Friday, April 2, 2010

Online Climbing Controversies

Climbing news websites have been booming recently with arguments on a number of topics. Here is the 411 on the most popular...

Grade Inflation:
For a few years now climbers have been claiming an inflation in the grades, calling for downgrades of many of the worlds hardest sport routes and boulder problems. Because of websites such as, which ranks climbers based on their outdoor achievements, and the media putting so much importance on a route or problem being "the hardest in the world", many people believe high-end climbs are being given too high a grade. Here are a few boulder problems that have just recently been done, bringing the debate once again to the forefront.

The Game, by Daniel Woods. given V16
Desperanza, also by Daniel Woods. given V15
Lucid Dreaming, by Paul Robinson. given V16

And here are some links to website articles and forums that have been hosting the debates.

The Grade Debate,, and his older post Grades

Nalle Hukkataival 's blog post

Dave Graham's comment on b3bouldering regarding Desperanza: "I think this boulder [Desperanza] being graded v15 could be devastating to the future of the v15 grade. I have climbed Esperanza, and consider it be soft 8b+, even potentially 8b. If you want to use a logical comparison, and leave hype out of the math, this boulder does not end up as v15…but future repetitions by people who have independent minds will be able to give an honest second opinions…No one likes it when people try to judge a boulders grades without making a repetition for reference, but as time goes on, we will have to find a solution of how 7a+ into 8b+ equals 8c, and further how 8b+ into 8b+, also equals 8c.
Does anyone follow me?
The history of bouldering up to this day still stands for something, especially outside of Boulder, Colorado."

Daniel's response to Dave

Comments on b3bouldering about Desperanza

In 2008 a debate erupted within the climbing community about redtagging (where the individual who bolted a sport route labels it as off limits to other climbers in order to get the first ascent). The reason was because Andy Raether had bolted a route in Rifle, CO and redtagged it. He spent a season working it, but injured himself in the process. Dave Graham was interested in attempting the route after hearing about the injury. Dave called Andy to ask permission, but was turned down. He tried it anyways and sent, naming it Girl Talk.
More recently world-class climber Nalle Hukkataival traveled to Spain to try the project First Round, First Minute, which was highlighted in the film Progression. The route was bolted by Chris Sharma. Upon his arrival Chris told him the route had been redtagged.
Nalle claims to have seen a number of Chris' friends working the route the next day.
Many speculate that the film company BigUp Productions had to do with the redtagging, as they had spent much time filming Sharma's attempts and all that footage would be a waste if he did not get the FA.

Nalle brought attention to the incident in the comments of his blog post here.
Sharma posted a rebuttal on his girlfriends blog here.
Deadpoint Magazine posted an article on the matter here.

Andy Raether wrote an article in Rock & Ice on the Girl Talk incident here.
Another article appeared in the same Rock & Ice magazine here.
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  1. Dave Graham would make it complicated like that... lol

  2. damn... just climb ffs

  3. balls dude! just climb whatever feels good.. who cares about what the rating is!