Everyday Dirtbag Entry #33.

First Post-Yosemite Post:

Ratings are such a weird, subjective construct that I don’t even like to mention them in my posts.  But to make the point, I have to here.

Yosemite ratings on boulder routes mean almost nothing.  The difference between ratings in highly-climbed areas like Swan Slabs and Camp 4, versus less frequently climbed areas like Housekeeping and Curry is significant.

For example, I sent a Curry V6 easily.  Very easily.  After only a couple goes.  I tried it, fell, figured it out, and sent.  Strange dyno, long reach, traverse, awkward mantle, and all.  But that’s not a big thing.  I’m certain that I’m in solid v8 climbing shape.

Then I went to Swan Slabs – where all holds have been worn to the texture of wax-covered billiard balls.  And I tried to send a V4 that I’ve been on before.  Been on but not sent.

V4 after a V6?  V4 when I’m confident that I can do a V8?  That’s a significant step down.  So the route should be easy, right?

But I tried it once…and couldn’t get off the ground.  Then I tried a second time…and failed to execute the first move again.  Looked for a new move.  Tried a different sequence on go three.  Fourth time was no better.  Fifth.  And sixth.

And did I ever get the first move?  No.

Did I ever get close to sticking the first move?  No.

So to climb a v4 in Swan Slabs, I’d have to be in V9 shape?  V10?  And could I even climb that thing then?  I don’t know.  The route was once a V4, but now it feels virtually unclimbable.  Slick and awkward.  Completely wornout.  But still a V4.

And THAT’S ratings.


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