Grading disparity in the new Western Cape Rock

New Areas. New routes. Retrobolting. Add-ons. Re-grading. etc.
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Wes
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Grading disparity in the new Western Cape Rock

Post by Wes » Thu Sep 17, 2015 5:40 pm

Sport season is almost upon us and I have whipped out my shiny new western cape rock having to have a look for new projects.

Low and behold there are a number of grade changes to some of the classics. Ok, I understand grades do change but normally there is a community consensus, right?

The 3 changes that I have noticed are:

Red Guitar: 25 -> 26
Mercury 26 -> 25
No Mans Land 24 -> 25

So now Mercury and No mans land are the same grade? What do you need to be smoking to think that! No mans land is barely 24, I would even grade it at 23. Wow!

Yes, I have climbed these routes and felt that the original grading was fine. I am aware of Keith's research (Thanks Keith) viewtopic.php?f=12&t=9936&hilit=keith+grades

So my question is, is there any community consensus on grading or would I as an author of a book get to change grades as I like?

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Justin
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Re: Grading disparity in the new Western Cape Rock

Post by Justin » Thu Sep 17, 2015 6:25 pm

Easy... the author has more endurance than crimping strength :eye:
I suspect it's that Trad climbing that he's been doing :wink:
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proze
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Re: Grading disparity in the new Western Cape Rock

Post by proze » Thu Sep 17, 2015 8:10 pm

Regardless of what the book says, No mans land is still a 24, Red guitar a 25 (and soft at that) and Mercury also 25. Swan Lake is still 24. Jimmy is still 23, Sickle too. The locals all know this. The book doesn't change it.

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Justin
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Re: Grading disparity in the new Western Cape Rock

Post by Justin » Thu Sep 17, 2015 8:16 pm

OMG!! when did Swan Lake get downgraded!!! ???
Red Guitar is a tough 25! Maybe allow for a '+' ?
When I grew up Sickle Moon was 22
Agree, Jimmy is 23 (harder than Sickle Moon).

This is seriously going to mess up my 8a.nu stats :?
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mokganjetsi
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Re: Grading disparity in the new Western Cape Rock

Post by mokganjetsi » Fri Sep 18, 2015 7:03 am

i think wes has a valid point - does the publisher(s) of route guides have the right to change grades as they see fit? i agree that community consensus is the way to go; but it remains subjective. i know climbers that can dance up a 24-slab that find Jimmy near impossible (the shorter the harder)......

my take is that a guide book is just that - a "guide". grades are never cast in stone (hehe "cast in stone" :mrgreen: ). assign the grade you honestly think it goes at - and then go climb that same grade on an old trad route to get humbled.....for me the star rating is more meaningful than the grade rating, as long as the grade gives me a reasonable idea how difficult it is. sorry if your 8a score is very important to you.

bottom line: on real rock you climb routes; not grades.

ps: if you think Mercury is 26; go climb any 26 at Boven.......

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Thermophage
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Re: Grading disparity in the new Western Cape Rock

Post by Thermophage » Fri Sep 18, 2015 8:39 am

Who cares...grades are REALLY just a guide anyway.
I think Mercury is harder than 25...someone else doesn't. Tough :thumleft:
Doesn't make it less fun though.

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Re: Grading disparity in the new Western Cape Rock

Post by Andy Davies » Fri Sep 18, 2015 9:48 am

Aloha - I was the instigator of these grade tweaks, but believe the guidebook author did consult with a few people. All I can say from my side is Mercury and NML feel the same, and RGOF feels harder. (Mercury is actually a hike). I must just caution locals to be careful of grading routes they have done many times . The best person to grade a route is someone climbing at that limit.

PS They are all great routes :hapban
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Turtle
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Re: Grading disparity in the new Western Cape Rock

Post by Turtle » Fri Sep 18, 2015 12:41 pm

You are all wrong. Or right. Or both, or whatever.
Jus kiddin: RGOF is a 25, Swan Lake can very well be a 24, NML is a 24, Mercurey DEF a 26(what!?).
Happy Hooker a frikin 27, not just a normal 27.
All my take on it, I just refuse to get bent out of shape because of it.
A serious 28 would be the likes of Trainspotting.
All my humble opinion. I am short. And fat. :mrgreen:

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Re: Grading disparity in the new Western Cape Rock

Post by lelikegogga » Tue Sep 22, 2015 2:49 am

I've always thought of Mercury and Red Guitar as the same grade. Similar styles and cruxes. Mercury maybe a bit more sustained.

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Re: Grading disparity in the new Western Cape Rock

Post by Warren G » Tue Sep 22, 2015 7:36 am

For my 2 cents I think there is a grade between RGOF over Mercury and Swan Lake: 26,25, 24 if any change should happen. Having said this I am far too local on Swan to pass comment, but certainly there is a grade between Swan and RGOF.
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Re: Grading disparity in the new Western Cape Rock

Post by elZ » Tue Sep 22, 2015 8:43 am

A lot of the grades or grading is super style related. I've seen people get hard grades, myself included, quickly and then they jump on the same grade at a different crag and boom super hard.

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Re: Grading disparity in the new Western Cape Rock

Post by tygereye » Tue Sep 22, 2015 8:54 am

I would suggest RGOF 25, Swan lake 25, Mercury 25, No man's land 24, Jimmy 23 and Sickle 22+.
But who cares what anyone else thinks?
Clearly each person is convinced of their own opinion.

Josie is graded 21, but for me, one move makes it harder than No Man's Land.

All very relative.

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CragRat
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Re: Grading disparity in the new Western Cape Rock

Post by CragRat » Tue Sep 22, 2015 9:32 am

I think the final consensus was that you guys in the Cape are all soft but fun at the same time... :hapban

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emile
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Re: Grading disparity in the new Western Cape Rock

Post by emile » Tue Sep 22, 2015 11:06 am

CragRat wrote:I think the final consensus was that you guys in the Cape are all soft but fun at the same time... :hapban
I must agree, looks like the same thing from where I'm sitting. Something to think about when you're sitting around your fires which you lit with all sorts of funny devices :alien:

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Turtle
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Re: Grading disparity in the new Western Cape Rock

Post by Turtle » Tue Sep 22, 2015 11:41 am

ha ha ha
And 1D, for your information, I do all my devices standing up, not sitting down like you said you do...
he he he

And CragRat...
Nothing wrong with the right amount of flaccid every now and again...um... :scratch:

Plus, lastly, you Northerners are shite on overhangs.

Tie Hie Hie
:tongue:

Andy Davies
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Re: Grading disparity in the new Western Cape Rock

Post by Andy Davies » Tue Sep 22, 2015 11:50 am

So here is my scientific grading method:

RGOF - 3 hard moves. I always feel like I am gonna fall off that last one. Even WillemLR reckons its 26! So lets give it a 26.1?
SwanLake - 2 hard moves, bit of a burn to the end. 25.5?
Mercury - 1 hard move if you are weak and short. Dave Davies climbed it in approach shoes. 25.9?
NML - OK I suck at slabs and my forearms are burning on it all the time. 25.1??

If you disagree with me, then I suggest you go work on your power and catch a tan. When your elbows start to hurt, just push through.

Now about that route Arrow Final........... :tongue:
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Re: Grading disparity in the new Western Cape Rock

Post by johannlanz » Tue Sep 22, 2015 12:51 pm

We all know that grades are/aren't important. We all know that different people will perform at different levels on different types of climbs. But I think it is good for guide books to ideally reflect a consensus grade, and for that grade to not necessarily be dictated by the first ascensionist. I can certainly think of trad pitches that are graded "wrongly" by several grades, and yet the first ascensionist's opinion sticks as a relic.

One of the beauties of online communities is the ease with which many people can contribute. So I propose that, where there are questions about a climb's grade, we have some function on this website to address it. Anyone should be able to list a particular route that they feel might be wrongly graded, and through voting, a consensus grade can be reached. This can be an ongoing thing, so when a new RD is written the current status of a route's consensus grade can be checked. If it changes by consensus over time, then the new consensus becomes the accepted grade.

Justin, would you be able to put such functionality in place? I suppose it would be similar to the voting function that already exists, but maybe tweeked to make it more suitable for this purpose. Perhaps with a dedicated page link where all routes that are being questioned are listed alphabetically, maybe separately categorised as sport or trad. So if you climb a route and think the grade is off, you can easily check to see if anyone else has listed it and if others agree with you, or you can list it anew and see what others think.

What do others think of this idea? Would it be a cool resource to have on this site?

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Re: Grading disparity in the new Western Cape Rock

Post by emile » Tue Sep 22, 2015 1:27 pm

Sounds good, but to be honest I don't think it's going to be used much.

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Re: Grading disparity in the new Western Cape Rock

Post by mokganjetsi » Tue Sep 22, 2015 1:39 pm

consensus is good but always subjective - if Andy & StrongWillem says RGOF is 26 i won't argue; but that is a small consensus. an online grading functionality is useful & truly democratic, but newbies and noobs will inflate the grades fo sho. then there is old school trad type grading - try Judge Dredd or Tinie & Ed's 22s at Hellfire and you will think Sterling Silver is 20.....maybe 19.

style, length and your breakfast also comes into play. bren's example of Josie Get Your Gun is a great one - for me 21; for her 24.

I enjoy the bit of tension and uncertainty about grades not being absolute - i accept that a given grade may feel plus or minus one for me. except paarl; there its plus 4 for me :puker:

lastly, i always (for some reason) think of Boven as the sport grading benchmark. i have never climbed anything there that i felt was soft in the grade. so, if you think RGOF is comparable to a Boven 26, it is.

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Re: Grading disparity in the new Western Cape Rock

Post by smb » Tue Sep 22, 2015 6:45 pm

Who remembers how these routes felt the day you onsighted them (or tried to)? Didn't RGoF feel a grade harder than Swan Lake?

Although I admit for me it's the best part of quarter of a century ago, that's how I recall it.

How anyone now finds them on their 10th, 20th or 100th redpoint isn't really relevant.

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Re: Grading disparity in the new Western Cape Rock

Post by Old Smelly » Wed Sep 23, 2015 8:20 am

Well put Steve! I think most people forget...that's why they forget how to relate to the grade properly...
Really, its not that bad...I think it's my shoes...

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Re: Grading disparity in the new Western Cape Rock

Post by mokganjetsi » Wed Sep 23, 2015 9:55 am

smb wrote:Who remembers how these routes felt the day you onsighted them (or tried to)?
i don't really get onsight grading. what if you bungle the sequence? or miss a key hold? suddenly it climbs two grades harder than for somebody that does get it right. imho grading is the overall difficulty based on climbing the route efficiently.

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Re: Grading disparity in the new Western Cape Rock

Post by Richard » Wed Sep 23, 2015 11:02 am

Surely guidebook grades are all about the onsight grade, which hopefully factors in the difficulty of reading the sequence etc. Once you know a route you don't need the guidebook. Many routes are easier when you know the tricks, but those tricks are often not obvious on the onsight.

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Re: Grading disparity in the new Western Cape Rock

Post by Chris F » Wed Sep 23, 2015 11:31 am

mokganjetsi wrote: i don't really get onsight grading. what if you bungle the sequence? or miss a key hold? suddenly it climbs two grades harder than for somebody that does get it right. imho grading is the overall difficulty based on climbing the route efficiently.
That's onsighting for you. What makes it so difficult is it calls on all your skills as a climber; reading the rock, working out sequences on the hoof, figuring out rests when desperately needed.

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Re: Grading disparity in the new Western Cape Rock

Post by mokganjetsi » Thu Sep 24, 2015 7:09 am

Chris F wrote:That's onsighting for you. What makes it so difficult is it calls on all your skills as a climber; reading the rock, working out sequences on the hoof, figuring out rests when desperately needed.
i hear the argument chris, but consider that none of the current 9b's have been climbed onsight. so how do they know what the grade is? only a couple of 9a onsights ever - yet a 100+ 9a's in the world. same for the hardest grades in SA. pick your maximum grade - it is about the crux move in the context of the overall route. grading a route based on a sequence / hold that you may or may not get the first time is very inconsistent. and downgrades often happen when "better beta" is found after working a route extensively.

i also found that knowing a grade is often a form of beta - if my chosen sequence feel much harder than the grade i'll try to find something easier.

love the idea of onsighting btw; just think it can be rather random or spurious in grading routes.

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Re: Grading disparity in the new Western Cape Rock

Post by Chris F » Thu Sep 24, 2015 10:08 am

johannlanz wrote: One of the beauties of online communities is the ease with which many people can contribute. So I propose that, where there are questions about a climb's grade, we have some function on this website to address it. Anyone should be able to list a particular route that they feel might be wrongly graded, and through voting, a consensus grade can be reached. This can be an ongoing thing, so when a new RD is written the current status of a route's consensus grade can be checked. If it changes by consensus over time, then the new consensus becomes the accepted grade.

Justin, would you be able to put such functionality in place? I suppose it would be similar to the voting function that already exists, but maybe tweeked to make it more suitable for this purpose. Perhaps with a dedicated page link where all routes that are being questioned are listed alphabetically, maybe separately categorised as sport or trad. So if you climb a route and think the grade is off, you can easily check to see if anyone else has listed it and if others agree with you, or you can list it anew and see what others think.
Would be great, but difficult to set up.

The alternative is to use an existing database set up for this very function

http://www.ukclimbing.com/logbook/crag.php?id=11167

http://www.ukclimbing.com/logbook/crag.php?id=2710

http://www.ukclimbing.com/logbook/crag.php?id=3678

for example.

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Re: Grading disparity in the new Western Cape Rock

Post by Forket » Thu Sep 24, 2015 11:55 pm

lol

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