Friday, 11 March 2011

Grading traverses II

Bouldering grade maths - adding grades

So with Full Frontal sent, I'm scratching my head again with traverse grades.

The problem with traverses is their hybridal status. The number of moves is usually way beyond what's in your average boulder problem. Indeed, I've counted 24 hand moves for Full Frontal - 64 moves if I include foot placements.

The fontainebleau approach is to use sports grade for traverse, e.g. if the hardest move is 6c, the traverse would be worth 7a+. The problem with such system is that there is no difference between a 7a+ traverse of 10 moves and a 7a+ traverse of 40 moves, not to mention the fact that traverses are still boulder lines and their grades should not take into account any other factor than technique, which is not the case for sports routes.

Another solution is to break the traverse into boulder problems, then grade these problems and use a logical rule to add the grades. Here's the Australian Bouldering proposal for instance:

"The rule of thumb that we use at AB.C is this: the addition of two boulder problems of the same grade equates to one boulder problem of the grade +2. So a V9 into a V9 should produce a V11. Everything else works around that premise. The following examples (based on V9) should help convey the idea:

V9 + V6 = V9,
V9 + V7 = V10,
V9 + V8 = V10,
V9 + V9 = V11,
V9 + V10 = V11,
V9 + V11 = V12,
V9 + V12 = V12"

Whatever system I choose though, one may argue that I won't really be objective because I have been trying that line for nearly two years.

I had done the R-L and L-R traverses last year and started to try and link them during last summer. Back from Galicia in September, I had to rework the sequence because it had become much harder after I broke a key crimp

Then November arrived with its usual rainy days. Then came December with its unusual 40 cm of pow. Work picked up. Life got busy. I was close but I needed more time.

So when I finally sent it two weeks ago, I felt like if I had climbed something really hard for my standards. But none of the moves is harder than 6b+/c and when I try to be objective, I must admit that it is simply of matter of stamina.

This and the fact that I never really enjoyed this type of climbing - lots of moves on small edges on a nearly vertical rock - made me wonder about the grade. Should I actually knock down a couple of grades because it does not suit me?


davo said...

Pierre just watched the video on the previous post. I had assumed that the traverse would be longer. Its a there and back right? I would think about a traverse in terms of breaking it down in shorter boulder problem chunks. Eg. if you said it was 4 Font 6c problems in a row with no rest, one would have a fairly good idea of the difficulty.

Pierre said...

Yep, should have called it There and back again! But if it's 4 6c in a row does it egal to 4 grades higher ie 7b or is it just 6c+?