This is the Now*
*Please take with one grain of salt. There really is no direct correlation, we judge based on factors like hold size, move size, and move difficulty, group consensus, and our past experiences.
We’ve been getting the question about our grades a little bit in the last few days, and it’s not unexpected. Since the last comp we have been trying to dial the grade scale in to where it “should” be. If you are wondering why we would do this to you, here’s what we are thinking:
We were getting a lot of comments that people were hitting the brick wall, so to speak, at a certain grade. We were also having a situation where some felt that there wasn’t much difference between 5 spots and 5+ spots. That is 2/15ths of our scale, used up in basically one grade. Similarly, the low end of the scale wasn’t getting spread out very much. While it is true that to the 4 spot climber, 1 spots, 2 spots, and maybe even 3- spots will feel the same, we are trying to spread out those lower grades so that for a 1, 2, or 3- spot climber they can fairly distinguish between difficulty and see progression. Similarly, we want to move the higher grades into more consistent levels so if you do a 5+ spot you know you’re climbing really really hard! We’d like there to be a more visible progression between 3-, 3, 3+, 4-, 4, 4+, 5-, 5, and 5+. Remember, if you are climbing a lot harder than a grade set it may be difficult to distinguish why a 3+ is easier than a 4-, but if you are projecting 4- it may be very very obvious when a crimp is a bit too small or a move a bit too large for the problem to be 3+.
The problem with any grade scale is that different problems of the same grade can feel completely different. Let’s take an example my friend Rocco recently shared when we were talking about grades in Hueco. In the East Spur Maze, which is a very popular and well traveled area, there are 3 classic V5 problems: Jingus Bells, Jigsaw Puzzle, and Slim Pickins.
Slim Pickins is a technical smear slab with imaginary holds.
Jingus Bells is a route-length problem on a huge slightly-overhanging boulder through fairly decent holds with a large dyno at the top.
Jigsaw Puzzle is a fairly beta-intensive sideways climb through incut edges on an shortish overhanging face.
Most people who top out anywhere near V5 (or V6, 7, 8, or more!) cannot do all 3 of these problems, but most people in that ability range can do at least one. I, for example, did Slim Pickins on my first trip to Hueco. I did Jigsaw Puzzle two years ago (and I still maintain the beta is to try like it’s V8 instead of V5). I will probably never do Jingus Bells, as the dyno is big and very scary for me. Other friends I know have had the opposite experience. Jingus Bells is pretty straightforward, so if you can dyno you can pull through it without much in the way of beta. Slim Pickins is very beta intensive. Jigsaw is a mix depending on how strong and how lucky you are. The styles are completely different. But they are all considered the same grade.
With that in mind, consider that different problems of the same “grade” at The Spot will not always feel the same. That does not mean we’re big jerk idiots. It means there are many factors, and it may be your inexperience with a certain move/hold/type of climbing, it may be beta you haven’t figured out yet, we may have misestimated the difficulty of a certain move or hold, something could have spun, you could be tired (or, if you flash harder than you think you should, you could be having a super good day), etc etc… The point of grades is to give you a base guideline so you have an idea of what you should be warming up on, what you should be trying, and how you are progressing; however, they are not perfect, and please know that we really are trying hard to make things as consistent as we can so you can have a good time and push yourself at The Spot.
As always, with questions or feedback please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
From the Beach we have my red 4 or 4-? up the middle of the right side. It largely uses last week’s new Teknik holds and has all the footholds you need. Enjoy!
For this week, on the Font, we have two POTWs. The first is Danny’s lovely black 4- up the left front prow that uses the large Climb-It tufa.
Finally we have the 5 (or 5+) POTW, Jonny Hork’s green and pink sloper masterpiece up the front of the Font.
Routecrafting has inspired me to finish up some partially done articles I drafted a while back.Here’s the first–how we get the holds on the wall. Hope you enjoy it!
This and other similar articles can be accessed via the “General Setting Info” page or dropdown menu.
Our buddy over at routecrafter.blogspot.com has written a nice little article explaining (indirectly) why the easy problems at The Spot are so much more awesome than the easy problems at other gyms. Actually, it’s just about jug use and edge radius in general, but it’s definitely worth reading if you’re a setter, if you’re a climber, if you’re a shaper, or if you’ve ever wondered just what makes some holds more comfortable than others. Heck, it might help you examine your own climbing or setting and make some improvements, and it might also help you give some helpful feedback to the setters at your own gym if they’re setting uncomfortable V0′s and V1′s. Click the photo or this link to read more: Route Setting Tips and Techniques: Ergonomics of Setting, Part 1. We’ve also added a link to the article to our “General Setting Info” drop-down menu. Enjoy, and be on the look out for more useful articles from Routecrafting and the Spot Setters soon.
The Clymb Climbing Gear Sale – Revolution Crashpads, Discounted AAC Membership, Guidebooks, Movies, and more!
It’s almost the winter holiday gift-giving season. It’s also almost winter bouldering season! Need a new crash pad? Check this out:
What is The Clymb? The Clymb is a discount site that does short term private sales. Often they have climbing gear or do a climbing gear event, like the one that is going on right now. Items for sale include a discounted American Alpine Club membership (a great deal for the Global Rescue Insurance alone), movies from Sender Films and MC productions, Evolve Shoes, harnesses from Arc’Teryx, and hangboards and pads (yes, real crash pads!) from Revolution.
If you are not a member you’ll need an invite to sign up. Click here – The Clymb Invite. Happy shopping!
The Route Setters at The Spot are continually trying to improve our staff to member relations. Sometimes we set boulders that are extremely difficult to piece together and climbers understandably throw fits of frustration. We’ve decided that a weekly video release showing beta on hard to read boulders could be a great way to enhance your experience at The Spot. Here is the first release:
Wall: Left River
Setter: Danny Ciavarro
Tape Color: Blue
Grade: 5 spot
This particular problem took the setters a number of tries to figure out. Even Danny, the setter of the problem, was stumped on how the problem should go. He had envisioned starting facing the wall, followed by delicate stemming to the large under cling. The real beta, and the only beta that seems to work, ended up being quite different. For the uniqueness of movement, I honestly believe this boulder to be one of the best that’s been set at The Spot since I’ve been around.
Here’s the BETA thanks to Jonny Hork:
1. Me. I just got back from Europe. I am JET LAGGED. But I am looking forward to setting on Tuesday! In other news, recently I was asked to give some advice on how women can get into routesetting for a new website called GIRL BETA. The site was started by my friend Mercedes Pollmeier and the content is focused on empowering the female climbing community through videos, commentary, training advice, and other resources. Click the logo to see the site, and if you’re interested in my 2 cents, there’s a permalink to it HERE.
2. The Boys (half of ‘em anyways) are still in Colombia. It looks amazing. Here are a couple of pics courtesy of Kara Caputo.
The boys made these videos in conjunction with their sponsor Revolution/. It’s a 3 video series but they’re not too long and definitely worth watching, especially if you want to know how Carlo dynos so well, and what that funny thing he does with his leg is. Enjoy!