Graham explains downgrading

NUMBERS

24 December 2004

From his new home in Ticino, Switzerland David Graham explains why he has retro downgraded many of his hardest sent boulder problems: 8a.nu support the thoughts and think it's brave of David to officially state this opinion. Some times grading is like the fairy tale of the Emperor's new clothes One should also understand that David actually drops in the ranking when he downgrades his own ascents. The 8a scorecard is just a game and it will never be an absolute thruth regarding who's the best - but it can sure be a good motivator! “As a climbing community, we shouldn't be naive. The media has a big influence on the grades we see for high end stuff. 8a.nu has a big influence on the grades we have for everything. Are we climbing 8C boulders and 9a routes? How did we do that? Do we comprehend as a community a system of grading? As a community, are we confident in our current theories about the complex abstraction of high-end grades? I think the media did a lot more consolidating of grades than we ever did as a community of climbers. For generations it has happened. Capitalism, money, "fame",...these factors of our world are real, and they have a serious influence. Grades will never be the most inspiring abstraction donated by climbing. They rank low in overall importance. From an artistic point of view, the possible inspiration one can attain from a grade (it being an after-the-fact interpretation of something special) can never compete with the inspiration donated by the actual experience of climbing. I changed a lot of my ideas about grades throughout my experiences climbing. I learned a lot about how to compare personal experiences and deduce their relativity. I think its amazing, as a community, how everyone involved, can appreciate the attempt to articulate (with a little number) how challenging something felt, or how one experience compared to another. I changed some of the grades on my scorecard, because I thought they were incorrect. They weren’t consistent with my present views of how hard certain things seem. Didn’t make much sense to me. They were heavily influenced by what other climbers thought. I have posted what things feel like for me. Its my personal comparative analysis. My abstraction. So, those new grades are just my grades, not the real grades, not the world grades. I don’t want to offend anyone. I just want to climb REALLY hard. Maybe 8C finally. Real 8C. Climbing is the most amazing thing. Its nice and abstract, and has plenty of room for development.”

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