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I Must Be Handicapped in Red Rock: I can't seem to find the red tees?
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Jun 14, 2012
So, if my "handicap" is really high (which it is), how can I rate climbs at RR?
I'm new at leading--though have miles of experience following in Zion and found 5.10 there more often than not straightforward and enjoyable--way off the ground, mind you. I'm wondering if anyone has a special formula for rating climbs out here. Like:

5.6 = 5.10 + (1974 / one's age) x (1 / distance to ground)) all divided by ($$ lost in the casino last night)

I've tried this one a couple times, but still miss the mark. So..If you can't tell, I am a big pussy cat, what can I say? I've never fallen on gear, and hope I never do. So I just don't want to bail off a $100 piece of equipment someday because I refuse to send on a 5.4. And, since we're being honest, it seems that some local 5.6 ratings are way off, whilest others are right on the money, honey. (I've actually wondered if some of those old timers aren't out there spying on us, laughing as we struggle and curse, hang-dogging a 5.5--which is possible only in RR btw; I bet they're waiting to sneak up and steal our gear when we give up and go home, wherever home is.)

All jokes and degrading rants aside, could anyone tell me whose to trust and whose not when it comes to rating 5.6 or 5.7 or 5.easy around here? What about ol' Joe Herbst? And that Urioste, is he any good? Or perhaps their women--strong women, to be sure? Yes, and their men? And anybody else who got an FA? Has there been anybody else?
Okay one more paragraph and I'll shut up--and this one's for you, old timers:
As if putting up all these rad routes was not bad-ass enough, why'd you have to go call them all 5.easy and make all the rest of us slackers feel so, well, lame? I mean, hell, if you wouldn't have climbed these cracks, then I'd a given it a whack. So WTF? Why must you compensate so? Aren't you already bad ass enough? And face it, bumpkin, the only difference between you and me is timing, get it! So why'd you rate them so? I bet your a hoot to match on the golf course--i bet you use some big old woods. And btw, I don't buy that "it was done in the 70's--before climbing" bullshit I hear all the time. Ron Olevsky can't even spell his name, let alone count--and he seemed to get it right. So wtf happened down here? You boys is compensating for something.
Am I wrong? Am I wrong? Am I?
c-ditty
Joined Jun 12, 2012
1 points
Jun 14, 2012
Me and Holden at the "Matterhorn"
Leading 5.6 and following .10 are different in many ways, especially when learning to lead. what is $100 piece and why does a new leader own one? Robbie Mackley
From Tucson, AZ
Joined May 6, 2010
90 points
Jun 14, 2012
Intruder, 5.11+. Zion National Park. Photo: Matt K...
I always thought it was kind of funny how loads of people talked about how "soft" Red Rock grades were. In a way they are right... but a large majority of folks I spoke with were there sport climbing, not climbing long routes out in the canyons.

For the most part if you come across a Joe Herbst route it's going to be right on or hard for the grade- especially when he rates a route 5.9 (except Frigid Air Buttress, definitely not 5.9+... way easier). The Urioste's routes are going to be either right on or soft for the grade. And of course there's Richard Harrison, Nick Nordblom and Sal's routes... those are going to be hard and most likely sketchy... even their sport routes.

A lot of the time though it's not just the grade that plays an influence on your ability to climb it. Often times it's the style of the climb. Herbst offwidth routes are old school and really hard- that's just how they are. It doesn't matter if it's a 5.7 or a 5.10, they are going to be difficult because they are OW. Take that into consideration too.
Andy Hansen
From Longmont, Colorado
Joined Sep 26, 2009
2,619 points
Jun 14, 2012
vertebrae roof
You ask the wrong question. It is not whether you are wrong but whether you are lame. JMo
From Tucson, AZ
Joined Jan 12, 2009
1,007 points
Jun 14, 2012
Hanging out waiting for Die Antwoord to come on st...
You might need to just get used to the rock. Once I realized how grippy the rock really is, I actually found the ratings softer than I was used to, that or I was just having a number of good days in a row. Alicia Sokolowski
From Brooklyn, NY
Joined Aug 11, 2010
420 points
Jun 14, 2012
Doubleissima free solo
Andy Hansen wrote:
I always thought it was kind of funny how loads of people talked about how "soft" Red Rock grades were. In a way they are right... but a large majority of folks I spoke with were there sport climbing, not climbing long routes out in the canyons. For the most part if you come across a Joe Herbst route it's going to be right on or hard for the grade- especially when he rates a route 5.9 (except Frigid Air Buttress, definitely not 5.9+... way easier). The Urioste's routes are going to be either right on or soft for the grade. And of course there's Richard Harrison, Nick Nordblom and Sal's routes... those are going to be hard and most likely sketchy... even their sport routes. A lot of the time though it's not just the grade that plays an influence on your ability to climb it. Often times it's the style of the climb. Herbst offwidth routes are old school and really hard- that's just how they are. It doesn't matter if it's a 5.7 or a 5.10, they are going to be difficult because they are OW. Take that into consideration too.


I've wondered about this too. I've yet to climb any sport at RR, but I've yet to come across soft grades (meaning more than a letter grade). Is Cloud Tower soft? How about Rock Warrior? I think not.
Jon Clark
From Philadelphia, PA
Joined Apr 15, 2009
368 points
Jun 14, 2012
Intruder, 5.11+. Zion National Park. Photo: Matt K...
Cloud Tower I don't think is soft for the grade. I think the Handren guidebook is pretty right on pitch for pitch. And the route is amazing!

As for Rock Warrior I can't comment as I've never climbed it. Though I would suspect that it's as hard if not harder than it's neighbor PoD... but with a whole mental aspect accompanying the difficulty.
Andy Hansen
From Longmont, Colorado
Joined Sep 26, 2009
2,619 points
Jun 14, 2012
Climbing at Morro Anhangava in Southern Brasil.  (...
No idea how to handicap one's abilities. To be honest, I don't think it'll ever work.

Personally, I think the routes I've done at Red Rocks are softer for the grade than the routes I've done in the 'Gunks or in NH. Only the chimneys of Epi pushed me, and that's because I wasn't experienced in climbing chimneys. Everything else seemed pretty doable at a grade I wouldn't have considered doable back east at that time.

But of course, as someone noted above, it depends on the FA, too.
GMBurns
Joined Jul 15, 2008
523 points
Jun 14, 2012
Thank you Andy. I appreciate your insight.
I have yet to try anything longer than grade II because I don't trust the rating system. I am very glad to hear that about the 5.9 grades by Herbst being way soft. I can handle Zion 5.9, usually without a problem (unless it's a Dave Jones 5.9). But I haven't even looked at 5.9 in a book out here. My gf and I are spending all of our afternoons on the obscure routes. I figured we'd start with the easy ones and build up to the hard ones--makes sense. And so I'll get some confidence, so I'll move up a grade, and then get slaughtered by a 5.7. Next day, though, I'll kill a 5.7. And I've climbed enough to know that it had nothing to do with my breakfast that day or whether I got laid the night before. And it's not whether its a finger crack or an off-width either. I get what you say about style--and I know my ability in each of the styles as well.

Can you be more specific about grading?

Is it safe to say a whole letter grade, either way, for the climbers you mentioned above?

I actually saw a MP post yesterday that said 5.7d. I mean, must we really go there? Well I guess so, if a man can't trust the FA.
c-ditty
Joined Jun 12, 2012
1 points
Jun 14, 2012
Me on top of Chianti Spire
The steepest 5.6 I ever climbed was in Red Rocks. Easy but almost vertical.

I think you need to 1. get used to the rock, but more importantly 2. get used to leading. These problems you're having will evaporate as you gain a little more savvy. If you're really worried about over-committing yourself, stick to single pitch routes for now.

c-ditty wrote:
hang-dogging a 5.5--which is possible only in RR btw;


Would you name this route?
Eric Fjellanger
Joined May 8, 2008
774 points
Jun 14, 2012
Cool snow formation at the base.
c-ditty wrote:
I am very glad to hear that about the 5.9 grades by Herbst being way soft.


He's saying the opposite of this. I think you have your terms wrong. Some of use it as verb, i.e. I got Herbsted on that route.
sqwirll
From Las Vegas
Joined Mar 12, 2006
1,471 points
Jun 14, 2012
Yeah, technicalities. I have been herbsted. Okay, it was a 5.6 that I hang-dogged. It was right of a 5.7 I started and down-climbed cause I was too scared and didn't have my number 5. (It was in the pawn shop). c-ditty
Joined Jun 12, 2012
1 points
Jun 14, 2012
I think for the most part, the grades of the canyon routes are pretty accurate, for difficulty. It sounds like it's more your head getting involved than anything. I've definitely done long pitches of 5.6 or 5.7 with only a few pieces of gear, but they would still be 5.6 or 5.7 nearly anywhere else. Go do Birdland, a fun route, and spot on at 5.7, IMO. Not too long, but might be too hot without an early start. markrineer
From Moab, UT
Joined Jun 9, 2010
1 points
Jun 14, 2012
What does IMO mean? c-ditty
Joined Jun 12, 2012
1 points
Administrator
Jun 14, 2012
Me and the offspring walking back to the car after...
IMO = In my opinion
FWIW= For what it's worth
YMMV= Your mileage may vary
IMHO= In my humble opinion

These are the ones that you'll see the most. If you see STFU, an apology is probably in order from someone, somewhere.
Jake Jones
From Richmond, VA
Joined Jul 30, 2011
1,009 points
Jun 14, 2012
c-ditty wrote:
What does IMO mean?


In my opinion it means you need to learn how to use google.
BurtMachlan
Joined May 21, 2012
6 points
Jun 14, 2012
Me on top of Chianti Spire
Obviously you're not a golfer. Eric Fjellanger
Joined May 8, 2008
774 points
Jun 14, 2012
Thank you, Eric. Thank you, Donny!
Anyways, I'm going climbing...
c-ditty
Joined Jun 12, 2012
1 points
Jun 14, 2012
Intruder, 5.11+. Zion National Park. Photo: Matt K...
Troll or no troll I saw Killis hang dog a 7d once. True story. Andy Hansen
From Longmont, Colorado
Joined Sep 26, 2009
2,619 points
Jun 14, 2012
Me on top of Chianti Spire
Leave no point unmissed, no joke ungotten. Keep on keepin' on, Killis. Eric Fjellanger
Joined May 8, 2008
774 points
Jun 14, 2012
Me on top of Chianti Spire
The Dread Pirate Killis wrote:
True DAT, Handy! If this elbow doesn't heal up soon, I may be begging for guiding up Birdland (7d- VS WI -3). Bummer... Eric, since you golf, how did you tell your parents you were gay? I mean, into boy-boy Fjellatio? Ah, it's no fun making fun of golfers or people hooked to iron lungs. Too easy.


What is wrong with being gay, Killis?
Eric Fjellanger
Joined May 8, 2008
774 points
Jun 14, 2012
Eiger summit
GMBurns wrote:
...Personally, I think the routes I've done at Red Rocks are softer for the grade than the routes I've done in the 'Gunks or in NH... Everything else seemed pretty doable at a grade I wouldn't have considered doable back east at that time...


+1 on that. I've climbed a week out in RR every spring since 1999 and climb almost exclusively trad routes. With rare exception the routes are definitely softer at RR than back east. This is especially true of roofs which are significantly soft compared to the Gunks.
Brian
From North Kingstown, RI
Joined Sep 27, 2001
656 points
Jun 14, 2012
the man was smart
vegas and st george are the center of soft ratings in North America. T Roper
From VA,NM,UT,CT,MA
Joined Mar 31, 2006
1,055 points
Jun 15, 2012
I guess the inconsistency is what sucks. The nice thing about climbing in St. George is that 5.6 is a great starting point. Then 5.7 is a little more difficult. Then 5.8, then 5.9, then 5.10, then beyond. But who was talking about SG anyways?
Zion, which must be separated from St. George--and is, culturally, and otherwise, is also very consistently graded. Especially by the new crew who collectively put up dozens of (hard) routes every year. They call 5.8, 5.8. And it always feels 5.8. They had a council, and there it was decreed that they would do this for the rest of us: they took their egos out of grading. And they are some hard, wise mother fuckers. They know that they don't need to make people like me feel weak--everyone already knows that I am. Why must it be different here? Are you "people" so far away from being a newbie? Have you ever taught any "body" how to climb? Or are you so bad ass that you were taking whippers your first month and then magically started climbing 5.12--your girlfriends were probably sending 5.14 before they were women? You seem less evolved than the rest of us humans; and still being apelike can send anything. The rock here is much different than anywhere else, true. But still, there shouldn't be a calculean jump from 5.7 to 5.8, then to 5.6? All you bad asses can't even talk about this honestly--for fear you might lose your edge. So go, run off to Gold's Gym, or wherever it is you get so buff; go and get truly pumped. Then after your three days rest maybe you can send that new 5.12+ you've been practicing on. You are so buff, trad--sport man!

I'm gonna go dink around on a bushy 5.5. Hmph!!!
c-ditty
Joined Jun 12, 2012
1 points
Administrator
Jun 15, 2012
Me and the offspring walking back to the car after...
Have you considered that the rock there might be so different that some of it requires technique and sequences that you have not yet mastered? Is that completely inconceivable? Your "home crag" is always going to seem more friendly. The first time I moved from granite to nuttall sandstone I found myself cursing the guidebook and screaming "5.10a my hairy fucking ass, where the fuck are the feet!" Just because you're struggling on it, doesn't necessarily mean it's sandbagged. Sometimes a missed hold, or a missed sequence, or the use of friction that's not taken into account can make grades seem sandbagged. I haven't climbed anything west of the Miss, but everywhere I've been in the east on all different types of rock, I get my ass handed to me when I'm in a new venue, and on a new type of rock. Comes with the territory.

troll: fed.
Jake Jones
From Richmond, VA
Joined Jul 30, 2011
1,009 points
Jun 15, 2012
Dow Williams, 2011
yes, definitly a bs post...always amazing how many take the bait...

that being said, it is always worth stating for the umpteenth time ..since you are all discussing it now..it is not about geographic location as much as it is about when? who? and the kind of climbing/rock involved.

When you know those things the grades are normally quite consistent....in St. George, Goss's routes are almost always soft and bolted to high heaven, Olevskys, almost always hard and more run out. Most modern FAer's in the desert i.e. Joe A and I in St. George or Zach and Joe F in Zion, do our best to keep things consistent. I only establish cracks myself. If I have to place a pro bolt either here or the Canadian Rockies, I will quit on the route at that point. Just my ethics, don't care about anybody else's nor imposing mine on anyone. Thus many of ours will require large racks, kind of a deterrent, but again, less folks is fine by me.

The Zion crowd who basically taught me how to climb crack are some of the most modest climbers I have ever met. It always amuses me when we go to Jtree and the surfer dudes try and talk climbing trash to these sandstone kings...then we watch them climb...amazing bs going on at crags like that. I am sure during the FA days, it was a good crew though. The Red Rock folks who did all that work in the 70's and 80's, some of the finer folks I have met. Like me, many of them were mountaineers/alpinists who became rock climbers later in life to save their backs. Every one of them I have met or befriended is tougher than nails. Think their routes are soft now? You should take your hammer, broom and sand free lungs up a virgin chossy FA in this region just to appreciate the conditions they faced. I mostly climb sandstone and limestone to avoid folks, but even I will admit the rock sucks compared to granite or basalt...thus the grades are all over the place. Such is life.
Dow Williams
From St. George, Utah; Canmore, AB
Joined Mar 13, 2006
196 points


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