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V-Scale Conversion...How hard is it?
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aarong


Aug 31, 2002, 3:26 AM
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I recently went to the following link:
http://www.8a.nu/eng/index.shtml
and found their "Grade Conversion" chart and was surprised to find that they show a V3 to correspond with 5.10b....? Is this right? Is a V7 equivalent to a 5.12b move? Or is their chart off? I always thought V3 was closer to 5.11c/d and V7 was approximate to 5.13a.


collegekid


Aug 31, 2002, 3:37 AM
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that's what i thought too...I've done some 5.10 -5.11 top roping, and my max bouldering is like v3. So to me, a v3 is like a 5.11, not a 5.10. It's all subjective though...i guess if you were a professional boulderer, a v3 would be about a 5.10+. SUBJECTIVE SUBJECTIVE SUBJECTIVE...oh yeah, did i say it's SUBJECTIVE? Don't worry about the grade. V3 is V3, the converision is not exact. Think of the v scale as another language...french doesn't translate perfectly to english, neither do grades for bouldering problems to grades for sport routes.


bouldertoad


Aug 31, 2002, 3:48 AM
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I have always been under the impression that the Bouldering scale is how hard a problem feels in correlation to its YDS counterpart. A V4 is as hard as a 5.12 route but that does not mean that a 5.12 route has a move of V4 on it. A 5.12 (V4) boulder problem should feel much harder than a 5.12 route does simply because there are not as many moves.


jmlangford


Aug 31, 2002, 3:55 AM
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I know this info is somewhere on this site but here is the "Official" conversion as published in "Bishop Area Rock Climbs":

10a=V0- 11a=V1 12a=V4 13a=V7
10b=V0- 11b=V2 12b=V5 13b=V8
10c=V0 11c=V2 12c=V5 13c=V8
10d=V0+ 11d=V3 12d=V6 13d=V9



collegekid


Aug 31, 2002, 4:04 AM
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i always thought the v scale was a totally separate way of grading boulder problems, intended only for that purpose...therefore, it has no conversion to the yds.

In my opinion, a boulder problem is like a sprint, while a trad climb is like an endurance run...some people who have really good endurance will find long 5.11's easier than the equivalent boulder problem, while a boulderer that can do a v3 boulder route (me) finds a 5.11 sport route harder, and cannot endure the whole thing. Therefore, it is all subjective. In places where boulder problems are exclusively v rated, then consider the difficulty relative to the other problems in that area, according to that scale. Other areas may have yds grades (5.something), so when in that area determine future projects according to your abilities relative to the grades given to climbs in that area.

Basically, before you can start attempting climbs that are at you limit in any specific climbing locale, you must be familiar with the relative difficulty of the climbs there, and how the climbs have been rated.

"Jon's [rock] theory of relativity":
Rock climbing grading and difficulty are relative to those who grade, the conditions when graded, and the particular style of climbing necessary in the specific crag.

[ This Message was edited by: collegekid on 2002-08-30 21:11 ]


jgill


Sep 4, 2002, 11:42 PM
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Discussions like this one are fun, but don't take such rating systems too seriously. The soul of bouldering is the kinaesthetics and problem solving. Remember, it's the "poetry of mountaineering"!


paulc


Sep 5, 2002, 12:26 AM
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OT How funny is it that John is listed as a sport climber??? HAHA

Anyhow, the problem is that 5.12a can be 5.9 climbing with one 12a move, or it can be 40 meters of 11b/c. A V4( or whatever number converts in the chart) will have at least one V4 move on it and perhaps all V4 moves.

That is why you will find long traverses with YDS grades rather than V grades even though the traverse can be 4 feet off the deck for 100 meters or more. It is a different kind of climbing as someone else mentioned, at least for grading purposes.

But always remember climbing is climbing and it is best when you are having fun.

Paul


aarong


Sep 5, 2002, 7:56 PM
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I agree with jgill. It seems that all the V's are detracting from the essence of the activity. There was a broader point that I wanted to touch on in my initial post, which I avoided: I wonder if anyone else has noticed that over the past ten years the V- scale has morphed into a new being and has been bolstered. In other words, the numbers have gone up for certain problems that have been around for years. It's hard to not notice. That's not to say that there are not problems that exist now that are harder than there ever have been before. But there's a lot of problems out there that have been over-rated with Vs. I think this is because so many are strictly concerned with how hard they are climbing that they don't bother to enjoy the activity itself, only the "send." It's interesting to note because the fact is...none of it really matters. I like it better when problems are simply named without being rated, or have a more general scale like the B scale was (B1,B2,B3). The B scale was based on number of ascents, not difficulty. Going bouldering is not about the rating of a single problem...it's about the experience...how do you rate that? I've never been able to grasp the V-scale...but you know what...I don't really care to.


crashmypadd


Sep 6, 2002, 2:12 AM
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well, i've sent a v6 boulder problem and my max toproping (don't do much leading yet) is about 5.11b, so yeah, it's most definitely subjective. i think i'm big on sprint, not stamina, and the lack of moves for bouldering is much better for me.


brianthew


Sep 6, 2002, 2:37 AM
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I typically think of a V to YDS rating as taking the crux of the climb and making just that the whole route. Say your V rating says you can boulder a "5.12." You could then pull a 5.12 crux, but that's just the crux...it doesn't account for the rest of the climb and its effect on your performance. Say (hypothetically) that you can crank a V6 but can't climb the corresponding 12d. But if you were lowered (or raised) to the crux of a climb that was 5.12, you could send at least the crux (am I making sense?)

But bouldering and sport/trad are different activities with different demands, so any conversion is very rough.

[ This Message was edited by: brianthew on 2002-09-05 19:40 ]


veep23


Sep 6, 2002, 3:34 AM
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Brianthew- that's always how I thought of it too. We could be wrong but it feels about right to me.


beethovenboy


Sep 6, 2002, 5:17 AM
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Ok, I'm a big fat ass 5'7" 194 lbs. and I can do some V4 problems and most V2 and below but can't even do a 5.9. I'm not quite sure how accurate this bouldering scale is, just some food for thought...
Spiral out....


beethovenboy


Sep 6, 2002, 5:21 AM
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Just a few more words, I agree with aarong, if you're only concentrating on what the difficulty is then you've missed the point of climbing, having fun or a spiritual experience.


crux_clipper


Sep 8, 2002, 7:07 AM
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Could you just imagine trying to pull off the moves of a V14, 10 meters off the deck, 2 meters above your last peice?

http://www.bouldering.com/bouldering_ratingsconversion_cha.htm



timhinck


Sep 9, 2002, 12:19 PM
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I agree with those of you who feel that the V-scale leaves something to be desired.

However, I do think that the V-scale is perfectin the one thing that it is useful for: training.

The V-scale is horrible if you are trying to compare yourself to other climbers as every climber is built differently, every climber has different weaknesses, so the ratings will not be the same from one climber to the next.

However, the V-scale works great for personal training. The reason for this is that it basically puts a number on the difficulty of a move. Moving up the V-scale in your training is like adding weights on a bar in the gym.

I disagree with the statement that the V-scale succeeds in rating the total boulder problem including it's length and other aspects. I think it ONLY accounts for the hardest move on it. There are rating systems that have been developed that try to address these other issues. The Fontainbleau system does this, and the new British bouldering system does.

tim


traddad


Sep 10, 2002, 2:36 PM
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While I truely beliece that in bouldering, "The movement is the motivation" I also believe that, for me, the V scale has its place.
I have always been a competitive athlete, and as such, I have always measured myself against records as well as other competitors. The V scale allows me to push at the particular boundary of subjective difficulty.
While the V scale does not have the objective power of time and distance, it is the only measurement we have, social agreement that it is. Perhaps a defined rubric for grading routes might help?

Traddad


dhamma


Sep 11, 2002, 1:23 AM
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what will this rubric be based on?

The current route grading system (in the U.S.) was created by a bunch of stoners in the Valley -- it doesn't work. what does 5.10 mean exactly? Consesus on grades? If you truly believe there is, then you need to travel and get out more.

Conversely, the V system was created by sherman -- it had it's own problems even in the microcosym of Hueco (eg: new religion and double boiler the same grade? Ha!). Then compare his "standard" for V7, new religion, to jungle fever in berkeley (another standard for V7) -- that is another laughable comparison. But at least John admitted that the scale was based on his own opinion, having tried 90=% of the problems in the hueco guide and single handedly coming up with a system of comparison, which incidentaly is 100% accurate for John alone.

Then came a bouldering explosion as people everywhere tried to apply the "V-scale" to there own pile of boulders. The same thing happened when the Yos decimal grade crept out of the valley back in the '70's.

Grades don't add up to anything. They are completely made up by individuals who have their own unique talents and weaknesses.

So back to your rubric. I don't think it will ever exist (by all means, prove me wrong). However, I understand your desire to compete. That's not a problem: the climbers at the top level know who their peers are. Some of these folks spray to the mags (or someone else does it for them) so the rest of us also know who some of the "big" names are. But the greatest climbing accomplishments are well documented: Elie Chevieux onsighting the first 5.14, Lynn Hill Freeing the Nose, Wolfgang Gullich sending Action Direct, Josune Bereziartu climbing 5.14C and V12 respectively, Warren Harding and company nailing their way up the Nose, John Gill inventing bouldering, and Jim Holloway establishing the still unrepeated "Meathook" back in the '70's...just to name a few.

Climbing isn't really a sport, by strict definition. So the invalidity of grades and the failings of our current system are fine in the present for satisfying number crunching sponsors who don't know how to promote their athletes anyway.


traddad


Sep 11, 2002, 2:03 PM
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I'm not saying it would be easy....far from it, and I'm definitely NOT implying that subjectivity would disappear. In fact I have no idea what a grading rubric would look like, other than "a 5.6 will never have a required figure four move" or a "V1 cannot have a dyno to a 3/4 pad crimp" (both of which I have seen).
Being 6'5" with a +3 ape index pretty much precludes me from grading anything I put up, so I don't, but having some agreed upon rules as basic as those above might be a good start. Grades will always be a social construct, but the parameters could be better defined.
As for competition, my biggest competitor is my ego. I will never be an elite climber, but I hope to do the very best I can, and that is very hard to gage with subjective grading systems.

Traddad


timhinck


Sep 12, 2002, 1:39 PM
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dhamma:

I definantly agree with you, that every rating system is totally subjective and prone to flaws, but I have to support the V-system (even though i feel the Fontainbleau system is superior).

While it's true that some problems are obviously misrated (I think Double Boiler has been offically uprated, though), you will probably have to agree that many many V5 problems feel about the same. Time and time again I will get on a problem and be able to guess the grade, simply by how hard the moves feel.

I think this is a testament to the validity of the V-scale grading system. It is self-regulating. Enough people get on a problem and find it soft, and it will get downrated. Eventually, a consensus will arise and the problems grade will probably end up being fairly acurate. It will tell the majority of climbers if they will find the problem challenging or not. It will tell climbers whether this problem is a good goal for them in their training schedule, etc etc.

I stand by the V-system.... for now.

tim


madscientist


Sep 12, 2002, 2:48 PM
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The 8a chart is ued to convert French grades to other grades. The French use the same system, 7a etc., for climbs and boulders. However, a 7a boulder problem does not correspond to the same difficulty of a 7a route. Thus, you can covert the route difficulty of a 12a to the French grade of 7a+, or you can convert the bouldering grade of V6 to 7a+. You should not be reading the chart from the route side to the bouldering side and assume that the chart means a 12a route is equivalent to the difficulty of a V6. Hope this clears up the original problem.


dhamma


Sep 12, 2002, 7:10 PM
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timhinck --

You bring up a valid point regarding consensus. Certainly, over time, grades can be consolidated to a certain extent.

I think the challenge comes when climbers use grades to classify how hard they are climbing LITERALLY. Saying you climb V8 is not the same as saying you can run a 5 min mile. It's just not that cut and dry.

For evidence of this, go check out the 8a.nu site. It's funny to see the dispariging grades people list for certain problems. There is a ton of grade inflation on that site either because climbers don't understand the french scale conversion or because they simply don't recognize the consensus grade.

I'm familiar w/ Bishop so here are some obviously overgraded problems I found listed on 8a.nu:

"action figure" (given anywhere between V7 - V8) in the guide. At Hueco, it would be V5 at most. It's not even as hard as hobbit in a blender! So now you've got a climber thinking they are climbing V8 when in fact they are climbing V5 -- not a fair representation of their abilities.

Another termanally overgraded problem is, "Froz" (V8). My girlfriend flashed it and thought it was V4 at most. Most other people do as well. It's not comparable to "Carnage" at Font. Not even close!

"Gleaming the cube" (V8). This problem was a low start for a V4. The starting hold is now completely gone, yet people are listing it as a send. Why? because they have no idea they haven't done the problem and didn't bother to ask locals where the true start was. The hold broke off almost 2 years ago.

I realize this is a bit of a ramble. But, my point is that although consensus does work, it doesn't really give a satisfactory means of classifying climbers (especially when the grades of an area HAVEN'T yet reached consensus (eg. Bishop). Loads of Bishop problems will be downrated in the future. Many will be uprated or stay the same. Consensus takes a long, long time. And, even when you have it, you don't! (eg: is Midnight Lightning V7, V8, or V9?)

A 5 minute mile is a five minute mile. Always.



boulderpaul


Sep 17, 2002, 12:18 AM
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the chart on 8a.nu is a bit off, but who carits, its just a chart that they thought was correct, their are many and noe are correct because bouldeing is completely differnt from climbing.


curt


Sep 19, 2002, 2:47 AM
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Not every modification to a rating system represents an improvement. John Sherman tells me that his biggest mistake in writing the guide book to Hueco was introducing the open ended V-Scale. I still like Gill's original system--and use it. Like they say "try it, you'll like it". As per John Gill:

B1 = Pretty Damn Hard
B2 = Really Damn Hard
B3 = Only done once, although attempted by numerous competent boulderers (i.e. nearly humanly impossible.)

Who cares that these grades change with the performance standards of the day? I think that is one of its benefits.


dhamma


Sep 19, 2002, 5:39 AM
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The B scale is the most nebulous grading system ever! Sure, it was "elegant" when only one person uses it (ie: Gill).

But, what exactly is "hard" or "darn hard" for that matter. My idea of hard may be harder than your idea of hard or visa versa.

How do you tell the difference between B1 and B2? B3 is easy since it is defined by only one ascent.

What if you applied it to routes?

Bummer. I just remembered that Realization was recently repeated by D. Graham. So if you applied it to the old B scale, it would be B2. hahahahaha!


curt


Sep 19, 2002, 6:00 AM
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dhamma,

The "B" system can be seen as nebulous if you want to look at it that way, but if you have read many of the other posts concerning difficulty ratings you will come to appreciate the fact that it is impossible to attach difficulty to a climb or boulder problem with any great precision. Therefore, fewer grades may make sense. Unless you are chasing "big numbers" to make a name for yourself (as Sherman states the issue) why is it important if something is V12 or V13? Especially in light of the fact that most people will probably not agree which it is.

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