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Chockstone Forum - General Discussion

General Climbing Discussion

Topic Date User
If its A5 where are the bodies? 6-Feb-2008 At 4:29:20 PM BA
On 5/02/2008 .Macca wrote:

>As I understand it the start of the M system came from Ewbanks as well
>and was initially used to designate the number of M (mechanical) moves
>in an otherwise free climb. It was not really initially intended as a specialist
>aid grading system. If we take it literally then a multi-pitch aid climb
>could end up with a grade like M60...

Your lack of understanding is matched only by your ignorance of Australian history. Here are Ewbank's own words on 'M' grades:

"MECHANICAL GRADING: The system being used for grading mechanical climbs or pitches is similar to above ("free grades" from the original have been snipped. BA), without so many different grades. The top grades of mechanical climbing in England is classed A.4. As pegging (‘Artificial’ ~ ‘Mechanical’) is as variable in difficulty as free climbing., I have added more numbers on, with the prefix of the letter ‘M’. A climb with a mechanical pitch and free climbing would be graded say, 15. M.3.

If a climb uses only one pitch for physical aid, the climb is graded free and the piton mentioned. If a climb uses two or any number of pitons for physical aid, but they are separated by free moves then the climb is still regarded as free with aid. For example: Pitch 3. 60’. (crux). Straight up the groove, ‘4 pitons for aid’. However if two aids are used in succession with no free climbing in between., then that particular section is regarded as mechanical. A climb, may therefore be free, aided, and mechanica1, though only the two grades are used - i.e. 18 and M.5. while the aided portion of the climb is described verbally in the description.

The easiest mechanical grade (M.1.) therefore applies to such things as two firm bolts, close together, in any easy position on good rock."

'M0' was subsequently added as it was felt that a single piece could be used as either a "rest" or, in the case of a piton, could be used at full stretch as a handhold alway the way through to a foothold. So even M0 has some ambiguity built it into it.

Hope that helps.

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