being condensed. What used to be a solid 8A+, 8B or 8B+ is now one grade lower, for example Slashface, 8B+ -> 8B, Shadowfax, 8B+ -> 8B, Ganymede takeover, 8B+ -> 8A+, La Soucoupe 8B/+ -> 8A+, and so on. I'm sure some of these downgrades are legitimate, but I can't help thinking the glorification of downgrading is also to blame.
Now, the same thing seems to be happening with the E-grades in the UK. Regardless of the grades The Promise or the Groove are probably harder than pretty much everything else on Grit, and if they're downgraded... everything else should be too. The EOTA has been E8 6c for some 22 years and now Kevin Jorgeson suggests this exact grade for The Promise. On a toprope the difference is one full number grade, 7b compared to 8b. And if The Groove is E8 7a instead of E10 7b, then what about all the other E8 7a's? These get repeated all the time whereas The Groove was a very well known last great line. How come no one has been able to do it before?
Maybe it's about time we realize climbing has moved on to a higher level. Maybe E8 6c or 8B isn't that hard anymore? Maybe the whole old school vs new school problem in sport climbing is just a problem because Action directe was a true sandbag from the start and deserves 9a+?

Forums 3 comments

This has been read 1,348 times
Return to News from November 2008