Do you think that irish grades are inaccurate compared to Font?
I totally agree about grading dynos - especially for the lanky. And yes, “So it goes right” is one of the more morpho problems I’ve done. It’s a 5+ if you can reach the flake, 6C+ if you have to step up using the micro undercut crimp for your right hand and impossible if you can’t do either. Great piece of rock though.
Before i go on about grades can I just acknowledge that I'm not claiming to be able to do anything about grades or that I could/would do anything differently. This is not a criticism, rather it is an outsider's observations and an honest account of my perception of things as I see them. I say outsider as most of my bouldering to date has been done in the UK, France, Switzerland and Spain.
As for Irish grades – yes, I find them sometimes off the mark or at the very least, inconsistent at the minute between areas and styles. But that is only my personal opinion (which is all anyone can offer) and I acknowledge there are boulderers out there far more experienced and fitter than myself at present who may disagree. I think that’s to be expected with the lion’s share of the grading during the past ten years being done by each area's discoverer and main developers. With more time and increased traffic on the problems thanks to the guide they’ll all settle and come in line with each other. In general I think the Irish grades are stiff. In my mind that can be attributed to two factors.The first one is easy – an overdeveloped cultural sense of sandbagging merged with a dark sense of humour. I remember Pierre writing a great blog about the Irish attitude towards achievement and I think this is reflected in the grades we give somewhat.
The second reason that I’ve thought about is the “Local factor” – basically Irish climbers climb at the same venue week on week and progress through the problems and grades there. Over time they repeat many of their previous projects as warmups and become local experts. They know the rock better than anyone, the style, conditions etc… Then they compare how hard they have to try to climb a 7A on home turf with how hard they try to climb a 7A in say Font. Completely different rock, style, conditions etc… They may have to give 20 or 30% more effort to climb a problem of similar difficulty away from home but instead of acknowledging this they downgrade their home problems. So what takes 100% effort at home aligns with what took 100% effort on a trip away. It’s just not the case and it really does take time and hours upon hours of training on a specific rock type to be able to preform on it as well as you would at your local venue. Peoples 3 annual trips to Font don't make them on par with the locals - you may climb as hard as them, but you're trying a damn lot harder for the tick.
So I've critiqued but what can I offer as a positive counter balance to the above? Well the fact that at the end of the day grades are irrelevant. The point of bouldering is to perfect and enjoy the movement regardless of numbers - simply working something that inspires us regardless of reason. The rock in Ireland is amazing! The craic bouldering in Ireland or away with Irish is unbeatable. The grades will settle with time and through discussion. Look at the groove SS in Glendalough for example - it's already begun.