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Raising Hope

Sudipto Pal | Feb 7 , 2018

Background
In many occasionswe climbers from Bengal and around seem to address other climbers as good/efficient or average/ordinary or poor/below average climbers. But all these adjectives hardly justify their climbing capabilities. As we are unaware about climbing grades, climbers here hardly understand and can reveal themselves to their truest potential. In western countries and in other parts of India(Bangalore, Mumbai or Pune), climbers are very well aware of climbing grades. This is why their climbing capability is developing with a stride. Still now majority of them are restricting themselves to rock climbing, but it is not very far that they will be on the Himalayan big walls.

What is Climbing grade?
Climbing grade intended to describe concisely the difficulty and danger of climbing. Different types of climbing such as sport climbing, bouldering, ice climbing or mountaineering each has their own grading systems. There are many other nationalities who developed their own distinctive grading systems as well. Like Yosemite Decimal System (YDS) of USA, International French Adjectival System of France (very commonly used as mountaineering grades), French Rock climbing, Uiaa grading to name a few.

Climbing grades depend on number of factors. The factors are technical difficulty of the moves, strength, stamina and level of commitment required including the difficulty of protecting the climber. Different grading systems consider these factors in different ways, so no two grading systems are of exact one-to-one correspondence.

It is not necessary always that an overhang will always hold a higher grade.In many occasions we find higher grades in slab or wall. If a rock climber cruses on a 6a (French rock climbing grade) slab/wall route he might not be able to cruse with the same efficiency on 6a overhang or 6a Trad route.

Effects
As we are not aware of climbing grades & rocks are not marked with routes and grade (no rock climbing rout guide book) we never understand what grade we are climbing. Since we are unable to assess our own grade this lead us to climb always on Top rope belay. It becomes very time consuming and cumbersome to develop. Assessing oneself is very important to excel and climb harder routes.

It is said that one who wish to understand a grade has to climb at least 50 routes of the same grade to assess a particular grade. This is very commonly practiced amongbeginner climbers in other part of the world. 
It is true that people who are not aware of climbing or mountaineering their ideology is, higher the mountain, higher the difficulty will be. I am sorry to say that, I have encountered many a climbers over here who go after height instead of accepting or rather trying to know the difficulties. For instance if you climb Mt Bhagirathi II by Waren's route (first climbed in 1933, this is the route most climber takes), or if you climb it by any of the 12 other routes, which has been established from the west wall (Gongotri glacier side), would it be the same? ...The moment we understand grading, we will definitely reach out to push our limits.Only through this we will be able to break the ice and then proper development of climbing is possible.

Way forward
A rock climbing guide book with proper marking (grading) and bolting is absolute necessary. Any individual or Association’s help and support is highly solicited.

rock climbing rock climbing rock climbing rock climbing

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