We're hiring an experienced designer to join us in Boulder, CO.
Mountain Project Logo

Bouldering grades at Earth Treks (Golden)


Original Post
John RB · · Superior, CO · Joined Oct 2016 · Points: 30

Because I figured I should at least try to train (for a change), I've been going to Earth Treks down in Golden a few times a week.

And after a while I could do their V4s, but there's no way they are equiv to 5.12-.  In fact, I got on an 11b a outside a few days ago where the crux was right off the ground (https://www.mountainproject.com/v/hot-if-youre-not-aka-the-brown-eye-wall/105751339) and I couldn't do it.

So I guess Earth Treks is soft?  Or all gyms are soft?  Or has the V-scale changed since the 90s (when I last was climbing a lot)?

And does anyone have beta on the 11b?  :) :)

Brandon Ribblett · · Breckenridge, Colorado · Joined Mar 2016 · Points: 50

Technically "V4" is an equivalent to "12-" but that's obviously a single move set. In my opinion grading on plastic shouldn't be taken seriously compared to grading outside. 

Joe Prescott · · Fort Collins · Joined Apr 2013 · Points: 8

Gym grades are notoriously very soft. Both boulder and route. You can't translate between indoor and outdoor in my experience.

ScoJo · · Boulder, CO · Joined Jun 2014 · Points: 120

Grades vary from place to place and from gym to outdoors.

For that particular route, I would stick clip the first bolt to work out the moves - I don't really remember the beta exactly, except that there are a couple of ways to do it. I think people have called that first section a "V1," which seems about right when you compare it to other V1s in the flatirons/flagstaff.

Nivel Egres · · New York, NY · Joined Dec 2014 · Points: 130
Joe Prescott wrote:

Gym grades are notoriously very soft. 

That's why you should use the Moon Board! Train hard, sandbag harder...

Long Ranger · · Boulder, CO · Joined Jan 2014 · Points: 108

Earth Treks has a reputation to have soft grades, even when compared to other gyms in the area. 

Brandon.Phillips · · Portola, CA · Joined May 2011 · Points: 55

Gym grades are generally soft.  But its also true that the equivalency is for single moves.  I'm a V4 climber and can often onsight or flash a V4 outdoors (depending on the area) and virtually always onsight V4s in the gym, but I have never onsighted a 12. 

reboot · · . · Joined Jul 2006 · Points: 125

FWIW, I've always been able to redpoint routes/send boulders in front range harder outside than ANY of the local gyms I've been to (BRC, ET, Evo, Movement, R&J, etc). Sure, some routes in some of the local gyms are easier and in general indoor routes are much easier to OS/flash that outside, but that's to be expected as you can easily see all the holds.

The real issue is indoor climbing just isn't the same as outside climbing. And for the most part, if you think gym grades are soft, IME, you likely just suck at real climbing. This is easily observed when going to a predominantly indoor climbing town: when I climbed at Planet Granite in Sunnyvale one summer, their gym routes were noticeably stiffer than the front range. but talking to those 13+ gym crushers about being able to casually stroll up the Rostrum was, well, borrowing a Chinese proverb, playing guitar to a cow.

Noah Yetter · · Lakewood, CO · Joined Jul 2015 · Points: 105

I can climb Earth Treks V4 consistently and V5 often, and can't climb local outdoor V1's. And not like, "can't quite make it", I mean like "can't hold the start" or "can hold the start but do zero moves".


Within the gym though, I'd say a solid V4 is comparable to 11c-12a depending on the style.


Related: if anyone can recommend a Colorado outdoor bouldering spot with actually-easy boulders to work on, I'd love to hear about it.

Aleks Zebastian · · Boulder, CO · Joined Jul 2014 · Points: 175

climbing friend,

yes the gym grades they are soft. it is not the rocket science it is the common knowledge. you send v5 there and struggle on v2 for realzies.


climbing friend noah the yetti, the boulders they are not easy, they are azzz harddd asssszzzzz possibbllllle. it is supposed be like slap to face upon waking morning, or swift kick to the nuts. they shall crush your soul, arms and fingers, and after much persistance you shall rise again, emerging stronger and bolder than EVA BEFOR!!!!!!! MYAHHRRRRHHHHH MYAH MYAAAA

Nick Esker · · Golden · Joined Jun 2015 · Points: 10

I'm in the exact same boat as Noah. I can easily do V5 at ET but often can't even start a V1 outside, and have even had V0s shut me out. I think I've completed a single V2 outside, ever. I'm no boulderer, though.

The Snake Pit in the Garden of the Gods and Big Bend (River Road) outside Moab are the only places I've bouldered where I can actually not get shut out of most "easy" problems. I'm also interested in hearing more opinions on this, though.

D B · · Denver · Joined Apr 2011 · Points: 205

^^^,^

Front range bouldering is mega sandbagged in the V0-V4 range. Try Joe's or Roy...

Trycycle · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Mar 2014 · Points: 350

Because of the steepness of the difficulty curve in the "traditional V scale", most gyms have softened the curve so that it meets the "traditional V scale" somewhere around V7. 


Gym climbing is to outdoor climbing, what Duplos are to ceramic sculpture... Bright, chunky, colorful, too large to swallow, safe for all ages. 

If you want to rock climb, go rock climb.

Long Ranger · · Boulder, CO · Joined Jan 2014 · Points: 108
Trycycle wrote:

If you want to rock climb, go rock climb.

It's raining and snowing right now. Nice that there's a gym 3 miles away!

Long Ranger · · Boulder, CO · Joined Jan 2014 · Points: 108
reboot wrote:

FWIW, I've always been able to redpoint routes/send boulders in front range harder outside than ANY of the local gyms I've been to (BRC, ET, Evo, Movement, R&J, etc). Sure, some routes in some of the local gyms are easier and in general indoor routes are much easier to OS/flash that outside, but that's to be expected as you can easily see all the holds.


Well, let's be honest - you climb harder than most people on this site. They don't usually set too many indoor routes at your limit! 

Chad Elliott · · Las Vegas · Joined Nov 2015 · Points: 105

I'm going to chime because I have spent a lot of time at Earth Treks and always really enjoyed the setting there. In a gym, the sequence is just laid out for you, whereas outside you may not even see the best hold in a crux. Bouldering is soft at every gym, and it can definitely be easier to send when you've watched five different people work a problem. I think at lower grades you have to appeal to the new or non-climbers with easier, fun movement to make some variety. Even though there are many different holds for the gym industry, it becomes easy after a few times to know exactly where the "sweet spot" might be on a hold. 

Personally, I think when you hit mid 5.12 (not bouldering) and up is when the grades start to align a lot closer with front range outdoor grades. I climbed basically the same grade depending on style in or outdoors. 


Aleks Zebastian · · Boulder, CO · Joined Jul 2014 · Points: 175

climbing friend,

please you all would continue, there can never be too much mental masturbation about gym gradings plastic climbing rocks, yes>?



John RB · · Superior, CO · Joined Oct 2016 · Points: 30

I started this thread not to complain about Earth Treks or about gyms in general (I find Earth Treks to be top-notch, especially the staff there... always super friendly and helpful).  I just wondered what other people's view were because ratings are SO subjective.  It would be interesting to me if people said, "a V4 at Earth Treks is solid 5.12 in Eldo" because I find an ET V4 to be about 5.7 at Eldo.

Also, I don't get why people say things like "you can't compare route grades to bouldering grades."  I've wondered about this since the V-scale was created in fact. Many routes are super easy except for one distinct very difficult crux of 8-12'.  Sounds like bouldering to me!  Why do we need different grading systems simply because one V4 is on the ground whereas the other V4 has a bunch of 5.8 before and after it?

(For sustained enduro routes, I get it...)

Anyway, here's my conversion chart:

Earth Treks                   Happy Boulders (Bishop CA)                Yosemite                      Eldo

      V1                                                                                              5.6                            5.4

      V2                                          V0                                                5.7                            5.5

       V3                                         V0                                                5.8                            5.6

       V4                                         V0                                                5.9                            5.7

       V5                                         V1                                               5.10                           5.7+

....

     V10                                         V4                                               5.11                           5.8


Long Ranger · · Boulder, CO · Joined Jan 2014 · Points: 108
John RB wrote:

ratings are SO subjective.


Well, that's the thread right there. 

Jon Banks · · Denver, CO · Joined Nov 2013 · Points: 145

I boulder a lot at Earth Treks and was super discouraged when I started bouldering outside. I was sending a good number of v6s and one or two v7s at ET, but outdoors in the front range, I've only sent a couple v4s and v3s take a lot of work for me to get. So just go into your outdoor climbing with the mindset that your gym grades are crazy soft and be okay with struggling on "easy" climbs. 

Cocoapuffs 1000 · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jun 2008 · Points: 10
Joe Prescott wrote:

Gym grades are notoriously very soft. Both boulder and route. You can't translate between indoor and outdoor in my experience.

I never understood the logic of making gym grades super soft compared to outside.  No wonder so many gumbies get in over their heads (and injured) the first time they climb real rock.

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

Post a Reply to "Bouldering grades at Earth Treks (Golden)"
in the Colorado

Log In to Reply