Rank these areas from soft to sandbagged


Original Post
Nick Thomas · · Fargo, ND · Joined Nov 2016 · Points: 30

So now that I've climbed for about a year, I've been to a few places around the country.  The grading at each one seemed to be wildly different in difficulty and I am curious to hear which ones you think are the closest to the "real" grades (whatever that means).  Some of the areas I've been to include

HCR - Arkansas

Spearfish Canyon - SD

Mt. Rushmore area - SD

Various Estes Park crags (Jurassic Park, Lily Mtn, Prospect Mtn, Mary's Lake) - CO

Flatirons - CO

Flagstaff (bouldering) - CO

I found places like Jurassic Park, HCR, and Spearfish to seem much easier than others like the Rushmore area, but does that mean that they are especially soft, or that Rushmore is just really sandbagged?  Or maybe it's just my style that makes the difference?

Also, what are some major areas considered to be "neutral" (neither sandbagged nor soft)

Ted Pinson · · Chicago, IL · Joined Jul 2014 · Points: 190

Oh boy...you're asking for trouble. ;)  In general:

-Older, predominately trad areas tend to feel stiff

-newer sport areas tend to feel soft.

-Ratings are inherently subjective and tend to feel harder or easier based on the individual climber's experience and style.  For example, traditional climbing is very different from sport climbing (independent of the protection used), so trad climbs tend to feel harder for the grade for many people.

There really is no "neutral," as everything is relative, though one could argue that Yosemite or Tahquitz should be the benchmark for historical reasons.

rozaosa · · Mordor · Joined Jul 2016 · Points: 10

*grabs popcorn

Dan Cooksey · · Seattle, WA · Joined Jan 2014 · Points: 365

I feel like everytime I get on a climb and I dont flash it I say that its sandbagged.  If I flash it then I say the grade is soft.  This logic has carried with me around the world and has never differed by area or style.

Matt Wilson · · Vermont, USA · Joined May 2010 · Points: 165

Something something 5.10 there would be a 5.6 at the Gunks something something...

pfwein · · Boulder, CO · Joined May 2006 · Points: 35
Nick Thomas wrote:

So now that I've climbed for about a year, I've been to a few places around the country.  The grading at each one seemed to be wildly different in difficulty and I am curious to hear which ones you think are the closest to the "real" grades (whatever that means).  Some of the areas I've been to include

. . . 

Flagstaff (bouldering) - CO

. . .

Also, what are some major areas considered to be "neutral" (neither sandbagged nor soft)

Generally pretty stiff, at least at the lower grades (V6 and under for me, and I can't do all at those ratings by any means).  But not as stiff as some places I've been (e.g., JTree).  But like pretty much everywhere, the ratings seem internally inconsistent, partly because there's inherent subjectivity and it's impossible to reduce difficulty in a number of dimensions to a single number, and partly because some ratings just seem "wrong" by pretty much any reasonable standard, but they got put in a guidebook or on MP a certain way and just stay that way through inertia.

Russ Keane · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Feb 2013 · Points: 140

As you get better, you realize that things aren't as sandbagged as you thought they were.  You understand the nuances better. 

For instance, the Gunks now seem fair to the grade.   Some stuff there is actually kinda soft.

Eldo is pretty damn stiff, though.

BigB · · Red Rock, NV · Joined Feb 2015 · Points: 340

There's really only 3 grades for me...

G 1- Sh!t I can  definitely climb

G 2- Sh!t I might be able to climb

G 3- Sh!t theres no effin way I'm climbin that today

Khoi · · Vancouver, BC · Joined Oct 2009 · Points: 45
Russ Keane wrote:

As you get better, you realize that things aren't as sandbagged as you thought they were.  You understand the nuances better. 

For instance, the Gunks now seem fair to the grade.   Some stuff there is actually kinda soft.

Eldo is pretty damn stiff, though.

Can you list some examples of Gunks climbs that you consider soft?

I'm curious.  And I'd like to give them a try on my next trip there.

Thanks!

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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