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fluxus


Jul 1, 2004, 10:24 PM
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Grades at Malibu?  (North_America: United_States: California: Los_Angeles_County: Malibu_Creek_State_Park)
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Hey I just started doing some of the routes at the power wall, stumbling blocks and Mt. gorgeous areas. I can't help but noticing that the grades are AMAZINGLY SOFT! This place makes Red Rocks look stout! Every Route I have been on has been at least 2 letter grades over rated and some have been about a full number grade off. and yes I am on the correct routes. Does anyone else share this opinion?


ikefromla


Jul 1, 2004, 10:35 PM
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direct such complaints to Louie Anderson, guidebook author. his RC.com username is socalbolter. If you would like to see STIFF grades, hit the Ghetto wall (that is except for Johnny Can't Lead, that thing is NOT 11b by any standard); it's the only good climbing in Malibu Creek State Park anyway.
peace,
Ike
(edited once out of necessity)


kalcario


Jul 1, 2004, 11:10 PM
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*I can't help but noticing that the grades are AMAZINGLY SOFT!*

L.A. climbing is just as insulated from the rest of the climbing world as L.A. itself is from the rest of the world


ikefromla


Jul 2, 2004, 12:26 AM
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Re: Grades at Malibu? [In reply to]
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In reply to:
A- Who ever called Johnny Can't lead anything but 10D/11A
Louie's recent guide, Sport Climbing in the Santa Monicas (a fantastic guide by any standard) has it listed at 11b. Perhaps it was just a mistake, but that's the grade in the book.


goodwill


Jul 2, 2004, 12:35 AM
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I can't help but noticing that the grades are AMAZINGLY SOFT! This place makes Red Rocks look stout!

I agree, although I've only climbed a few routes there.


Partner rrrADAM


Jul 2, 2004, 1:27 AM
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Yep... A lot of the new stuff is soft... Go to Ghetto Wall and climb Urban Struggle or Skeezer, and Johny Can't Lead is listed as a .10a in the orange SoCal Sport Guide. :lol:

Only thing on Stumbling I thought close is Letterbox.


kalcario


Jul 2, 2004, 6:13 AM
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*LA climbing is insulated? Uh, sure dude, those guys (Wilts, Kamps, Robbins, Long, and the other 10,000 climbers from LA) have never gone very far out of town. I heard Chouinard just went home every night instead of bivying while he was in Patagonia and the Bugaboos, back in the 60's. That must have been another Bachar cranking in Colorado, Yosemite and the east side. On rock, LA climbers set world standards for at about 25 years.*

Agreed - 25 (or more) years ago. Currently?


climberchic


Jul 2, 2004, 8:41 AM
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Yep... A lot of the new stuff is soft... Go to Ghetto Wall and climb Urban Struggle or Skeezer, and Johny Can't Lead is listed as a .10a in the orange SoCal Sport Guide. :lol:

Only thing on Stumbling I thought close is Letterbox.

I agree. I've only climbed at Ghetto Wall (thanks again Adam!), but I felt those grades were pretty accurate. Soft compared to the likes of J-Tree and Yosemite but a) it is sport climbing and b) what isn't.


socalbolter


Jul 2, 2004, 9:29 AM
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Just came across this thread and thought I'd add a bit to it.

First off, I agree that for the most part the ratings are soft. When I was researching for my recent guidebook, I had a hard decision to make and this is what it was:

I'm not a local at the area. Although I have added a handful of routes there, it is not an area that I frequent. I thought that using the local consensus ratings for specific routes was the better way to go over changing all ratings to match my personal thoughts.

Are there some giveaways? Some more than solid ratings? Of course. To a certain degree this happens at any crag.

Specifically, "Johnny Can't Lead" went up in rating when it's anchors were moved higher adding a final crux sequence. I for one thought 11a would have still been a good rating, but my survey of Malibu Creek climbers' opinions said otherwise.

This brings up a dilemna faced by guidebook authors everywhere. Should the local consensus be respected, or is it up to the guidebook author to adjust ratings as he/she sees fit? I'd be curious to see what your thoughts are on this.

Ratings (and often even more so, Sport ratings) should be considered a suggestion and loose guide for selecting routes to climb. There will always be discrepancies. The bottom line should be whether or not you're having fun; not what the grade of the route is that you are climbing.

- Louie


caughtinside


Jul 2, 2004, 9:50 AM
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In reply to:
This brings up a dilemna faced by guidebook authors everywhere. Should the local consensus be respected, or is it up to the guidebook author to adjust ratings as he/she sees fit? I'd be curious to see what your thoughts are on this.

It's my opinion you should go with local consensus.

Sure, grades may be softer/harder compared to other areas, but I think you will find that relative to other climbs at the same area, there will be accuracy.

I don't think I'd like it if someone showed up at my crag, wrote a guide to the place, and graded everything differently. But, at the same time, grades should be open to discussion, if people do feel there's a discrepancy.

I guess changing a grade is ok, as long as it isn't unilateral.


dfoerstel


Jul 2, 2004, 10:02 AM
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In reply to:
socalbolter wrote:


Ratings (and often even more so, Sport ratings) should be considered a suggestion and loose guide for selecting routes to climb. There will always be discrepancies. The bottom line should be whether or not you're having fun; not what the grade of the route is that you are climbing.

- Louie

Truer words were never spoken!


hasbeen


Jul 2, 2004, 10:58 AM
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Well I, for one, am a SoCal climber who's climbed at perhaps a thousand different crags in 20 different countries and 20 different states. I wouldn't call myself insulated. I think Louie's been out in the world a bit himself.

The points are well covered, are you having fun, and the grades consistant for the area, etc?

The only thing that was left out was the choss factor, as routes tend to change quite a lot around here. And there is a difference given something a grade on a first ascent on chossy rock without much chalk at all. 200 ascents later, when everthing is clean and chalked up, it might seem a whole lot easier. Subsequent guidebook additions usually reflect this.

I would say that most of the newer routes at both Echo and Malibu are a grade to two overrated (don't know of any that are a number off except maybe Final Exam at Echo), which will get fixed next time around (if they're still that way at publishing).

And if you recall, Red Rocks routes were mainly a grade or two higher than they are now when they first went up. In fact, so were the Ghetto Routes. It's just the nature of sportclimbing. If you want big ticks, hit an area when it's new.


caughtinside


Jul 2, 2004, 10:58 AM
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The only thing that was left out was the choss factor, as routes tend to change quite a lot around here. And there is a difference given something a grade on a first ascent on chossy rock without much chalk at all. 200 ascents later, when everthing is clean and chalked up, it might seem a whole lot easier.

Agreed. There's nothing quite like a brand new sport route on choss.


ikefromla


Jul 2, 2004, 11:23 AM
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Louie and Edwards are the masters. Great responses by both. And yeah, they are right. I still find it crazy that people find Johnny to be 11b, I mean, I consider myself a local and 11a seems good by me... but that's what consensus is all about I guess.


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Partner rrrADAM


Jul 2, 2004, 12:04 PM
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FYI... Louie (socalbolter) asked for comments and grades for Malibu on this site prior to publishing the guidebook, but had very little response I believe.


ikefromla


Jul 2, 2004, 12:08 PM
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FYI... Louie (socalbolter) asked for comments and grades for Malibu on this site prior to publishing the guidebook, but had very little response I believe.
very true.. if i remember accurately, I was one of those responses.. i think. He did the same for Echo as well I believe.
For reference.. if anyone was wondering, Louie himself does not grade softly! I have visited areas that he is developing, and the grades were, well to avoid saying "stiff" and sounding like a "sporto weiner pansy," I will call them solid. yes, very solid grades. :wink:


kalcario


Jul 2, 2004, 12:28 PM
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...easy, babe. Echo is pretty light in the loafers grade wise. Buried Treasure, the long route right of it, The Stand, Crash and Burn, that 13a on the Geezer wall...all over graded IMO. My friend Steve did Power of One (first ascent?) a few months ago and thought 13c not d, and Aaron says 13a for State of Grace, not 13c. Like I said, it's insulated here; good climbers don't come here and the locals tend not to spend very much time at other crags, so the ratings get a little mushy


fluxus


Jul 2, 2004, 12:44 PM
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Are there some giveaways? Some more than solid ratings? Of course. To a certain degree this happens at any crag.

Ratings (and often even more so, Sport ratings) should be considered a suggestion and loose guide for selecting routes to climb. There will always be discrepancies.

O.K. all this if fine Louie, but the key words are "to a certain degree" I have so say that the areas I mentioned in my first post and perhapse Malibu in general, has the most inaccuracte grades of anyplace I have ever climbed.

Every route is off by at least two letter grades, so I see it as more than a matter of there being a few giveaways, it really casts doubt on those who got the FA, their experience, and knowledge as well as the comunity that accepts these grades.

I also completely reject the implication that sport grades are somehow, by their nature going to be off. I've spent alot of time in places like Rifle, AF Buoux, etc. and they all have consistant and solid grades.

peace out.


ikefromla


Jul 2, 2004, 12:54 PM
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...easy, babe. Echo is pretty light in the loafers grade wise. Buried Treasure, the long route right of it, The Stand, Crash and Burn, that 13a on the Geezer wall...all over graded IMO. My friend Steve did Power of One (first ascent?) a few months ago and thought 13c not d, and Aaron says 13a for State of Grace, not 13c. Like I said, it's insulated here; good climbers don't come here and the locals tend not to spend very much time at other crags, so the ratings get a little mushy
Sorry, I should have been more clear, I was in NO way referring to Echo in my previous post. Perhaps I should have stated that Louie's recent developments have not been graded softly? I haven't done any of the 13's at Echo, as I have not spent too much time there, so I really can't comment, but if by Aaron you mean Lennox, I trust his judgement fully.


kalcario


Jul 2, 2004, 1:24 PM
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*it really casts doubt on those who got the FA, their experience, and knowledge as well as the comunity that accepts these grades.*

Welcome to LA!

Try Williamson for some real 12's, those grades ain't fluff...


hasbeen


Jul 2, 2004, 2:27 PM
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this thread sure is informed compared to most of em, eh. everyone seems to make a legitamate point. how unique!

ike is right about louie historically not giving away grades. i once, on spec, upgraded all this slash grades to the higher grade based on a history of repeating his routes which tended to be sandbagged. i think this may have started a bit of this 'problem', since the echo grades are now sorta soft. but, again, it will change in time as more people get on them. the 13's have very few ascents and, in fact, doniel and i usually end up downgrading most of the routes (his too) that we work on. the more good climbers around, the more new sequences get found, etc. williamson has solid grades, yes, but it didn't at first. they went through the same process. the first day troy did world on fire on TR he was saying 13a and, ya know, it's 12b now.

largo and joe's routes are notoriously soft in grades and they sort of fight for the grade to remain what it is. personally, i could not care less what it's graded so they can call it whatever they want. but if were writing the book i'd change them. louie went by local consensus and, again, people (like me) didn't speak up.

therefore, last weekend i did the 6 routes closest to the dam, including the "5-star" 12a. they were soft, two of them (12a and 11d) about 2 grades. the mt georgeous routes are soft. and those lower ones were actually upgraded from there original grades for some reason. i do not think the ghetto is off at all. my echo book is all crossed out with an average of about a 1.5 grade drop. i'm giving those buried treasure routes c and b, but they could go to b and a. depends whether echo should be a sandbagged place or not. i've always thought state of grace was a b, but i saw aaron do it and he sure made it look like an a (and that i didn't know what the hell i was doing up there).

btw - buoux and rifle went through the same downgrading process--in friggin' spades. rifle was way soft when i first visited it (granted, there was only about 30 routes). those places have stood up to every hot shot climber in the world getting on pretty much every route. if anything, i'd say they are slightly sandbagged compared to elsewhere and not the 'standard'. most crags, even in europe, don't rate routes as hard as buoux.


ikefromla


Jul 2, 2004, 2:43 PM
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mmm historically perspective. Thanks Coach. :wink:


socalbolter


Jul 2, 2004, 3:36 PM
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Judging from the overall tone on these posts, I should have changed the grades a bit for the guide.

For anyone that wants to help address the problem, please forward to me (either by PM or email) your thoughts and comments. I'd welcome input on both difficulty and quality (star) ratings from all levels of climber.

Consensus is only as good as the quantity and quality of the input received. I'm more than open to additional opinions.

In a way it's funny, but my original feelings of grades for several of these routes were more in line with what I'm now hearing (and reading). I should have stuck by my gut feelings. Live and learn.

Keep the comments coming.


fluxus


Jul 2, 2004, 3:50 PM
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**. . . rifle went through the same downgrading process . . . **

only the routes that Kurt Smith put up!!! :-)

The stuff put up by the likes of Colin Lantz, Phill of anti Phill fame, and Scott Fry have stayed steady, despite the efforts of jaded locals who down graded all their training routes in 1995. On the other hand the Colinator only got a second ascent a few seasons ago. now that's a stout route, 7+ years without a second ascent!

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