Changing the grading system to the french grade was something I was all for a couple of years ago, but in retrospect I think it would be a disastrous move to make just yet. Most people dont seem to have an accurate idea of our own grading system yet! There has been enough creep in grading standards in last few years already. Wholeheartedly adopting the French system would just lead to further confusion and distortion in the grades, already I am climbing at crags where routes are a full grade out.
Eg: Flint Hard at Truikieskraal is a give away at 22 and is more like 21, This was my first onsight at that grade and it fell easily (which shouldnt have been the case as that was my OS limit at that time), and right next door is Old Codgers Ego Boost which is true 23, I failed on the OS (no ego boost for me).
I find it strange that a route of Pauls should be graded incorrectly, One wonders if that is the original grade assigned the route? Was Paul just too strong to grade easy routes correctly or is the grade one artificially assigned by a recent guidebook author?? Because of the subjective nature of grading, it doesnt work to have one person deciding what grades should be. Grades are supposed to be a consensus of onsight difficulty. The only way we can arrive at that consensus is to get more opinions of the grade from experienced climbers and then to average it out. These then need to be accurately and consistently reported in guides in order for the system to work at all.
Conversion to French grades seems sketchy at best, firstly the steps between the medium difficulties are different in the French system and ours, they dont line up exactly, hence the confusion around the 6a+ to 6c+ grades and the7c to 8a grades. (Justin I second Guys suggestion that your grade chart needs revision, its way out in places, my 2c: dont simplify the splits at the problem grades, let people see that there is a misallignment so that they understand) From my experience at French crags the jump from one letter grade to the next is significant and very noticable, the + often simply signifies a stiffer version of that letter grade. Here we have a finer distinction to make in deciding which number to give a route. Consensus is the only way. Perhaps before the next publication of a guidebook, the authors will take the time to run a forum on those lines, and if there is a majority calling for a change then the grade can change with moderation by experienced climbers.
Grades are all for onsighting. If you open something above your onsight ability then its usually a guesstimate grade that you give, and once a rew more people have repeated it, the grade settles at hopefully an accurate level. Stu; to use different criteria for stuff above your onsight level just leads to further distortion in the grades. Ie: If you grade 7a up for RP then those routes are going to feel really hard for someone trying to onsight them, so lets try to keep things consistent. All things taken in to account grades are still just a gudeline, learn to read the rock, try leaving the book in your pack and pick routes that look good, too often we stay off routes coz we think they are too hard instead of assessing them from the ground and just going for it, differing strengths in different climbers make some routes easier targets than others so dont limit what you try based simply on a number, a lot of the grades locally are not that accurate anyway.