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We are lacking 8C+ boulders
  2013-03-21 00:00:00    
Six months ago, I wrote an article, It is time to step up/upgrade to 8C+ boulders which based on several more 8C's in 2013 has been actualized. The first 8C was done more than 10 years ago and today there exist some 30. The cut in the top of the pyramid tries to show the lack of 8C+ boulders based on the proportion of 8B+ and 8B's.

I know that some of the leading guys like Woods, Robinson, Ondra, Traversi and Graham have had similar thoughts. It seems like when these guys have been fighting hard to stop the grade inflation on lower grades, their humbleness have created an 8C+ deflation.
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OffLine Christian Mengel
  2013-03-22 21:45:01    
in that case i´m wondering why woods and co have not suggested it so far...or might it be the case that you´re desperate for more hits, more headlines and flashy news? i´d say leave grading up to those putting up groundbreaking things since neither you or i know remotely what 8C+ might feel like but hey, reason has been lost when it comes to this page and the whole grade debate a long time ago...so why do i bother?
OffLine grubber
  2013-03-23 15:02:31    
then again, where do the numbers come from?
OffLine Jens Larssen
  2013-03-24 15:42:13    
The numbers are of course just estimations as there does not exist any official list. I have first of all just the 8a data base and our news.

The conclusion would be the same even if it turned out that my speculation of number of ascents turned out to be 50 % wrong. We lack 8C+ boulders and bare in mind that the first one was done 10 years ago. Surely, there must have been more progress since then. The pyramid with it's cut top show in a nice way that this is not logical.
OffLine Derek Bredl
  2013-03-24 23:04:21    

It's asymptotic!!! Do you know what that means? Do you even look and consider what other peoples opinions are (especially when it differs from your own beliefs)?


There IS a limit. It's that simple.

OffLine Jens Larssen
  2013-03-25 09:07:03    

I have not seen anyone trying to explain why I am wrong. Many guys did also say I was wrong when I was the first one to say that grade inflation exists in Switzerland bouldering. Now, everybody agrees.

In Lead, the grade pyramid is perfect and more or less based on a factor of four. It starts with two 9b+ and continues more or less with: 8, 32, 128.

Please try to explain why the grade pyramid should not be based more or less by the same principle. There are at least 30 boulders graded 8C and maybe 60 guys who have done 8C. Do you not think we lack 8C+ boulders and ascents?

OffLine joza
  2013-03-25 11:58:50    
Jens you forgot boulders like Goia, Terranova, The Game (which was climbed like an 8C+, but with new beta is a bit easier), Lucid dreaming (hard 8C or 8C+, the future will tell-words from Paul Robinson) which all have a proposed grade of 8C+.

When you are making your articles, you simply falsify/forget ascents, that proves the opposite. It happens all the time!


OffLine John Meget
  2013-03-25 14:56:31    
Jens asked to give reasons why his theory may not be right. Here's one.

The improvement in lead climbing grades is mostly due to greater endurance feats. You stack a 9a on top of another 9a and get 9b or so. You pile several 8A-to-8B boulders in a row, with no good rests, and get 9b/+. You add an 8B boulder to a 9a route and get what -- 9b or harder?

In bouldering that's not so feasible though. If you extend a hard boulder problem, it often becomes a traverse or a sport route. i.e. it loses the quality that makes it a pure boulder.

So to move bouldering to more 8C+ and even 9A grades, requires harder individual moves or several-move sequences. And at least for now, climbers may be near the limit there.

The next generation may raise the bar higher. But I think to do so, they will have to put together moves and sequences that now are next to impossible.
OffLine Jens Larssen
  2013-03-25 20:08:01    
@ Joza: Paul has said that Lucid Dreaming is a potential 8C+ after I convinced him that we lack 8C+. Terranova is a traverse and if we included also traverses and boulder routes, we would have many probably 50 % more 8C's. Goia is also a semi traverse but there, the 8C+ was based on a personal grade of Adam Ondra. This is the way forward and exactely the way forward and I suggest guys who could not repeat it, suggest an upgrade. As it stands now, one guy said 8C and one guy 8C+.

Based on my pyramid grades, we should have more than the ones mentioned above.

@ John: Based on what you say, it seems very strange that the boulderers were at their maximum human being limit already some 10 years ago. Bouldering is a new sport where we have seen dramatic progress the lat years but it is just not shown grade wise. I am sure, we will see also 9A boulders ones the best are just not so humble and work something super hard very long.
OffLine John Meget
  2013-03-25 20:57:32    
Jens, aren't there a number of unrepeated boulders from ten or more years ago?

ETA:  besides, it may not be so strange.  I just looked at the progression of the world record for the one mile race.  According to Wikipedia, in 1886, Walter George ran 4:12.75.  Roger Bannister broke the 4 minute barrier in 1954, with a time of 3:59.4. 

That means it took nearly 70 years to improve less than 5.3%.  With 8C+ a real big step beyond 8C, perhaps you need more patience -- if it is to happen at all.  
OffLine Jens Larssen
  2013-03-27 09:59:12    
Bouldering is a new sport... why do you think we see faster grade progress in climbing which has been a sport for a much longer time.

Why do you think it just took some seven years to go from 8B to 8C but during the last ten, the progress has been much slower.
OnLine hanez
  2013-03-27 14:37:36    
"Why do you think it just took some seven years to go from 8B to 8C but during the last ten, the progress has been much slower."

Because grades evolves exponentially with time, approaching asymptotically to a limit, and not linear. It takes much more effort to step from 9b to 9b+ than to step from 8a to 8a+, even if in both cases the grade step is the same (1 step). Look at Ondra: It takes him a few hours to climb a 9a, a few days to climb a 9a+, a few weeks to climb 9b (Golpe) and a few months to climb 9b+ (La Dura Dura). Just a few grade steps but a lot more effort to invest.

Here is an example, showing the evolution of grades in route climbing (sport climbing, not trad climbing), starting with 7b+. The first route of each grade is plotted here (maybe Sautanz and Magnet are not the correct ones, but i think, the diagramm wouldn't change much if you put in other routes here):



It can be seen, that the evolution is getting slower and slower. These exponential grow rates are typical for biochemical organic processes.
I think the same holds for Bouldering, maybe even stronger, because in bouldering the limit  will be reached earlier than in route climbing.

OffLine John Meget
  2013-03-27 16:39:25    
Jens, I gave you a possible explanation why. In lead you can climb tougher routes that require no tougher holds: they require more linkups and endurance. In bouldering you can't do that.

If you think there should be more 8C+ or even 9A boulders out there, 1) name some boulders you think that is true of, 2) tell us why the consensus of people who have climbed those boulders is wrong.

Right now all you have is a speculation, with nothing to back it. Some examples might give your theory more validity.

btw, running was not an old sport either in the late 1880s. Yet the progression was/is painfully slow.