"This is a good example of when someone ought to back away a bit and let the dust settle instead of insinuating that another climber is a liar with not enough experience or judgment. I would respect the contributions of a climber like Pearson who has walked the walk a lot more before before I would condescendingly state "everyone is allowed to make a mistake or three."
Well, maybe I was a wee bit too harsh on James. There's no way of knowing whether he inflated the grade, and there's no solid "evidence" pointing in that direction. BUT, claiming E12, an unprecedented grade, he was surely aware he was:
1) Sticking out his neck and
2) Going to get headlines
especially if you're going to claim you've climbed a "New Trad Climbing Route Considered the Most Difficult on the Planet". If the foundation on which he based the grade later turns out to be less than solid, I don't think it's such a stretch to suggest he knew that there was at least a good chance he actually, if not inflated the grade, then at least was overly optimistic about it.
To say that E12 7a doesn't have a higher commercial value than E9 6c, and that athletes aren't aware of this and, at least subconsciously, is more or less affected by it, would be naïve.
I still have the utmost respect for James, but this doesn't mean he can't make mistakes. To say I'm calling him a liar is, I think, pushing it a bit.