S. Africa ratings system

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S. Africa ratings system

Post by nivlac » Sun Mar 19, 2006 7:26 pm


I'll be climbing in S. Africa for the first time this winter. I'm reading some topos and see both number/letter (6a) and numerical (20) ratings. Are these specific only to S. Africa or do you share the same French and Australian ratings systems, respectively?

If these are specific to S. Africa, I'm most familiar with US (Yosemite 10a, 10b) and French ratings and would appreciate a rough comparison if you can share.



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Post by Grigri » Sun Mar 19, 2006 8:07 pm

refer to the link: 'ZA route grades' in the top right corner of the home page of this site. Our numerical system is similar to Australia's but differs in certain grades, the 6a you see is the French equivalent grade but this is only applied to Sport routes.

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Post by willpower » Mon Mar 20, 2006 6:54 pm


some friends and I were climbing the other day, and thought that maybe the grading system should change from using discrete numbers and instead start using a continuous range. hence you could specify that a route is within the range of 27.5 to 29.23408999, and even better one could draw a graph for each route indicating the spread of grade from the start to the end. for example you start at 16.7 then climb though a 24.8 up to the crux around 30.1 and end with a straightforward 23.9. I think we should change all topos and route guides accordingly. this is the twenty-first century afterall!

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Post by Oldsmelly » Tue Mar 21, 2006 11:38 am

Just loving it! It is after all meant to be a metricated system, so possibly if we contacted Suunto we could get them to build into their watches a laser measurement system which would verify the scale & then enable one to download it to the PC @the end of the day....no more subjective arguments about whose is the hardest or the biggest :shock:

The major problem with this is it's like a retrobolting disagreement...remove the reason to nag & whine instead of climbing the route & the old ladies will have nothing to say!
It's not that bad...
I think it's my shoes...

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Post by willpower » Tue Mar 21, 2006 7:13 pm


I agree that we should get Suunto and the rest of the corporate world involved. I mean, the other day I was climbing some route and the start was way to easy for the grade, and this was a real problem as it caught me off guard and threw me off balance for the hard part to come. It is a question of empowering us climbers to form rational expectations. None of this subjective sh*t anymore.

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