Mountain Project Logo

Bouldering grades at Earth Treks (Golden)


Jon Frisby · · Colorado Springs, CO · Joined Feb 2013 · Points: 120
Cocoapuffs 1000 wrote:

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.

Because most people that climb V0-4 in the gym never go outside and if you can't see progression you stop going. The profitability sweet spot is here. We're talking membership sales for $100 where the person only shows up 2-4x per month.

Joe Prescott · · Berlin, DE · Joined Apr 2013 · Points: 6

I don't know why it is, maybe to give the gym members an ego boost to say they are 5.X climbers? I recently started going to the gym a lot over the past 2-3 months (~24 years of climbing experience) and feeling pretty good about my climbing, sending a bunch of 5.11+ and a few 5.12s inside. Thinking I was getting strong, I went out to 'warm up' on a few 5.10s and that put me right back in my place where I belong! I think it would be safer and better all-around if gym grades were a little more in-line with outdoor. Last week I was climbing next to a few route setters what were taking laps on their new routes and they basically said, "...yeah, lets call it a solid 5.10. Probably would be a hard 5.8 or easy 5.9 outside." So they know...

Victor K · · Denver, CO · Joined Jul 2003 · Points: 170

I've probably thought about this way too much. Gym climbing is closest to limestone outside. I just did a 5.9+ warmup at Shelf that felt a lot like a gym climb: vertical, hold to hold movement with a very specific sequence. Other rock types around Denver aren't necessarily that much physically harder for the grade, you just can't practice the techniques in the gym. So Eldo 5.8 is just scary because you haven't grooved the techniques needed for that style of climbing. I've said elsewhere that I like gym rating systems that are not directly corelated to outside grades. The spot system at The Spot is a great example. Lastly, I've climbed at several gyms that have the opposite stance. If you can climb the grade in the gym, then you have the skills to climb the grade outside. It's better, but the daily confrontation with your utter weakness as a climber is a bit demoralizing.

If you want to climb outside, you have to climb outside.

Long Ranger · · Boulder, CO · Joined Jan 2014 · Points: 136

It's to encourage new climbers to progress, give climbers who only climb at a gym something to do that's not overly frustrating. Remember, you can use a gym to climb at, or you can use a gym to train for climbing, right?  The grades at your local gym don't really need to correspond to the local (or distant) crag, they just need to be somewhat useful in the gym itself. So, lower grades are good warmups so you don't injure yourself.

J-Moe · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Sep 2014 · Points: 20
Victor K wrote:

I've said elsewhere that I like gym rating systems that are not directly corelated to outside grades. The spot system at The Spot is a great example.

Agreed. I think this is a great way for gyms to acknowledge that indoor climbing ≠ outdoor climbing.

In my experience, gyms out east tend to grade a lot stiffer than the front range.

Joe Prescott · · Berlin, DE · Joined Apr 2013 · Points: 6

One thing I am realizing slowly is the amount of time my hand is on a hold GREATLY influences to how hard a route is/feels. In a gym, you pretty much know exactly what your next move is going to be, so even if you are leading, you might spend 3-6 seconds on a specific hold in a fixed hand position, even while clipping. Outside, this 3-6 seconds turns into maybe say 3-20 seconds (or much more) for finding the next hand/footholds, figuring out the sequence, placing gear or a draw, clipping, then maybe shaking out the hand you were holding onto with while clipping, etc. So for a similar route, the one outside is actually a lot harder (requires more ATP). You can experiment with this just by spending a few extra seconds on each hand hold in the gym, or time yourself leading a route in the gym vs. outside (divided by route length). Inside you might climb 20ft/minute, where outside its maybe 10ft/minute (just hypothetical) on a similarly difficult route for you. This only partially relates to bouldering. 

Long Ranger · · Boulder, CO · Joined Jan 2014 · Points: 136
Joe Prescott wrote:

One thing I am realizing slowly is the amount of time my hand is on a hold GREATLY influences to how hard a route is/feels. 

Good insight. Also notice that outdoor routes have the potential of being much longer, so if the crux is up high and your endurance is not great, you're SOL. Use the gym intelligently: link up routes, do yer ARC training, yadda yadda. Get past the, "indoor is a poor reproduction of outside climbing". It's a gym. Gym in it. 

reboot · · . · Joined Jul 2006 · Points: 125
Long Ranger wrote:

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! 

There are plenty of indoor routes/boulders I can't send: almost no front range (or anywhere) crushers use this site and the local gyms do set for them. Also, when I was at PG, the 13+ (I might have sent a couple 13- @ PG that whole summer) gym crushers thought I was crazy to think their gym grades were stiff compared to real rock.

But since we are being honest, gym style greatly diverges from real (especially front range) rock style at the easier end of the spectrum, one can easily be good in the gym and get shutdown outside, vice versa. 

Joe Prescott · · Berlin, DE · Joined Apr 2013 · Points: 6

I don't know if it makes any sense training-wise, but I've been trying to hold onto holds a little longer in the gym to mimic looking for my next hold/sequence, and taking a bit longer to clip to mimic placing a draw or gear. Maybe this is counter productive for going towards translating gym to outdoor. I don't know that much about training.

aikibujin · · Castle Rock, CO · Joined Oct 2014 · Points: 294
Joe Prescott wrote:

Outside, this 3-6 seconds turns into maybe say 3-20 seconds (or much more) for finding the next hand/footholds, figuring out the sequence, placing gear or a draw, clipping, then maybe shaking out the hand you were holding onto with while clipping, etc.

That only applies when onsighting though, not redpointing.

Joe Prescott · · Berlin, DE · Joined Apr 2013 · Points: 6

Yeah, I came to that exact conclusion as I was driving to the gym, right after I posted! Still applies a little if you are placing gear or draws, but I agree. Not significant if you know the moves and that is why onsighting in the gym is far easier than most outside sequency routes. I am biased towards onsighting. Probably a big part of why I've been climbing at the same level for 20+ years, with a few exceptions when I took time/effort to redpoint sport routes in Rifle.

NCD · · Boulder, CO · Joined Jan 2015 · Points: 50

FWIW I climb the exact same grades in the gym and outside for routes and the limited bouldering I have done recently too. I actually have worked my way up much harder sport climbs outdoors as well and felt better on those grades outdoors vs indoors. I use to be several letter grades higher indoors but after spending most of the summer outdoors (only climbed in the gym maybe 5 times since June) I actually find indoor climbing more difficult for me and things have leveled out. I guess this is due to being more demanding and sustained physically. Outdoors I can rely on technique more and there are usually better rests.

ET Crystal City, ET Golden (only been once and just last week after outdoors only for awhile), Movement, and The Spot all correlate pretty well to my outside grades in Colorado, Wyoming, Utah, and West Virginia though I havnt been back east in awhile. Certain places might feel more difficult or beta intensive but I ultimately send the same grades.

John RB · · Superior, CO · Joined Oct 2016 · Points: 59

I have a couple of friends who climb 5.14 outside and also climb at ET Golden, and I asked each their take:

Crusher1 (28 yrs old, sends 14a in Flatirons and Clear Creek): "I think ET doesn't want to follow the usual V-scale at the low end because V0 is 5.10 and V1 is 5.11.  That means that most climbers would be able to send either nothing at all, or all be bunched into V0.  By expanding out the lower end of the scale, there is a better breakdown to divide up the grades.  I feel that ET converges without outdoor around V7 or V8, and their V10s are pretty much as hard as outdoor V10s"


Crusher2 (20 yrs old, sent 14b at Rifle and a few 14a's and V12 in RMNP): "It really depends on style.  For example, I can campus V9 at ET if it's in the cave, but a V9 slab is super hard for me.  Outdoors you rarely get anything like a gym bouldering problem, and technique becomes a thousand times more important than it is indoors where you just pull hard on obvious holds."


Joe Prescott · · Berlin, DE · Joined Apr 2013 · Points: 6
John RB wrote:

I have a couple of friends who climb 5.14 outside and also climb at ET Golden, and I asked each their take:

Crusher1 (28 yrs old, sends 14a in Flatirons and Clear Creek): "I think ET doesn't want to follow the usual V-scale at the low end because V0 is 5.10 and V1 is 5.11.  That means that most climbers would be able to send either nothing at all, or all be bunched into V0.  By expanding out the lower end of the scale, there is a better breakdown to divide up the grades.  I feel that ET converges without outdoor around V7 or V8, and their V10s are pretty much as hard as outdoor V10s"


Crusher2 (20 yrs old, sent 14b at Rifle and a few 14a's and V12 in RMNP): "It really depends on style.  For example, I can campus V9 at ET if it's in the cave, but a V9 slab is super hard for me.  Outdoors you rarely get anything like a gym bouldering problem, and technique becomes a thousand times more important than it is indoors where you just pull hard on obvious holds."


OK, but that is at the very far right of the scale and doesn't apply to most of us that are somewhere in the middle, bouldering V0-~V6 or sub 5.13 routes (outside). I onsighted 3 new V5s in the gym tonight back-to-back-to-back, but have only sent a few Montana V5s after working them over the course of weeks or more. I can see how it would suck for gymgoers with the majority of them working V0-V2-3 if they actually matched outdoor ratings.

aikibujin · · Castle Rock, CO · Joined Oct 2014 · Points: 294
Joe Prescott wrote:

I don't know if it makes any sense training-wise, but I've been trying to hold onto holds a little longer in the gym to mimic looking for my next hold/sequence, and taking a bit longer to clip to mimic placing a draw or gear. Maybe this is counter productive for going towards translating gym to outdoor. I don't know that much about training.

I don’t think you want to deliberately slow down your climbing. If anything, I think most climbers climb too slowly. I think there’s this misconception that climbing slowly and statically is a sign that a climber has good technique. I believed that myself. However, I come to realize that crawling up a wall slowly because I want to look in control is terribly inefficient. Climbing fast without getting desperate is much better. Even if you need to place gear or clip a bolt, you’re generally doing such things from good stances (generally). So ideally you should be moving through hard sections quickly, and slow down to place gear/clip bolt/plan out your sequence.

Joe Prescott · · Berlin, DE · Joined Apr 2013 · Points: 6

Yes, I was referring to pausing at clips/gear, etc, or shaking out before/after a hard sequence, to mimic outdoor climbing, not actually moving slower. I never understood the sloth people. I think for movement, you should always work on economy and technique. I'm sure there are exceptions somewhere and maybe slothing once and a while has some benefit.

aikibujin · · Castle Rock, CO · Joined Oct 2014 · Points: 294
Joe Prescott wrote:

I'm sure there are exceptions somewhere and maybe slothing once and a while has some benefit.

As a sloth, I can tell you that there's absolutely no benefit of being a sloth, even if just once in a while.

Cocoapuffs 1000 · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jun 2008 · Points: 10
Jon Frisby wrote:

Because most people that climb V0-4 in the gym never go outside and if you can't see progression you stop going. The profitability sweet spot is here. We're talking membership sales for $100 where the person only shows up 2-4x per month.

Ok, the outdoor V scale is pretty steep at the low end.  But I don't think that's true for roped grades.  Why bother deliberately overgrading routes? 

Jon Frisby · · Colorado Springs, CO · Joined Feb 2013 · Points: 120
Cocoapuffs 1000 wrote:

Ok, the outdoor V scale is pretty steep at the low end.  But I don't think that's true for roped grades.  Why bother deliberately overgrading routes? 

I agree with you - I don't think rope grades are generally nearly as soft. Probably due to the fact that 12a in the gym is still at least going to require real, mid-11 endurance, and that routes tend to be a little easier to unlock than boulder problems. 

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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

Log In to Reply