Page 1 of 1

Slash Grades - no longer!

Posted: Sun Oct 28, 2007 6:51 am
by Nattrass
I am slowly working on a monster new guidebook for KZN. I still have a dilemma as to what to do with slash grades (eg 25/26). We all know that there are routes out there that sit in this in-between-zone. The trend worldwide is to do away with them. recently made a policy decision to not report any slash grades but rather to default to only the lower number.

As it turns out I was thinking of rather defaulting to the higher number in my new guide. Why? - hey, would you rather feel strong and tear up a \"soft\" 27 or be spanked by a sandbag 26.

Better positive energy for all I say. You will feel strong, motivated and may even pull off the big onsight on the route next door. You could even swagger around at the base of the route claiming the route is over graded and that these KZN weanies should travel more to climb some \"real\" grades. A comment by 8a on the issue claims that stuggling on an undergraded route will motivate you to be better.

Hmmmm...... a bad/high gravity day has hit us all - usually pretty demotivating in my experienc.

The grind stone

Posted: Sun Oct 28, 2007 8:30 am
by Andy Davies
You working hard on the old RD again Rog? Ja, I think removing the slash is good - up or down don't matter. More important for me about Natal and Boven is, is it safe?

Posted: Mon Oct 29, 2007 9:02 am
by flop
Can't wait for that new guide book to come out!
PM me if you want any pics from some of the spots around durban....

Andy, my mates and I have been climbing regularaly around the durban crags for the last 2-3 years and have yet to experience one problem with crime.

Posted: Mon Oct 29, 2007 3:08 pm
by paddy
Roger. In my view go for the lower grade unless it is obvious that the slash grade was in any event an undegrading in the first place.

To me one of the factors that determines whether a route is a classic or not for its grade is whether or not it is staunch at it sets grade (without being unrealistic). For eg, Sterling Silver at Silvermine was to my mind the benchmark 21 in the WC. I don't think it has the same status at 22, which the latest guidebook gives it. I guess this point would not apply to arb routes, but also would giving the higher grade encourage grade inflation (if this is an issue)?

Posted: Mon Oct 29, 2007 5:35 pm
by oOdball
I say upgrade those slash routes and be done with it!

Why? Well, for arbitrary routes nobody in their right mind even cares, and for seriously classic/awesome/stupendous/mega/must do/5 star/rad routes they'll get a reputation for being soft/'low hanging fruit' and eventually be mentally downgraded as necessary. Not to mention that grading is soooo subjective that a grade either way is well within the acceptable margin of error.

Kudo's on the 'Mega RD' initiative. Count me in to purchase a copy if it's a print version.. ..

Posted: Mon Oct 29, 2007 9:46 pm
by steveB
I vote lower grade. Especially in Natal...

Look forward to the new guide!

Posted: Tue Oct 30, 2007 6:41 am
by Nattrass
\"especially in Natal!\" ................

Guess you have not been on classics like:

Phantom of the Opera 28

Eroica 26

Barricade 24

Perhaps being trapped on the other side of the planet has affected your memory.....

Posted: Tue Oct 30, 2007 8:13 am
by flop
Barricade has been downgraded to 24?? I always thought it was a bit soft... :wink:

Posted: Tue Oct 30, 2007 8:20 am
by steveB
Haha...! I have actually done the three routes you mention (although memory is hazy on whether I did Eroica) and would agree that they are likely solid at the grade - esp Barricade at 24 :-).

However I can think of some other Natal routes that would most likely need to be downgraded if they were in Boven. Routes like Headology, Voodoo Guru, Sip and Fly and Invertigo. This theme is fairly widespread but not universal. The older routes like Touchstone are very very solid at the grade

That said, I do not care all too much about grades and certainly did not mean to light a spark in the fertile desert brush that is the topic of grading in South Africa. Just thought I'd cast my vote...

Fully agree that my memory can be foggy at the best of times.

BTW Roger: I ran into Don Welch the other day (he is good friends with my roommate) and he was asking after you... He now lives in San Diego with his wife and is still climbing and surfing... (older folk may remember his Allstar appearance in Masters of Stone 1)


Posted: Tue Oct 30, 2007 9:51 am
by oOdball
Nattrass wrote:"especially in Natal!" ................

Guess you have not been on classics like:

Phantom of the Opera 28

Eroica 26

Barricade 24

Perhaps being trapped on the other side of the planet has affected your memory.....
Careful there... I'm sure I heard a rumour somewhere that SteveyB cracked Barricade without even breaking a sweat :shock: How hard can it be? It's been onsighted hasn't it?

[edit] Damn! I see he beat me to it!! [/edit]

Posted: Tue Oct 30, 2007 9:54 am
by DaveD
I reccomend adding a AI at the end of all grades, to depict with or without Anty inflamatorys!

I like the grades in KZN, I think the rest of the country should adjust to conform. And the Australians, why do they have to make us feel weak by shifting their grading system one above ours.

Andy, are you refering to the safety of the anchors, or the crime?

Posted: Tue Oct 30, 2007 5:12 pm
by steveB
I'm sure Andy was referring to crime in areas like the wave cave and kloof... Has it died down?

Posted: Tue Oct 30, 2007 8:09 pm
by Nattrass
I guess I was a fool to try and paint SteveB into a corner.

The lesson: Don't pick on guys who are way better climbers than you (at least I am better looking....I think).

Us locals are trying to sort out some of these borderline grades for the new book - usually after a couple of beers so no real progress is ever made. But we sure are having fun trying. What I do know is that by the time the guide book is done we will have a lot of empty bottles.....

Steve - Say Hi to Don, I remember him well and am psyched to see he is still so involved with climbing (fairly recent profile in Rock and Ice).

And yes Ellie Cheveaux onsighted Barricade (24) - took him half an hour and he said it was his hardest onsight ever.....

Posted: Tue Oct 30, 2007 11:11 pm
by steveB
No hard feelings Roger. I never pushed the national standards like you did and was likely never as strong. All credit to you for opening some of our best hard classics!

However I think we'll need a poll to resolve the question of who's better looking :-)

Will pass on your salutations to Don. Wouldn't mind seeing the link of his profile in Rock & ice - not popping up in Google...

Enjoy those beers and good luck figuring out them slashies!

Posted: Wed Oct 31, 2007 6:18 am
by Nattrass
You got the spelling wrong

Don Welsh - R&I issue 145 Oct 2005

Grades in Natal

Posted: Tue Dec 04, 2007 10:51 pm
by Camp
For all concerned: The (IGC) Indendant Grading Committee (KZN Branch) has scheduled a meet to discuss grading issues. The meet will be held on the belay stance (Top of the 2nd pitch) of Eskumbe (Eastern Buttress Monteseel) Book early - space limited. Bring your own drinks (+ a few for the Guest speaker Mike Roberts). After the event, Microbe will lead White Rider. in its classic style.

(PS - No members will be allowed to rab (sorry, abseil) down to the pitch and will be searched for camming devices prior to entry.


Slash Grades: (All members MUST have a slash BEFORE the arrive on the ledge: