Grades, Grades, Grades - UKC Policy reports on hundreds of new routes and significant repeats every year. In our reports we try to convey as much clear information as possible.

For UK trad routes that information includes:

  • Style of ascent
  • Grade of route using the UK system
  • An additional grade (either bouldering or sport)

This additional grade is not a new idea and has been in published guidebooks since at least 1999 with the FRCC Langdale book.

The British system has extremely wide grades ( for example E7 can range from F7a to F8a in difficulty and Technical 6c can range from Font 6c to Font 7c) and the use of these 'extra grades' helps narrow down the difficulties and provide clear information.

This is not a new step for UKC - however we can only publish these extra grades when we are given that information. We always ask for it.

Example news reports with additional grades:

We will continue to use these additional grades in our news and articles. We don't think the E grade needs to be replaced, but we do feel that these 'extra grades' are an essential addition.

Simon Lee has kindly contributed his thoughts on the current grade debate. These are outlined in the article linked below. Simon is an experienced climber and regular contributor to UKC. You can view his other articles on his profile page: Simon Lee.

Simon's article: Grades and style

Looking for a grade debate? Read the UKC article: The E Grade. Is it broken? Can it be fixed?

Read E is for mEdia, to find out if the climbing media really controls top end grading.

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