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Forum: SWE / News / 8B (A+) by Jule Wurm Login in to contribute
8B (A+) by Jule Wurm
OffLine 8a.nu
  2018-08-05 00:00:00    
Jule Wurm, world champion in 2014 who retired from the scene in 2015 after having won the European Championship, has done Fragile Steps 8B (A+) in Rocklands.

How is your life and climbing nowadays?
Life is good! It’s great to be in Rocklands! I spent a year in the US last year for my studies and did neuroscience research for my MD thesis. Did lots of climbing while being in Boston, broke my ankle in spring climbing outdoors and then broke my arm in a gym there in the beginning of October.

How did you train to speed up the recovery?
For my arm I had surgery right after the accident and they put two metal implants to fix the fractures. Recovery went slower then I had wished, but I tried to listen to my body and did whatever felt okay. I returned to Germany earlier this year to finish med school and did lots of training to get in shape for Rocklands.

Lots of fingerboarding, board sessions on a 45 degree wall and TRX training. There still are some hand positions that don’t feel comfortable for my arm, but all in all I’m very happy with where I am climbing wise!

What kind of job are you looking for and how will you combine this with hard core climbing?
I'm not really sure yet what I wanna do later. I either wanna do research again or work as a doctor, or maybe some kind of public health related job not really sure yet. And of course I hope to always find enough time for climbing no matter what job I will do.
Click to Enlarge Picture
OffLine The Whistleblower 5
  2018-08-04 23:26:15    
Why 8a.nu reports the grade of Fragile Steps now as 8B (A+), but only a few weeks ago it was reported as 8A+ (B)? What is the difference and/or what has changed between the ascents?
OnLine Jens Larssen
  2018-08-05 09:00:28    
It normally depends on which grade the ascentionist reports. Fragile steps is 8B in the topo and this is the most used grade, however some have called it 8A+ and even 8A have been mentioned. A climber that calls it 8A+ will normally get the 8A+ (B) grade. But if all the ten next know ascents will use 8B this might indicate that some hold have been broken and we will skip the bracket grade. Grades are personal due to different heights, preferred style etc.
OffLine The Whistleblower 5
  2018-08-05 12:46:10    
So are you saying that Anna Liina Laitinen called it 8A+ and Jule Wurm 8B, or what was the reason for using different grades when the ascents were reported?
OffLine Sebastian Peace
  2018-08-05 19:02:54    
@Whisleblower: I don't see the problem. For some the boulder is 8A+ and for some it is 8B. Does it rly matter that much if it the news says 8A+(8B) vs 8B (8A+)? Is this a piece of political journalism where every word matters and semantics are important because they shape the readers beliefs and opinions? I get it, for you sementics are very important but this is not the New York Times, it is a online climbing platform and you should keep that in mind.
Juliane Called it 8B in her scoreboard and Anna called it 8A+(8B) on facebook, so the reporting seems fitting to me.
OffLine Steve
  2018-08-05 20:52:09    
I agree with Whistleblower that it would be good if one could understand from the article, what the mentioned grades stand for. Which one's personal grade, consensus grade or whatever.
OffLine Max Bertone
  2018-08-06 04:57:24    
A boulder has a history and an evolution. Holds appear or disappear. Grades evolve. But there are also errors. Clearly “Millenium” in Font and “Stalker on the horizon” in Rocklands are not 8A. However, there are no statistical reasons for mistakes to be made more often in one direction. Now, the massive trend is to downgrade. In Fontainebleau, as in Rocklands climbers have this psychological tendency, probably in connection with a need to increase their self-recognition and self-esteem. “I send the boulder easily, so I'm strong: How can I say it? By downgrading and commenting "soft" or “ah ha ha ! Definitively not 8B !... Never 8A ! Far from 7C !” etc.. The opposite trend also exists: “I want to score: I upgrade”. But it is a minority of climbers, who are devalued by the community. For example, Oriane felt “Atomic Playboy” in Font or “Caroline” in Rocklands, more 8A than 7C+… But I called both 7C+ on her scorecard because I was afraid of discredit that the community can throw on a climber who "overestimates" his performances. But the grade does not seem right to us. When Oriane sent last March in Fontainebleau "La cicatrice de l’Ohm" (announced 8B by Melissa the Neve and Jeremy Bonder), or "Trav+La surprise du chef" in Ailefroide (8B in the topo) 2 weeks ago, There was less problems for me to downgrade these boulders 8A+. There are also grades kept by ignorance. When Oriane sent Fragile Steps two years ago she had no other 8B experience. So I kept the topo grade for her ascent. But there are also grade confirmations by experimented climbers like J. Wurm. Conclusion: the grade of a boulder is the result of a qualitative activity. It is not possible to hope for an official consensus. If J. Wurm call Fragile Steps 8B, against the psychological trend to downgrade, it leaves us a doubt. Why not mention 8A+/B in this case in order to avoid giving an “official” grade and to leave the debate open?
Stefano Bertone (Oriane's father)
OffLine Sebastian Peace
  2018-08-06 08:01:19    
@Max/Stefano : I am no father yet so I don't want to criticize you on that point, but I find it odd that you record/grade the ascents for your daughter, why don't you let her record the ascents? I guess u have a discussion about the grades before you record them on 8a but do you feel you influence her in her decision or do you just record her personal grades? Again, I don't mean this in a bad way, I hope you understand that.
Jens stated quiet clearly that there is no such thing as an "official grade" in his oppinion, and I share his point of view.
For me 8A+/8B sounds like a grade in between 8A+ and 8B (something like "hard 8A+ or soft 8B") but what if this boulder is 8A+ for some (neither soft/hard) and for others it is 8B (neither soft/hard). I think 8A+(8B) or the other way round is more fitting, but that is just my oppinion and I have to say I have never tried that boulder!
Also Max/Stefano/Oriane: Please don't be afraid to grade, it's just a number and no lives are dependent on it (multipitch or death/highball). Just be honest and if anybody thinks you are wrong, they can, but that does not mean they are more right than you are. :)
OffLine Miha
  2018-08-06 10:01:10    
All this hype about one shity low ball in rocklands that people mostly get to climb cuz everybody knows that its soft, has a hundred different heel hooks betas and is certainly not reachy for most. But compared to other stuff in rocklands this one is just sh*t
OnLine Jens Larssen
  2018-08-06 10:03:35    
I try to avoid slash grades like 8A+/8B as this indicates a very accurate difficulty in between 8A+ and 8B. I do not think grades are either that important or accurate.

8A+ (B) indicates that it can be either 8A+ or 8B based on personal experience or height etc.
OffLine The Whistleblower 5
  2018-08-06 10:43:15    
Slash grades are commonly used in climbing; both by the media and climbers. Even Adam Ondra uses them regularly. Therefore, I find it strange that 8a.nu is against them, and rather chooses to alter the grade reported by the climber herself/himself.

Secondly, the way grades are currently reported on 8a.nu is extremely confusing. Honestly, nobody knows what the first grade and the second grade in the parentheses represent. When asked from Jens, no precise answer is given.

For example, Jule Wurm's ascent of Fragile Steps was reported as 8B (A+), but Anna Liina Laitinen's ascent of the same boulder problem only a few weeks ago was reported as 8A+ (B). (Jule Wurm recorded the climb as 8B and Anna Liina Laitinen as 8A+/8B on Instagram).

It would be very helpful if Jens could explain to the readers how to interpret the reported grades to avoid further confusions. You can start by explaining the abovementioned example.
OnLine Jens Larssen
  2018-08-06 11:40:44    
It is logical that if one climber find the personal difficulty in between two grades, a slash grade can be used like Ondra does, but extremely seldom.

However, for the media as well as the topo writers it seems less logical to report accurate slash grades as we know they often vary from each climber. The trend seems that less slash grades are used.

It is very hard to come up with a system how to report grades as it can vary from one ascent to another. Let us say, all the next ten repeaters report it as 8B, then we would skip to include also the (8A+) grade although for the first nine it would be included.
OffLine The Whistleblower 5
  2018-08-06 12:34:14    
Let’s say that the next three repeaters would grade the climb as 8A+, 8A+/8B and 8B, respectively. How would you report the grade in news given the current situation? Please, explain why as I still don’t understand the logic used behind the two aforementioned cases. Thanks!
OnLine Jens Larssen
  2018-08-06 12:51:36    
I think it is better that you make a suggestion what would be best :)
OffLine CrazyAss
  2018-08-06 13:58:08    
I am struggling to care about your problem. Its 8B/A+
OffLine The Whistleblower 5
  2018-08-06 14:39:45    
Jens, all I am asking you is to explain your logic using a simple example. Yet, you are unable to do so, meaning A) there is no consistent logic, B) even you don’t understand it.

Don’t you care about your readers? Don’t you want to improve your communication skills? Apperantly not, if you continue to avoid to answer my question.
OffLine Bojan
  2018-08-06 14:41:28    
Never ending story.
An editor of website is asking his audience how he should report the grades?! :P

As I said several times (e.g. here) before: there is no consensus how a consensus grade is formed (out of personal grades). But -- at least the particular media (8a.nu) should have some consistent rule how to form one and use this rule consistently in all cases.

Additionally, the media should clearly state when a particular climber is *suggesting* a grade or just reporting (with no grade) his/her ascent of a particular problem (and give a link -- source of this suggestion, when necessary). And if someone reports/suggests a slash grade, it should be reported as such, no matter if the media 'hate' the slash grades.
OffLine Sebastian Peace
  2018-08-06 16:50:42    
@Whistleblower: Strange that I understand Jens's logic. Maybe there is a language barrier, but you can't blame Jens for that because English is not his mother language. I also think Jens answered your first question on his first post if you read carefully, I don't think he is "avoiding" your questions, I actually think it is awesome the creator of the site takes the time to answer questions in the forums, you don't see that very often on the internetz (+ on a free platform). :D

Edit: One more thing about the slash grades in the french grading system 8A+/8B - Isn't the "+" in supposed to be the grade in between 8A and 8B, is there really another distinction neccessarly? Maybe there should be, if you convert from let's say UIAA into the french system? But for grade reporting? It might be strange to report a 8A+/8B because the 8a logbook does not support slash grades, but they have a nice variation of if (soft/hard).
OffLine Dan Cannaday
  2018-08-06 21:35:58    
I'm kinda sorry this whole thread happened here. Maybe this is an important discussion to some people but can we not celebrate and congradulate Jule on a return to fitness after a couple of rough injuries and a really long (but not as long as it could have been) recovery? Jule, you're awesome and I'm glad you're living the dream in Rocklands and climbing hard again.

@ Whistleblower - you have no logged ascents. Maybe you'd be a little more chill and less argumentative if you climbed more and then you'll understand grades better too!
OffLine Max Bertone
  2018-08-06 22:18:21    
Sebastian Peace. My english is not very bad and I think I did not really explain what I meant very well. The fact that I enter the grades for my daughter does not mean that I decide for her. We discuss about the ascent and she decides the grade. After that I record the ascent in her scorecard. She was (is yet) very young and this is also the reason why I am very attentive to the opinion of the community. In France we had the case of a climber of international level whose reputation was deteriorated being young. She carried this bad reputation with her for a very long time. One can always say that those who have damaged her reputation are wrong, but as a father I prefer to avoid having to deal with this kind of situation for my daughter. anyway thank you for your opinion about the grade with "/" or with parenthesis. I better understand the meaning of this choice.
OffLine Sebastian Peace
  2018-08-07 01:05:49    
@Dan: You are right, congratulations to Jule on her ascent. This should be the highlight of this thread. (The problem could be avoided with the possibility of more possible threads per news article or a different forum/thread layout.)

@Max: Now, as I understand, I have to say I am very sorry to hear what happend in France and I hate that you have to think about such things. Slander and the like are very cruel and I hope that this will never happen to you or to your daughter. Public opinion can also be very harsh, cruel or unfair and it is a good thing you pay attention to that for your daughter. On the other hand, some day she has to learn it and you should maybe prepare her for that day. Maybe some other famous climbers here can help you with this?
I wish you both good health, friends and many great climbing years ahead of you.

@Slash grades: If you can't decide if the boulder is let's say 8A or 8A+ you of course give it the "8A/8A+" or "8A/+" grade, why not. Grades are personal and if you want to log them on 8a.nu you can for example do it like that:
Grade: 8A - hard
Comment: could not decide so I call it 8A/+
This version is the "'they' can never blame for grading to soft", so it is "safe", which is a pretty sad thing if you think about it because it can sometimes deter you from being honest. Then again, 8a.nu does call it a ranking game with a reason.
OffLine Bojan
  2018-08-07 12:22:43    
@Sebastian: if two persons get different points (Jule 1100 pts, Melissa la Neve 1000) for the same problem (based on their *personal* grade, not consensus) I would call it a joke, not a game...
OffLine brbushell
  2018-08-07 17:12:17    
OffLine The Whistleblower 5
  2018-08-08 19:07:30    
@Sebastian Peace: You said that you understand Jens' logic. Could you then explain to me what the grade 1) without parentheses and 2) with parentheses stand for?

@Jens: Slash grades are actually less accurate than the grades used in the 8a.nu logbook. For example, using slash grades there is only one grade between 8A+ and 8B, i.e., 8A+/8B, whereas the 8a.nu logbook has two, i.e., 8A+ hard and 8B soft.

@Dan Cannaday: Everybody knows that you should have two separate accounts on 8a.nu; one for debating with Jens and one for logging your ascents. Why? If your comments are not in line with Jens' views, then your account might get deleted.

@Bojan: I agree that the 8a.nu ranking game should give the same amount of points for the same problem/route.

@Max Bertone: I am sad to hear that you are afraid of upgrading problems (but not downgrading them) due to historical reasons.