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v-scale vs. climbing scale
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Jun 26, 2011
Nameless boulder on the edge of the Holy Boulders ...
lee hansche wrote:
One thing i do find very helpful is the somewhat new-school way of breaking down sport climbs in to seperate boulder problems such as "climb a v4 opening move to a good rest then pull a v2 in to a v3, one more rest and a v6 move gaurds the anchor" something like that gives me a very clear idea af what i am up against...

I've never seen that before, but I like it. Most routes below 5.11 have some rests dividing up the cruxes and bouldery moves along the route. For me, I noticed that just practicing sport routes forced me to become more efficient at clipping (a big energy pit if you're inefficient), to watch my breathing and to find rests. I hate to say it, but just practice more, and you may find these to be your problem areas, too.
Lorenzo Tragen
From Flagstaff, AZ
Joined Jun 23, 2011
174 points
Administrator
Jun 26, 2011
El Chorro
Loren Trager wrote:
I've never seen that before, but I like it. Most routes below 5.11 have some rests dividing up the cruxes and bouldery moves along the route. For me, I noticed that just practicing sport routes forced me to become more efficient at clipping (a big energy pit if you're inefficient), to watch my breathing and to find rests. I hate to say it, but just practice more, and you may find these to be your problem areas, too.


Most route below 5.11 also have V0 or V1 cruxes...
Ryan Williams
From London (sort of)
Joined May 10, 2009
1,468 points
Jun 26, 2011
JPVallone wrote:
Bring back the B scale, Gill was on to something, LOL


Still the best scale ever!

But really, who cares how hard the pebble or a real climbing route is for that matter,

Either you can do it or you can't. We all have our own scale or level.

But what blows my mind is how many folks can't climb a 5.10 crack or offwidth but can wrestle a V whatever!
JPVallone
Joined Aug 25, 2004
199 points
Jun 26, 2011
TLdr - However, I read the first few posts.

My .02 - there's a reason that boulder problems and routes are rated on different scales.
Price
From SLC, UT
Joined Apr 29, 2007
324 points
Jun 26, 2011
Price wrote:
TLdr - However, I read the first few posts. My .02 - there's a reason that boulder problems and routes are rated on different scales.



Why is that, A move is a move, or isn't it?
JPVallone
Joined Aug 25, 2004
199 points
Jul 15, 2011
Cut! Sadly my flash attempt met with dismal pump-f...
I summarized my thoughts in this blog post:

The Landscape: a new look at route grades

V to YDS correspondence
V to YDS correspondence


There are clearly a lot of limitations as to what one can claim of such a correspondence. I'm not trying to comment on how routes should be graded. I'm trying to show a pattern in how they are graded.
Rajiv Ayyangar
From Portland, ME
Joined Jun 22, 2010
234 points
Administrator
Jul 15, 2011
tomato, tomotto, kill mike amato.
that's pretty sweet. now you just need to add a 3rd axis for "technical" difficulty and expand it down to 5.10 or so. that would make a pretty sweet topographical map! slim
Joined Dec 1, 2004
2,071 points
Jul 15, 2011
Sentinel boulder Moe's valley
Rajiv, Very nice blog post. I think that what you have done with the chart is great because I think for route the entire climb must be taken into consideration. The V-grade crux is an important determining factor but cannot tell the entire story. This is especially interesting to me as I am close to a FA on a route that is harder than any previous route I have done. Its 40 feet tall, V5(20 feet) to V8(10 feet) to V4(10 feet) sustained the entire way with no rests.

I have sent several routes in the 5.13- range and this is a step past anything I have been on so I have nothing to compare it too. I don't want to sandbag the route but I don't want to inflate the grade either.

As a side-note relating to the posts overall discussion I don't think that you can say if you boulder "this hard" you can red-point "5.whatever". I have OS as hard as V7 and sent several-V10's. My hardest 5.12b and hardest red-point 5.13a/b. Endurance and many other factors must be taken into consideration. (FYI, I don't keep track of all my sends on MP if you are trolling for a chance to bash)
ZachBradford
Joined Sep 29, 2008
1,310 points
Jul 15, 2011
Cut! Sadly my flash attempt met with dismal pump-f...
slim wrote:
that's pretty sweet. now you just need to add a 3rd axis for "technical" difficulty and expand it down to 5.10 or so. that would make a pretty sweet topographical map!


Actually, in my experience the "technical-ness" of a route relates to the route's style and the style of the climber, but has no relation to the grade. It's like danger grades (R, X) in that that it affects what routes we choose, and how hard they feel, but isn't taken into account in the grade.
Rajiv Ayyangar
From Portland, ME
Joined Jun 22, 2010
234 points
Jul 15, 2011
Mt. Agassiz
Cool work Rajiv, and nice write-up! Ryan Nevius
From The Range of Light
Joined Dec 29, 2010
782 points
Jul 15, 2011
My navigator keeps me from getting lost
Rajiv Ayyangar wrote:
Actually, in my experience the "technical-ness" of a route relates to the route's style and the style of the climber, but has no relation to the grade. It's like danger grades (R, X) in that that it affects what routes we choose, and how hard they feel, but isn't taken into account in the grade.


you're chart is a great way to look at things. but, that last comment doesn't seem quite right.

hard climbs aren't harder simply because they get steeper and the holds are smaller. techniques are often required that you don't need for easier climbs.

if a climb absolutely requires a hand-foot match, it's probably not a 7. if you must heel hook to pull your body into the roof so you can reach the jug above it, you're not making a 9 move (at least not in most areas). if you have to put a heel-toe cam in to make the next move because no hand hold is positive enough to pull on single-handedly, you're probably not doing the 10a variation.

those moves may seem like standard fare to people who climb really hard stuff. but, for a lot of people, a heel hook is an extremely committing (and, scary) move on lead. and, a lot of people wouldn't even think to try a heel-toe cam unless shown. they're techniques learned as your climbing improves.

all that being said, i would certainly agree that perceived difficulty does have a lot to do with how well a climb suits your style and natural technique. some people are going to think a 10 feels like a 9 depending on their style and vice versa.
Crag Dweller
From New York, NY
Joined Jul 17, 2006
274 points
Administrator
Jul 15, 2011
tomato, tomotto, kill mike amato.
yeah, i generally think of routes in 4 general dimensions - power, endurance, technical, scare factor.

the technical aspect is a really important one as there is a huge difference between being able to onsight/redpoint a certain grade at your home crag, versus being able to do it at a completely different venue on different rock. an example would be somebody who is able to climb 5.11 at the red would likely be more than strong enough to climb 5.11 vedauwoo OW's or 5.11 tuoulumne slab, but if they don't have the techniques familiarized it would likely feel difficult for them.

this becomes important in the context of grading routes on a global scale, as a person who has climbed 5.11 extensively at a lot of areas will be able to more accurately grade a 5.11 than a person who has only climbed 5.11 at a single area.

i think this is why a lot of people say the gunks are sandbagged, or index is sandbagged, or Jtree is sandbagged, etc. however, if you climb at a lot of different areas you'll probably find that these areas start to feel more average once you get used to the subtle nuances of the rock, etc. there are only 2 places that i have climbed where i felt that the grades were really pretty stiff - vedauwoo and escalante canyon. i have climbed extensively at both areas, and i still haven't onsighted/redpointed at the same grades that i do when i visit other crags. but, maybe i still haven't quite got those techniques down yet ... ;)

as for the 4th dimension - scare factor. physically and technically i feel i could probably climb the bachar-yerian. however, even if i top-roped it 100 times, i still would not be able to lead it. i just don't have what it takes in that area, and i probably never will (excluding some traumatic brain injury that re-wires this circuit).
slim
Joined Dec 1, 2004
2,071 points
Jul 20, 2011
Cut! Sadly my flash attempt met with dismal pump-f...
Crag Dweller wrote:
you're chart is a great way to look at things. but, that last comment doesn't seem quite right. hard climbs aren't harder simply because they get steeper and the holds are smaller. techniques are often required that you don't need for easier climbs. if a climb absolutely requires a hand-foot match, it's probably not a 7. if you must heel hook to pull your body into the roof so you can reach the jug above it, you're not making a 9 move (at least not in most areas). if you have to put a heel-toe cam in to make the next move because no hand hold is positive enough to pull on single-handedly, you're probably not doing the 10a variation. those moves may seem like standard fare to people who climb really hard stuff. but, for a lot of people, a heel hook is an extremely committing (and, scary) move on lead. and, a lot of people wouldn't even think to try a heel-toe cam unless shown. they're techniques learned as your climbing improves. all that being said, i would certainly agree that perceived difficulty does have a lot to do with how well a climb suits your style and natural technique. some people are going to think a 10 feels like a 9 depending on their style and vice versa.


I agree that advanced techniques contribute to the percieved difficulty of the route. However above 5.12 or so, there isn't much difference in the movements - the technical differences are more subtle. There are hardly any techniques I've seen Sharma or Ondra use that I haven't used myself (in a much less powerful version).

I think you're using a strange definition of "technical" - in my experience, "technical" refers to generally small holds, difficult sequences, on vertical or slabby faces, that require precise use of classic techniques - drop-knees, weight shifts, cross-throughs, slab footwork - basically what you think of when you see the old french superstars.

And as for the route "requiring" a heel-hook, that's incredibly subjective. I've used heel-hooks on routes down to 5.6/7. Why? because sometimes that's the easiest way to climb, and I'm a lazy climber. Conversely, I bet you I could climb any 5.9 without heel-hooks without much trouble. Same goes for heel-toe cams. I'll take em on easier routes, because sometimes that's the best way to climb them.

Yes, there is a correlation between climbing level and how advanced your techniques are, but I think that says more about the climber than the route's difficulty. Women will often find more technically advanced beta through a route than men of the same climbing level will. Does that mean women are climbing a harder route? No - it just means they are using beta that is best for them.

Again, without commenting on whether we should change this, I'm observing that the conventional grading scale is largely independent of the technical demands of the route. You are correct that many climbers perceive a technical 5.10 to be harder than a steep, juggy 5.10, but this doesn't mean we give them different grades. Also, many climbers have an easier time on technical routes than on power routes of the same grade.
Rajiv Ayyangar
From Portland, ME
Joined Jun 22, 2010
234 points
Jul 20, 2011
Cut! Sadly my flash attempt met with dismal pump-f...
slim wrote:
yeah, i generally think of routes in 4 general dimensions - power, endurance, technical, scare factor. the technical aspect is a really important one as there is a huge difference between being able to onsight/redpoint a certain grade at your home crag, versus being able to do it at a completely different venue on different rock. an example would be somebody who is able to climb 5.11 at the red would likely be more than strong enough to climb 5.11 vedauwoo OW's or 5.11 tuoulumne slab, but if they don't have the techniques familiarized it would likely feel difficult for them. this becomes important in the context of grading routes on a global scale, as a person who has climbed 5.11 extensively at a lot of areas will be able to more accurately grade a 5.11 than a person who has only climbed 5.11 at a single area. i think this is why a lot of people say the gunks are sandbagged, or index is sandbagged, or Jtree is sandbagged, etc. however, if you climb at a lot of different areas you'll probably find that these areas start to feel more average once you get used to the subtle nuances of the rock, etc. there are only 2 places that i have climbed where i felt that the grades were really pretty stiff - vedauwoo and escalante canyon. i have climbed extensively at both areas, and i still haven't onsighted/redpointed at the same grades that i do when i visit other crags. but, maybe i still haven't quite got those techniques down yet ... ;) as for the 4th dimension - scare factor. physically and technically i feel i could probably climb the bachar-yerian. however, even if i top-roped it 100 times, i still would not be able to lead it. i just don't have what it takes in that area, and i probably never will (excluding some traumatic brain injury that re-wires this circuit).


I agree, the technical difficulties and head factor are a large part of how we perceive the overall challenge of the route. Your Vedauwoo/Tuolumne and Bachar-Yerian examples shows that while we consider these factors, we don't adjust the yds grade based on them. Contrast this with the British E-scale, which takes the head-factor into account...
Rajiv Ayyangar
From Portland, ME
Joined Jun 22, 2010
234 points
Dec 24, 2011
Rumney NH
I like Jay Knowers break down of the v scale....Its a nice comparison to bring bouldering level confidence into routes confidence especially when there is multiple crux sections....Like Lee said, you can break down the moves to give a clearer picture to you buddy before he gets on and tries it (provided he/she wants any beta?

But as a route setter I know it is all too easy to call a v3 a v4 or any variations of the ratings being skewed in part because of how subjective bouldering and the whole sport of climbing is...

When it gets confusing just climb and be content to be moving!
Jason Scott Heacock
Joined Dec 18, 2010
201 points
Apr 9, 2012
Especially under V5, there is a huge difference between the bouldering grades indoors and the grades outdoors. Gyms grade their problems so that a beginner could boulder a V0 on his first day climbing. An indoor V0 is around a 5.6, a V1 a 5.8, a V2 a 5.9, a V3 a 5.1a and a V4 5.10d/5.11a. If you're climbing V4 indoors, this translates to around V2 outdoors. To climb 5.12 outdoors means climbing V4 outdoors, and there is a huge difference between that. I climb solid V4/5 indoors, yet outdoors I fall on V2 fairly often. Josh.Wood
From New York City
Joined Apr 6, 2012
55 points
Apr 9, 2012
Hippos kill people
Josh i think you need to have a serious talk with the route setters at your gym. germsauce
Joined Jun 14, 2010
66 points
Apr 9, 2012
me
It's like a bunch of v4s stacked up its v4 moves so build endurance and you'll get there. Noah Fogel
From Cbad CA
Joined May 25, 2011
68 points
Apr 9, 2012
Joshw97 wrote:
Especially under V5, there is a huge difference between the bouldering grades indoors and the grades outdoors. Gyms grade their problems so that a beginner could boulder a V0 on his first day climbing. An indoor V0 is around a 5.6, a V1 a 5.8, a V2 a 5.9, a V3 a 5.1a and a V4 5.10d/5.11a. If you're climbing V4 indoors, this translates to around V2 outdoors. To climb 5.12 outdoors means climbing V4 outdoors, and there is a huge difference between that. I climb solid V4/5 indoors, yet outdoors I fall on V2 fairly often.


If your gym's V3 is equivalent to their 10a roped climbs, they're clueless about either the YDS or V-scale system.

That being said, lots of gyms are soft and/or focus on a few select type of routes so you aren't able to round out your skillset, not to mention the brightly colored holds give you extreme beta that doesn't exist outside (usually). Climbing is a lot easier when you only need to focus on 5% of the wall that the gym tells you is relevant to the climb.

I used to dislike how my local gym just uses a Recreational/Intermediate/Advanced/Open rating system for their bouldering problems...until I realized that ratings are irrelevant except for ego reasons and that bragging about gym climbs is about as cool as bragging about how much you ride your bike trainer.
Ian Stewart
Joined May 17, 2010
166 points
Apr 10, 2012
xxxxx wrote:
how do boulder ratings and climbing ratings compare? i found one chart, but it compares a v4 to a 5.12, and v4s are fairly simple for me, but there's no way any amount of hangdogging could get me up a 5.12. can anyone clear up my confusion?


Do you climb in a gym? Gym grades are usually crazy.
Noah Doherty
From Nashua, NH
Joined Feb 28, 2012
292 points
May 25, 2012
profile pic
Check out this link:

bouldering vs yds scales

Chart at the bottom. Seems reasonable to me, but I don't boulder much/very well. Published by Rock and Ice magazine.

Cheers,
Nelson
Nelson Day
From Joshua Tree, CA
Joined Nov 13, 2010
1,310 points
Jul 13, 2012
the major difference being, v-hard stuff looks fun, while 5.14+ just looks miserable boulderbum
From NY
Joined Feb 25, 2011
4 points
Sep 19, 2012
My question is this: What do you do if you climb a V8 drop off boulder problem that ends on a jug, and then you link up to a low crux 5.10d? With that link up grading by hardest move, you have to call it 5.13b. It is obviously way easier than any other 5.13b, or even some 5.12's possibly, but do you grade it 5.13b with a disclaimer that it is super soft? Or do you just call it V8 and say you topped out on a rope...? If anyone has a suggestion that would be great because I have a particular climb in mind... Jeremy Jennings
Joined Nov 16, 2010
39 points
Sep 19, 2012
Jeremy Jennings wrote:
It is obviously way easier than any other 5.13b, or even some 5.12's possibly



Uh, what? Nothing obvious about that, and I'd disagree completely with the statement. If it's got a V8 crux, it is at least 13b. If it is easier than some 5.12s then the boulder problem is wildly inflated or your 5.12 benchmark is horribly sandbagged.

I'd also add that that R&I grade chart Nelson links above is completely wacked. Inflated on the low end (V3 = 5.12? WTF?), and sandbagged on the high end (V10 = 14a during early years of adoption of the v-scale). As the scale was developed and for the first probably 15 years after pads appeared, the standard comparison was something like this:
V0 = 10
V1 = 11-
V2 = 11
V3 = 11+
V4 = 12-
V5 = 12
V6 = 12+
V7 = 13-
V8 = 13
v9 = 13+
v10 = 14a
v11 = 14b
v12 = 14c

That's about where it stopped, because that was about the top of the scale at the time. Hardest route in the US in those days was still Necessary Evil or Just Do It.

Now maybe that doesn't quite apply anymore because people rated problems softly and as the bouldering boom took off and more areas and problems were developed there was ratings creep requiring realignment. But even through the heavy development period in Bishop in the late 90s, what I've written above was the widely accepted conversion.
Will S
From Joshua Tree
Joined Nov 15, 2006
1,275 points
Sep 19, 2012
Cut! Sadly my flash attempt met with dismal pump-f...
Jeremy Jennings wrote:
My question is this: What do you do if you climb a V8 drop off boulder problem that ends on a jug, and then you link up to a low crux 5.10d? With that link up grading by hardest move, you have to call it 5.13b. It is obviously way easier than any other 5.13b, or even some 5.12's possibly, but do you grade it 5.13b with a disclaimer that it is super soft? Or do you just call it V8 and say you topped out on a rope...? If anyone has a suggestion that would be great because I have a particular climb in mind...


Stone Monkey gets 13b, and it's a V8 to an 11-/10+.
mountainproject.com/v/stone-mo...

It's certainly harder than a V7 into a 2-bolt 5.9/10 (Bottom Feeder, 13a):
mountainproject.com/v/bottom-f...

Based on the few 13b's I've been on at the Red and Rumney, I'd disagree that V8+10d is "way easier" than other 13b's. Given that V7=5.13a, your route certainly is not in the 12 range.

If it seems soft to you, maybe you're a really strong boulderer with more power than endurance. But just because it's easier for you doesn't mean it's easier for everyone.

I made a graph of a bunch of routes that I'm familiar with or that are documented in various climbing media. I posted it earlier in this thread, but since people don't read earlier pages...

Rajiv Ayyangar wrote:
I summarized my thoughts in this blog post: The Landscape: a new look at route grades There are clearly a lot of limitations as to what one can claim of such a correspondence. I'm not trying to comment on how routes should be graded. I'm trying to show a pattern in how they are graded.




V to YDS correspondence
V to YDS correspondence
Rajiv Ayyangar
From Portland, ME
Joined Jun 22, 2010
234 points


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