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Crag & Route Beta

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New Arapiles Select Guide

2:45:15 PM
The main thing I like about the "v" grade system for bouldering is that it allows me to identify problems that are worth me trying.

The I to V system in the Araplies Select Guide is a good system if you have a lot of time to spend, and can afford the time it takes to walk to an area, and try a problem enough to realise its too hard, before going somewhere else to find something else.

The V system with its finer bandings of difficulty I think is more suited to a select guide, which I think would be bought by many people with a limited amount of time to spend at the crag, who just want to get some quick ticks.

An I to V system I think is better suited to a dedicated bouldering guide.

2:50:59 PM
i think the V boulder grading is the way to go for the guide.

i dont have a problem with it but i do think that converting it to climbing grades is a crock. bouldering a V5 does not mean you should be able to climb a 26 (or 25 for that matter) in my opinion.

2:54:49 PM
On 28/03/2006 Dalai wrote:

>...climbing grades being a scale to judge difficulty is just as much of a "dick waggle".

Climbing grades are definitely used for dick waggling purposes, but they also save people the misfortune of jumping on routes out of their league and having major epics in the process, or alternatively spending hours on an easy route when they actually want to climb a more challenging route.

The same can't be said for bouldering grades, so I can only assume they exist purely for dick waggling.

3:02:09 PM
On 28/03/2006 cruze wrote:
> I once heard bouldering at Araps likened to "masturbating in a whore house".

Thanks for a great quote. I think we'll use that in the next guide.

I know John Sherman often preferred to climb routes at Arapiles and the Grampians because he felt the routes out here were even better than the bouldering (although he still did his fair share of bouldering). In the States, he felt the bouldering was usually superior to the climbing, hence his focus on bouldering back home.

On 28/03/2006 oweng wrote:
>The main thing I like about the "v" grade system for bouldering is that it allows me to identify problems that are worth me trying.

I think stars allow you to identify problems that are worth trying, not the grade.

Bob Saki
3:57:34 PM
just do the guide simey and maybe maybe someone else could an araps bouldering guide as a separate publication or maybe a combined publication of bouldering at Araps, Gramps and other areas in that region. to sit alongside your new masterpeice...............
4:40:34 PM
While we're talking about grading systems, are you going to use M grades or A grades for the aiding routes??

6:15:06 PM
On 28/03/2006 gfdonc wrote:
>While we're talking about grading systems, are you going to use M grades
>or A grades for the aiding routes??

Dunno, I'll have to ask some of the climbers up in Dogger's Gully.

6:50:31 PM
Some thoughts from this bumbly -

One thing I like about the 2004 Squamish Select guide (Marc Bourdon) was that it would have series of icons next to the route name that indicated info about the route that was noteworthy - eg - the bouldering problems that were a bit highball or had a bad landing would have a ghost symbol next to them, I think similarly, runout roped horror shows had the same icon; there was a symbol to say whether a route dried quickly (I guess in Araps that would have to be an icon to say whether a route was good on a hot day), plus the route description would say what fixed pro there was (if any) eg "Ancient Heart, 25m, .11c, 10 bolts (or whatever the stats were)" etc etc. Obviously some of this stuff is obvious from the ground, and in some cases is in the description, but you may not want to go all the way up to Comic Relief before you decide you have no RPs and the start is a bit scary - the guide will be able to let you know. The Araps guide has much better descriptions, so some of this is not so applicable, but the systematic way it was done there was very user friendly.

Edit - here's a link to a page:

cheers, Kyle
9:13:01 PM
Good answer Simey.

Now you've moved things back to a serious tone, though, I did like the "R" and "X" system when I was living amongst the Merkans.
le singe
9:37:47 PM
re spiral binding - i like it in principle but durability wise perferated pages will definately get nailed in ones pack. I think stick with the stitch, its worked so far.

re V grades - sure it is probably one of the most contrived ways to grade a problem, but the advantage is that its fairly universal by now, and it has a larger scale (ie VE, VM, V0, 1,2 -Vsharma) Which for a wannabe cranker like me is great. It can give you a better idea of the potential spank factor you are about to receive.

Simey. I'm heading down at Easter and plan on doing lots of both photography and bouldering, so i'll drop in any good shots i get.

Nick Kaz
10:00:04 PM
Le singe bouldering at araps:

Wanna be cranker my ass!

Spiral bindings are not durable, which is unfortunate, but like Goodvibes said, get a bookmark. V grades would be handy for people who care how hard they are climbing, but one of the thinks I realy liked about bouldering at araps was not having too much of an idea about what I was about to get on, not having a grade means you cant get frustrated because you should be ticking V5 and can't stick that V3 at araps, it made it a much more enjoyable experience for me.
10:37:14 PM
Whilst there is some validity to the argument that the ascendance of sport climbing has made us all pansies - to the extent that many climbers nowadays wax lyrical about how run-out and dangerous a route is that requires you to climb 2 metres past your gear, I really think the last Araps guide, fabulous though it is, has an alarming tendency to downplay the seriousness of many routes.

I know this is a contentious issue but I can't help thinking that the piece in the intro dissing UK E-grades stemmed from a pretty immature patriotism (although i found it quite amusing).

I am not advocating that we adopt E-grades, but it is precisely your argument that says this can affectively be conveyed in the description that is not being properly seen to in practice. I have spoken to numerous UK and other climbers despairing over the fact that, for example, grade 23 might be anything from a stroll in the park to something that pushes the limits of sanity and that this is often not communicated.

I did not appreciate on my last Araps trip cruising up a bunch of supposed reputation routes then on my last day getting on Unrequited, which merely said something along the lines of 'committing climbing leads up and right' to find myself in a seriously dangerous position with 3 bits of worthless gear below, only one decent wire above me (and when it's only one piece it never seems that bombproof, particularly when you have to lock off like a maniac on slimy edges to place it) and a quite hard move to pull before you could get a decent stance.

The day before I had warmed up on Scorpion Corner, same grade, which said something about the gear not being as fantastic as you'd hope, and finding it an absolute doddle with bomber, simple to place wires the whole way up.

What really concerns me is that Unrequited had the particularly nasty combination of both shit gear and hard, technical, bouldery climbing for the grade and I would NOT recommend it to anyone who didn't almost always onsight trad 23.

Perhaps, rather than a superficial debate on starring we could endeavour to get greater participation leading to a consensus on necky routes?
6:46:07 AM
Having been predominantly in the sport climbing realm of late… (living in Europe), I am left unimpressed by the over-use of symbols in climbing guides.
O.k. so it is nice considering that my ability to pick up languages is minimal, but ultimately I think that they are too simplistic and unless formatted really well are often more confusing than the old-fashioned description.
With the introduction of E-grading, symbols, and codes, I fear the loss of descriptions, stories, history, and ambiguousness.
It has crossed my mind that these symbol using guides of sport climbing areas are partly responsible for the change in the punter’s relationship to climbing over the past decades. If there is no subtlety in the descriptions and no mystery left in the route (e.g. the only description being how many draws and where the crux is), then of course the 23 next to the 18 is the way in which we remember.

So basically ...I am excited about a new guide from you guys, and don’t use computers and symbols too much.

I was always impressed by the way in which routes of all grades were taken seriously and described with the understanding different limits existing.
Of course this is in an Australian laid back way, but I think once you know Arapiles, you are aware of the possibility of a sting in the tail.
Es gibt kein Geschenk

Having said that, I think that a more descriptive way of grading bouldering would be great, and also a grading system which could be compared to other areas (v or font grading) would be of value, especially if Simey is not interested in waxing lyrically about boulder problems.

I think the spiral back is tacky and rips apart.

p.s. can you take ages to finish the guide so that I can get some pics in when I get back??

> es.

10:07:48 AM
All these Chuck Norris wannabe's are pulling a spiral back smackdown on my ass! Ah well. Better than a roundhouse kick to the head i guess.
10:56:29 AM
Thanks for the feedback so far. I’ve had a few people email me direct with comments as well.

I had a look at the Squamish guide links that Sticky listed. Gotta say that I liked their layout. They do use a lot of icons, but they also provided excellent written descriptions and great topos. Ironically their icon chart has a big warning which states that reproduction of these icons is strictly forbidden without permission of the publisher. However their walking icon is a direct copy of the one I designed for our Grampians Guide.

My opinion is that much of information shown in icons is gimmicky. It was good to read estherrenita’s comments regarding the use of icons in European guidebooks and how they change your relationship to the climbs.

As for comments by spicelab and gfdonc on grading systems or warnings that take into account the danger factor… Glenn and I have given a lot of thought to this and we have both climbed a lot in the UK and US and are familiar with the systems used there. However whenever we try to apply these concepts to climbs at Arapiles we find there is so much overlap between the various dangers associated with different routes that it becomes very difficult to provide a simple danger rating for each climb.

We do however welcome specific feedback so that our descriptions can more accurately convey the potential dangers.

I thought Spicelab’s experiences on Scorpion Corner and Unrequited were interesting. My opinion is that Scorpion Corner does have its dangers (only one good wire protecting you in the upper corner, suspect block below) although spicelab obviously found it a doddle in comparison to Unrequited. I do think Unrequited is a more solid lead than Scorpion Corner, but my opinion is that there is enough gear to adequately protect it. If we were using the G, PG, R, X system that is used at many US crags, my impression is that both these routes would receive PG (I don’t think Unrequited deserves an R rating).

And that is the trouble… distinguishing between PG and R becomes very blurred. What would you give Missing Link? Would it be PG or R? The reality is that as soon as you start giving routes an R rating, most people don’t even consider doing them. I would rather see climbers make an informed decision based on how a route looks to them rather than rely on an over-simplistic grade.

12:01:00 PM
Without going into too much detail I think part of the problem in knowing what 'R' type rating to place on a climb is going to depend largely on 'familiarity' with Arapiles type routes. This brings up an important point: Are you grading for the person well accustomed to Arapiles intricate gear placements, or the person who is visiting from interstate/overseas? I would suggest the latter. People who are used to dealing with Arapiles intricasies (especially with the blind type of climbing/gear finding that onsighting many of Arapiles routes demands) then for sure - some routes won't appear to be overly dramatic. However - for those not used to the rock (and that's who you have to accomodate surely) - then you will find that something like Unrequited (to use an example) will seem quite dangerous indeed.

I'm not a fan of merely giving a number to a route and letting the climber make the decision from the ground. A lot of Arapiles routes (as suggested) are complex affairs to onsight, with the gear placements not revealing themselves until you are right on top of them - or in some cases - past them. To my mind certainly some sort of symbol - not a rating - should suffice. Rock Fax have long used the 'Heart Flutter' symbol to denote routes that 'may raise the pulse factor' - something like that would do nicely. But another idea is this - and could be uniquely Arapilesian: If the route has good gear - but is the type of gear that is very intricate to place - then how about a symbol to simply indicate this? That will give the climber a choice straight up upon reading the route in the guide. Intricate placements. Yeah sure - I can deal with that. Or no - I can't, or don't want to. Obviously if the route is exceedingly dangerous (and there aren't that many of them around) - then something else is required.

I agree with SpiceLab's comments regarding Scorpion Corner vs Unrequited - and there are so many other examples that beg for this type of differentation. Compare the likes of Starless & Bible Black to Los Endos; Missing Link vs Mari; Down & Out vs Dazed & Confused; Tannin vs Rats Alley - the list goes on. Plenty of people (not accustomed to Arapiles) have absolute knee-tremblers on Missing Link (I remember one UK climber years back even suggesting that it would be E3!) - whereas others find it to be absolutely fine in terms of gear. But who are these people? 1 could have just got out of the car from Sydney - never been to Arapiles before and wants to do a 3 star classic 17 that's world famous - the other might have been living in the Pines for 6 weeks. The experience is going to be totally different.

All that said though - it's obvious something is required to make such differences known - and unless you conscientiously make the point within the route description (something that hasn't been uniformly adhered to in the past) then a symbol must be the easiest solution.
12:41:08 PM
I think that leaving a few surprises in store by leaving out the danger icons is the go.

On a trip to araps a couple of years ago, I was very pleased to flash Dispatched, having looked at it in awe when climbing Thunder Crack for a while. The next day, after perusing the guidebook I found another Mark Moorhead 23, which was Open Season. I had a vague idea that Open Season was a bit of an undertaking, but I figured that Dispatched probably was as well (it was 24 in Louise's guide right?) so I jumped on in. The first pitch went alright, but about 5m into the second pitch with only one questionable a wee way wire beneath my feet and unable to downclimb, I fell (and the wire held). This was a memorable experience that I still look back on with as much fondness as having done despatched, but I probably wouldn't have had a go if the description included "23+++ XXX+ ".
1:03:12 PM
On 29/03/2006 uwhp510 wrote:
>I think that leaving a few surprises in store by leaving out the danger
>icons is the go.
>On a trip to araps a couple of years ago, I was very pleased to flash
>Dispatched, having looked at it in awe when climbing Thunder Crack for
>a while. The next day, after perusing the guidebook I found another Mark
>Moorhead 23, which was Open Season. I had a vague idea that Open Season
>was a bit of an undertaking, but I figured that Dispatched probably was
>as well (it was 24 in Louise's guide right?) so I jumped on in. The first
>pitch went alright, but about 5m into the second pitch with only one questionable
>a wee way wire beneath my feet and unable to downclimb, I fell (and the
>wire held). This was a memorable experience that I still look back on
>with as much fondness as having done despatched, but I probably wouldn't
>have had a go if the description included "23+++ XXX+ ".

...and you probably would be looking back on this memorable experience in a different light had that 'wee wire' pulled - and you'd decked into the Judgement Day traverse line.

Dr Box
1:05:59 PM
Hey simey, what sort of price do you think the guide will be??
or is it too early to ask?
coz as a poor uni student, cheaper would be good,
but, if the price is lower (say$20-30) will it hinder the making of another quality quide?
from the sounds of it so far, it sound wicked.
i also think v system would be better
1:28:26 PM
You raise some good points. I’ve gotta say that I have been flirting with the idea of the heart flutter symbol, or something similar. I like the fact that such a symbol can refer to a wide range of pulse-raising situations. It also means we don’t need to try and provide an objective danger rating for every single climb at Arapiles.

There could be quite a number of climbs that you could apply it to. A few that spring to mind off the top of my head include…

Little Thor (20) Pumpy to place gear and sometimes flared placements
Bard (12) Poorly protected first pitch, suspect blocks abound
Missing Link (17) No protection to start, then run-out off small wires
XI (18) run-out off small wires
Ejaculation (15) Funky and awkward to protect (suspect block on second pitch)

However the more I think about it, the more I tend to think that the majority of starred routes at Arapiles are pulse-raisers. They almost all come with their own inherent problems and dangers. In fact the more I start thinking about each route the more I realize they each one has something funky or potentially dangerous. Even a beginner classic like Diapason (7) has a poorly protected chimney up high. Eskimo Nell (10) is poorly-protected and a little weird straight off the deck. Pedro (10) is just plain funky and demanding all the way. Thundercrack (20) has flared placements at the very beginning.

On many routes at Araps you only need to knock out a single wire with your foot and you could suddenly find yourself in a really dangerous situation. Likewise, how many people have had cams pull due to slick rock.

The reality is that every climb at Arapiles is potentially dangerous. Maybe I will leave out the heart flutter symbol and just let people read the description and check out the route for themselves.

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