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.