/ Gogarth E5/6s in sport grades

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dinodinosaur 31 Jan 2020

Boredom got the better of me and I was wondering, as I perceive Gogarth main cliff to be a sporty style of climbing (ie steep and pumpy) what the general consensus is on the sport grades for the classic E5s such as Positron, Hunger and the cruxy Citadel. I'm guessing they are around the 7a mark? And what stuff like alien and skinhead moonstomp would be?

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Al Randall 31 Jan 2020
In reply to dinodinosaur:

When I did Citadel it turned out to be about A2

Al

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dinodinosaur 31 Jan 2020
In reply to Al Randall:

:') this has made my day

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In reply to dinodinosaur:

This is a perfect thread for a Friday afternoon, when selling advertising has lost its magic and I'm basically looking to procrastinate until the day is over (Alan, if you're reading this then I'm joking - obviously...).

As a rule of thumb people tend to over estimate the sport grades of trad routes, although perhaps this isn't overly surprising given that you climb very differently throughout each style: trad tends to involve a lot of hanging around, whereas sport climbing tends to involve much more movement. In addition to this, if you're climbing on Main Cliff it's not out of the question for your rack to weigh up to 5kg, which - even though I'm not a sport scientist - I would imagine is going to be detrimental to your performance.

As such, I'm probably going to err on the conservative side, but hopefully it'll get a few people going. I have - just for the geeks out there - added them in the order of difficulty, based on my own personal (and highly subjective experience):

Positron - 6c
Dinosaur - 6c
Ordinary Route - 6c
Eraserhead - 6c
Citadel - 6c+
Hunger - 6c+
Sebastopol - 6c+
Mammoth - 7a
Mammoth Direct - 7a+
Alien - 7a++
Skinhead - I can't believe I haven't done this route, please forgive me o' lord...

It's worth mentioning that in/around the time I did most of these I was climbing at Main Cliff a lot, hence in tune with the style and comfortable with the surroundings. That said, this isn't to say I onsighted them all. If the clag is in, the rock is greasy, and everything is coated in vaseline, it doesn't matter what arbitrary number is attached to the route - it's going to feel like the living end.

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Al Randall 31 Jan 2020
In reply to dinodinosaur:

Seriously though. The comparison between sport and trad is meaningless and IMO publicising in this way could be dangerous.  I have visions of competent sports climbers who do climb 7a thinking that this somehow qualifies them for routes such as this. It may for some but having climbed both sport and trad extensively I can say quite categorically that on sighting a 7a and climbing Citadel are two completely different experiences. I would not hesitate to go out now and attempt a 7a. I would be far more cautious and perhaps even a little fearful to try Citadel again. I never seem to hear experienced trad climbers asking what the equivalent sport grade would be which makes me suspect that this is coming from sport climbers aspiring to climb trad but perhaps not willing to go through what I would consider the appropriate apprenticeship of starting easy and working up. I also suspect that there is a bit of wishful thinking going on by a few.

Al

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HeMa 31 Jan 2020
In reply to Al Randall:

Why grade at all then?

For me Rob’s list would be helpful (no, I ain’t 7a bolt clipper), as at least gives me an idea of the physical skills to get up said lines. E something 6b won’t.

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Dan Arkle 31 Jan 2020
In reply to dinodinosaur:

I'd say 7a+ (maybe 7b) for Skinhead. It doesn't have that problem of hanging round placing the gear to confuse things. You place good gear from a rest, then pretty much run it out. 

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AJM 31 Jan 2020
In reply to Al Randall:

> I never seem to hear experienced trad climbers asking what the equivalent sport grade would be which makes me suspect that this is coming from sport climbers aspiring to climb trad but perhaps not willing to go through what I would consider the appropriate apprenticeship of starting easy and working up

It feels unlikely that the drive to include it in guidebooks on high end routes is coming from aspirant trad climbers somehow. It's also a common currency for descriptions of hard routes more widely. Now sure, some of those people sport grading or asking after sport grades of E6/7/etc may be sport monsters who haven't done a trad apprenticeship but can jump right in because they are beasts; that seems unlikely [edit: to be the majority].

But anyway, count me as one of these people you never seem to hear. Spent a lot of time trad climbing (17 years?), definitely started easy and worked up very slowly, but I find french grades a more natural measure of difficulty than tech grades so find them a useful thing to know.

Post edited at 18:01
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Al Randall 31 Jan 2020
In reply to HeMa:

Yes perhaps I'm being overly cautious but I have direct experience of a sports climber doing exactly this.  He got into trouble and suffered serious injuries as a consequence.  Places like Gogarth deserve a grade for the intimidation factor which being realistic would probably kick in very quickly for someone who has not climbed trad. It doesn't do any harm to just put out a warning. I believe that there IS a case at these grades to ADD a sports grade to the trad but to try and directly compare the two is in my mind inappropriate.

Al

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dinodinosaur 31 Jan 2020
In reply to Al Randall:

I don't think anyone in their right mind thinks that they are the same thing. And say a sport climber did decide to try anything on main cliff, firstly they have to find a partner who is equally as stupid to go with them to do it and a rack to climb on, then they have to find the way into Gogarth (possibly scaring themselves before the off) and find the start of the route without bolts to follow.

This was just a lighthearted post out of pure curiosity, believe me I've climbed enough trad to know at least a little bit about it and I'm very much aware of "trad apprenticeship" and building a pyramid. 

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dinodinosaur 31 Jan 2020
In reply to Al Randall:

> Yes perhaps I'm being overly cautious but I have direct experience of a sports climber doing exactly this.  He got into trouble and suffered serious injuries as a consequence.

Wow, I've never heard of this happening before in my personal experience. I hope the individual is okay now (well as okay as they can be considering) this must be a rare ocurrance, may I ask what route they decided to do or is that too personal? 

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FactorXXX 31 Jan 2020
In reply to Rob Greenwood - UKClimbing:

> This is a perfect thread for a Friday afternoon, when selling advertising has lost its magic and I'm basically looking to procrastinate until the day is over (Alan, if you're reading this then I'm joking - obviously...).

The UKC office.
The only office in the UK where climbers don't spend their working day browsing and contributing to the UKC Forums...

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George_Surf 31 Jan 2020
In reply to dinodinosaur:

It’s a funny one isn’t it. Purely in terms of the climbing maybe 6c I’d imagine, but on the lead you’re easily going to be as tired as you would be on a 7a, and very likely considerably more so! I’m sure it helps a lot to have a bit of milage down there, if you’ve got a feel for the style you’ll be climbing a lot better/steadier. Maybe I’m just not very efficient 

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George_Surf 31 Jan 2020
In reply to dinodinosaur:

Eg a Tremadog e4 (or any other) is going to get me panting no doubt, but normal 35m 6c/+ limestone route probably won’t 

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Alex Riley 31 Jan 2020
In reply to George_Surf:

I’m steadily working my way through falling off every e4 at tremadog on my first try, I’m not sure sport grades mean anything there

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HeMa 31 Jan 2020
In reply to George_Surf:

Oddly enough, the nordic granite I mainly climb, I'm equally gripped on a route with 6c climbing be the protection bolts or gear.
 

That being said, very much not like Gogarth so no need to draw any conclusions from that.

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Robert Durran 31 Jan 2020
In reply to HeMa:

> For me Rob’s list would be helpful (no, I ain’t 7a bolt clipper), as at least gives me an idea of the physical skills to get up said lines. E something 6b won’t.

I would have thought that the main physical skill needed was the ability to hang onto big slopey holds and fat pinches long enough to get gear into flared cracks to one's satisfaction. Sport grades seem more like a curiosity.

Post edited at 19:29
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kingholmesy 31 Jan 2020
In reply to Rob Greenwood - UKClimbing:

What about The Cad?

And just how dangerous is it? Are we talking you don’t want to fall off?  Or are we talking you really can’t fall off?

p.s. I for one find sports grades for trad routes useful.

Post edited at 19:36
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Robert Durran 31 Jan 2020
In reply to kingholmesy:

> What about The Cad?

I'd have thought that sport grades for very bold routes are probably of particular value. If a route is effectively a solo, you might think "well, it's only 6c and I've not fallen off or even got pumped on a 6c for years, so I can justify doing it".

Post edited at 19:48
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Ged Desforges 31 Jan 2020
In reply to Rob Greenwood - UKClimbing:

Great Friday argument topic  

If positron is 6c,hunger is about 9b...

If positron was at buoux, would it honestly get any more than 6a? I doubt it. Hunger maybe 6b+?

But then again it's not buoux... 

Post edited at 20:04
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The Jazz Butcher 31 Jan 2020
In reply to kingholmesy:

> p.s. I for one find sports grades for trad routes useful.

I do as well. For example, Right Wall is probably no more than 6c, but you wouldn't want to fall off at certain points as it is run out. Whereas Get Some In is more hard 7a but really safe.

Coming from a trad background I do consider what the sport grade would be, just so I know what I'm letting myself in for.

Of course, sport grades don't always work or give a good indicator of what's to come.

I remember speaking to someone in the late eighties / early nineties in Pembroke and they had recently onsighted The Bells and Conan at Gogarth, yet hadn't climbed sport 7b+. Whether they could is another question. What they did have, as someone mentioned earlier in this thread, was a massive fuc*in' pyramid of trad routes and experience. At the time I had climbed 7b+, but only onsighted E4.

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In reply to Ged Desforges:

Funnily enough I was going to put in Positron as 6b+, but for some reason shied away - I must be getting soft!

As you say, cracking Friday night thread - these are the things that matter ;-)

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dinodinosaur 31 Jan 2020
In reply to Rob Greenwood - UKClimbing:

I knew you wouldn't be able to resist a Gogarth related thread.

I'm super psyched to get involved on main cliff again this year, get into those steep awkward cracks and big pinches. I really enjoy the steep and burly style of the routes I've done there already!

What else do you think is the key to going well in Gogarth?

Edited for spelling 

Post edited at 20:39
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bensilvestre 31 Jan 2020
In reply to dinodinosaur:

I basically agree with Rob, though I haven't done Mammoth direct. 6b+ for Positron. 7a+ for Alien, more than any of the others pumpy gear makes this feel a lot harder though.

The Cad is 6c and I'd say don't wanna fall rather than can't fall.

Main pitch of Conan is 7b/+

Get Some In is 6c+ max not hard 7a. Pembroke I know but it was mentioned and thought I'd stoke the fire.

Upper tier e5's of course are much harder than main cliff ones, with the exceptions of Mammoth (which is desperate) and Energy Crisis (which isn't).

Energy Crisis - 6c

The Cruise - 7a+ ?

Run Fast, Run Free - 6c+

Barbarossa - 7b

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profitofdoom 31 Jan 2020
In reply to Alex Riley:

> I’m steadily working my way through falling off every e4 at tremadog on my first try, I’m not sure sport grades mean anything there

Why not fall off the E5s - looks better

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In reply to kingholmesy:

The Cad is often quoted as being around 6c, which seems about right.

When it comes to just how dangerous it is, my answer wouldn't just be very (possibly even extremely). It ultimately comes down to a blend of suspect rock and suspect gear, particularly throughout the first half where you're basically reliant on slings draped over spikes you probably wouldn't like to rest your hat on. 

When you arrive at the infamous 'flake' you get in your first pieces of gear, all of which feel highly dubious, but just above that there is (what I thought to be) a bomber thread, which is basically the only bit of gear on the whole route that I trusted. From here you traverse out right, then up into the crux. Various people have taken long lobs from here and survived, but it would clearly be a massively unappealing prospect and highly unpleasant; however, I'd still rather take this fall than one from lower down.

Please accept my apologies if this gives you nightmares. Curiously it's stories like this that made me intrigued.

What was wrong with me?!?

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Misha 31 Jan 2020
In reply to dinodinosaur:

One of the difficulties with this question is that once you've done one big pitch (particularly on lead), you're going to be at least a bit cooked (unless you're a trad wad), so the next pitch will feel harder than it would be if done as a standalone route.

Positron is a good example of this as the first pitch is solid E3, the second pitch is a short but hard E4 and then you get the headwall pitch which would be E4 on its own but feels E5! It's also a pitch which doesn't feel too bad if you're fit as there are no particularly hard moves, just no real rests either and you've got to place gear in a pumpy position (so loads of 5c but arguably no real 6a moves). 7a is perhaps a bit too much but somewhere around 6c+ sounds about right.

Hunger I found desperate, particularly because the lower crux is blind and a bit dynamic (not my forte). Took a few falls there, one to try again! The upper crux is punchy as well but I did that ok. You do get a decent rest before the upper crux, which helps a lot. Definitely 7a, may be 7a+ but perhaps it was just not my style. Seconded the second pitch and found it pumpy as hell, partly because I was boxed and partly because it actually is pumpy as hell! Not as hard as the first pitch but still 6c+ or so.

Citadel is very cruxy. I thought it was solid E3 to a pretty much hands off rest, then a short but tricky crux, followed by a few ok moves to the belay. Took me ages to work out the crux but you can venture out onto the face to have a go and then retreat back to the rest. Always hard to grade cruxy pitches but I'd say 6c+ or so but would be 6b+ without the crux. Again, it's far from over after that as the second pitch is a lot harder than it looks! A good 6c on its own. If you're feeling masochistic, the second pitch of Graduation Ceremony just to the left is similar but harder, 6c+ I guess.#

Dinosaur I found pretty hard, even though the crux section isn't that long. Poor feet + slopey pinches = pumpy! There's a reasonable rest before the crux but somehow it still managed to get very pumpy very quickly. Fell off it twice before getting it third go - another one to try again... 7a seems fair.

Mammoth is the most brutal of the Main Cliff beasts I've tussled with. It's fairly straightforward up to the crux section, then you're into some evil spanned out jamming (the scars took a couple of weeks to heal...), a non-rest and a long steep section by which time you're totally boxed. Took me ages to fight through the jams so I was pretty tired by the time I got to the non-rest but even so I doubt I'd have onsighted it. At least it's fairly safe to fall off, as with all of these routes. 7a+ or harder but some wad will be along in a minute to say it's only 6c! After all that, the second pitch is no pushover at solid E3. Some say the Direct is not much harder - may be I'll find out one day but need to have another go at the original version first.

Energy Crisis - only seconded this one but it felt pretty solid and a hell of a lot harder than it looks from the ground! Slopey pinch and awkward jam lovers, step this way! It's not very long so perhaps not quite 7a but 6c+ for sure.

Having said that, I think Pembroke is a lot more 'sporty' than Main Cliff, which has weird holds (slopers and pinches galore), evil painful jams, sometimes fiddly gear, some suspect rock and the infamous 'grip' factor. Hence sport grades kind of underestimate the effort involved...

Post edited at 22:05
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Misha 31 Jan 2020
In reply to Rob Greenwood - UKClimbing:

Your grades are only half a grade below mine and that may well be fair if you simply look at how hard the climbing is if it was bolted, as opposed to how hard it is with a big rack, most of which you end up placing. Agree with your order of difficulty, for the ones I've done, except that I didn't find Citadel that hard on the whole, just cruxy but with a good rest before the crux that wasn't a big deal. Ended up leading the second pitch of Graduation straight after, which felt harder!

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bensilvestre 31 Jan 2020
In reply to dinodinosaur:

Forgot to add:

Ramadan - 7a+

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Misha 31 Jan 2020
In reply to Al Randall:

I suspect that the average 7a onsight sport climber who doesn't do much trad wouldn't go to Main Cliff in the first place. If they did, without getting put off by the approach, they'd probably take one look at the E5s there and go and do Gogarth instead.

Experienced sport climbers do sometimes ask or discuss what the equivalent sport grade is. It's a useful piece of information to have and an interesting thing to discuss, not least because sometimes people have quite different thoughts on it. Might not ask on here but may well peruse the logbooks (sometimes people mention what they think the sport grade is) or ask their friends who have done the route.

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Misha 31 Jan 2020
In reply to Alex Riley:

Ha, indeed. Have you tried Zukator yet? If not, you're in for a treat...

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redjerry 31 Jan 2020
In reply to Rob Greenwood - UKClimbing:

I spend a lot of time Tr soloing. It's not uncommon for me to climb some E4/5/6 routes one day and others in the 7a -7b range the next day since those tend to be my go-to grades. I say this because I think it gives me a pretty clear idea of the relative physical difficulty of trad and sport routes in that grade range.
I haven't done much at Gogarth, but in other areas, reasonably well-protected  E5's almost always seem to me to be in the 7a to 7b range.

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Misha 31 Jan 2020
In reply to The Jazz Butcher:

Right Wall 6c - yes. Get Some In hard 7a - not sure about that, I've led it and seconded it with different partners and we all agreed it was about 6c+ but depends how fit you are. Certainly a much more 'sport style' route than anything at Main Cliff.

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Misha 31 Jan 2020
In reply to bensilvestre:

I did wonder about 6c for Positron but thought that would be sandbagging. Might be right though. 6b+ is definitely sandbagging, you and Rob are too strong! To be fair it was years ago and my first E5, so memory fades. Might only have been 6b after all ;-)

Barbarossa is not E5, is it? Thought it was E7? Now Barbarella, on the other hand... 7a at least?

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Misha 31 Jan 2020
In reply to Rob Greenwood - UKClimbing:

Interesting, I'll put The Cad a bit higher on my list of E6s to try. I guess doing South Sea Bubble, Blue Peter and The Long Run would provide a decent idea of whether to try it.

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In reply to Al Randall:

> Seriously though. The comparison between sport and trad is meaningless and IMO publicising in this way could be dangerous. 

Hi Al,

Sorry for not getting back to you last night, I wanted to write a reply that did your comment justice, but ran out of time.

I'll deal with the point outlined above first, because this - at least from an international perspective - is quite an interesting one. The British grading system is unique, and (in my opinion) both weird, wonderful and - once you've got to know it - brilliant, given that it is one of the few that gives you an indication of what to expect. I'm not saying it does that precisely or necessarily accurately, but it gives it a go.

In virtually every other grading system I can think of - French, UIAA, USA, Norwegian, Australian, and South African - the only grade given is that which indicates the difficulty of the route. Even in the USA, where they add on the R and X, they don't lower the grade/difficulty if it's a bold route - they keep it as/is so that it provides an accurate representation of the route.

As such, whilst I can see where you're coming from about how sport grades don't necessarily translate (something I think everyone on this thread would actually agree on) they are common, familiar, internationally used, and do - as others have said - have a place + purpose in understanding a route's difficulty. This thread alone is a testament to that.

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In reply to bensilvestre:

Spooky, I'd say we're almost in complete agreement regarding all of those. It's also reassuring to hear that you found Mammoth desperate!!

When it comes to The Cruise, this is (for me) a good example of how personal experience can interfere with the actual difficulty of a climb and I'm not 100% sure I can be an accurate judge. On the day, I remember being more pumped than I'd ever been on a route, which really is saying something. I was off every move, yet somehow stayed on. I was off the crux, yet somehow stayed on. Even now I can't believe I managed to do it. At the time I thought 'that's 7b', but suspect that sentiment could be victim of my opening statement regarding people overestimating the actual difficult of routes.

I still can't believe I didn't fall off...

p.s. good to see the Positron 6b+ club growing, although there's going to be some disappointed people out there in light of this - Theo (Moore) thought it was about 8a!!

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In reply to Alex Riley:

> I’m steadily working my way through falling off every e4 at tremadog on my first try, I’m not sure sport grades mean anything there

It's ok, we've all been there

Here's my official, highly scientific breakdown:

Void - desperate
Vulcan - unspeakably desperate
Vulture - looks piss, but is actually desperate
Zukator -looks desperate, but is even more desperate in reality

and finally, the single exception:

Cream - compared to those above, a complete and utter jug-filled path...

Post edited at 07:40
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Andy Moles 01 Feb 2020
In reply to dinodinosaur:

Yes, good thread.

Timely reminder of an incentive to retain a bit of climbing fitness through the grim plod of Scottish winter

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bensilvestre 01 Feb 2020
In reply to Rob Greenwood - UKClimbing:

I would say The Cruise feels like 7b putting the gear in. But was trying to remove that element.

As for Cream, first time I did that it was wet and I absolutely cruised it. Did Vulcan, Vulture, Fingerlicker and Zukator (Zukator is completely desperate - one of those where you fall upwards) on that same day too. Went back last year with that attitude and found Cream nails! Attitude is everything sometimes

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bensilvestre 01 Feb 2020
In reply to Misha:

Barbarossa is E6 in its current state. And well worth doing

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Robert Durran 01 Feb 2020
In reply to Rob Greenwood - UKClimbing:

> Void - desperate

> Vulcan - unspeakably desperate

> Vulture - looks piss, but is actually desperate

> Zukator -looks desperate, but is even more desperate in reality

What about Venom? Even more desperate?

Post edited at 08:45
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bensilvestre 01 Feb 2020
In reply to redjerry:

Surprised to hear that you think E5s are commonly 7b just for the physical difficulty. Out of close to 100 that I've done I struggle to think of any that are 7b just for the actual climbing. London Wall might be the only one I can think of. I can think of a few which feel like 7b putting the gear in, but only a few. 6c+ / 7a with a few at 7a+ would be my guess in general. Which is why so many people struggle with breaching E6. Suddenly the grade range explodes and goes from 7a to 7c. 

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Robert Durran 01 Feb 2020
In reply to Misha:

> Positron is a good example of this as the first pitch is solid E3, the second pitch is a short but hard E4 and then you get the headwall pitch which would be E4 on its own but feels E5! It's also a pitch which doesn't feel too bad if you're fit as there are no particularly hard moves, just no real rests either and you've got to place gear in a pumpy position (so loads of 5c but arguably no real 6a moves). 7a is perhaps a bit too much but somewhere around 6c+ sounds about right.

On the day Positron felt like three E3 pitches to me (but maybe I was having a rare good day!) with the middle one maybe only E2  (long reach?). The top pitch felt mostly 5b with maybe two or three 5c moves, so maybe it is really only 6b+!

Not done any other Main Cliff E5's - I presume they would all feel a big step up?

Post edited at 08:50
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In reply to Misha:

> Right Wall 6c - yes. Get Some In hard 7a - not sure about that, I've led it and seconded it with different partners and we all agreed it was about 6c+ but depends how fit you are. Certainly a much more 'sport style' route than anything at Main Cliff.

I think you got it spot on for Get Some In. It’s steep and pretty steady, so definitely ‘feels’ like 7a if you’re not on top of your game, but 6c+ is about right.

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bensilvestre 01 Feb 2020
In reply to Misha:

Just saw the comment about Barbarella... yikes that's a hard one. I wouldn't feel unjust about giving it 7a+ , and that's on the rare occasion that there is no grease whatsoever

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bensilvestre 01 Feb 2020
In reply to Robert Durran:

> Not done any other Main Cliff E5's - I presume they would all feel a big step up?

I would just say that compared to Positron, they require you to be climbing well at Gogarth, rather than climbing well in general.  

Post edited at 09:12
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Robert Durran 01 Feb 2020
In reply to bensilvestre:

> I would just say that compared to Positron, they require you to be climbing well at Gogarth, rather than climbing well in general.  

Yes, the top pitch of Positron felt more Pembrokey than Gogarthey........

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The Grist 01 Feb 2020
In reply to Rob Greenwood - UKClimbing:

I can cruise 6b+ and have wanted to do Positron for years but have been too scared. I will get on it this summer and report back. What could possibly go wrong?!? 🤔. 
 

But joking aside I guess a lot depends on how easy it is to place gear and how pumpy it is to place gear. That will affect the grade of the route as much as the climbing.......which is a point you have already made. I have done some e4s that are not actually that pumpy as the gear is limited so you just climb. When you get the gear it is obvious and easy to place. Conversely I have done some e3s where the gear is everywhere but the great placements are not immediately obvious but you get pumped stupid placing it. 
 

The problem I have on main wall is holding pinches and placing gear in slightly flared cracks on steep ground. Both pumpy and scary at the same time. 

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Al Randall 01 Feb 2020
In reply to Rob Greenwood - UKClimbing:

I seem to be being misunderstood.  I will attempt to be clearer. 

I have no issues with academic discussions about sport/trad grade comparisons.  My concern, after listening to threads on UKC, overheard conversations at the climbing wall and experience of an accident which happened directly as a consequence of climber who had only climbed sport overestimating his abilities on trad after making this comparison.  He made a mess of placing gear, got panicked at the run outs and seemed to totally lose control resulting in a fall and serious injuries.  He would have climbed the route easily seconding, which by the way and IMO is when a comparison can be valid.  I hope this makes my position clear.

Al

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In reply to Al Randall:

Whilst I ultimately agree with the sentiment, I don't think people throwing themselves onto routes and getting out their depth is anything new. Granted, seeing a sport grade that outwardly appears reasonable could be a catalyst, but people have been doing this long before sport grades were even a thing (in fact, I suspect they've been doing it since climbing began).

To add an alternative viewpoint, by knowing the both the French grade and the British grade a prospective, experienced leader would have a better all-round view of a route, which could help them come to a more accurate view of what to expect and whether or not it is wise to proceed (or back away slowly).

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In reply to Robert Durran:

> Yes, the top pitch of Positron felt more Pembrokey than Gogarthey........

Your sentiment summarises it nicely: Postitron actually has holds, whereas most of the others have a series of house bricks/breeze blocks

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Al Randall 01 Feb 2020
In reply to Rob Greenwood - UKClimbing:

> To add an alternative viewpoint, by knowing the both the French grade and the British grade a prospective, experienced leader would have a better all-round view of a route, which could help them come to a more accurate view of what to expect and whether or not it is wise to proceed (or back away slowly).

I do not think I have ever said otherwise.  My objection would be to replacing the tech grade with a French grade which has been mooted in this thread. Or was that an other post?

Al

Post edited at 11:13
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bensilvestre 01 Feb 2020
In reply to Al Randall:

Like Rob said, I think that people quite often push themselves too far too quickly on trad regardless of a relevant sport grade, just because they find the actual climbing easy. And inversely competent sport climbers quite often skip many grades when starting trad climbing without any mention of sport grades. I remember when Micheala Tracy had an injured shoulder and so couldn't train for the comps, she had a brief foray into trad. A natural at placing gear, she made short work of routes like Hunger and Positron within the few months (weeks?) she was trad climbing. I never remember talking about sport grades for the routes with her.

If someone introduces their sport climber mate to trad, the onus is them to make sure their gear is good before sending them up hard routes. But beyond that I don't think there's much of a difference whether or not there's a sport grade attached

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bensilvestre 01 Feb 2020
In reply to Al Randall:

> My objection would be to replacing the tech grade with a French grade which has been mooted in this thread. 

That's fair enough. I don't think it should ever replace the tech grade. But an accompanying sport grade can be very useful, especially on harder routes

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In reply to Al Randall:

> I do not think I have ever said otherwise.  My objection would be to replacing the tech grade with a French grade which has been mooted in this thread. Or was that an other post?

I think that might have been another thread. Never would I wish to abandon the British grading system, it's as beautiful as it is strange, but I love it nonetheless

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bensilvestre 01 Feb 2020
In reply to Rob Greenwood - UKClimbing:

> Your sentiment summarises it nicely: Postitron actually has holds, whereas most of the others have a series of house bricks/breeze blocks

I remember going to main cliff whilst doing a long drystone walling job... shaved half a grade off everything...

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Alex Riley 01 Feb 2020
In reply to bensilvestre:

The funniest bit about those tremadog routes is that most were e3 at one point... I mean atomic finger flake at e3... have fun

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bensilvestre 01 Feb 2020
In reply to Alex Riley:

Didn't know that. Outrageous. 

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Robert Durran 01 Feb 2020
In reply to redjerry:

> E5's almost always seem to me to be in the 7a to 7b range.

So much the same as Red Rocks 10d face climbing then ;-)

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Robert Durran 01 Feb 2020
In reply to bensilvestre:

> Didn't know that. Outrageous. 

I'd forgotten they had ever been upgraded!

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Robert Durran 01 Feb 2020
In reply to bensilvestre:

> Just saw the comment about Barbarella... yikes that's a hard one. I wouldn't feel unjust about giving it 7a+.

And pretty bouldery. I'm surprised it doesn't get 6b!

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bensilvestre 01 Feb 2020
In reply to Robert Durran:

Absolutely, with very hard to place gear mid sequence too if I remember right

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redjerry 01 Feb 2020
In reply to bensilvestre:

Not commonly 7b but some. Obvious example being Uncertain Emotions. Was given E5 6b when it had limited gear. Was given 7b after it was fully bolted (felt pretty hard for 7b to me though!). 

 

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dinodinosaur 01 Feb 2020
In reply to redjerry:

Cave route right at Gordale used to be E6 6b and is now 7b+, and I've heard Axle attack at 7a+ used to be E5 6a with pegs. So I imagine a E5 6b could be 7b in some  cases. 

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bensilvestre 01 Feb 2020
In reply to redjerry:

Ah okay agreed. Golden Mile at Chee Tor might just about warrant 7B... anyone else care to comment on that one? Certainly a tough one, even by peak lime standards

Edit: also, I've hardly done any in the the lakes there's probably loads of really hard ones there

Post edited at 16:58
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Philb1950 01 Feb 2020
In reply to Rob Greenwood - UKClimbing:

List seems spot on. I,ve always argued that E5/6 are rarely harder than 6C/7A. Have seen Golden Mile listed as 7B. Ridiculous! Many many years ago we cruised Bastille one day and the next day tried Sardine on sight. Not a chance, but a few months later adopting redpointing we were ticking our way through Raven Tor.

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Dan Arkle 01 Feb 2020
In reply to Philb1950:

Bastille is very close to just being a badly bolted 7a/7a+ sport route.

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Paul Sagar 01 Feb 2020

I seconded Right Wall last summer and would say it's more like hard 6c+ than 6c, The moves coming out of the porthole i.e. the top crux, are hard, on small holds, and not entirely obvious. Much harder than anything I'd reasonably expect to find on a sport 6c.

Or maybe people think the huge rests lower grade.

Or maybe I'm just crap.

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Ged Desforges 01 Feb 2020
In reply to Rob, Ben and others: in the vein of this style of route, I'm always surprised how little attention sanctuary wall seems to get. Very out of the way I suppose is the main reason. I'm probably very biased as it's one of my local crags, but free the spirit, carribean blue, and Southern comfort are as good a sporty trad pitch as you'd hope to find on these shores. 

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Andy Moles 01 Feb 2020
In reply to Ged Desforges:

I reluctantly had my ass dragged round there this summer when the tide had got too low for DWS. It's flipping cool. You don't get many mid-E trad routes that steep, and I think the fixed gear is in pretty good condition at present?

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strudles 01 Feb 2020
In reply to bensilvestre:

Sport grades on trad routes are interesting.. 

I did Get Some On last year (well I failed to do it clean.. anyway..)

At the time I thought it was 6c+/7a if it were bolted and the equivalent of on-sighting a 7a+ sport route when placing gear.

As people have said.. when adding in the weight of the rack, the time taken to place gear and fiddle with it.. the physical difficulty changes, it's simply not the same as clipping bolts with a light rack.

so even if a route is technically only X, the experience to climb it can make it legitimately feel like Y.

But then a good trad climber who gets out regularly can minimise these by knowing to take a light rack, placing gear quickly and efficiently and making good decisions on the route (whether to rest or move on) and these are different skills to a sport climber.

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Misha 01 Feb 2020
In reply to Rob Greenwood - UKClimbing:

> It's ok, we've all been there

> Here's my official, highly scientific breakdown:

> Void - desperate

Not really, the initial groove is contorted but only 5c and the crux is over in a flash and not that hard if you read it right (took me a while to figure out but you’re sitting on a jug at that point and it’s very amenable to climbing up and down from the jug till you figure it out) 

> Vulcan - unspeakably desperate

Am I the only person in the world who found this steady at the grade?!


> Vulture - looks piss, but is actually desperate

Still on the to do list but I can imagine this as Geireagle looks about VS but is actually decent E3.

> Zukator -looks desperate, but is even more desperate in reality

Very much so!

> and finally, the single exception:

> Cream - compared to those above, a complete and utter jug-filled path...

Yeah, great route though.

One more to add to the list, an esoteric jem perhaps: Sultans of Swing. The first 6a pitch is moderately desperate. The main pitch is solid E4, not particularly desperate but pretty wild and a great voyage across the headwall. You also get to do the crux of Void about two thirds of the way along the pitch (so it may well be desperate if you haven’t done Void before - but at least you don’t have to do that groove!).

Back to Main Cliff, The Camel is pretty brutal, though the crux is short lived. Not sure it’s gradeable!

Graduation Ceremony P2 is staunch at the grade as I mentioned above (P1 is fine).

We are forgetting South Stack though. Most of it is a dusty shufflefest of course but the crux of The Cow truly is desperate (had to rest even on second) and the rest of it isn’t exactly a walk in a pasture either. Again, I struggle to grade that as it’s hideous jamming and fairly cruxy. 6b+ without the crux, 6c+ with? P2 is about 6b+, solid E3. 

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Misha 01 Feb 2020
In reply to bensilvestre:

Oh yeah, Fingerlicker. Thought P1 was desperate but that’s probably because I’m not very good at finger locks/jams or wasn’t at the time. Found P2 ok. 

Re 7b, I was going to mention The Golden Mile. Seem to recall Rob and I thought it was 7b. I headpointed it with pre placed gear (poor style but the opportunity was there, thanks Rob!) and still found it pretty hard, so quite possibly 7b but may be ‘only’ hard 7a+. 

Post edited at 23:48
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Misha 01 Feb 2020
In reply to Robert Durran:

Venom is venomous but only E3. Desperate for sure but the crux is fairly short and mostly on your feet if you do it right. Mostly. If you do it right. 

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Misha 01 Feb 2020
In reply to Alex Riley:

Oh yeah, Atomic Finger Flake. That’s desperados as well. Cruxy but vicious. 

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Misha 01 Feb 2020
In reply to Paul Sagar:

I thought the top crux was getting to the Porthole. No particular crux but fairly sustained from the Girdle. The move to get stood up in the Porthole is more of a techy shimmy up than anything hard. You wouldn’t want to drop it though! Now Resurrection with the RH finish is fair at 6c+. 

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Robert Durran 02 Feb 2020
In reply to Misha:

> Am I the only person in the world who found this <Vulcan> steady at the grade?!

It was certainly stiff at E3, but if you mean since the upgrade, I imagine it must seem steady.

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redjerry 02 Feb 2020
In reply to bensilvestre:

Mr Olympia. Pen Trwyn...E5 6b, or 7b pick your grade.

A more technical one like Nectarine Run is a bit harder to pin down because of the style. But if you said it was easier than a  7a+  like The Bloods, I would say that you were full of shit.


 

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Ian Parsons 02 Feb 2020
In reply to Misha:

Hah! A few observations - from a bygone era [early 1980s] - to put alongside yours:

- Void. Yes; a short-lived crux from a good rest.

- Vulcan. A bit harder than Void, but steady enough. Expected to find it very hard but went ok. Easier than Zukator and thus still E3.

- Vulture. Never managed this, despite more than one [serious] attempt. Suspect it's at least as hard as Zukator, and solid E4.

- Cream. One thing that's possibly significant about this route is that, as described these days, it doesn't actually follow the original line; which may well, of course, have been what the contemporary E4 grade was evaluating. The modern second pitch climbs up from the first belay on Vector, through the bulge to join Nimbus, which it then follows to the Vector cave stance. The original line didn't do this. It stepped left out of Nimbus, climbed up to a position under the roof below Vector's third pitch leftward traverse, then traversed right to Vector's cave belay. Obviously very contrived; it was, after all, an eliminate lower approach section leading up to the opportunity to free climb the remaining bit of Tiros - up, let's face it, quite an intimidating headwall. The 'missing' bit, graded 5c, was described in the 1978 guide as poorly-protected ; I have a very vague recollection - and thus not 100% reliable - that Carrigan referred to it as the pitch that gave it the E4 grade. It's certainly the bit that I recall as the most worrying. So maybe E4 5c on pitch 2, E3 6a on the headwall. Or maybe just E3 on pitch 2 - but, with two separate E3 pitches, the whole route getting E4 overall.

- I think we disagree about The Cow. As far as I can gather, you regard the first pitch as the crux. Oh no. Oh no no no. At a time when I really wasn't climbing very well - yes I know, it's probably not just me - I followed a Mr Foster up this pitch. Seemed all right. Good jams while extracting gear. Probably should have led this. Too right! Moved over a small bulge on 'my' pitch, up to an overhang, and ground to a halt. Struggled for a long time to place mediocre gear, then failed to make any impact on the next bit. Shortly thereafter we called it a day and escaped up The Moon. [This all sounds quite civilised; in fact my very respected colleague's actual words were something like "I'm not spending the ******* night here!"] So back next morning; fra-ley, fra-laa, etc. I led up The Moon to the shared belay - no problem - then followed Neil's lead up the top pitch of The Cow; absolutely desperate, tight rope, pull, pull harder, etc. If pushed I'd have to say 6b/b+ first pitch, 6c/c+/7a top pitch; but what do I know - having led none of it?

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bensilvestre 02 Feb 2020
In reply to redjerry:

I reckon 7a+ for Nectarine Run is fair. But part of the difficulty is just that its blind in places and hard to read, especially the bit moving right onto the slab. I didn't think it was too bad at all on the 2nd attempt, once I knew where the holds were. Compared to the first go which felt like the living end and took about 2 hours ha

Edit: What about Atomic Hot Rod? I feel I'm okay at cracks and it still took several  goes. Reckon it's definitely worth 12a, 12b though?

Post edited at 08:23
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bensilvestre 02 Feb 2020
In reply to Misha:

Agreed on the Cow, hard move entering the crack then the rest not too bad, if not a little pumpy. One of my favourites though. Since we've moved over to the sandy side...

Me - 7a+/7b??? Hard to say if the top pitch warrants 7b without putting the gear in, all I know is if I'd been holding on for a second longer my arms would have certainly  exploded. Most pumped I've ever been.

Ludwig - 6c+? Scary one though

Just for fun:

Helmet Boiler - 6b, and someone put some bolts in there please oh lord please

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kingholmesy 02 Feb 2020
In reply to Ged Desforges:

Come on then Ged - give us the sports grades for some of the Sanctuary Wall routes.

I’d love to get on Free The Spirit or Caribbean Blue, but I’m crap at steep pumpy stuff and suspect they’re a bit too hard for me.

Presumably they’re safe-ish though (if you can hang around to get the gear in).

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Ged Desforges 02 Feb 2020
In reply to kingholmesy:

Oh god, you've put me on the spot. Carribean 7a, free the spirit 7b, Southern comfort 7b+? They were several years ago, and I was pretty good at that style of climbing then, so who knows! 

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kingholmesy 02 Feb 2020
In reply to Ged Desforges:

> Carribean 7a

If that’s true then maybe I should get on it - reckon I can onsight 7a on trad gear on a good day.  Was expecting it to be more like 7a+/7b (which would be too hard for me o/s on gear).

Is Caribbean definitely easier than Free The Spirit then?  Is it still safe enough?

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Misha 02 Feb 2020
In reply to Ian Parsons:

Interesting stuff. Not sure I can picture where that Cream second pitch used to go. Do you mean it went left of Weaver, up and back right in a big C shape? Or somewhere between Weaver and where it currently goes?

I thought the top pitch of The Cow was tricky and a bit bold but ok. I remember pausing for thought at one or two points so it wasn’t a walk in the park for sure. Funny how different people have different experiences.

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Misha 02 Feb 2020
In reply to bensilvestre:

Saw Nick’s talk which featured Helmet Boiler. That was sufficient. 

Was hoping you’d say Me was a bit easier... Another one which doesn’t look too bad but appearances can be deceptive. 

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redjerry 02 Feb 2020
In reply to bensilvestre:

"But part of the difficulty is just that its blind in places and hard to read"
An integral part of the grade in a system that is assessing on-sight difficulty.

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profitofdoom 03 Feb 2020
In reply to bensilvestre:

> Helmet Boiler - 6b, and someone put some bolts in there please oh lord please

Just looking up Helmet Boiler (E5 5c) from the bottom of Mousetrap Zawn scares me to death - there's me thinking "I would never go up there in a zillion years"

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Philb1950 03 Feb 2020
In reply to Misha:

Rab and myself did the second ascent of GM on sight, placing the gear and there wasn,t even a sling in situ at the ledge. Trust me it,s 6C or English 5C every move other than one or two at 6A, so sustained and placing gear is desperate. I had a couple of RP,s about halfway up from the ledge.

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Misha 03 Feb 2020
In reply to Philb1950:

GM is f6c? Climbers were hard back in the day...

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bensilvestre 04 Feb 2020
In reply to redjerry:

As far as I'm aware, and I could be wrong, sport climbs aren't graded for the onsight. And we're giving routes sport grades here

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Derek Furze 04 Feb 2020
In reply to dinodinosaur:

Fascinating thread, though most of it out of my league.  I've never been big on sport and have never 'worked' a route, preferring just to on-sight things.  Of course, sometimes that goes wrong, but generally I punt along at 6c or 6c+ with a following wind.  Back in the day, rather like many grade tables, I translated this as E4, which is where my trad grade sat.  Two things strike me as intriguing about the discussion - one is that the sport grades of some hard routes seem lower that I expected, though of course much of the trad grade may come from Gogarth grip!  The second element, is that the (pretty standard) conversion that seemed to operate in the old days seems less commonly observed nowadays - indeed, I often see people on 7a's who are 'trying to push into E1' on trad.  I guess this is the effect of walls.

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Robert Durran 04 Feb 2020
In reply to bensilvestre:

> As far as I'm aware, and I could be wrong, sport climbs aren't graded for the onsight. And we're giving routes sport grades here

I'm sure I remember once reading that they were graded for the onsight at grades most commonly onsighted and for the redpoint at grades most commonly redpointed, with the boundary being about 7b. But I may me wrong too!

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Al Randall 04 Feb 2020
In reply to Robert Durran:

I read in one guide, I think it may have been Orpierre, that the grades were for the on-sight.

Al

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bensilvestre 04 Feb 2020
In reply to Robert Durran:

In that case Nectarine Run might just about warrant 7b. It's definitely one if the harder ones in the pass

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spidermonkey09 04 Feb 2020
In reply to Robert Durran:

That is my understanding also. 

Also from further up, Cave Route Left at Gordale also used to get E6 and now is 7c+! Obviously at the top end of the grade/a a total sandbag, but a good example of how non-linear the trad system really is and how big the variation in difficulty can be. Its totally plausible to my mind that some E5's are approx 6c (eg Right Wall) and others are approx 7b based on that. 

Post edited at 10:38
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Robert Durran 04 Feb 2020
In reply to spidermonkey09:

> Its totally plausible to my mind that some E5's are approx 6c (eg Right Wall) and others are approx 7b based on that. 

Indeed. Bottom end and bold or top end and safe.

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In reply to Robert Durran:

I was loving the idea of a sport grade for Vulture, then I sadly realised we were speaking of the Tremadoc one. Anyone care to advance sports grades for the Cilan  Head version?

jcm

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PaulTanton 04 Feb 2020
In reply to Al Randall:

Totally agree Al. If you can solo them and, or mind a big drop into the sea, if your lucky, they are all about 6abc .... defg .... etc. Stopping to put gear in is the problem.

Top pitch of Positron is the classic example  

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redjerry 04 Feb 2020
In reply to bensilvestre:

I was coming at it from a slightly different angle. As I said, I usually tr solo, and I'm really just comparing physical difficulties as I found them.
But it's a curious thing because over the years I think I've found that UK climbers consistently underestimate the physical difficulty of trad climbs.
Strawberries at 7b! on UKC.

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Misha 04 Feb 2020
In reply to bensilvestre:

Cockblock - 7a+? At least 7a. I found the alleged crux move fine but getting to the good wire was desperate and there’s still a fair bit to go after that crux move. Peeled off after clipping the good wire before that crux move but ground up it still wasn’t easy to the top. 

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Robert Durran 04 Feb 2020
In reply to redjerry:

> But it's a curious thing because over the years I think I've found that UK climbers consistently underestimate the physical difficulty of trad climbs.

Maybe, give the prevalent onsight ethic, we are overcompensating for the effort needed to get the protection in.

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Brown 04 Feb 2020
In reply to johncoxmysteriously:

Yep. French grades for a number of North Devon, Llyn, North Pembroke and Gogarth horror shows would interest me.

I remember feeling as beaten up by The Dogs of War as anything I've ever climbed. At least 7b for the experience. I'm sure however it feels about 5+ on second.

So estimated uk specialist routes:

Skeleton Ridge french 3

Mousetrap 4+

The Sind ??

The dogs of war 6a

Deathtrap Direct ??

Ugly ??

Rubble ??

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Misha 04 Feb 2020
In reply to Brown:

Dogs of War isn’t hard but it’s not a path either. 6b

The Sind - a bit easier, 6a+/b

Mousetrap - 6a

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Martin Haworth 04 Feb 2020
In reply to Brown: Finally some routes I have done!

Mousetrap 5

Sind 6a/+

What about Red Wall routes?

Red Wall 5+ ?

Red Wall left hand side 6a+

Fantasia 6b

Post edited at 19:51
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AJM 04 Feb 2020
In reply to Brown:

Mousetrap 4+ or 5, Red Wall a bit harder maybe 5+, oddly I don't remember so much about Wendigo but assume the same.

I can't really think what else to offer on the pure adventure front. I did Homicide Wall when I was younger and more foolish and that's probably about 5/+ too? I've done a few things on Exploding Galaxy at Avon, would tentatively offer 6a+ perhaps for Yellow Edge and 6b+ for Amanita Muscarina, but the odd juxtaposition of fairly hard moves interspersed with generally fairly unstrenuous easier/chossier ground makes it more difficult for me to judge?

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Mike505 05 Feb 2020
In reply to Dan Arkle:

If you've read 'Punk in the Gym' Andy P gives a brilliant write up of the first ascent. I was in stitches, but my palms were sweating just reading it!

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Mike505 05 Feb 2020
In reply to Alex Riley:

Oh, what's the state of the pegs on Cardiac Arête please?

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Brown 05 Feb 2020
In reply to Martin Haworth:

I climbed Red Wall after a summer of not climbing and found it hard. I even chose to belay on the rather poor top belay rather than continue running the top pitches together as I think is more frequently done now. I'd probably agree on 5+ though.

I backed off the Sind but it was on a really sweaty day so 6a sounds reasonable. 

Fantasia was another struggle but it was the fear of falling off rather than the grade of the climbing. It provoked a long long pump fest. I recall hard moves to gain a groove up to a capping roof with poor gear and poor rests in the groove. I was so pumped that I had to siege my way through the capping overlap. First pull up to assess the gear possibilities before retreat to the poor rest, second go to try to place gear before retreat to the rest again, third go I abandoned some poorly placed pointless wires before retreating to the rest. I think the fourth look allowed me to place a good piece but I was too pumped to clip it whilst the fifth allowed me to clip, breath a sigh of thanks and gibber my way to easy ground. I'd have lowered off had I found good gear lower. This must have taken hours and as such Id say it must have been really easy as I cant hang on a 6b for two hours! 6a!

I was always weirdly drawn to Deathtrap Direct as in the old Gogarth guide it had the highest Adjective grade to UK tech grade spread.

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lex 05 Feb 2020
In reply to dinodinosaur:

Hi all, just out of interest, as its way out of my league, how hard is The Cow? I've heard it described as a jug fest, so I guess E5 jugs are not the same as VS jugs.  ? It's one of the harder routes my Dad put up, and I've always had a tiny question in the back of my mind... could I ever get up it?

Cheers, Lex

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Derek Furze 05 Feb 2020
In reply to Brown:

Red Wall had a surprisingly hard or awkward move, but I’d agree with the 5+.  It doesn’t really cover the experience though!

I have wondered about Fantasia.  Somehow you’ve not sold it well! 😀

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Philb1950 05 Feb 2020
In reply to Robert Durran:

Four grades harder than Right Wall. Rubbish. How many people have ever onsighted Sardine at 7B. Very few! Cockblock, Nectarine run at 7B. I don,t think so.

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dinodinosaur 05 Feb 2020
In reply to Martin Haworth:

My 2 cents

The strand 6a+/b (depending on how much gear you place)

Mask of the red death 6b

The sun 6b

Would be interested what warpath is? 

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dinodinosaur 05 Feb 2020
In reply to dinodinosaur:

And Atlantis/true moments/freebird probably clocks in at 6a+

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duncan b 05 Feb 2020
In reply to dinodinosaur:

> Would be interested what warpath is? 

Probably 6c, maybe 6c+

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bensilvestre 06 Feb 2020
In reply to Philb1950:

Part of the reason no one onsights Sardine is that it climbs like an absolute bag of sh*te. 7b gets onsighted daily

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bensilvestre 06 Feb 2020
In reply to redjerry:

I was always trying to just estimate physical difficulty, but as Robert Duran says it might be easy to over compensate for the difficulty of placing gear, so your view is likely more objective given the TR solo.

To go into more detail on my previous comment regarding Nectarine Run though, I felt like a great deal of the difficulty came from trusting the gear. When moving right onto the slab, having gear out left and and facing a swinging fall made committing to blind moves feel difficult. Once I'd taken the fall and knew it to be benign, the moves felt much easier. Would be interesting to top rope it though

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Philb1950 06 Feb 2020
In reply to bensilvestre:

Correct 7B does get onsighted daily, but back in the day when most E5,s and E6 were first done, 7B was a hard. I,ve only ever onsighted 7A+ myself, but hardly ever failed to onsight on lots and lots of E5/6, so I think I have a true perspective of respective grades. You have to ask yourself how can it be that plenty of people redpointing 7A are aspiring to trad. E1/2. Most high grade E route leads are in the head not the fingers, so that overgrading is easy to explain failures or struggles.

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bensilvestre 06 Feb 2020
In reply to Philb1950:

Oh I agree with all of that, especially that the vast majority of E5s are 7a or easier. My original point in this discussion was exactly that. But Sardine is a bad example in the case of proving your point - that's conflating difficulty (to onsight) with what is realistically just a bit of a crap route.

When I climbed my first E5's I'd never onsighted harder than 7a and since onsighting considerably harder sport routes I haven't climbed loads harder trad - just with more frequency, more confidence, and in a greater range of styles.

All of that said I still think its possible that there are outliers in the 7b range. Just not many of them, especially when discounting limestone ones which have since become actual sport routes.

Edit: also, and this is perhaps the case for a lot of people, I used to find myself able to push much harder physically on trad, which had something to do with how hard won the positions were, meaning I was more invested. It took a lot of sport climbing before the situation was reversed. Sport climbing can feel fairly throwaway sometimes

Post edited at 10:28
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ian caton 06 Feb 2020
In reply to dinodinosaur:

6c+

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Derek Furze 06 Feb 2020
In reply to bensilvestre:

I think that last point is interesting and I'd agree - trad just seems to matter more, irrespective of whether it is bold or not.  I'm not sure I can be bothered with 'a lot of sport climbing' to reverse the situation, simply because it often feels throwaway!  However, I will try as I think the physical gains are probably useful.

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bensilvestre 06 Feb 2020
In reply to Derek Furze:

I think the physical gains are worth it. Sport climbing meant that I could try most styles of trad routes rather than just ones that suited me (initially in sport climbing I focussed on powerful stuff because that was what I was worst at), and I actually started to enjoy fighting really hard instead of being scared of it (which I'm not saying is the case for you or anyone else). This change was most noticeable below routes as I prepared to set off. But since I learned to really push myself sport climbing I have definitely learned how to try harder in general, and whilst I'm not regularly onsighting super hard trad routes, it has meant that when in good form I've been able to push myself that little bit further and climb some dream routes, which I'm not convinced I could have done without that psychological preparation.

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Martin Haworth 06 Feb 2020
In reply to Philb1950:

>  You have to ask yourself how can it be that plenty of people redpointing 7A are aspiring to trad. E1/2. Most high grade E route leads are in the head not the fingers, so that overgrading is easy to explain failures or struggles.


If people are redpointing sport 7a then they can probably on-sight somewhere around sport 6b+. Sport 6b+ on-sight probably equates to trad E3 taking into account placing gear, so the E1/2 you mention isn't actually not that far off. Although I accept the point you are getting at that nowadays there are a lot of climbers that specialise in sport climbing and their trad climbing  grade seems relatively low, due to lack of skill and headgame.

You are quite correct that trad E grade route leads are in the head. A couple of years ago I could on-sight 6b+ or E3 on a good day. I had a bad fall and my head isn't what it was and now I can on-sight 6b+ or HVS on a good day!

I should add that the 6b+:E3 comparison is a generalisation and for Gogarth routes it is probably more 6b:E3 and for Gogarth bold routes even more skewed.

Post edited at 11:43
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ian caton 06 Feb 2020
In reply to Derek Furze:

Your doing well to even think about hard trad. My eyes, at 62, are completely knackered for placing small and fiddly gear. Sport is the only game in town. 

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Jon Stewart 06 Feb 2020
In reply to ian caton:

> My eyes, at 62, are completely knackered for placing small and fiddly gear.

Unless you've got some kind of eye disease, this isn't something that would normally stop someone trad climbing. Spectacles and contact lenses are commonly available  

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Robert Durran 06 Feb 2020
In reply to Jon Stewart:

> Unless you've got some kind of eye disease, this isn't something that would normally stop someone trad climbing. Spectacles and contact lenses are commonly available  

I now have bifocals. the bottom part is for reading and fiddling in RP's. The top bit is for longer distance. Unfortunately it means I can't see small footholds! maybe I need trifocals made specially for climbing!

Post edited at 15:10
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malx 06 Feb 2020
In reply to bensilvestre:

Great geeky UKC thread!

I top roped Nectarine Run to get my gear back after having backed off trying to lead it. I'd recently discovered I was going to be a dad so was feeling pretty risk averse!

It's difficult to compare NR to sardine (which gets 7b+ these days) because it's a totally different style. Sardine is also graded for the redpoint which makes it much much easier - i think peak limestone is one of the hardest mediums for onsighting. I would guess there are plenty of sport climbers who would find it easier to redpoint sardine than to redpoint NR on toprope - the climbing is pretty weird on NR. I think most e5/6 climbers would find NR much easier to onsight than sardine though.

The sport pitches I've done which are most similar to NR are probably in the Verdon, and the grades there are so variable that it's impossible to compare them. I've done 7b pitches in the Verdon which were easier than NR and 6c+ pitches that were harder!

The only E5s I've led which I think warrant 7b are Perfect Day at Gardoms and Golden mile at Chee Tor. I bet there are loads though - they're just the ones that no one does. Linkline at Higgar Tor anyone?  

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Mick Ward 06 Feb 2020
In reply to Robert Durran:

> I now have bifocals. the bottom part is for reading and fiddling in RP's. The top bit is for longer distance. Unfortunately it means I can't see small footholds! maybe I need trifocals made specially for climbing!

Some years ago, Rab had exactly this idea and proceeded to browbeat a well known climber/optometrist who was trying to help him with his specs. Nothing like telling folk their own business!

Mick

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ian caton 06 Feb 2020
In reply to Jon Stewart:

I have tried all commonly available options and the opticians tells me that I don't have eye disease. 

Post edited at 15:55
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In reply to Mick Ward:

Surely the FA of one of my favourite route names - the Eternal Optometrist?!

jcm

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Derek Furze 06 Feb 2020
In reply to ian caton:

I find my eyesight isn't too much of an issue as long as I just think about it!  Anyway, if you can't see the RPs, then you probably can't see the yawning abyss and the spiky landing!  ;-)  I agree though, sport does have its attractions at times

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Mick Ward 06 Feb 2020
In reply to johncoxmysteriously:

Quite so!

Mick

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Derek Furze 06 Feb 2020
In reply to bensilvestre:

Thanks.  Useful insights to apply.  It means I have to try sport climbing with something other than my usual on sight approach, but got to be worth a shot.

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duncan 07 Feb 2020
In reply to Rob Greenwood - UKClimbing:

This thread is like UKC c.2003!

Top pich of Positron always felt like 6b+ to me (and I followed it easily shortly before failing on a 6c at Lower Pen Trywn). The middle pitch is 6c if you follow the first ascentionist's rather artificial line, joining the Alien groove as low as possible, but much easier if you mostly climb Rat Race. Graduation Ceremony top pitch is harder than Positron and 6c or 6c+. The Cad is about 6c but a bit snappy and quite fluffable; people have fallen off it and walked away but you really wouldn't want to chance it.  The Long Run felt about 6b+, with the direct finish nudging it up to about 6c+. I thought The Cow crux was briefly quite similar to Yosemite 5.11c thin hands ie 6c. 

Mousetrap is 5; The Strand, Wendigo and The Sind are all 6a. Different levels of terror as the E grade suggests (and I'm less sure an 'R' protection rating would). The Moon is 6a+. Strike is 6c or +, following the tendency for Upper Tier routes to have a higher sport grade than the Main Cliff. Pagan is 6b, Heart of Gold 6c+.

All these are modern sport grades (Siurana, not Buoux) for a top-roping second.

As is evident from this thread, Sport grades are useful for many, and probably more useful than a 'single move' tech. grade let alone a sub-divided tech. grade (subdividing something broken doesn't fix it).

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Brown 07 Feb 2020
In reply to duncan:

I always fancied Pagan. 

When I climbed Heart of Gold we went direct and 6c+ seems quite mean for the crux pitch as I almost fell off on second and I felt I could flash about 7a+ at the time.

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jon 07 Feb 2020
In reply to duncan:

Wow Duncan, you've got a good memory! I'd have no idea what the French grades for those would be.

> All these are modern sport grades (Siurana, not Buoux)

By that do you mean Siurana has harsher or easier grades than Buoux? 

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In reply to jon:

I’m guessing easier!

jcm

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jon 07 Feb 2020
In reply to johncoxmysteriously:

Which is why I asked as I've always thought the opposite!

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bensilvestre 07 Feb 2020
In reply to dinodinosaur:

Rhoscolyn anyone?

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Martin Haworth 07 Feb 2020
In reply to bensilvestre: Well I've only done the easier ones but:

Savage Sunbird 6a

The Sun 6a+

Mask of the Red Death 6a+/b

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robate 07 Feb 2020
In reply to redjerry:

If strawbs is 7b then Nectarine Run, cockblock and Sardine are 6c+

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bensilvestre 08 Feb 2020
In reply to Martin Haworth:

I'd actually be tempted to put the Sun at 6b, obviously safe as houses though. But it's been a while.

Big boys - 6c+ felt harder but perhaps just the gear?

Warpath - 6c?

Magellan's Wall - 6c+ maybe 

Not done the E6's, keen to know what D+S gets as a sport route

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Alex Riley 08 Feb 2020
In reply to bensilvestre:

I reckon 6a+ for the sun, it’s really steady.
 

Let me know if you want a belay for any of the e6s

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Robert Durran 08 Feb 2020
In reply to Alex Riley:

> I reckon 6a+ for the sun, it’s really steady.

I thought it was very awkwardly cruxy - a good case for a UK technical grade but hard to give French grade.

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keith sanders 08 Feb 2020
In reply to dinodinosaur:

Can I just throw this thought in .

Coming from a Trad climber for quite a few years climbing all types of rock in different countries, doing lots off E3/4s then going sport climbing for around 4/5 years with a lad cruising 7c to 8a and quite a few big E numbers, and I was onsiting 7a/7b, I found Trad in my mind was example an E5 6a was mostly around steady 5b trad grad with a bit off 6a,

The reason I say this was I became very strong and knew how to place gear and didn’t need to as I was stronger.

So putting French grades on Trad like you all have said I should have done an hell off a lot more E 5/6s , So maybe if this was discussed 25 years ago it would have been great for me if I’d have survived .

A great interesting post tho .

Keith s

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redjerry 10 Feb 2020
In reply to robate:

"If strawbs is 7b"
It's not...it's 7c on Tr.

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Baron Weasel 11 Feb 2020
In reply to dinodinosaur:

What sport grade would left wall at Brimham get? 

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GeoffG 11 Feb 2020
In reply to Baron Weasel:

About 6c

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UKB Shark 13:08 Thu

Some of the comments made by Phil B are redundant given that Sardine is 7b+ not 7b and even if 7b at the top of the grade.

I think E5 has a big range of difficulty compared to most other grades but E5 routes that are 7b have to be very well protected to justify their grade otherwise they are almost certainly under graded and should get E6.

A couple of examples not mentioned being Castellan and Yellow Pearls.

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In reply to UKB Shark:

I thought Yellow Pearls was 7a+.

Post edited at 13:30
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GeoffG 22:55 Thu
In reply to The Jazz Butcher:

What about Doubting Thomas at Malham? I think borderline 7a+/7b

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UKB Shark 00:28 Fri
In reply to GeoffG:

Doubt it

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Philb1950 17:29 Fri
In reply to UKB Shark:

OK I take your point about Sardine but I’ve never onsighted above 7A+ and hardly ever failed on an E5 or 6, which were mostly on sight, or in the case of groundfall potential a quick top rope. That must tell you (it certainly does me) something about trad grades. v French grades.

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Stoney Boy 17:41 Fri
In reply to dinodinosaur:

What about the E5's at Stoney?

Kellogg.....Surely 7b?

Circe.....7a+?

Kingdom Come....7a?

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Philb1950 17:33 Sat
In reply to Stoney Boy:

Kellog one 6C+ move on lower wall and another into groove, but above bomber pro. It was and should be E4

Circe 6c

Kingdom come 6B+

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Andy Moles 18:06 Sat
In reply to Philb1950:

Your view on this is pretty anomalous.

Out of interest, how much sport climbing have you done, and when in relation to onsighting E5s and E6s? I don't mean this as a slight in any way, I'm just curious why your numbers are so far outside the median.

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UKB Shark 10:38 Sun

Worth knowing (or remembering) for context that when sport climbs were first starting to be put up in the uk they were given E grades on the same basis as if they were totally safe and physically easy to protect trad routes. It was only later that French grades started to be used. Sport E5’s ranged from 7a+ to 7b and E6’s from 7b+ to 7c+. Sorry if this has been mentioned up the thread. 

Phil - it sounds like you must have gravitated to bold trad  E6’s rather than say the Cave Route or Hells Wall type routes that were around because they are most definitely harder than 7a+.

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Philb1950 11:01 Sun
In reply to Andy Moles:

Well when I was doing most of my hard trad. sport climbing didn,t exist, other than clipups with threads etc., where I admit some are quite hard, Countdown on Two Tier for instance. I have only redpointed up to 7C+ and now as strength wanes (70 this year) I mainly sport climb up to 6C+ to 7A+, as climbing partners don’t like trad. Rare trad. outings usually capped at E3. Here’s a pointer though. Back in the day one weekend we once did Bastille on High Tor OK without any problems. The next day we thought we’d try one of Rons new Raven Tor routes and went on Indecent Exposure 7B+. Could barely do a move on it and that was with the tree. However adopting redpointing we soon managed it. So my point is that if an E6 feels OK how can it be anything like the technical grade of 7B? Not many people would run it out way above pro on genuine 7B moves.

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