Grade discounting

New Areas. New routes. Retrobolting. Add-ons. Re-grading. etc.
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Jeremy Samson
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Grade discounting

Post by Jeremy Samson » Fri Nov 20, 2009 8:59 pm

It was suggested that I overgrade routes which diminishes from the experience of the second ascentionist who, invariably, gets fed up that he/she psyched up for a route that turned out to be much easier than expected. Instead of that warm glow of achievement they get a sense of disappointment. ( see elsewhere in the forum )

Like all people who open routes it's tricky to get the grade spot on the first time. Attached are 2 pics of routes mis graded by up to 3 grades.
Parklife 24 ( 45 mtr pitch ) and StemGem 21.( adk's route )

However I do feel it's better to undergrade rather than overgrade. It makes far funnier pub stories.
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stemgem.jpg
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parklife.jpg
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Hilton
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Re: Grade discounting

Post by Hilton » Fri Nov 20, 2009 9:43 pm

No Jeremy, I didn't mean that at all. It's often crazily hard to grade. You're about as bad as me at grading. What I meant in that piece in the Yellowwood story-line is not that you overgraded but that Chris Lomax in his heyday was something else. I think that Chris' climbing/mountaineering history is phenomenal and is sadly being erased from the history blackboard because most new climbers don't know of him and the stories aren't recorded. I reckon you will agree that he was staggering. He was an awesomely strong climber and his head was even stronger. A real mountaineer's mountaineer. His "when in doubt, run it out" was an incredible mantra that he followed. Who would know that his second ascent of Monkey Tricks on Krakadouw was solo (no gear and alone on the face) with only Cathy to take pictures from the bottom? With John and I on the east face of Paine Grande at the top of a 7,500 foot wall Chris led a G3 pitch that took two hours, at -35 degrees celcius! They never came tougher. My comment was a tribute to a great climber and a lifelong friend who was doing some awesome stuff on Yellowwood a long time ago.

Stu
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Re: Grade discounting

Post by Stu » Fri Nov 20, 2009 9:55 pm

Regards Chris Lomax - does anyone know if there is a copy of the movie in which he was soloing a route at (I think) Klein Winterhoek.
Man, I remember watching that ages ago when I was a kid... and even named a cat after him :D

Jeremy Samson
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Re: Grade discounting

Post by Jeremy Samson » Sat Nov 21, 2009 7:13 am

Hilton,

I am well aware of Chris's ability. I met him decades ago after he just soloed Energy Crisis onsight. He mentioned that the 'offwidth' at the bottom was tricky. Turns out he didn't layback the crack but elbow barred up it which must have been desperate. I have seen him free soloing at Krakadouw which was also remarkable.

I spent some months with him in India and would never question his ability.

Was just trying to lighten the tone after several heated forum topics. I would love to get a copy of Solo Ascent - does anyone know where ?

scottnoy
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Re: Grade discounting

Post by scottnoy » Sat Nov 21, 2009 10:21 am

p.s. a couple of holds on Parklife have recently broken and it's probably little harder now...

rocklooney
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Re: Grade discounting

Post by rocklooney » Sat Nov 21, 2009 11:03 pm

@ Jeremy. I rented a copy of Solo Ascent from Video Spot at The Colony in Craighall Park some time back. Maybe they can help? 011 447 1401.

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DAcaveman
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Re: Grade discounting

Post by DAcaveman » Sat Nov 21, 2009 11:22 pm

stemgem maybe 20... :thumleft:

parklife maybe 30. Yes, 30. awesome 45m pitch. 8a in my humble opinion. What I would give to have climbed Parklife back when it was opened... First 30 m the most consistent endurance climbing i've encountered, at least grade 26 for every move, then THE crux when you're completely thrashed at 30m, at least grade 28, ending off with 15m of friction climbing at about grade 23-24. U need BAULZZZ to do that last 15m, and the last bolt is runout a bit too... Yes, put them all together and it makes one hell of a feat to point that monster!
My nemesis, for sure :mrgreen: but one day...

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Hector
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Re: Grade discounting

Post by Hector » Sun Nov 22, 2009 8:26 am

I remember being told Chris Lomax used to solo laps on Red Corner in Upper Tonquani to warm up. That blew me away as a lighty, when I had to psyche up to climb the route the first time...

Definately better to undergrade than overgrade. I'd feel way more psyched to get up a Kevin Smith 22 than to get up a 26 at Hallucenogen. Grading's supposed to be subjective, so as long as the danger is well-explained in the RD then sandbags are great. Helps keep the ego in check and keeps you motivated.

Jeremy Samson
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Re: Grade discounting

Post by Jeremy Samson » Sun Nov 22, 2009 10:14 am

We are a little poor when it comes to balance/slab and granite climbing. I watched Ben Bransby lead Stem Gem in no time, basically walked up it. DeKlerk has done it in running shoes.

Parklife has been onsighted ( a travelling British female climber ) and has seen quite a few repeats. Tinie got the 2nd ascent very quickly. It's 25 -a few holds have broken but that hasn't changed the grade.

Here is a pick of Jimbo on the very bold-Turn of the tide 24 - the only gear is a cam way below his feet with Keith ready to run if he falls. A 'testy' 24 from the 80's.

See.. some days' we're 'beef' others we are 'chicken' - referring to the old 'what happened to the bold ?' thread from earlier.
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Marshall1
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Re: Grade discounting

Post by Marshall1 » Mon Nov 23, 2009 9:01 am

This is intended with no disrespect to Chris Lomax or any other hero of the past.

Why not become our own climbing heros instead of alway harking after the past & previous grand climbing heros? Why not try & recognize the value of the current climbing community? Focus on our own climbing.

Names dropping is hugely nauseating. As an average-joe climber I have a list of names I could drop.....but I'm going to try & spare you.

Stu
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Re: Grade discounting

Post by Stu » Mon Nov 23, 2009 9:29 am

Come on Marshall, there are very few SA guys these days doing what the AdK's and Chris Lomax's achieved in the past.
Slate me if you want but it seems this generation is alot softer than those of years gone by, much of this can be attributed to an improvment in gear/equipment and change in focus but it still doesn't change the fact.

Marshall1
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Re: Grade discounting

Post by Marshall1 » Mon Nov 23, 2009 9:39 am

"there are very few SA guys these days doing what the AdK's and Chris Lomax's achieved in the past." too true, but there were very few in those days.

How does it help to hark over the past?

mokganjetsi
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Re: Grade discounting

Post by mokganjetsi » Mon Nov 23, 2009 9:47 am

yeah i love to hear these stories of the hard men of old. inspirational. gets the respect going. tradition, culture and ethics.... a solid foundation for the next generation.

please keep it coming

Stu
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Re: Grade discounting

Post by Stu » Mon Nov 23, 2009 11:35 am

How does it help? - Inspiration man, to go out there and climb, dream big, open new routes, change your view on what's possible... There's nothing wrong with praising our older legends if they are still some of the best examples of what SA has to offer.

Brussel
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Re: Grade discounting

Post by Brussel » Mon Nov 29, 2010 5:03 pm

DACavman bugger off!
stem gem is not a 20, last time I tried to climb it it felt like a 30 to me :)

I guess if your technique is good then its easy but I suffered up it. To hear AdK did it in running shoes is really humbling :)

as for Lomax's vid I have a vhs copy somewhere....must try to get it onto DVD...really impressive

ant
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Re: Grade discounting

Post by ant » Tue Nov 30, 2010 8:50 am

I have copies of Solo ascent, the 96 Waterfront comp and several Masters of Stone in digital format.

I think there are still some CD copies I left at the MCSA, otherwise let's make a plan to get a copy to you.

ant

antventure@yahoo.com

CamsterBurns
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Re: Grade discounting

Post by CamsterBurns » Fri May 24, 2013 8:49 am

Can anyone tell me where I can get a copy of this Chris Lomax film and/or see it online?
I spent a really great month or so with him in Patagonia in 95/96. We didn't climb together, we just hung out a lot with our UK buddies Julian Fisher and Charlie French. Chris's partner bailed on him, and I can't remember what happened after that. Chris was as cheeky as I and I have wonderful memories of him in the Rio Blanco (is it?) base camp. Cam Burns

CamsterBurns
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Re: Grade discounting

Post by CamsterBurns » Fri May 24, 2013 9:16 am

Never mind that! A bloke named Tony just gave me Chris's email address.

Ghaznavid
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Re: Grade discounting

Post by Ghaznavid » Fri May 24, 2013 10:08 am

Ok, I haven't read what everyone else said, but let me throw my 2c in
Jeremy Samson wrote:However I do feel it's better to undergrade rather than overgrade. It makes far funnier pub stories.
It depends on the area and type of climbing. E.g. if I did a full day walk-in to a Drakensberg route graded E (pretty much my upper limit - yes I know that's supposed to be an easy climb for an average climber), and it turned out to be undergraded by 3 grades I would be highly annoyed trying to back out of a climb I have already started when I realise I can't do the route. It could end up being rather dangerous trying to retreat from such a position.

I guess on a sport route where you can just ditch the route half way up it wouldn't really matter.
"There is something fundamentally wrong in treating the Earth as if it were a business in liquidation." Herman E Daly

Warren G
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Re: Grade discounting

Post by Warren G » Mon May 27, 2013 8:44 pm

Agreed, sandbagging is a dirty game.
Sandbagging is a dirty game

DavidWade
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Re: Grade discounting

Post by DavidWade » Wed May 29, 2013 8:37 pm

When grading a route just be as absolutely honest as possible.
Simple as that.

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brianweaver
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Re: Grade discounting

Post by brianweaver » Thu May 30, 2013 11:35 am

It's quite common for a route to experience a downgrade after being opened. I have experienced it on two of my hardest first ascents in Boven due to easier sequences being found. It's usually a good idea to put a route half or a full grade lower than you feel it is for a FA. Personally, this is really tough for me, I opened Mutation at 33 then Andrew found a new sequence which skipped a 6 move boulder problem that was really hard and lowered the grade to 32. Sometime you just get locked in a sequence and get stuck. It also helps to get another person's opinion before you open the line, new sequences can be really easy for someone else to find...
I hate this real world place... I'd be more than happy to live out there rather...

Ghaznavid
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Re: Grade discounting

Post by Ghaznavid » Thu May 30, 2013 2:20 pm

You have to wonder about The Change and La Dura Dura - maybe they are 37's or 38's, not 9b+/39's...

I guess that's the problem with a grade that has 2 routes and 2 people on earth who have managed to climb them.
"There is something fundamentally wrong in treating the Earth as if it were a business in liquidation." Herman E Daly

Chris F
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Re: Grade discounting

Post by Chris F » Thu May 30, 2013 5:17 pm

I was thinking the same as brian as grade you think -1. I've done a few FAs usually onsight on gear and the grade I think it is when I top out buzzing like a fridge and the uncertainty regards finding good gear etc. Second usually comes up and they reckon a grade easier than your first impression.

chrisb
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Re: Grade discounting

Post by chrisb » Wed Aug 09, 2017 4:10 pm

My 1c: Grades are not an exact science. People are far too different (physically & mentally) to argue that a piece of rock will feel the same to everyone. I do believe that one can be fairly confident (even 100% in some cases) about the grade of a route for one's self, but it does not follow that that route will feel the same to everyone else. I agree with David, just give your honest opinion on the grade. It will help everyone else out. The rest of us need to stop saying things like, "How can ______ say that route is only a __ !?" Instead of challenging them on their opinion, maybe we should be asking them for their beta.

Chris F
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Re: Grade discounting

Post by Chris F » Wed Aug 09, 2017 7:36 pm

I think this thread only got resurrected by a smart bot?

Jarrett
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Re: Grade discounting

Post by Jarrett » Thu Aug 10, 2017 1:17 pm

Haha, you're right, that bot almost fooled me :lol:

sofiabovinoclaudia saying "lighty" and talking about seeing a British climber on Paarl rock a long time ago... highly unlikely

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