Grade updates by Adam Ondra and Stefano Ghisolfi


Saturday, 8 January

It has previously been reported that Adam Ondra has made some grade updates in his logbook. Examples are that Chilam Balam, La Capella and Lapsus have been taken down to 9a+ and that Goldrake was updated to 9a. Now Stefano Ghisolfi has made a total of 12 grade adjustments, including confirming the latter three mentioned by Ondra. The Italian has also suggested personal downgrades of three classical original 9a's in Massone near Arco.

Some of their grade updates are based on the use of knee pads and others are because neighbouring routes have been downgraded. Some updates have probably also been done as they hesitated of a FA grade, writing comments like, "Time will tell". When they later have seen and heard most others have called them "Soft", some original grades have been updated. It should be mentioned that Adam Ondra has since he was a teenager been the top climber in the world that have given most personal up- and downgradings.

Escalade9 is a website that originally tried to keep track of all 9a ascents in the world. Later, often based on Adam Ondra's personal grades, many routes have been updated to 8c+/9a. Interestingly is also that by checking the most repeated 9a's in the world, most have actually been downgraded to 8c+/9a, which makes popularity a good marker for soft grades. Based on Adam and Stefano's grade comments, probably, some of Escalade9' listed climbs will be taken out.

From a personal point of view, I think it is great that Adam and Stefano have made some grade reflections. Over the years, we have seen grade inflation that has led to some old school routes being upgraded. I often receive grade comments by top climbers who tell me that the topo grade is not correct but they do not want to be the guy calling it out and instead just marked the route as "soft". Hopefully, some more climbers will make grade updates. Overall, it is the quality of the line that is most important and which should be the selection criteria #1. Not which route has the softest grade :)

Ghisolfi comments, "Adam told me he updated some grades and I decided to do it too because some routes I did a few years ago are considered a different grade and it is not correct to keep the old grades in my scorecard."

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