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At what point can we just update a retro-graded route?


Original Post
Ska Ggs · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Dec 2015 · Points: 10

I live in an area that had tons of FA's in the 50's and 60's .... there were basically 3-5 main guys getting up everything that someone can climb. A lot of respect goes to those guys that paved the way. But ... we still use their books and beta on these routes. I hop on a 1962 "5.6" that climbs SOOOO much harder than any other 5.6 anywhere else.

the community laughs it off and calls it a funny retro grade and knows that it would deserves a stiffer grade. Everything is sandbagged ... but why does that need to be the norm? My stats on leading a 5.6 on trad has an asterisk with a paragraph behind the history of the sandbagged grade. I'm not chasing grades per say, but going out west and back east its weird to compare and keep data.

do you push to fix it, or just let it be and continue to let the next generation coming up figure out what sandbagged 5.9 climb is really a retrograded 5.11+?

John Wilder · · Las Vegas, NV · Joined Feb 2004 · Points: 1,535

Local crags like that are what they are. It's a big reason I never hop on limit grades when I go to a new area- you never really know what you're going to get. Start low, move up from there.

Nick Sweeney · · Spokane, WA · Joined Jun 2013 · Points: 622

Just enjoy the rock and the history.  It's not a big deal.

DanielHart · · Carpinteria ca · Joined Dec 2016 · Points: 5

I’ve found that has helped me learn a bit more history and in turn give more respect. When I hop on a new route I always check the fa name and year established. 

Russ Walling · · www.FishProducts.com · Joined Oct 2004 · Points: 3,231

#FightGradeInflation

Keenan Waeschle · · Bozeman, MT · Joined Feb 2010 · Points: 210

Climbing is fun, do that.

Listening to people debate grades makes me want to untie and jump. 

Floyd Eggers · · Kennewick, WA · Joined Mar 2018 · Points: 242

Future people will laugh at your 5.11 when they are proj'in a 5.27b+, and wonder why they don't chisel off holds to make it harder because the antiquated rating system of the 2000's was loose butthole. 

kendallt · · Tahoe · Joined Aug 2012 · Points: 98

Gunks? When I was back east I loved sending new to town hotshots on Modern Times to warm up (5.8, wink wink)

If being humbled by an easy grade is hard, well... Yer gonna have a bad tine

Big B · · Sin City, NV · Joined Mar 2015 · Points: 0

1/10

Mark Roberts · · Vancouver, BC · Joined Oct 2009 · Points: 1,012

A lot of snarky responses here. If grades don't matter, why do we bother grading climbs?

Grades are meant to give climbers a rough estimate of the level of difficulty they should encounter, and while styles differ between regions we should at least aim to be consistent within an area. This doesn't mean grades need to be the most important part of climbing, nor does it mean we need to inflate grades to match the most feather-bagged route at the crag.

My area guidebook author adjusts the grades of routes (upgrade and downgrade, old school and new) to increase consistency and reduce sandbaggery. If the question is "when can we just upgrade a retro-graded route", the answer is now. Offer grades that are accurate to your experience on MP, talk to your guidebook authors when you run into them at the crag. Short of that, write your own guidebook if you want to see it happen.

Danny Herrera · · San Bruno, CA · Joined Jul 2015 · Points: 330
Floyd Eggers wrote: Future people will laugh at your 5.11 when they are proj'in a 5.27b+, and wonder why they don't chisel off holds to make it harder because the antiquated rating system of the 2000's was loose butthole. 

thank god that show is over with

PosiDave · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Dec 2011 · Points: 65
Russ Walling wrote: #FightGradeInflation

But how is everyone going to brag on instagram when they can only onsight single digit climbs?

If you can’t send 5.11a in yosemite/gunks/wherever. Then maybe you aren’t a 5.11a Climber and you just need to admit your  home crag is soft? 
Routes should be graded to the standard YOSEMITE decimal system.
Personally I get pissed when I can onsight 5.10 on gear somewhere 
Eli · · GMC3500 · Joined Nov 2010 · Points: 2,934

Find me a 5.9 that is actually 11+.

Russ Walling · · www.FishProducts.com · Joined Oct 2004 · Points: 3,231

Grade inflation has made me a much better climber than way back when I could actually climb... all those boulder problems and whatnot that were real 10C are now like V6.  Fuck yeah!  In another 10 years I'll be a V9 guy without getting my fat ass off the couch.

Oh... and Double Cross is still 5.7 no matter how many times Ondra hung on it

David Gibbs · · Ottawa, ON · Joined Aug 2010 · Points: 2
Russ Walling wrote: 
Oh... and Double Cross is still 5.7 no matter how many times Ondra hung on it

How do you hang on Double Cross?  There's no gear.

Russ Walling · · www.FishProducts.com · Joined Oct 2004 · Points: 3,231
David Gibbs wrote:

How do you hang on Double Cross?  There's no gear.

Three bolts braj... where you been?

Jim Titt · · Germany · Joined Nov 2009 · Points: 490
Russ Walling wrote: Grade inflation has made me a much better climber than way back when I could actually climb... all those boulder problems and whatnot that were real 10C are now like V6.  Fuck yeah!  In another 10 years I'll be a V9 guy without getting my fat ass off the couch.

Oh... and Double Cross is still 5.7 no matter how many times Ondra hung on it

One can go up 4 grades up in 35 years just by buying a new guide every now and then! And it doesn´t stop, I was elevated to onsighting FA 7b+ this year  

jason oliphant · · warren, Pa · Joined Mar 2018 · Points: 20

well I'm sure the broader community doesn't seem to be too bothered by this..
but I'm sympathetic to your POV, ska.

as a n00b.  my feeling is that sandbagged routes defeat the whole purpose of even Having a grade in the first place.

suppose I was driving into a new road in SE new york; all the sudden a cop comes striding out.
" whats going on officer, I was going 50 in a 55mph."

"oh, well that was the 50mpH in the 1980's.  Everyone has adjusted their speedometer for the new era.
BUT-unfortunately for you- we live by the OLD rules and you owe a $150 traffic ticket"

it would suck, right?  and worse for a n00b.  being on a route outside of one's ability could cost one his/her life.

I'm a chemist and I standardize ALL my numbers I don't arbitrarily inflate the numbers a few years later because I make more measurements.  why does the climbing community?
----
anyways, if you've climbed the Route- espacially routinely
why not just assign your own estimate of its difficulty-  why do you have to blindly follow the climbing community's assigned rating??

if You've climbed the route, then really the rating isn't such a big deal.

it just seems like a bigger deal for someone like me, a beginner, that Might be able to do a 5.8 But NOt at the Gunks (apparently)- where a 5.8 is not easy at all.

nathanael · · Riverside, CA · Joined May 2011 · Points: 347

Grades usually aren't as sandbagged as you think, and you end up realizing you're just bad at climbing.

DanielHart · · Carpinteria ca · Joined Dec 2016 · Points: 5

The thing is climbing at its purest is adventure. Yes we live in a world where everyone wants their hand held but there should be some things that are still out there that require some nerve. My hardest onsite ever was because I didn’t have a guidebook with me and felt inspired by the line. Having a grade for every step you take off of concrete is just robbing you of the experience of the unknown. Let’s all be grateful for the work developers and authors put in and not dilute the shit out of the outdoors.
If you need things to be that safe and accurate for you then do the rest of the world a favor and stay in the gym. 

David Gibbs · · Ottawa, ON · Joined Aug 2010 · Points: 2
Russ Walling wrote:

Three bolts braj... where you been?

Canada, apparently.

I guess it doesn't kill people any more.
Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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