Downgrading of climbing routes – Climbing

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Climbing must become too easy. An abbreviated list of climbing titles I read the other day included 3-year-old becomes youngest climber to send 9a; Indian Creek 5.13 offwidth sees 43 different send-offs in a single day; and Colorado’s newest V17 experiences its first barefoot ascent. Personally, I still struggle to do my warm-up most of the time, but some other climbers seem to have a little too good at this sport. Is all climbing suddenly smooth, or has the climbing collective consciousness finally risen to mastery by successfully dispatching every Moonboard benchmark problem? Shall we start backsliding all?

Seriously, there’s been more and more internet chatter of gasp! demoting some rigs through inventing kneepads and/or finding better beta and/or incredibly strong pros showing up and calling everything soft, and everyone and their former great-grandmother seem to have a opinion on the question of the change of rank. Some people are adamant that we stick with the FA’s difficulty rating, regardless of whether the climb increased before the invention of flipped climbing shoes or Friction Labs or rest days. Some think that if you use adhesive spray to stick two pads on your freshly shaved thighs, you’re ethically bound to take less points for shipping. Some new-age types think that adhering to a single grade is offensive to the inherent wide range of human body types and physiological conditions. Mr. #tallnotstrong can only take V6 points for the rock at hand while yours truly – at 5’2” nothing more – can take 8 big ones because she has to dyno through the knot. (Note: yours truly does not go through dead ends and instead accepts defeat when it is too short for the standard beta.) Also, the FA was a dude and therefore the original rating is an artifact of an oppressive and severely outmoded patriarchy. Also, sometimes the gravity is high and shit is just hard.

There is no denying that an individual climb can be more or less difficult depending on your height, monkey index, flexibility, ability to find knee bars, shindex, humidity, temperature, speed and direction wind, how long you’ve been doing your lattice training program, your employment status, how much you’ve been numb during your warm-up, how many beers you’ve brought to the rock, how many dogs are barking in the background, the status of your Bitcoin investment, your hair color, how many episodes of Euphoria you looked last night, your astrological sign, the phase of the moon, the last time you showered, if you have already paid your taxes, the grade you got in 8andlevel of English, your ability to consume gluten, the quality of your houseplants and your particular strengths and weaknesses when it comes to climbing. So should you downgrade the escalation just because it was really sweet for you? If not, should you take more points because it was 95 degrees outside when you sent, and someone else recorded it as a V11 instead of the guide’s rating, V10? In the interests of solving this problem once for allI did a quick quiz to help you figure out which grade you obtain for this V10:

1. What is your size?

A: very short

B: 5’2″ to 5’8″

C: 5’8″ to 6’3″

D: Very large

2. What is your monkey index?

A: I have T-rex arms

B: -1″ to +1″

C: +1″ to +3″

D: I can always reach the food on the top shelf

3. Did you use knee bars?

A: Shit no

B: Just one and it was pretty ugly

C: Several

D: I’m actively sitting in a knee bar right now

4. Are you Gemini?

A: Yes

B: No

C: I don’t know

5. Have you ever been to France?

A: Yes

B: No

C: I don’t know

6. What is the Fed’s inflation target?

A: less than 2%

B: 2%-2.5%

C: 2.5-3%

D: I’m going to eat a burrito for dinner

7. What are Bokkenrijders?

A: Swedish bandits who gather on the 5th new moon every year to parade in their stolen outfits

B: Dutch ghosts riding on the backs of flying goats provided by demons

C: Belgian cyclists who only ride while consuming Tripel Karmeliet

D: Finnish wizards who live in an underwater paradise built by enslaved Arctic char

Let me quickly calculate your score… Ok!

Looks like you call this climb a V10, like everyone else! Unfortunately, you don’t get more points just because it was really hard. You also don’t have to downgrade my project just because several witnesses saw you using a knee bar on it last September. You have a right to call it sweet, but if I’ve learned anything from the many years I’ve wasted reading absurdly endless Instagram sagas, it’s that people get pretty upset when they’re told that their project is soft. We all know that climbing grades are extremely subjective and that by and large all the soft rock climbing we do is negated by all the sandbag climbing we don’t, and yet the idea that our beloved project is “soft” is as triggering as an acne-laden tween asking if he can do a warm-up lap on it – “I promise!” I will be quick. I did it 50 times. So anyway, you can call my project soft, but please do it out of earshot and – for the sake of my incredibly delicate self-esteem – please , do not devalue it.

Now that we’ve decided, once and for all, whether or not we should concern ourselves with changing the historic, God-given grades given to all climbs, I’m going to go eat a burrito.

Virginia F. Goins