UKC

Getting it right

Is it possible to upgrade a route without having done it? Open air is a good example. Or is it? When Alexander made the FA he gave it 9a, but during the 12 years it went unrepeated it was gradually moving towards 9a+ in peoples' minds and when Adam made the 2nd ascent, he confirmed what everyone suspected to be true. Compared to other routes, it was definitely 9a+. The process was pretty similar for Action directe, which began as an 8c+, but was more or less considered as 9a when the 2nd ascent, by Alexander Adler, was made in 1995. As I've mentioned before however, these two cases are connected. If AD would have been 9a from the start, OA would have been 9a+.
My opinion is that we must be careful and think at least twice before we up- or down grade anything. Be honest about what we think, yes! But unless many opinions point in a certain direction, nothing should change. In the case of up-grades... Hm..., many times when I work a problem, I find it a lot harder than it's supposed to be given the grade. I keep bitchin' and complaining about it, but once I get it right and do it, more often than not, it doesn't feel that hard after all. I believe this is the key, getting it right. Until you execute the moves and sequences perfectly, you can't really tell how difficult they are.
This is also why many FA's get downgraded. The first ascender simply didn't find the easiest sequence. He didn't get it right. Of course there are sandbaggers out there, but that's a different story.


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