Alphane Moon 8A in Chironico,
pic by Aldo Tonazzi

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Up- and Downgrading

What I’m writing here is just MY personal opinion. On the other hand I’m pretty sure, that I’m not alone with this view.
Sure, climbing and especially bouldering grades are subjective and very individual. Far moves are definitely easier, if you’re tall. Compression boulders and tricky sitstarts can be easier, if you’re short. According to that a grading can never be fixed. For the one it may feel like an 8A… for another one it feels like a 7C+ and the next one is giving it an 8A+.  
Then again a line can initially simply be wrongly graded, what call for a correction. Or successors just found much better beta or “new” holds, which made the moves easier. Anyway… there are many reasons why a boulder can be down- or upgraded. But some of the “re”gradings which we saw in the last years are just an expression of an image neurosis of some people…!!!
I don’t mind if someone is giving a 7C+ to an 8A…! But what I can really not understand and what I completely loathe is, if some guys are downgrading routes extremely and unjustified, just because of some personal fights or what I already wrote, to support their personal image neurosis. Mostly the new grading tend to be completely undervalued then. Just to show…. “Hey look! I’m so strong that this line felt like a walk in the park. All others are idiots, if you’re giving a higher grade.” And hey… you really can read such comments or at least similar ones with the same meaning in the end, but other words. This is just disrespectful…!! AND these are simply “kindergarten-games” and have nothing to do in the end with the correct difficulty of the boulder. And somehow the grading should give at least a bit of an idea, how difficult the line REALLY is.
But it’s not just disrespectful. You kick everyones ass who has already climbed the line or is trying and struggling on it and they really think that the line deserves the grade it has. But you especially kick all the first ascentionists. Albeit I’m pretty sure they had also an idea how hard it is. They own personal impression.
I think, that an established line, which is climbed very often and found his grade through dozens of ascents should be accepted as the grade it has. Clear… the one line probably felt way easier for some individuals… but they should just accept that it is their preferred style, which matches their strengths or personal physical conditions best. The boulder is NOT EASIER then… these guys are just fit in perfectly.
The funny thing is that especially a few of the new generation climbers - the young guys - have this aptitude. Not JUST these… but mostly. I think they sometimes simply don’t realize how strong they are nowadays. All the same… the boulders are NOT EASIER today. The new generation is just stronger…!!
O.k… you can say “give a shit to such comments!”… or… “why do you fuss on it?”. You’re right! At least somehow. BUT especially in climbing, a completely wrong grading can get dangerous!! Luckily this is usually not a problem in bouldering!
There are several examples, which I don’t like to point out here. That’s definitely not my style and not the goal of my entry. Nonetheless I want to highlight it and to sensitize some guys to think first, and write afterwards.
SURE… we have freedom of opinion and everyone can give a grading and comment he like to. But then accept my opinion too… it’s just a personal view. ;)

1 comment:

  1. Thumbs up!!

    Climb the LINES, make your thoughts about grades, but please stop bashing all around the net