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Forum: GLOBAL / Editorial / La Rambla is 9a+ by today standards Login in to contribute
La Rambla is 9a+ by today standards
OffLine 8a.nu
  2017-03-27 00:00:00    
In 1994, Alex Huber made the FA of La Rambla 8c+ to the first anchor, some eight meters under the original anchor. In 2003, Ramon Julian Puigblanque did the FA by La Rambla original 9a+ by traversing into the neighboring bolted route and continued to the original La Rambla anchor. Ramonet did try to stay as close to Hubers original line meaning he eliminated a very good jug further out to the right.

Until now, La Rambla original has been repeated 15 times making it the most repeated 9a+ in the world. Everyone has used the jug to the very right of the traverse but Adam Ondra who commented, "without resting hold although it is nonsense to consider it as prohibited. Ramonet has said that his 9a+ grade was based without using the resting hold.

Noteworthy is also that in 2008, Ramonet did the FA also of the neighboring route and gave it 8c. It has later been upgraded and nowadays, in fact, most even think 9a.

La Rambla original is today a well confirmed 9a+. At the same time, both Huber and some repeaters have said that the extension does not add so much difficulty so his FA from 1994 should have been 9a as of today grade standard. By using the same grade devaluation logic, some ten years ago, La Rambla original was probably just a hard 9a if you used Ramonet's eliminated jug. Greg Mionske
Click to Enlarge Picture
OffLine jghedge
  2017-03-27 18:29:37    
" La Rambla original is today a well confirmed 9a+. At the same time, both Huber and some repeaters have said that the extension does not add so much difficulty so his FA from 1994 should have been 9a as of today grade standard. By using the same grade devaluation logic..." Except there is no "grade devaluation logic" here because you're using an upgrade, not a downgrade, as your example.
OffLine Jens Larssen
  2017-03-27 19:12:15    
If a climb has been upgraded from 8c+ to 9a for no reason than just to fit into the today standard, this is for me an example of grade devaluation!
OffLine jghedge
  2017-03-28 07:04:44    
But it wasn't upgraded to "fit into today's standard" - Huber was just climbing at a higher grade than he thought he was, and his record bears that out. It wasn't upgraded to fit into today's standard - it was upgraded because he was wrong about how hard it really was. You assume that there was "no reason" for it to be upgraded other than " just to fit into the today standard", when the actual reason was that he was climbing harder than he thought he was. He was just as wrong about how hard it was as you are in assuming why it was upgraded.
OffLine Jens Larssen
  2017-03-28 08:17:02    
I am afraid you are wrong. He gave it 8c+ because at the time Action Directe was not 9a. I guess you know that several routes from Huber have been upgraded to fit the standards of today. You must have heard about the expression, "old-school grading". All over the world, routes that were put up during the early 90-ies are normally harder graded compared of the modern school. 
OffLine Mark Nauser
  2017-03-28 08:59:14    
Jens, instead of being a couch upgrader, could you possibly contact Mr. Huber and ask him about his opinion on original and extension grade? You know, the same as journalists do?
OffLine Jens Larssen
  2017-03-28 09:21:28    
Already some ten years ago, Huber said what has been posted in the article. He graded his La Rambla 8c+ because at the time he said Action Directe was considered 8c+. 
OffLine Mark Nauser
  2017-03-28 10:05:23    
Ah, you're refering to that old UKC News interview? That's all good and I agree with Huber and his logic. Though Gullich never graded AD as 8c+, his contemporaries thought XI grade is roughly on that level, so one can understand the logic behind the grade of other routes from that time, like Open Air.  But that doesn't say anything about the difficulty of La Rambla extension? I suppose you don't have a link where Huber states that La Rambla "extension does not add so much difficulty" and that "La Rambla original was probably just a hard 9a"? Because there are 9 records of La Rambla ascents in 8a database from very respectable climbers, and 8 of them put it in as a 9a+? That's why I'd  at least try to contact all these climbers before supposedly proposing a downgrade of a route I never touched. Because that's what you're apparently trying to do. 
OffLine Jens Larssen
  2017-03-28 12:27:36    
" It's a fact that La Rambla increased in grade from 8c+ to 9a+. Often people believe this is due to the route extension, but in reality the difficulties do not change substantially with this extension. The difficulty in traversing from the Rambla belay rightwards to finish up "Reina Mora", compared to the crux on La Rambla, is not relevant. To this you also have to add the fact that La Rambla isn't harder than Action Direct and therefore cannot be harder than 9a. "

Planet Mountain
OffLine Atious
  2017-03-28 13:13:56    
Still, I can't see the logic behind the ''extension doesn't add that much in terms of difficulty'' embraced by some...Mr. Huber included, 'cause the very fact that he himself had to put a lower anchor for him to conclude the line. It has to be said that I remember reading, the reason behind was in order to not chip anything and being better to put the anchor up to the natural point then possible for him. Which I applaud and consider as super class decision & ethics. But this was back in 1994.
OffLine Henning Wang
  2017-03-28 14:04:06    
This headline is, as always, off.. If you want to start the grade debate, do so. Headline should be something like: The first female 9a+? La Rambla. The route, the grade, the controversy. Because there is, just as with the two other first female 9a+ ascents, controversy here. After all the hype pushed on us by social media, I find it somewhat disapointing to say the least that the climbing media has chosen to pile on to this instead of looking into the history of the route and ask the question. This is the third time a women climbs a route around this grade, the first two being subject to downgrade, but this ascent is not even questioned? Why? To find the first "real" discussion hidden over at the side under a bad headline, tho a small attempt, is not much better Jens. Also, if you want to start the debate, linking the sources is a good start. 1. Interview with Alex Huber (anno 2008).  http://www.planetmountain.com/en/news/alpinism/alexander-huber-interview.html - Scroll down to the middle for the part on the grade of La Rambla. 2. Video of Adam Ondra climbing on the route with the eliminated jug over in la Reina Mora clearly marked: https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=2&v=xI8nyGa38vE - In the video you can see the original Huber anchor 2 moves before the jug in question. Another point from the video is that Adam, after not resting in the jug, manages to fall in the very top. 3. Interview with Margo featuring a photo of her chilling out on the originally eliminated jug: http://www.rockandice.com/climbing-news/margo-hayes-la-rambla-5-15a-interview From the interview: What inspired you to climb La Rambla ? Margo: I was inspired by the beauty, the difficulty, and the history of La Rambla ! - "the difficulty and the history". And yet in no interview or article following the ascent is the question of the grade and the original elimination raised. What is known? - The route was put up as an 8c+ by Alex Huber, then extended by 8 meters by Ramonet who chose to eliminating a big jug 3 moves from the original anchor to create a direct 9a+ version. - controversy about the grade when Edu repeated the route using this jug. - repeated by Adam with the jug only as a foothold. - repeaters continue to use the originally eliminated hold and the route becomes the most climbed 9a+ in the world. - many of the repeaters have never climbed the grade before. - Felix Neumärker logs the route on 8a.nu as 9a. - Margo, having climbed a single 9a previously, climbs the route in 7 days. Is it just me or is the media not doing it's job? Since when did we get
to concerned with public opinion and offending people to ask the hard
questions? When an ascent is being hyped up as the next level and a
historic achievement it goes without saying it should be treated as such also when it comes
to the reporting. From rock and ice: On February 26, 2017 Margo Hayes made history with her ascent of La Rambla in Siurana, Spain—she
became the first woman to climb a confirmed 9a+/5.15a. Now I'm guessing they based this on the fact that quite a few others have climbed the route and logged it as 9a+. But how is a grade confirmed? It is assumed a consensus is reached when a given number of people say the same thing, but does many people saying the same thing really mean anything when there is little to no incentive to give your own honest opinion and every incentive to go with what everyone else / the guidebook says? If you climb a new grade level for you 8 out of 9 people have logged it with the guidebook grade, how likely are you to take that grade compared to going with your gut feeling that this was no harder then what you'v already done? I mean, all those other people must know what their talking about right? why should I disagree, make people mad and lose points on 8a.nu? Or more to the point in case of the top level. If you want to make a living climbing but you are not Adam Ondra or Chris Sharma. Are you likely to downgrade if higher grades equal more media, more sponsors and more money? Of the 9 that have logged the route on 8a.nu, 9 are sponsored climbers. 2 have done the original elimination, at least 4 have done it as their first of the grade, 1 has downgraded, and the remaining 3 have made no comment on the grade, tho one commented on it going down surprisingly fast. So basically you have 3 guys with incentive to take the grade logging the route with it's given guidebook grade. 4 guys who have never climbed the grade before with even more incentive to take the grade, where 3 indeed takes the grade, and one downgrades to 9a. And last but not least, the first ascentionist who gave the route the grade based this on a harder elimination, and Adam Ondra who repeated it in similar style. Then you have the remaining ascentionists who has not logged the route but adds to the 9a+ stats based on the media reporting the route at that grade. So to sum it up: - Grade based on an elimination. - 6 sponsored guys taking a guidebook grade with no comments on either the eliminated hold or the grade, at least 3 of them climbing the grade for the first time on the given route. - 1 guy downgrading the route to 9a despite never having done a 9a+ before (thus having no incentive to do so), adding a video of himself on the route in the comments where he uses the eliminated hold. - First acentionist and Adam Ondra rumored to have downgraded the route if using the eliminated hold. - Alex Huber claiming the extension adds little difficulty to his original route.   Confirmed 9a+?
OffLine Jens Larssen
  2017-03-28 15:10:00    
It seems you missunderstands. La Rambla original is 9a+ by today standards. I agree with Ondra that there should not be an elimination.

Alex Huber called it La Rambla and he did not try to go to the original anchor by traversing. In order to separate it from his FA I used La Rambla original but I Will change it to make it more clear.
OffLine Henning Wang
  2017-03-28 18:09:40    
Jens, why does the text come out as a unreadable bloc instead of the way it's in the writing box? Can you fix it? there is no point in writing a proper comment if no one can actually read it..
OffLine jghedge
  2017-03-28 18:40:13    
" I guess you know that several routes from Huber have been upgraded to fit the standards of today." So either one person was wrong about how hard they were climbing, or he was right and everyone else is wrong about how hard his routes actually were - yet somehow you claim that everyone else must be wrong, while still claiming that routes should be graded by consensus. You can't have it both ways. 
OffLine Jens Larssen
  2017-03-28 20:43:59    
The paragraph thing is going to be fixed very soon. I am sorry about that. What I have tried to say is that La Rambla using the the eliminated jug was probably not 9a+ some ten years ago. However, based on today grading standard, La Rambla is considered 9a+. 8a has for 17 years been the media that has been trying to stop grade inflation and in many cases suggested down grades that later were confirmed. 
OffLine bomberone
  2017-03-28 20:54:10    
Henning wang points out some interesting questions. Good job.It is important to ask these questions when it comes to high end sends like here.Just a bit sad, that these items are often raised when women do top notch ascends.
OffLine Mark Nauser
  2017-03-29 10:10:37    
Is it just me or it's always after women's hard ascent that we read multiple articles on 8a about supposed softness of these hard routes? Remember Ashima and her Open your mind direct? And Jens couch-downgrading Era Vella after Sascha DiGiullian did it. I also don't remember any article about La Rambla being soft before Margo Hayes sent it despite multiple other ascents that happened during last few years? At least Josune's Bimbaluna is on the hard end of the grade, or else I have a feeling we'd be reading about its softness too... I'm not saying that some routes might in fact not be softer than their proposed grades, but isn't it kinda strange that after hard women's ascents, there are always COUCH speculations from folks who never even saw the routes in question? There is/was NEVER an opposite debate, e.g. that a route a woman did might be harder than proposed grade?
OffLine Mark Nauser
  2017-03-29 10:30:17    
I'd like to add that I don't think anyone is being openly sexist/biased here by purpose. But it does kinda look like that. All I'm saying is that in cases like this one, one should be especially careful when writing articles like this one or proposing a softness/downgrade from his/her couch. Henning Wang's post is a good example of a post that tries to state facts. In contrast, Jens's original article is on speculative tabloid level at best, because his article directly implies that the only reason women are able to climb 5.15 is because 5.15 grade nowadays is supposedly easier than what it used to be. I really hope we won't have the same debate again if some lady sends Biographie one day.
OffLine Sylvester
  2017-03-29 11:08:54    
La Rambla is a soft 9a+ if you use all holds and a hard 9a+ if you skip the resting hold.
OffLine Mark Nauser
  2017-03-29 16:46:40    
George, all valid points and I do not dispute them. As I said before, I have no objection when someone questions softness of the route on the solid basis of evidence such as  Henning Wang  did. But Jens bringing up this whole "deevaluation" and "grade inflation" nonsense now, after first woman did the route, is strange. Why was there no such article when  Sachi Amma ,  Daniel Jung  or other guys did it? That's what's strange to me? Why was there no such article when  Felix Neumärker  graded it as 9a? And why did Jens's "Era Vella is not 9a" articles start only about the time Sascha DiGiulian did it? You might not think it is sexism, but many will think it looks like it. I believe Jens is probably not sexist, only uneducated and obtuse, and I think that we'd all be better off if some people would keep their couch grading for themselves and only listen to the people who actually did the route.
OffLine Jens Larssen
  2017-03-29 16:57:01    
@Mark: So you think it is OK that Henning Wang questions the grade but when I confirm the grade, you say I question the grade and say that this is not allowed. I have talked to some who do not want to go public and surely I have the same evidence. I did absolutely not say that Era Vella was soft when Sasha Digulian did it in 2013. This started when Siegrist compared it with 8c's. 
OffLine Mark Nauser
  2017-03-29 17:05:24    
@Jens: No, I think Henning Wang's post did the questioning in correct way whereas you did it in an unfair and non-evident amateurish manner (grade devaluation logic). Why do you need to repeat that all the time and constantly talk about how "8a has for years been the media that has been trying to stop grade inflation". It implies the original route is soft without linking evidence, leaves the wrong impression that could look sexist to some and also looks like shameless self promotion. Same with Era Vella.
OffLine Mark Nauser
  2017-03-29 17:16:32    
@Jens: Also, a kind advice - notice what Henning Wang wrote in his post? He wrote this: "Also, if you want to start the debate, linking the sources is a good start."