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What do you tell people the grade you climb is?
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Feb 7, 2013
Hippos kill people
I too have always wondered how to define myself by the grade I climb and to know when I am better than other people, or if they are better than me (in which case I normally resort to petty comments regarding their girlfriends or clothing to cut them down to size). do tell.

i think taking the hardest gym route you have done, subtracting the 5 prefix and adding a V is commonly acceptable yes?
germsauce
Joined Jun 14, 2010
66 points
Feb 7, 2013
My dogs got ups yo!
Princess Mia wrote:
Grades only count if you include how hard you crank on off-widths.......

Gimme a break no one cares how hard anyone climbs offwidths with the exception of maybe five users on MP.
jarthur
From Westminster, CO
Joined Mar 23, 2008
332 points
Administrator
Feb 7, 2013
Llama Races- Fairplay, Colorado
Josh Kornish wrote:
I take the hardest grade I've ever hang dogged and then add 1 number grade to it. I'm a legend in my own mind.



Yeeeeahhhh!!!! It's 1994 and the Colinator is still 13d!
Hank Caylor
From Golden, CO
Joined Dec 9, 2003
594 points
Feb 7, 2013
 VOTCD. Photo  by tylerroemer.com
Most recent onsight Paul Trendler
From Bend, Oregon
Joined Sep 22, 2011
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Roof romp
5.9 climber Zach Pickard
From Riverside, California
Joined Oct 21, 2010
30 points
Administrator
Feb 7, 2013
Once we landed we headed to Font to find a place t...
I love reading these. It really is priceless.

It seems to starts with wanting to climb harder when you begin climbing.
Then moves to wanting to climb HARD (definition varies based on where your from) or harder than so and so.
Finally it moves to this,
GMBurns wrote:
Shit. I tripped walking to class the other day and haven't climbed in six months. I'm less than a walker. I NEED a walker. For what it's worth, I just tell people "not hard" and let them go from there.

Though some people never make it there.

I also think it is great how Trad climbers in general are the ones saying that it only matters how hard you climb in their preferred style, not to pick on Mia but it was the easiest to find,
Princess Mia wrote:
Grades only count if you include how hard you crank on off-widths.......

You don't see a sport climber saying that only sport matters or someone who boulders saying only V-grades matter, food for thought.

Of course this could be relevant as part of the conversation if you were to be getting on, Rites of Passage or Free Rider, but really I can belay just fine on The Big Baby and then go climb Black Corner just fine. Really though, getting on a multi pitch route with a partner you've never climbed with is tempting fate.
OldManRiver wrote:
before I climb with anyone it's imperative that they answer the following questions: - Do you know how to catch a lead fall? - Do you have any beer with you? Grade isn't very important folks.

Really the first part of this is really the most important, the second part may well be important to many as well.

Usually when this comes up as a question I'm expected to answer I'll already know what route we are thinking of doing so the answer is easy, either "hard enough", "could be issues" or "not hard enough".
LeeAB
From ABQ, NM
Joined Aug 3, 2008
10,131 points
Feb 7, 2013
I really find the opposition to honest discussion of grades to be quite perplexing. People treat grades as a taboo to talk about, and to discuss grades is often dismissed as elitist spray, or something of the like. This is absurd; grades are a useful and neccesary descriptor in climbing.

Case study: last winter I met up to climb with a friend that I had not seen in a few years. He had been a rank beginner as of the last time we had interacted, but I knew that he had gained a fair bit of experience since then...but I didn't know exactly how much he had progessed. Since I knew that area in which we were climbing better than he, it was up to me to choose a wall at which we would both have fun. In order to make an informed decision, I had to know what grade he was climbing now. If he had progressed a lot and was climbing 5.12, then perhaps we would go to El-Rad-O-Cave. But if he was still climbing 5.10, then it might be best to stick to El-Fun-O-Slab. As such, describing "the grade that you climb" is a useful and neccesary metric to help everyone find a route that they will enjoy.

The neccesary disclaimer, when trying to encapsulate youself as a climber in a single number, is that "your grade" is generlly different for different styles. As such, it is usually neccesary to say "I can usually redpoint 5.xx sport, onsight 5.yy sport, and tend to stick to 5.zz or below when climbing on long trad routes." Again, useful and honest reporting, in a simple, quantified manner, vastly facilitates the making of appropriate plans.

Lastly, it should be noted that qualitative measures are not adequate. Calling something "hard" or "moderate" is meaningless, since the range of abilties in climbing is distruted on such a log scale. One person's "steep, hard, sustained route" is another's "warmup jughaul", and it can be hard to tell exactly what someone is talking about unless you attatch a number to it. Trying to describe climbing and make plans without grades is like trying to give a recipie and bake a cake without any measuring cups. A system of measurement is a useful thing.
JCM
From Seattle, WA
Joined Jun 9, 2008
53 points
Feb 8, 2013
The way the question was asked, was more of a "mine is bigger than yours" type of question. If randomly asked, out and about (NEVER happens) that is one thing. If discussing true capabilities with a potential new partner, that is entirely different. In the case of the former, a nice f-off might suffice. In the case of the latter, just be honest at worst, or play yourself down a bit at best. This discussion is almost like "how long are your skis?" as a system of sizing up. Pointless. Just Solo
From Colorado Springs
Joined Nov 13, 2003
23 points
Feb 8, 2013
Forrest tools.
This thread is classic. It just begs for all the brilliant smart-ass answers so far. Hehe.
I haven't been asked that in a long time. Ive had to fill out information sheets for guiding jobs and I struggle with estimations of difficulty. Everything's subjective isn't it? Somedays I pull 11s at the New or Red Rocks.... Somedays I fall on weird 5.8 at Seneca. Who knows?

Oh, and by the way... Isn't the "grade" how long it takes to do the climb (grade I - VI) and the class is the difficulty (class 1 through 6) and then the class has subsections (5.0 to 5.15).
That's how Ive always understood the Yosemite Decimal System
ACR
Joined Nov 15, 2011
601 points
Feb 8, 2013
Cut! Sadly my flash attempt met with dismal pump-f...
This whole thread is a good example of how people climb in different styles, for different reasons. When we don't recognize that, we all talk past each other.

The question "What grade do you climb?" can mean several different things, depending on the context.

- For a multipitch trad climb, it might make sense to give your reliable onsight grade, to help your partner(s) plan out what routes are reasonable.

- For a sport climbing trip, it makes more sense to talk about what grades you want to attempt onsights and what grades you want to project, to help plan an itinerary. Your past achievements don't matter as much as your current plans. When querying partners, you'll get a much better response from "What kinds of grades are you looking to get on?" versus "What grade do you climb?" - The former is unburdened by expectation.

- If you're trying to gauge personal progress (e.g. last year I climbed 5.10, this year I'm climbing 5.11), then use whatever you find most rewarding - reliable onsights, or max onsight, or max redpoint, etc. Heck, use "reliable 3rd-go redpoint in >80 degrees" if that's what gets you excited.

- If you're trying to see how you stack up against another climber, then make sure you're talking about the same thing, and preferably agree on whatever form of "climbing grade" you are personally best at. Or better yet... don't. I've been asked what grade I climb perhaps once in the last 5 years. The vagueness and implied ego make it one of the worst (and least interesting) questions you can ask of a fellow climber.
Rajiv Ayyangar
From Portland, ME
Joined Jun 22, 2010
234 points
Feb 8, 2013
Forrest tools.
Judge Smails: Ty, what did you shoot today?
Ty Webb: Oh, Judge, I don't keep score.
Judge Smails: Then how do you measure yourself with other golfers?
Ty Webb: By height.
ACR
Joined Nov 15, 2011
601 points
Feb 8, 2013
Rajiv Ayyangar wrote:
This whole thread is a good example of how people climb in different styles, for different reasons. When we don't recognize that, we all talk past each other. The question "What grade do you climb?" can mean several different things, depending on the context. - For a multipitch trad climb, it might make sense to give your reliable onsight grade, to help your partner(s) plan out what routes are reasonable. - For a sport climbing trip, it makes more sense to talk about what grades you want to attempt onsights and what grades you want to project, to help plan an itinerary. Your past achievements don't matter as much as your current plans. When querying partners, you'll get a much better response from "What kinds of grades are you looking to get on?" versus "What grade do you climb?" - The former is unburdened by expectation. - If you're trying to gauge personal progress (e.g. last year I climbed 5.10, this year I'm climbing 5.11), then use whatever you find most rewarding - reliable onsights, or max onsight, or max redpoint, etc. Heck, use "reliable 3rd-go redpoint in >80 degrees" if that's what gets you excited. - If you're trying to see how you stack up against another climber, then make sure you're talking about the same thing, and preferably agree on whatever form of "climbing grade" you are personally best at. Or better yet... don't. I've been asked what grade I climb perhaps once in the last 5 years. The vagueness and implied ego make it one of the worst (and least interesting) questions you can ask of a fellow climber.



This sums up generally how I feel on the subject much better than I could even begin to write it.

Expecting someone to boil down their entire climbing abilities into a single grade is at best a useless piece of information. A short discussion on what someone's goals are is far more informative and far less like a dick measuring contest. (In my opinion)
frankstoneline
Joined Apr 23, 2009
22 points
Feb 8, 2013
Chew toyed
^^^ good points Rajiv

From the OP's post, the technical term is "brownpoint". From a personal perspective, I brownpoint much harder than I climb...plz add this option
James Arnold
From Chattanooga
Joined Dec 21, 2008
71 points
Feb 8, 2013
About half way up the East Arete on Illumination R...
The grade you climb is the grade you can consistently onsight.

Trad, of course.. sport isn't climbing.
Ben Beckerich
From saint helens, oregon
Joined Jun 24, 2011
267 points
Mar 5, 2013
Top of pear buttress
5.16. Just to see what happens. mattharon
Joined Apr 11, 2011
216 points
Mar 5, 2013
D's get degrees, snitches! Clifton Santiago
Joined Apr 22, 2010
0 points
Mar 5, 2013
Inverting in rocktown
I normally say "I don't know" then I ask them how large their penis is and if they'd like to compare. Kevin DB
Joined Jul 28, 2012
207 points
Mar 5, 2013
Kolob
I typically like to keep my 8a.nu scorecard in my back pocket. Someone asks, I can whip it out and instantly give them average onsight ability, by season; which sport routes I've sent and plan to chop to bring back to true ethical form, and finally, a link to my sick vid that can give them all the beta for their futile flash attempt... ben jammin
From Moab, UT
Joined Jul 10, 2008
710 points
Mar 6, 2013
Rajiv Ayyangar wrote:
This whole thread is a good example of how people climb in different styles, for different reasons. When we don't recognize that, we all talk past each other. The question "What grade do you climb?" can mean several different things, depending on the context. - For a multipitch trad climb, it might make sense to give your reliable onsight grade, to help your partner(s) plan out what routes are reasonable. - For a sport climbing trip, it makes more sense to talk about what grades you want to attempt onsights and what grades you want to project, to help plan an itinerary. Your past achievements don't matter as much as your current plans. When querying partners, you'll get a much better response from "What kinds of grades are you looking to get on?" versus "What grade do you climb?" - The former is unburdened by expectation. - If you're trying to gauge personal progress (e.g. last year I climbed 5.10, this year I'm climbing 5.11), then use whatever you find most rewarding - reliable onsights, or max onsight, or max redpoint, etc. Heck, use "reliable 3rd-go redpoint in >80 degrees" if that's what gets you excited. - If you're trying to see how you stack up against another climber, then make sure you're talking about the same thing, and preferably agree on whatever form of "climbing grade" you are personally best at. Or better yet... don't. I've been asked what grade I climb perhaps once in the last 5 years. The vagueness and implied ego make it one of the worst (and least interesting) questions you can ask of a fellow climber.


you speak well.
climbnplay
Joined Jun 21, 2011
23 points
Mar 7, 2013
A reasonable likeness of this user.
I tell 'em the grade of the climb I'm training for, which is usually bullshit. Then I lean back from them and yell "Jesus!" like something's dropping out of the sky, and when they turn to look, I run away. The Call Of K2 Lou
From Squamish, BC
Joined Mar 30, 2012
28 points


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