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Hang Dogging and Downgrading
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By JohnnyD
Oct 25, 2013

So why is it that on mountain project everyone downgrades everything? Or posts the route as being "soft" rather than actually describing the route? Does it make you cool on mountain project if you downgrade everything?

Also I've seen people hang dog the heck out of a route only to down grade it!!! Does that make any sense!? There are people who downgrade routes they have never redpointed and prob never will, I just don't get the hang dogging downgrading mentality? Please help and explain.


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By MJMobes
From The land of steady habits
Oct 25, 2013
modern man

5.13b bro, you wouldnt get it


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By Guy Keesee
From Moorpark, CA
Oct 25, 2013
Big Boulder, just a bit downhill from Temple of Kali. Alabama Hills, CA.

JohnnyD....

Ha, you to? When I see folks doggin then spraying about how easy some climb was/is...

I always point out the fact to them that, "You didn't do the climb dude, sorry"


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By Jon Zucco
From Denver, CO
Oct 25, 2013
yaak crack Red Rock Canyon, NV

I for one think it's great that this issue is so dear to you that you went so far as to create an account today just to post this thread about it.

Can I ask what the tipping point was for you? Let's hear the deets, sir. The deets!


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By rock_fencer
From Columbia, SC
Oct 25, 2013
Myself placing a a blue/yellow offset MC to protect between Bolt 2/3 just post crux . <br /> <br />Picture credit goes to eric Singleton, and many thanks to Josh Bagget for the great belay.

some routes are easier, but i think more and more its a result of projecting routes and developing that muscle memory which makes the perception of the route easier sometimes.


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By s.price
From PS,CO
Oct 25, 2013
 Morning Dew ,self portrait

Grades on routes frequently drop with time as the beta becomes more clear, as in chalked up. For the person who established the line the trip into the unknown seems to always make the moves or route seem harder. In fact it is harder. Typically a lot has been invested in this route,mentally, physically, spiritually, financially. That attachment can skew just how hard the route really is. The engineer of the send train has a different view from all riding in the back.

I've had a few routes downgraded and it doesn't bother me. Had a couple upgraded as well. Leads to consensus. A more rounded perspective.

Given the opportunity I am quick to point out to anyone doggin then downgrading how trivial their input really is.


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By Mark E Dixon
From Sprezzatura, Someday
Oct 25, 2013
At the BRC

I don't usually look too much at the consensus grades, but I do look at the ratings certain people give routes. Tony B, for example, is pretty consistent. I just add a letter or two to whatever he says and that's what I expect it to feel like for me!
If it's just an AC I don't even bother with it.


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By J. Albers
From Colorado
Oct 25, 2013
Bucky

JohnnyD wrote:
Please help and explain.


I never noticed this when I lived in CA, but here in Boulder, it seems to be the way the cool kids role. Its really more sad than anything else, so just try to ignore/pity them.


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By Garret Nuzzo-Jones
From Salt Lake City, UT
Oct 25, 2013
Cleaning up in Jenny Lake.

s.price wrote:
Grades on routes frequently drop with time as the beta becomes more clear, as in chalked up. For the person who established the line the trip into the unknown seems to always make the moves or route seem harder.


I think it really depends on the type of climb. I feel like a lot of the trad lines can get harder over time. Some sport lines too. That lovely granite crack was probably like climbing on sandpaper the first time, now it's glass smooth. That chickenhead was a great place to stand on...for the first ten thousand feet that touched it. Limestone routes always seem to be victims of their own quality. If it's a four star 5.8 it's almost guaranteed to be greasier than a bowl of KFC.


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By 5.samadhi
Oct 25, 2013
me

Notice the people downgrading are typically downgrading a route in the climbing style that they are particularly strong in.


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By Colin R
From Ottawa, ON
Oct 26, 2013
Getting ready to top out....

If a person downgrades more than say 30 to 40 percent of the routes/boulders they try they are clearly biased. If it is contained to one area, its acceptable and allows one to cross reference similarly rated routes but some of those people then go elsewhere and then declare their grading system to be THE standard. For some it wouldn't matter what grade you called it, they would downgrade it. And yes, I've noticed that some climbers downgrade before they even finish something. It's happened to me even with a route I put up once. That just seems to be where some climber's priorities are but I wouldn't sweat it, certainly not with sport climbing or even bouldering.

Where it really gets crazy though is when the route is sandbagged plus dangerous and no mention of either - I've seen that theme play out. When I feel a route is both dangerous and sandbagged I do my best to warn others but I am the odd man out there for sure.


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By martinharris
From Glenwood Springs CO
Oct 26, 2013

If ppl downgrade after a top rope my friends and I quickly respond "everything is 5.9 on top rope" followed by sandbagging them into something safe but hard to lead.


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By David Sahalie
From on the road again
Oct 26, 2013

So why is it that on mountain project everyone downgrades everything?

The same reason everyone loves/hates everything.


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By clay meier
Oct 26, 2013
Thats Me

Did someone downgrade your "sick proj"?


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By England
From ?
Oct 26, 2013
Alpine toothpick.

trollin, trollin, trollin!


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By Brian
From North Kingstown, RI
Oct 26, 2013

Simple, some routes are legitimately soft. The FA rated it harder to pump up their ego on, as someone put it, their “sick proj.” Lots of grade creep especially on sport routes.


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By 5.samadhi
Oct 26, 2013
me

climb at Hueco Tanks for a winter and then you will know for sure what V4, V5, V6 (etc) is.


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By David Sahalie
From on the road again
Oct 26, 2013

Unspoken rule: If a girl can do it, it is 'always' easier than the original grade.


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By Stagg54
Oct 26, 2013

no tan lines there!


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By Jack Sparrow
From denver, co
Oct 26, 2013

I'm with you Johnny i'm sick of the downgrading, its just an ego stroke for most. I always take whats in the guide book. If a route feels easy for the grade more power to you maybe it just fits your style better than other routes. If you put Sharma on a slab rated 14c it would probably feel pretty hard cause its not his style. But take an overhanging route of the same grade it might feel significantly easier than the slab. Does that make the 2nd route easier because hes better at that style. Not in my opinion but its up for debate.
Gotta say i'm impressed with the responses thought everyone would be arguing for the downgrades.I guess the boulder climbing community hasn't checked in yet.


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By Colin R
From Ottawa, ON
Oct 26, 2013
Getting ready to top out....

Jack Sparrow wrote:
Gotta say i'm impressed with the responses thought everyone would be arguing for the downgrades.I guess the boulder climbing community hasn't checked in yet.


Or the Gunks/Daks Crowd for that matter.

Seems we've reached a tipping point for downgrading whereby people are wondering what the use of a grade system actually is when everyone is aiming to downgrade.

I know some old school climbers who sandbag but do so very consistently. I know often to add like two or three letter grades to their suggestions typically. To give credit to the old school crowd, there was a time when 5.12 really meant something where only a very limited number of climbers could do it. I am ok with old school grades in areas that are known to be sandbagged/old school but they should be limited to those areas and viewed only with a sense of nostalgia. In general there should also be some consistency to the ratings if we are going to have them at all.


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By Marek Sapkovski
Oct 27, 2013

Colin R wrote:
Or the Gunks/Daks Crowd for that matter.

Seems like bragging about the stiff grades and how softly other areas are graded is the Gunks local sport. It gets to the point of stupidity, along the lines of "climb X is not a 5.5, it's like a 5.4". Discussions about how low should The Dangler be graded (it's like a 10-foot V0 problem 150 feet up) can last for hours.

In some cases downgrading established routes is fully justified. Also, in some cases upgrading established routes is justified. A piece of rock could break off, the FA party could have been wrong (yes, that does happen), footholds/handholds get polished/comfortized with time etc.

The reason for a grading system system in climbing goes beyond bragging rights - it is also an issue of safety (especially on multi-pitch routes, trad or high-ball boulder problems). Which means that the grades should be consistent, not "hard" or "soft". However, all to frequently, downgrading existing routes (or sandbagging new routes) is just another ego booster - look at me, I sent (or worse, top-roped) this real hard route and it even felt easy for me.


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By Woodchuck ATC
Oct 27, 2013
Rock Wars, RRG, 2008

David Sahalie wrote:
Unspoken rule: If a girl can do it, it is 'always' easier than the original grade.


That's not from Stone Nudes calendar, is it?

As for 'dogging it,,I struggled on top rope up my first 5.10b in a long time last week, and I enjoyed it. Even if I hung, pulled, and sat on my belayer for a rest, I got to try the moves and made it past my previous high point. I know I'll like it better the next time, and try to do it clean with no falls too. I've never been a number chaser ever. So hangdogging doesn't bother me at all.


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By Syd
Oct 28, 2013

David Sahalie wrote:
Unspoken rule: If a girl can do it, it is 'always' easier than the original grade.


;-) You'd be hung, drawn and quartered by the lazy, idiotic administrator if you said that on climbing.com


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By Jon Zucco
From Denver, CO
Oct 28, 2013
yaak crack Red Rock Canyon, NV

I don't see how it would be possible for anyone to hangdog a route, then feel qualified to contribute a rating at all. You can only really feel the true difficulty of a route if you climb it all the way through with no cheats. So for the cases where it's some guy spraying about grades after spending two hours aiding up the thing, it's probably best to just ignore them.

Personally, when I have to aid up something and am asked my opinion, I like to upgrade it.

Makes me feel better.

In cases where people who can actually climb the route are consistently downgrading it, then the consensus grade is reflected accordingly. Eventually.


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By pfwein
Oct 28, 2013

I agree it's generally bad form to downrate a route you haven't led clean, and I wouldn't do it.
But bad form or not, you often have pretty good idea of how hard a route is when you dog it, sometimes completely so. Imagine a route that is easy or has a good rest up to a short crux, then is easy after that--you fail to do it first try, but you then do the crux from the hang--you really do know how hard the route is in that case. Other cases aren't so clear, but this isn't rocket science. If you can do all the sections of a route, you generally have a pretty good idea of its difficulty.


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