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PostPosted: Mon Oct 31, 2005 4:31 pm 
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Joined: Thu Jun 02, 2005 7:13 pm
Posts: 565
What does everyone think would be the limit where no human would be able to climb beyond without alteration or enhancements. Working on bouldering grades here. Fred has opened an 8c+ which was a long term project of his, now going on this lets say he is able to one day tick of a 9a. Working from that a man who has dedicated his life to bouldering, I'm guessing that the limit would be 9b considering the training methods and age the kids are using these days.
I'm talking about proper bouldering ie. no 40 move problems through roofs, 5 move problems where you have a few bloody hard move. The other option would be to change the grading the harder you get. For instance from 8c up the increase in difficulty would be less thereby allowing an increase in grades.


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 Post subject: human potential
PostPosted: Tue Nov 01, 2005 10:55 am 
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Joined: Wed Oct 26, 2005 2:51 pm
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Location: northgate
I guess it would come down to personal endurance, staminer, and technique. I know the French do climbing as our equivelant of the matric subject, so that gives them a good standing in the climbing field. But now take Mel, the son of Gustav in Boven. He is only 3 or 4, yet he is quite comfy on the rocks allready. If he continues to practice, then there is no reason for the sky to be the limit. Definately watch that space.

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PostPosted: Tue Nov 01, 2005 1:51 pm 
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Joined: Tue May 03, 2005 12:48 pm
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Location: Cape Town
Real Name: Guy Holwill
Stu - I think that you have the principle correct, but I think that you're underestimating the ultimate level. If you look at climbing - hard climbing is about 25 years old (bouldering is only about 15 years old). These are really young sports. 25 years after they invented the 100m - they probably thought that 10 seconds was impossible. Now that the 100m is mature, they have to use 1/1000 of a second to record records. As you said, the same will probably happen in climbing - ie the difference between 8a and 8a+ will much greater than 9a and 9a+ etc.

Regarding the absolute difficulty, we still see people who can climb the hardest sport routes and boulder problems (Dai K, Dave Graham, Fred, Chris Sharma etc). If you look at running - there is no way that someone can win the 100m and 800m at an Olympics. This suggests that more specialisation will push grades much higher.


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 02, 2005 8:53 am 
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I see your point about about specialisation, but if you can do a 5-10 move hard boulder problem you will automatically be able to do a hard sport just from the amount of training you do. Remember some sport routes are short I don't think bouldering and sport climbing can really be compared to the 100m and 800m. But don't you think that specialisation will still only bring the grade up to about 9b if we leave the grading system as is, no smaller increments in grading(with smaller increments I could see an increase). I guess my view could be limited but 9b/9b+ seems along way off, even if youngsters do start training like monsters I feel they will burn out long before they achieve glory, but will be happy if they prove me wrong.


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 02, 2005 12:13 pm 
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Joined: Tue May 03, 2005 12:48 pm
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Location: Cape Town
Real Name: Guy Holwill
The easy way to get an idea of the ultimate level is to draw a graph of grades vs time. This will logically have a steep bit and then start to flatten off - indicating the absolute difficulty. I've drawn such a graph for sport climbing and it indicates that growth slowed around 1990 (no surprises), but has been constant since then (indicating that we are still far from the maximum difficulty).

I don't have enough info on bouldering grades. Although, you'll be pleased to know that SA bouldering grade progression has been pretty constant from the mid 90's - indicating that 8b+ is coming soon.

You point about some boulder problems being basically the same as some sport climbs is correct. The only thing is that curently almost all the really hard sport routes are long endurance affairs. Chilam Bilam 9b+ 80m, Dani's route 9a+/9b (link-up of two 8c's), Realisation 9a+ 50m.


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