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By JCM
From Golden, CO
Dec 6, 2013

Mark E Dixon wrote:
I'll second this suggestion. Especially for bouldering, why is there any need for any ratings at all when the problems are maybe 15 feet high? Just get on something that appeals and either send it or fall off! Repeat as needed... My impression is that people would try harder problems if they didn't know the grade. As for routes, I think it'd be the opposite if there weren't any ratings. People would be more conservative, but what a great skill set to acquire- look up at a route, evaluate the moves and decide for yourself if you should climb it. It's a pipe dream. I've tried to convince the Spot to drop the ratings, but no go. People think they want the difficulty, but usually they want the number more. Sorry for the thread drift.


I'm going to agree a little bit with Mike, and disagree a little bit with Mark. I do like it when gyms use their own rating scale. Bringing the Vermin and Tahquitz grade scales into the gym leads to discussions like this, where people are trying to compare plastic to rock, which is kind of futile anyway. I think that, psychologically, it makes the most sense just the assume that the gym grades are their own scale anyway, even if there is a 5. or a V before the number. I've always liked the Spot Scale for this reason. It does everything a grading scale should do, and has enough specificity to guide you to just the difficulty of climb you are looking to get on at that moment, but helps keep the atmosphere relaxed by keeping the "I should be able to climb V__" thought at bay. Of course, with a bit of effort you can achieve the same effect for yourself at any gym (or any crag, even) by just not taking the grades seriously, not assuming that you can climb a given level, and not trying to compare the grades to elsewhere.

At the same time,having no grades would be problematic. A simple Easy-Medium-Hard system is equally problematic, since (like at the DBC) the "M" grade ends up being so broad that it can span from a warm-up to a project (at least for me), and thus is basically the same as having no grades. I think that a good grading scale is a really important thing in the gym, since it helps people to use the gym to get what they want on a given day. Yes, you can just wander around sampling routes to try to find one of the right difficulty, but this would very quickly derail any "training" protocol you might have for the day. For me, this makes a big difference for warmups. My eyes are often bigger than my stomach, so with no grades (or vague grades) it can be hard to not get on something too hard too soon in the session. A good grading scale lets you say "I will do 10 problems graded 3 spots/V2/M-/etc before I try anything harder. The, lets say you want to do 4x4s that day, and it is just after a reset. With no grades (or really vague grades), you might to spend an hour trying problems to find the right set for a 4x4, effectively blowing your session. A good gradings scale lets you find exactly what you need, immediately. Lastly, people are in the gym to get stronger. Sometimes it is hard to know when you are getting stronger, unless you have an external measuring stick to record progress. That is why people keep detailed logs when hangboarding. In the gym, once February rolls around, it is nice to have those numbers to keep up the motivation and to reassure youself that you aren't wasting your time, and that the gym sessions are working.


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By GabeO
From Denver, CO
Dec 6, 2013

I moved here from the east coast as well. Happy to help a fellow transplant.

Let me give one word of warning, though. Unless you have a lot of experience climbing on gneiss, you may find the climbs in Clear Creek to feel a little harder than they really are. Do a dozen routes or so before you decide on how the grades feel, to give yourself a chance to hone in on the finer points of how the rock works.

Now I don't boulder much, so while I've done a number of problems at the grades you ask for, it would be better to leave suggestions on those to real boulderers.

But I can give you some suggestions for roped climbs, and not just in Clear Creek. A number of these are in Golden Gate State park or North Table Mountain. Also, a number of these are trad lines.

I provided a key below. Unless otherwise noted, all climbs are sport routes in Clear Creek.

5.9
Herbal Essence

5.10a
Get Rich
Pretty Woman

5.11a
% ~ Dude's Jam Crack
Reefer Madness


5.11b
~ Howdy Doody Time
Night Stick - Note, this is more of a testpiece for the grade than a middle-of-the-grade.

5.11c
Skippin' Stones

5.11d:
%^ Silver Bullet A one pitch trad climb, but you walk to the top and toprope it easily if that's more convenient.
Eiger Direct - Techy.

5.12a
Adventure Kayak Trundle
The Hipster

5.12c
Ten-Digit Dialing

Key:
% Trad
^ North Table Mtn
~ Golden Gate State Park

Note - Ken Tanks has been mentioned, but I don't think it's a good example. It has one hard move down low, and then the rest is much easier. In my opinion, it is way soft for 12c.

Hope that helps,

GO


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By jarthur
From Westminster, CO
Dec 6, 2013
My dogs got ups yo!

GabeO wrote:
Note - Ken Tanks has been mentioned, but I don't think it's a good example. It has one hard move down low, and then the rest is much easier. In my opinion, it is way soft for 12c. Hope that helps, GO


Sweet! If people consider Ken T'anks as a benchmark for 12c then that would stand for reason that my current project Sucking My Will to Live is at least 5.13b! :)


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By Rob Eison
From Denver, CO
Dec 6, 2013

Welcome to Colorado. First off I would suggest it's difficult to gage front range benchmarks because of the variety of rock, styles of climbing, microclimates, egos, etc. You will hear a lot of different opinions and resultant arguments if you spend too much time discussing front range grades. If you want true bechmarks for Colorado climbing then spend a few weeks in Rifle. This will put your climbing in perspective early on and probably provide a heaping dose of humility: Ricochet 12a, Easy Skanking 12b, Extended Family 12c, Never Believe and In Your Face 12d, Beast with 2 Backs, Pumporama, Eighth Day 13a to name a few.

But until the Rifle weather improves, here are suggestions for front range classics which have held their grades over the years:

12a: Adventure Kayak Trundle, Balkan Dirt Diving, Wet Dreams
12b: Undertow, Boys with Power Toys, Quartz Sports
12c: Sucking My will to Live
12d: Anarchitect
13a: Milkbone, $00pr kr33m, Sonic Youth, Vasodilator
13b: Stuffed Wolf, Public Solitude, $00kr33m

Have Fun!


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By Monty
From Golden, CO
Dec 9, 2013
Just a teaser

nicelegs wrote:
12c, rarely exists in any real quality. This grade is always super short, actually 12b or actually 13a.


Going to have to disagree with that completely...

Sucking my will to live is as bench mark 12c as you can find in Golden


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By Mark E Dixon
From Sprezzatura, Someday
Dec 12, 2013
Sure, I can belay

JCM wrote:
A simple Easy-Medium-Hard system is equally problematic, since (like at the DBC) the "M" grade ends up being so broad that it can span from a warm-up to a project (at least for me), and thus is basically the same as having no grades. I think that a good grading scale is a really important thing in the gym, since it helps people to use the gym to get what they want on a given day. Yes, you can just wander around sampling routes to try to find one of the right difficulty, but this would very quickly derail any "training" protocol you might have for the day. For me, this makes a big difference for warmups. My eyes are often bigger than my stomach, so with no grades (or vague grades) it can be hard to not get on something too hard too soon in the session. A good grading scale lets you say "I will do 10 problems graded 3 spots/V2/M-/etc before I try anything harder. The, lets say you want to do 4x4s that day, and it is just after a reset. With no grades (or really vague grades), you might to spend an hour trying problems to find the right set for a 4x4, effectively blowing your session. A good gradings scale lets you find exactly what you need, immediately. Lastly, people are in the gym to get stronger. Sometimes it is hard to know when you are getting stronger, unless you have an external measuring stick to record progress. That is why people keep detailed logs when hangboarding. In the gym, once February rolls around, it is nice to have those numbers to keep up the motivation and to reassure youself that you aren't wasting your time, and that the gym sessions are working.


All good points, but what strikes me, is that if your are looking to experience a specific level of difficulty for yourself, it might be more accurate to look at the route, rather than the rating.


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By saguaro sandy
Dec 12, 2013
Picacho

Clear Creek, Wall of the 90s
Centerfold 5.9
Hot Stuff 5.9
Little Kitten 5.9
Boulder Canyon, Easter Rock
Kidnapped Herbacite 5.10a
Elanor 5.11b


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By doug rouse
From Denver, CO.
Dec 12, 2013

There are a ton of good bouldering areas near Golden, and most of those offer quality problems in the scale you mentioned in the OP. For fingery technical/vertical, Boulder is loaded..Satellites, Terrain, Eldorado, and Flagstaff. Millenium has Hard fingery edges and pockets, and is closer than Boulder. Morrison features Dakota Sandstone, which is kinder to the hands as opposed to Fountain Sandstone (Boulder/Matthew Winters/Eldorado)and the majority is overhanging roof problems. Including Helicopter which is considered benchmark V5 by some. Three Sisters near Evergreen provides a more alpine atmosphere, and you can find solitude on what I believe is a granite/quartzite conglomerate. Bouldering in the Mt.Evans, and RMNP is largely seasonal, but considered by many to house the most challenging and cutting-edge stuff.


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