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Aid grading converted to free ascending grades...


Original Post
Chris Hatzai · · Bend, OR · Joined Sep 2015 · Points: 516

So im pretty clueless when it comes to the ‘A’ grading. There are routes at my local crag that have FA’s but no FFA... It’s pretty easy to see looking up that the 5.8 A2+ is not 5.8. So what is the break down? How the hell are aid routes graded anyway? Thanks in advance for the input

Marc801 C · · Sandy, Utah · Joined Feb 2014 · Points: 65
Chris Hatzai wrote:

So im pretty clueless when it comes to the ‘A’ grading. There are routes at my local crag that have FA’s but no FFA... It’s pretty easy to see looking up that the 5.8 A2+ is not 5.8. So what is the break down? How the hell are aid routes graded anyway? Thanks in advance for the input

http://www.bigwalls.net/climb/Ratings.html

PS: it would have been far less typing for you if you had just googled 'aid ratings'

Robert Rowsam · · Grand Junction, CO · Joined Oct 2012 · Points: 90

Aid climbs are on a controversial closed scale from 0-6. An "A" typically means classic aid style using a hammer, and a 'C" means clean aid, or using only removable protection. The lower the number, the better the protection. A "C0" is a bolt ladder, an "A6" (if it exists) would be a pitch that consisted of pro that would not hold any type of fall as well as an anchor that would not hold a fall. 

There is no translation from aid to free grades. A2+ could be a shot section of thin gear or hooks that could go free 5.8 on face holds or pin scars, or it could be a thin crack that is impossible to free climb or protect from a fall.

Ryan Swanson · · Pepedidnothingwrong, freejg · Joined Jan 2018 · Points: 50

What route are you looking at?

Daniel Joder · · Barcelona, Spain · Joined Nov 2015 · Points: 0

In aid climbing, is all about the difficulty and security of the placements. If I understand what you are asking...there is no necessary direct relationship between an aid grade and what it might go at if climbed free. It is not like 5.12 is A1, 5.13 is A2, 5.14 is A3 and so on. That is, you might have an A1 or C1 (“C” for clean gear vice pins) crack that could go free at, say, 5.10 if it is just vertical, or it could be an A1/C1 roof crack that would require you to climb 5.13 or more to free it. On the other end of the scale, try taking some aiders and hooking your way up some 5.10a friction route on Glacier Point Apron—that would probably qualify as A5/C5 if it were even possible. But maybe I am misunderstanding the OP in which case I am sure others will clarify.

Everett · · Nevada · Joined Jul 2016 · Points: 25
Robert Rowsam wrote:

Aid climbs are on a controversial closed scale from 0-6.

How controversial is it? I've read discussions about it, but it's still in use (despite other competing scales existing) and lord knows volume of discussion doesn't always indicate actual controversy.

Big B · · Sin City, NV · Joined Mar 2015 · Points: 1
 Chris Hatzai wrote:

Umm not really wanting to know the conversion for the A rating to a 5. scale but more so what is the grade of 5.8 A2 if you say sport or traditionally climbed it..? Like the route i have in mind looks nails as far as 5.8 goes. It’s really thin.. definitely looks like 5.12 or harder thin fingers.. how is that 5.8 on any scale is more so the question i guess.

5.8 a2 ...means there's a section where its more realistic to climb it free at 5.8 then to try and aid it. That section(could be only 10' or it could be all but 10') maybe at the start, middle or finish of the route or pitch. If there's no ffa and you free it...YOU get to decide what the new free rating is...5.11,.12,.13 whatevs... because you freed the aid part. Then after that, everyone and there mom gets to come climb it and down grade it.

Robert Rowsam · · Grand Junction, CO · Joined Oct 2012 · Points: 90
Everett wrote:

How controversial is it? I've read discussions about it, but it's still in use (despite other competing scales existing) and lord knows volume of discussion doesn't always indicate actual controversy.

It's really only controversial at the 5-6 grades insofar as there is little agreement as to what that grade means, and if they exist at all. See Chris Kalous' aid rant. There isn't so much controversy about the rating system itself. I can't imagine there is a much better way to rate the difficulty of aid climbs. It's all C1 until you fall

Max Rausch · · Portland, OR · Joined Jul 2014 · Points: 145

I think you're misunderstanding what people are saying. 

The A2 portion of your route only relates to how small/shitty/scary the gear is. We cannot tell you for sure that A2 =5.12. Could be harder, could be easier. 

I recently did the FFA of a 13 pitch route in Yosemite that previously was 5.8 A2. The A2 portion turned out to only be 5.9ish to free. 

Keep in mind that old aid ratings are different than current aid ratings. Based on the gear available back then. And that people used to regularly nail their way up anything 

harder than 5.8. Because it seemed too hard to free. 


Marc801 C · · Sandy, Utah · Joined Feb 2014 · Points: 65
Chris Hatzai wrote:

Not exactly the conversion i was looking for but um thanks? 

PS you sound like a dick.

You wrote: 

So im pretty clueless when it comes to the ‘A’ grading. There are routes at my local crag that have FA’s but no FFA... It’s pretty easy to see looking up that the 5.8 A2+ is not 5.8. So what is the break down? How the hell are aid routes graded anyway?

And the link to bigwalls.com answers the question you asked. And Googling is less typing than your OP. Turns out you were looking for an answer to a different question. So you retaliate with an ad-hominem attack.

John Barritt · · OKC · Joined Oct 2016 · Points: 1,080

Chris, do not be attacking Marc's hominem.........are you high bro?

Also, if you free the aid sections you don't get to rename the route. ;)

kevin deweese · · Oakland, Ca · Joined Jan 2007 · Points: 420
Chris Hatzai wrote:

Umm not really wanting to know the conversion for the A rating to a 5. scale but more so what is the grade of 5.8 A2 if you say sport or traditionally climbed it..? 

Lol, you’re funny. 

Ryan Swanson · · Pepedidnothingwrong, freejg · Joined Jan 2018 · Points: 50
Chris Hatzai wrote:

Hah totally renaming some of the lines once theyre sent. Different finishes means a different route right?

Only if you bolt the crack

John Barritt · · OKC · Joined Oct 2016 · Points: 1,080
kevin deweese wrote:

Lol, you’re funny. 

That's the weed talkin'....... ;)

All joking aside, and not knowing the local ethics in Oregon, where I'm from it goes like this: If you follow the same line but free the aid section(s) the name stays the same and you get the FFA credit. If you move off the original line and free a new section you name the new section as a separate route. JB


Marc801 C · · Sandy, Utah · Joined Feb 2014 · Points: 65
John Barritt wrote:

All joking aside, and not knowing the local ethics in Oregon, where I'm from it goes like this: If you follow the same line but free the aid section(s) the name stays the same and you get the FFA credit. If you move off the original line and free a new section you name the new section as a separate route.

That seems to be pretty universal. Look at Sharma's route Realization - it's the original Biographie plus his 20m extension, bypassing the original Biorgraphie anchors. I'm sure there are individual exceptions in various areas.


john greer · · modesto · Joined Jun 2009 · Points: 105
Robert Rowsam wrote:

It's really only controversial at the 5-6 grades insofar as there is little agreement as to what that grade means, and if they exist at all. See Chris Kalous' aid rant. There isn't so much controversy about the rating system itself. I can't imagine there is a much better way to rate the difficulty of aid climbs. It's all C1 until you fall

You mean this (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=boQHYBhlOcs)

Em Cos · · Boulder, CO · Joined Apr 2010 · Points: 5
Chris Hatzai wrote:

Umm not really wanting to know the conversion for the A rating to a 5. scale but more so what is the grade of 5.8 A2 if you say sport or traditionally climbed it..? Like the route i have in mind looks nails as far as 5.8 goes. It’s really thin.. definitely looks like 5.12 or harder thin fingers.. how is that 5.8 on any scale is more so the question i guess.

Well, a 5.8 A2 will have sections of free climbing at 5.8, and sections of aid climbing at A2; so if you want to know what YDS grade the whole route would go at if free climbed, a conversion is exactly what you're asking for. But it's not possible, they are measuring two different things. It's like if you asked how many miles a 5k trail is, we can convert kilometers to miles because they both measure distance. But if you wanted to know how much elevation gain is in a 5k trail, no one can tell you that without more info cause distance and elevation are two different things.

You said you didn't know anything about aid ratings, and when people answered your question you told them they were answering it wrong and called them names. Maybe next time, try to be a little more humble about things you don't know and a little more appreciative to those taking the time to share their knowledge with you? Just a thought. 

Everett · · Nevada · Joined Jul 2016 · Points: 25
John Greer Jr. wrote:

You mean this (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=boQHYBhlOcs)

Yeah, that's well known. I'm mainly interested if regular aid climbers actually think the scale is dysfunctional in the A/C2-4 range, or if what I've seen is just the equivalent of idle campfire discussions.

kevin deweese · · Oakland, Ca · Joined Jan 2007 · Points: 420
Everett wrote:

Yeah, that's well known. I'm mainly interested if regular aid climbers actually think the scale is dysfunctional in the A/C2-4 range, or if what I've seen is just the equivalent of idle campfire discussions.

The scale is not disfunctional to aid climbers that understand what the scale measures. It is disfunctional to those that don’t understand or willfully misunderstand (as is the case in the aid rant video) what the scale measures 

Marc801 C · · Sandy, Utah · Joined Feb 2014 · Points: 65
Chris Hatzai wrote:

Hah dude answered my question by telling me i should have looked on google. Dickish.

Because it clearly answered the question you posted. And you'll also see that I posted a link that answered your question before I mentioned that Google would have been easier for you (and not that you should have looked on Google). So two helpful answers and you call me a dick. Perhaps you should look in a mirror.

 There was a specific reason i came to these forums, to get first hand experience and a taylored answer to my specific question.

Yet it took you three tries to express your specific question, so kinda hard for you to complain about replies that "didn't answer your question".


Ryan Swanson · · Pepedidnothingwrong, freejg · Joined Jan 2018 · Points: 50

You sound like a lot of fun at parties

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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