17 Down Under:
17 DOWN UNDER. "A celebration of moderate grade climbing in Victoria". 184 pages. 285 images. Father & son team, Steve & John Morris, embark on a journey to climb and photograph 50 of the best rock climbs in Victoria, grade 17 & under. Inc bookmark $50.00
I think I've spent nearly a week on the cliffs up in the mountains this
summer, mostly with Luke and a few others. We've hit a bunch of spots and ticked
some good routes, but also failed and bailed a few times as well, there's even
been a little blood. Here's a selection of photos!
We hit Bardens Lookout, good spot with some soft sport routes. Damien's
staircase is indeed a knee-burning masterpiece of civil works as the guide
promised, cutting through what must have once been some serious leech country.
Whoa so many potential kneebars! Me seconding Little Triggers
Classy bumshot of Luke high up Mike And Lorna Go To Town
Next up was Heathcliff for a bit of adventure. James came up for the day. A
very pleasant but long and legburning walk through Porter's Pass.
The guidebook's in here somewhere, I packed it I swear
Here's me kooking up the fantastic but delicate Fake
We started up Boadicia as a party of 3, but Luke cut his leg pretty bad on bottom
belay, when James fell unexpectedly trying to second my lead on the first pitch. After a lot
of shouting (I was out of sight) James prussiked up, told me what was going on, and we bailed. The climb is exposed right from
the start on a ledge halfway up the cliff, with hard moves to get off the ground, and a factor two is possible on the
first pitch! For some strange reason we left a new and shiny BD locker to bail,
instead of a crappy old biner, excellent booty for the next party!
Bailing. I'm making a sad face.
Next time up we hit Medlow Bath with Rene, and two girls he met on an NZ
Alpine Club trip Kristina and Aneta. Me and Luke climbed Schwing which was good fun.
I used up way too much energy on that fairly easy roof.
Party on Wayne.
Party on Garth. (Check out that beeeautiful rope management!)
Topping out at the Sunbath Lookout. Flawless Victory!
We had a crack at the excellently named Smack My Pitch Up, a harder
route at Sublime Point next to Sweet Dreams which goes at grade 20. We cleanly
climbed a few pitches up to an imposing roof about halfway, where we got scared
and pumped and bailed again.
We saw the Brocken Spectre in the mist at Sublime Point Lookout.
The cute backsides of the Three Sisters.
Contemplating the via ferrata style traverse on the approach.
Fiddling with my rack at a hanging belay.
This is...much scarier than it sounded in the car park.
A spot of proper Blue Mountaineering huh!
Bailing. Again. I'll get you next time SMPU. Neeext tiiime.
That trip ended on a postive note though with a fun day at Damn Cliffs (never
taking my old hatchback down that trail again!) and my ascent of Friendly
Fire grade 21/22. I seem to be moving past my grade 18 performance plateau
which is great! There's been a few more days at Barrenjoey and Sydney bouldering
but with uni starting again it may be a while before I get back up to the
Blueys. Bunny Bucket Buttress is in our sights.
On 27/02/2011 sbm wrote:
>original post here)
That trip ended on a postive note though with a fun day at Damn Cliffs
>taking my old hatchback down that trail again!) and my ascent of Friendly
>Fire grade 21/22. I seem to be moving past my grade 18 performance
>which is great! There's been a few more days at Barrenjoey and Sydney
>but with uni starting again it may be a while before I get back up to
>Blueys. Bunny Bucket Buttress is in our sights.
sounds like a fun trip!
i really want to do bunny bucket buttress one day.
i'd say friendly fire is only an 18-19 anyway, I on-sighted it, i'd also say Vasco Pyjama directly next to it on the left is about a 19.
thats my opinion anyway. not meaning to be a killjoy.
On 28/02/2011 JarryS88 wrote:
>i'd say friendly fire is only an 18-19 anyway, I on-sighted it, i'd also
>say Vasco Pyjama directly next to it on the left is about a 19.
>thats my opinion anyway. not meaning to be a killjoy.
Yeah I was really surprised to see it as 22 on climb.org.au, I thought it was a big stretch at 21 and found Sloper For Saddam harder at 19. All the grades at dam cliffs seemed pretty soft except for Wet Feet and that's mostly fear of getting dunked.
Anyway I swear most grades make no sense at all to me. I'm trying really hard now to just climb stuff that looks possible but once you have that number in your head it you can't get it out.
On 28/02/2011 davidn wrote:
>On 28/02/2011 JarryS88 wrote:
>>thats my opinion anyway. not meaning to be a killjoy.
>I hate you for posting that message, but it's nothing personal.
haha i hated myself too man. i onsighted and was stoked at onsighting a 22. then a couple other friends did it and we all agreed its definately easier than graded :(
On 28/02/2011 sbm wrote:
>On 28/02/2011 JarryS88 wrote:
>>i'd say friendly fire is only an 18-19 anyway, I on-sighted it, i'd also
>>say Vasco Pyjama directly next to it on the left is about a 19.
>>thats my opinion anyway. not meaning to be a killjoy.
>Yeah I was really surprised to see it as 22 on climb.org.au, I thought
>it was a big stretch at 21 and found Sloper For Saddam harder at 19. All
>the grades at dam cliffs seemed pretty soft except for Wet Feet and that's
>mostly fear of getting dunked.
i completely agree!
sloper for saddam was definately harder (unless you use the boulder behind it to get out of the overhang haha).
FF was downgraded to 21 in the new edition of the BM guide. It's not a hard tick but IMO the crux move merits that grade. A one-move wonder really, as is Vasco Pyjama. If you thought the crux move on that was 19 then you must have long arms.
On 1/03/2011 tnd wrote:
>FF was downgraded to 21 in the new edition of the BM guide. It's not a
>hard tick but IMO the crux move merits that grade. A one-move wonder really,
>as is Vasco Pyjama. If you thought the crux move on that was 19 then you
>must have long arms.
I agree with Vasco Pyjama, defiantely a 1 move wonder and yeah the crux move is probably a 21-22 but still a soft tick imo.
FF though, I didnt even notice the crux so I can't comment on that.
On 1/03/2011 davidn wrote:
>On 1/03/2011 ajfclark wrote:
>>On 1/03/2011 davidn wrote:
>>>When did you last see a climb graded harder due to exposure or protection?
>>First thing that springs to mind is Barefoot and Pregnant, 19, black
>> None of the moves are any harder than the 18 next to it but the first
>>bolt is 8m up or so...
>I don't think that's unusual. People are often out by at least one grade.
> Or there's a crucial hold that people either didn't find or ignored which
>made it a grade either way. But if it's moves of an 18, call it 18, otherwise
>we end up in E-grade territory, where no one has a clue what the grade
>really means. Then *describe* it properly:
>"Grade 18 moves up to the first clip, which is stupidly high and effectively
>involves free-soloing. From there, bumble your way along, wondering why
>you were in ground fall range for so long."
>(caveat: I obviously haven't been on that route so that description may
>be way off-base)
>>Then there's things like Noblesse Oblige. Really easy climbing, but
>>graded harder because the gear is spaced.
>>I find being exposed makes climbing feel harder than it actually is so
>>wouldn't the grade given by the FA be affected by that?
>Isn't Noblesse graded for its hardest pitch? They're not all grade 8.
>I'm not convinced by your response. The reason not to grade for exposure
>is the same as not grading for pump factor. What I find pumpy, you won't,
>and vice versa. Worse, there are some climbs where both exposure and pump
>can be completely absent. How then can I realistically compare climb A,
>graded for being 600m in the air and overhung and pumpy, to climb B that
>is 5 metres tall, balancy and technical and in theory the same grade moves?
>Technical difficulty is the only thing that is always present and always,
>in theory, relatively similar (as long as you don't screw something up).
>A broader issue, but one of the good things about sites like 8a.nu is
>they come to a proper consensus based on many points of data. So the guy
>suffering massive exposure who graded it way harder than it is, is discounted
>from the average, same as the guy who cranks 33 and thinks everything under
>25 is grade 15. It's never perfect, but it's better than the 6'8 guy with
>+15 ape index calling everything easy and it being taken as gospel.
By using the Noblesse Oblige example you effectively answer your own question!
Yes, a climb is graded by it's hardest pitch, which by default comes from it's hardest moves.
These moves are based on all the criteria of exposure , protection and technical difficulty, as would be considered so by the average person of sufficient ability to climb the route.
If you go by technical difficulty alone, then you are setting up many for a sandbag, due to the added considerations of exposure and lack of protection opportunities.
With so much reference material out there (ie thousands of already established climbs in Australia) - the easiest way to work out a grade for a route is to compare it to something else. Find a famous benchmark route in a style that is similar to the route in question and see how it stacks up. That's how I grade new routes.