Is Squamish Soft?

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jonny2vests
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Is Squamish Soft?

Post by jonny2vests » Tue Aug 21, 2012 8:55 am

Greetings. I arrived in January of this year from the UK on a 3 year visa, although I'd visited Squamish mid heat wave in 2009. The climbing in Squamish was a big factor in the decision to move.

So I'm afraid this is a shameless grade thread, but I think I'm allowed one of those aren't I, as a fresh faced, still wet from the boat, 43 year old E grade bumbly.

I'm coming to terms with living with YDS, but times have been hard. She's a tricky bedfellow, sometimes succumbing to my every whim and desire, at others, snoring loudly and farting in my general direction. I find ambiguities in the system that I'm not used to, what I am used to is obviously the Brit system for trad and the French for sport.

1. Is YDS for the hardest move or not? Or is it both, depends on whether the guidebook author cared, or just depends on the weather.

2. Is Squamish soft? I've had some notable and surprising victories of late, the likes of which I've never seen if I were foolish enough to try and convert to Brit trad grades. I went to Index last weekend though, Christonabike, I was like a little fluffy kitten by then end of it.

3. Is the blonde chick on the bottom right of the homepage available?

J2V

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Re: Is Squamish Soft?

Post by jonny2vests » Tue Aug 21, 2012 10:36 am

bearbreeder wrote:in the end it really doesnt matter ... as long as you go out and have a good time ... and come back alive
Yeah, but life might get quite boring if we only ever talk about things that 'matter'.

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Re: Is Squamish Soft?

Post by psi4ce » Tue Aug 21, 2012 11:01 am

1) According to tradition, the YDS route grade is assigned according to the single hardest move on the route, or at least it's supposed to be. Unlike bouldering, where the grade of a problem is more likely to stay consistent throughout all of the problem's moves, routes are often quite varied in terms of the grades of individual moves on the route. In Squamish, there can sometimes be a fair amount of grading latitude. If there's one hard bit, but the rest is easier, the overall grade is often lower that it "should" be. Examples: High Mountain Woody, Slot Machine, and Edible Panties.

2) Yes, Squamish grades are considered to be soft overall. This needs to be taken in context, however, because it's not just the region, and climbing style (trad vs sport) that affects grading, but the era during which the grade was assigned. Example: big difference between a Rockies 5.8 where the FA was in 1960 and a Squamish 5.8 where the FA was in 1980. Washington State grades seem to be overall noticably harder, I think because of the more extensive history of climbing there, and therefore more of an influence of historic grading on newer climbs.

3) She'll go out with you, but only if you climb 5.14+.

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Re: Is Squamish Soft?

Post by Dru » Tue Aug 21, 2012 11:52 am

YDS grades have not been based on the single hardest move difficulty for years, if they ever in fact were. They reflect the total difficulty of a route.

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Re: Is Squamish Soft?

Post by Lurch » Tue Aug 21, 2012 12:07 pm

I usually find around here, the older it is the harder. Also really depends who did the FA!

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Re: Is Squamish Soft?

Post by squamish climber » Tue Aug 21, 2012 12:13 pm

Call it grade inflation or grade realignment but some of the early climbs in Squamish were graded quite a bit easier than they are now. Wasn't Diedre graded 5.5 or something?
What are some other Squamish climbs that have experienced a similar bump in grade?
If I recall, the Fist at Murrin was put up by Brit and Squamish resident, Joe Turley in 1962 and was originally graded 5.9. It's now 5.10a in the new Select guide.
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Re: Is Squamish Soft?

Post by steven » Tue Aug 21, 2012 1:48 pm

Another good example of grade change is South Arete, originally 5.4, now 5.9.

I don't think you can make a generalization about grades in Squamish because there is such a great difference from crag to crag. Go compare Apron Strings to a 10B at chek.

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Re: Is Squamish Soft?

Post by psi4ce » Tue Aug 21, 2012 2:18 pm

Dru wrote:YDS grades have not been based on the single hardest move difficulty for years, if they ever in fact were. They reflect the total difficulty of a route.
It's obviously very subjective and I'm not saying I totally disagree with you, but there are many sources which maintain that the route is graded according to the difficulty of the crux move...
http://www.stuorg.iastate.edu/mcc/seminars/YosemiteDecimalSystem.html wrote:Since the standard usage of the Yosemite Decimal System defines only the hardest move on a pitch, or the hardest pitch on a multipitch route, a seriousness factor was introduced to give an indication of the relative danger of the climb.
http://www.climbingtechniques.org/understanding-route-grades.html wrote:A route is rated according to the difficulty of the most difficult move (a.k.a. the crux).

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Re: Is Squamish Soft?

Post by Dru » Tue Aug 21, 2012 2:47 pm

Quoting two random internet sources is hardly a legitimate argument in support of a point.
Especially when, on the other hand, you have benchmark 5.11 routes like 13 Shutouts at Skaha where none of the individual moves is harder than mid-10 and the grade comes from the sustained pump rather than a stopper crux move.

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Re: Is Squamish Soft?

Post by psi4ce » Tue Aug 21, 2012 3:00 pm

Maybe not two random internet sources, but maybe if I quoted 100 random internet sources?

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Re: Is Squamish Soft?

Post by jonny2vests » Tue Aug 21, 2012 5:28 pm

Grade drift to me is a natural, human consequence resulting from cross comparison, the overall drift will always be upwards.

So no consensus on YDS, as expected. I find it hilarious that YDS is effectively undefined. The Brit system is not without fault either though, it's well defined (tech grade = hardest move), but the adjectival bit (eg E2) is most meaningful when talking about an onsight lead. Trouble nobody can't decide what onsight means, hey ho.

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Re: Is Squamish Soft?

Post by SGB » Tue Aug 21, 2012 8:34 pm

Watch out for those older 10b climbs
Usually bang on for grade (with a touch of sandbag)
Split
Caboose
Apron Strings
Pitch in time

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Re: Is Squamish Soft?

Post by scrubber » Tue Aug 21, 2012 8:45 pm

I think our grades here used to be much more in line with other West coast venues. Over the years they crept, or were "adjusted" up to balance with other developing areas, for better or for worse. Back when the Split Pillar was graded 5.9, it would have fit right in at Index. (I got my a$% handed to me there on my first visit a few weeks ago too!)

As to the other part of your question, (not the part about the blond), there has always been some sort of blend, as imperfect as it is, between hardest move and overall difficulty. If the crux is right off the deck, you'll often find a bit of a sandbag grade. If that same move was at the top of the pitch, especially a sustained, pumpy pitch, the numbers would look much different. The Split Pillar grade is a good example of how a pitch used to be rated by it's hardest move, but now consensus (?) says that if you put it all together, it's as pumpy as your average 5.10b.

Far from an exact science. I'd love to see a two part grading system, but we kind of make due with grade and description.

K

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Re: Is Squamish Soft?

Post by jonny2vests » Tue Aug 21, 2012 9:22 pm

scrubber wrote:Far from an exact science. I'd love to see a two part grading system, but we kind of make due with grade and description.
Yeah, funny how the cinema ratings for danger never really took off here. Anyone know why?

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Re: Is Squamish Soft?

Post by Tenn » Tue Aug 21, 2012 9:25 pm

Well I've just come from a nice little after work session at Nightmare rock. I think the routes there are a good example of how YDS is applied in Squamish.

First, there's Claim Jumper. It's a nice little .11d and is also mentioned as the best .10a finger crack in Squamish in something that I read somewhere. While there is a little bit of 10+ slabby type climbing to get started there can be no doubt that this particular route is graded based on the hardest move - the .11d crux about 10 meters up. After that its a beauty finger crack with edges for feet and hands. Take away the 10+ bit at the bottom and the route is still the same grade. Right?

Just left of Claim Jumper is the route perspective. Which in my opinion is harder than Claim Jumper even though it's graded .11a. That should be quite a bit easier right? Well I think that Perspective is graded on the overall route difficulty, not necessarily the crux. There is a crux and it's up high, but the burly nature of the climbing lower down really makes the grade on Perspective in my opinion.

Then there's Senty Box - just a little further to the left. This route is graded at .12a but overall I'd say it feels easier than Perspective. Yeah, there's a real thin crack up high that forms the crux, but you can cruise up to that point without too much effort and get a great rest and great gear before committing to the thin crack crux. Whatever, it's harder technically for sure, but just for a short bit and just above great gear and a real good rest. Incidentally, I think that Sentry Box was originally graded .11a so there ya go.

Then there's clean crack. I still haven't had the balls to try that one and it's just a little 2 pitch 5.8.

My $0.02

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