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chip8222


Jul 12, 2006, 3:38 PM
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Setting and Rating Indoor Problems
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As a route setter for a large indoor gym, I've noticed a somewhat unsettling trend: Routes are being rated inaccurately (a problem rated a V0 will in reality be a V2+) and not enough beginner or intermediate routes are being set. I don't know if this is true throughout the US, but its certainly true here.

The reason behind this, I feel, are the experienced climbers who are setting the routes. Someone who is a V5 climber will not be able to effectively set a V0 because a move that is simple or easy to him, may require too much strength and power for a beginning climber. Now I'm sure that I'm guilty of this also, but here are a few tips to boulder problem setters:

1) Make the start clearly marked, and not as difficult as the rest of the problem. You should be able to comfortably get onto the wall without straining or reaching. (Leave that for the crux move.)

2) Be aware of the holds you are using in relation to the angle of the wall. If its a steep under hang, use holds with more positive space, or pockets.

3) Get other climbers involved. If you're aiming to set V1 (and you should have a grade in mind BEFORE you start), get a V1 climber to get on the wall and try the moves, then ask them for their feedback.

4) Put extra foot jibs on the wall. By placing one or two extra feet, you give climbers options on how to complete the problem. Someone who is 6'2" may not need them all, but someone who is 5'4" may not be able to complete the problem without them.

5) Have many climbers of all different abilities climb the route BEFORE you rate it. Ask what they would rate it. You'll find that experienced climbers will rate things to easy, beginners to hard.

Remember, we all love to challenge ourselves with difficult routes. But if we wish to continue to grow and expand our sport, we need to set problems that are both accessible to beginners, as well as challenging to experts.


anykineclimb


Jul 12, 2006, 4:15 PM
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...Someone who is a V5 climber will not be able to effectively set a V0 because a move that is simple or easy to him...

Thats some bullshit right there!

If your routesetters can't set below their limit, what good are they??

THEY'RE NOT

get good setters.

also, ratings are never etched in stone. If, after a few days, people are telling you it feels harder; then get a consensus and change it! It'd be stupid to leave it at V0


overlord


Jul 13, 2006, 8:00 AM
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The reason behind this, I feel, are the experienced climbers who are setting the routes. Someone who is a V5 climber will not be able to effectively set a V0 because a move that is simple or easy to him, may require too much strength and power for a beginning climber.

that is not true. a good setter can set routes of any difficulty. i know this to be a fact because a good friend of mine sets national competition routes and boulders for all aga categories. and i have always heard only praise for hes routes.

like everything else, it just takes practise.

1. not neccesary. sometime its fun to have a crux start.

2. thats logical.

3. thats why setters usually work in teams.

4. thats usually a good idea, but it might make the route too easy for some.

5. if you must rate it, thats the way to go.


getdownfromthere


Jul 13, 2006, 8:28 AM
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Actually, I've found that, where I'm from (Southern California), there are so many competing climbing gyms that they give them a higher rating than they should (i.e., something rated 5.10a is actually a 5.9). This makes the climber feel better about his climb (and himself), and so he's more likely to frequent that particular gym again. "Gee, at such-and-such gym I was able to do some 5.10a routes, but I can only do 5.8s at the other place."


svilnit


Jul 13, 2006, 12:10 PM
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Actually, I've found that, where I'm from (Southern California), there are so many competing climbing gyms that they give them a higher rating than they should (i.e., something rated 5.10a is actually a 5.9). This makes the climber feel better about his climb (and himself), and so he's more likely to frequent that particular gym again. "Gee, at such-and-such gym I was able to do some 5.10a routes, but I can only do 5.8s at the other place."


DING DING we have a winner.. gyms rate the routes harder than they really are to make you feel better about yourself.


Partner sevrdhed


Jul 13, 2006, 1:41 PM
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DING DING we have a winner.. gyms rate the routes harder than they really are to make you feel better about yourself.

Not all of 'em. Come to my gym. It's pretty sandbagged. None of this feel-good, "You climbed a V2++" BS. We're here to make you feel bad about yourself by turning your V4 climbs into V1s, and then warming up on them in front of you and saying "This is too easy. We should take off a foot." That's what you get for climbing in a gym in Mecca.

We'll also hit on your girlfriend.

Steve


chip8222


Jul 13, 2006, 1:57 PM
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I'm not saying that a strong climber CAN'T set a V0, but its very easy for them to fall into the trap of setting a route which may be simple for their strengths. That still doesnt make it a V0.

Remember also- A V5 climber can be challenged by a V2. But to a V2 climber, a V5 problem is useless.


pro_alien


Jul 13, 2006, 5:46 PM
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If you sandbag the ratings in the "ego deflation chamber" (bouldering cave), at least do it consistently...

Otherwise, it is an injury risk when people get on hard routes they are not ready for.


librik


Jul 13, 2006, 6:29 PM
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In reply to:
The reason behind this, I feel, are the experienced climbers who are setting the routes. Someone who is a V5 climber will not be able to effectively set a V0 because a move that is simple or easy to him, may require too much strength and power for a beginning climber.

that is not true. a good setter can set routes of any difficulty. i know this to be a fact because a good friend of mine sets national competition routes and boulders for all aga categories. and i have always heard only praise for hes routes.

like everything else, it just takes practise.

1. not neccesary. sometime its fun to have a crux start.

2. thats logical.

3. thats why setters usually work in teams.

4. thats usually a good idea, but it might make the route too easy for some.

5. if you must rate it, thats the way to go.

I guess it's fun sometimes to make a route on which the first move is very hard, just don't do it all the time, because I personally, as much as I like to push myself, when I can't even do the first move on the route, I will just abandon it. When the hard move comes somewhere in the middle, I will usually work on it until everybody goes home and cleaning personnel sweeps me out with garbage.

On another note, I have an opposite complaint than most of the people here. I think routes outdoors are UNDERrated. I have a really hard time squeezing out few moves on 5.8 routes at my gym, but we went to Red River Gorge 4th of July, and everything felt like it was at least 2 points easier than it was rated. Is that RRG problem? Is it because it's sandstone?


librik


Jul 13, 2006, 6:30 PM
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In reply to:
The reason behind this, I feel, are the experienced climbers who are setting the routes. Someone who is a V5 climber will not be able to effectively set a V0 because a move that is simple or easy to him, may require too much strength and power for a beginning climber.

that is not true. a good setter can set routes of any difficulty. i know this to be a fact because a good friend of mine sets national competition routes and boulders for all aga categories. and i have always heard only praise for hes routes.

like everything else, it just takes practise.

1. not neccesary. sometime its fun to have a crux start.

2. thats logical.

3. thats why setters usually work in teams.

4. thats usually a good idea, but it might make the route too easy for some.

5. if you must rate it, thats the way to go.

I guess it's fun sometimes to make a route on which the first move is very hard, just don't do it all the time, because I personally, as much as I like to push myself, when I can't even do the first move on the route, I will just abandon it. When the hard move comes somewhere in the middle, I will usually work on it until everybody goes home and cleaning personnel sweeps me out with garbage.

On another note, I have an opposite complaint than most of the people here. I think routes outdoors are UNDERrated. I have a really hard time squeezing out few moves on 5.8 routes at my gym, but we went to Red River Gorge 4th of July, and everything felt like it was at least 2 points easier than it was rated. Is that RRG problem? Is it because it's sandstone?


bizarrodrinker


Jul 13, 2006, 7:14 PM
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I just don't understand grades at all. There are some problems in the V7 range that I can walk, but then there are V2s that I can't do. Prime examples of both are Redneck, and millepede (which are both 7s) in HP40 which I think are way over rated, and then there is paperboy (V2) in Squamish that I have gotten my ass handed to me on every time I have tried it.

I guess every grade is relative to the area.


curtis_g


Jul 13, 2006, 8:02 PM
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If you sandbag the ratings in the "ego deflation chamber" (bouldering cave), at least do it consistently...

Otherwise, it is an injury risk when people get on hard routes they are not ready for.

wow, no dice buddy. If you're a v1 climber and hurt yourself on a misrated v5 rated v2, then you're just plain dumb. really, injure yourself on too hard of a boulder problem? I can't seem to imagine anything more ridiculous.


humancrashpad


Jul 14, 2006, 3:52 AM
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Come to my gym. It's pretty sandbagged. None of this feel-good, "You climbed a V2++" BS. We're here to make you feel bad about yourself by turning your V4 climbs into V1s, and then warming up on them in front of you and saying "This is too easy. We should take off a foot." That's what you get for climbing in a gym in Mecca



Damn, I've found heaven! :angel:


pushsendnorcal


Jul 14, 2006, 4:29 AM
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Here's the problems with ratings indoors and outdoors and the members of gyms that complain about the inconsistency of grades.

Problem #1)Just because you have climbed one or several climbs of a particular doesn't not make you a Vblahblah climber. First theres the consistency factor, how often and how quick you can do a route or problem. If your project took you three months to do, there's a chance that you won't be to climb the same grade in a week. This is where members of gyms often complain about, they send a certain climb, set in a certain style on a set of angle(s), doesn't mean they can climb the same grade at a steeper or slaby wall, style with a lot of power, technique, endurance. Certain angles demand almost completely different strengths, 5.12 roof is gonna be a lot different then off vert 5.12. In general theres a lot of self-induced ego inflation, "yeah I just did my first V5, now I'm a V5 climber."

Problem #2)For members who climb almost exclusive at the gym and complain about ratings often forget that (In my case at least), are working back to back days of hard work and our bodies tend to break down and we can begin to easily over or underestimate the difficulty of a climb. Members are basing their idea of grades on a rotating set of graded climbs that are completely subjective to say the least.

Problem #3) Problems and routes should be graded on the most effective technique used whether or not it is done by someone with a large reach, flexibile, short or whatever, if there's a problem with it, deal with it. Its rock it doesn't conform to us. For plastic, thats another story, move onto the next taped problem.

Oh yeah on the first post, if you're a real route setter ie, you bust ass setting 5 days a week at 3 different gyms and clock avg. 50hr weeks, then you have shit together and can easily set quality routes fast from 5.0 to 5.14 without complaining like a wanker
------


smile_fifi


Sep 11, 2006, 4:27 AM
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I work at an indoor gym and although I have not learned how to set routes yet I do like the theory that our route setters abide by. The tend to rate things easier than they are. At the other good rock climbing gym in my area (Rock'n and Jam'n if you've ever heard of it) I can easily do a couple 5.11's but that's not comparable to what I can climb outside (one 5.10 if I'm feeling cocky). At the gym I work at I can redpoint a 5.11. their reasoning for rating like that is they feel that climbing outside is harder so it will prepare people to make the transition better if they are able to climb well based off our rating system.

sevrdhed said:

"You climbed a V2++" BS. We're here to make you feel bad about yourself by turning your V4 climbs into V1s, and then warming up on them in front of you and saying "This is too easy. We should take off a foot."
We'll also hit on your girlfriend.

I reply:

Ha ha. That kind of reminds me of how the gym I work at used to be before I started working there. Now that a couple of people have quit it's not so bad anymore.


afreeclimber


Sep 11, 2006, 6:43 AM
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The whole rating system is so subjective, it's nearly useless.

There are far too many variables which affect how hard a climb feels for a particular person.

What does it mean anyway to say "I'm a 5.10 climber!"? You can pull a 5.10 roof, you can balance up 5.10 slab, you can sport 5.10, you can trad 5.10, you can trad 5.10R or 5.10X, you can climb 5.10 splitter, 5.10 offwidth, 5.10 chimney, etc...you've done it once, you've never failed once...

Ratings can be useful when trying to pick out routes you want to do, but they can also put a psychological block on you and keep you from trying routes that are within your abilities.

Nobody should care what ratings they climb in the gym. Jump on everything you can. Falling in the gym equates to learning something about your climbing skill.


jibsta


Sep 11, 2006, 4:26 PM
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Most gyms now have their own rating system for bouldering which makes it more consistant than the V-scale. I agree, most gyms have a feel good rating system wwhen it comes to leads and tr's. But the ratings are a good place to start and then get a good fell for them. Every gym is different in ratings like how every climbing area is different.


smile_fifi


Sep 12, 2006, 11:11 PM
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afreeclimber: you make a lot of sense :)


thelogictheorist


Oct 11, 2006, 6:04 PM
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I just don't understand grades at all. There are some problems in the V7 range that I can walk, but then there are V2s that I can't do. Prime examples of both are Redneck, and millepede (which are both 7s) in HP40 which I think are way over rated, and then there is paperboy (V2) in Squamish that I have gotten my ass handed to me on every time I have tried it.

I guess every grade is relative to the area.

It's more likely that you're not as strong on techniques you need for that particular V2. For instance, I'm pretty decent at using pinches, but not so good at using slopers. I can do a V2 with a lot of small pinches in it and tiny edges, but I may not be able to do a V0 composed mostly of slopers and smearing.

If you really annalyze the types of moves you're greasing off of on that V2 you might find a weak point in technique that you can improve on.


Partner cracklover


Oct 11, 2006, 6:32 PM
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BTW, the original poster's point does have some truth to it. I've been setting for several years, and it *is* harder to set something that's at a rating way way below your limit. That's not to say that it cannot be done, but it's almost as hard as setting a good climb that's above your limit. Neither is something you should spend much time doing, IMO. Add some setters who top out at V2-3 to set, and you'll get much better V0s and V1s.

GO


fcorl


Oct 11, 2006, 7:36 PM
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Add some setters who top out at V2-3 to set, and you'll get much better V0s and V1s.

I don't agree with that.... I don't think V2-V3 climber has the experience with advanced movement and techniques to come up with very creative ideas. A V0- doesn't need to be a left, right, left, right, jug haul. A strong and technically proficient climber can really add a lot of cool movement and creative use of holds to a climb based on their experience and apply that to easier variations, i.e. toe cams, underlings, foot scums, thumb catches, etc. These are often techniques that a V3 climber doesn't think of on their own without getting beta. Those techniques are things not often associated with easy boulder problems.

I’m not saying a V10 climber won’t skip all of the unique movement but it should be good for lower level climbers….


fcorl


Oct 11, 2006, 7:37 PM
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Add some setters who top out at V2-3 to set, and you'll get much better V0s and V1s.



I don't agree with that.... I don't think V2-V3 climber has the experience with advanced movement and techniques to come up with very creative ideas. A V0- doesn't need to be a left, right, left, right, jug haul. A strong and technically proficient climber can really add a lot of cool movement and creative use of holds to a climb based on their experience and apply that to easier variations, i.e. toe cams, underlings, foot scums, thumb catches, etc. These are often techniques that a V3 climber doesn't think of on their own without getting beta. Those techniques are things not often associated with easy boulder problems.

I’m not saying a V10 climber won’t skip all of the unique movement but it should be good for lower level climbers….


t-dog
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Oct 11, 2006, 8:13 PM
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None of this feel-good, "You climbed a V2++" BS. We're here to make you feel bad about yourself by turning your V4 climbs into V1s, and then warming up on them in front of you and saying "This is too easy. We should take off a foot." That's what you get for climbing in a gym in Mecca.

We'll also hit on your girlfriend.

Man, SLC must be the LAST BASTION OF REAL CLIMBERS! Hey Steve, say hi to BURT BRONSON for me next time you see him!!! :lol:


jgloporto


Oct 11, 2006, 8:33 PM
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It seems to me that in my area they grade routes way easier than they actually are. I always wondered if it was a liability thing. Plenty of gym only climbers might end up with unreasonable expectations about what they can do in less controlled environments outdoors if 5.10 routes indoors feel like 5.8's. I can't help it, I am a lawyer so I can't help but think of things in terms of litigation, but I could definitely see someone trying to sue a gym (or more importantly their insurance carrier) because they thought the gym training gave them the skill to do 5.11 routes outdoors.


Partner cracklover


Oct 11, 2006, 9:18 PM
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Add some setters who top out at V2-3 to set, and you'll get much better V0s and V1s.

I don't agree with that.... I don't think V2-V3 climber has the experience with advanced movement and techniques to come up with very creative ideas. A V0- doesn't need to be a left, right, left, right, jug haul. A strong and technically proficient climber can really add a lot of cool movement and creative use of holds to a climb based on their experience and apply that to easier variations, i.e. toe cams, underlings, foot scums, thumb catches, etc. These are often techniques that a V3 climber doesn't think of on their own without getting beta. Those techniques are things not often associated with easy boulder problems.

I’m not saying a V10 climber won’t skip all of the unique movement but it should be good for lower level climbers….

You just made my point in that last sentence.

As a 5.10 toproper, 5.8 leader, I set 5.8 routes in the gym that garnered tons of compliments. I had done plenty of climbing outside, and I took interesting sequences I'd find and replicate them, or sometimes make up all new stuff just based on what my body told me was an interesting move. My body could tell me when a climb "forced" a particular move or sequence, so I knew other climbers would have to make the same choice. My moderate routes were far better than those set by stronger climbers. They were far better, in fact, than my moderate routes are now, to be frank. While I *do* have a bigger bag of tricks I can throw at setting a climb, I simply cannot know what it feels like for a 5.8 climber to be on that route. That makes it much much harder to force a sequence at that level.

Also, ratings are much more than just strength. Throw in enough advanced tehniques, like foot scums, toe catches, or even just weight shifting, and you have left the V-whatever range, even though the holds are big and positive. The fact that you missed this fact reinforces the OP's point that the harder boulderers will set things that are easy for them without realizing that they're not easy.

GO

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