Grading is something we’ve been trying to improve for the last 10 years. We received great feedback after moving away from the classic colour-based system and towards numbered tags – it’s allowed us to include a lot more variation of style within each grade boundary.
However, we’ve also noticed that a lot of climbers (including some of us) were feeling a little stuck at grade 3. That’s why we’ve expanded our tagging system to go from 0-5 to 0-7!
How do the new grades work?
Grades 0 – 2 are exactly the same as before, but after that they’re a little more spread out, to make it easier to track your progression. The easiest way to understand it is to check out this little conversion chart we made:
|OLD TAGS||Font grades||NEW TAGS||Font grades|
|0||3, 3+||0||3, 3+|
|1||4, 4+||1||4, 4+|
|2||5, 5+||2||5, 5+|
|3||6a, 6a+, 6b, 6b+||3||6a, 6a+|
|4||6c, 6c+, 7a, 7a+||4||6b, 6b+|
|5||7b and harder||5||6c, 6c+|
|7||7b and harder|
Grading is weird
Climbing isn’t an exact science, and neither is grading. What’s hard for one person might be a breeze for another. It all depends on your own personal strengths, weaknesses and preferred style. Often, problems get re-graded entirely after a few more people have climbed on them.
Our advice has always been to not take the numbers of climbing too seriously, and simply focus on having fun and challenging yourself each session. After all, the real grades are the friends we make along the way…
Indoors vs outdoors
Just to add to the chaos, indoor grades are pretty consistently out of sync with outdoor grading.
A lot of the climbers around Norfolk spend a long time in the gym before they manage to get outside. When they do, one of the first things they notice is how much harder the grades feel – real rock just comes with its own set of techniques and skills to learn.
From our experience, an indoor 6a often ends up comparable to an outdoor 4+. You’ll likely need a few sessions before you learn what your outdoor grade is. It’s simply one of the ‘joys’ of climbing.
As always, feel free to get in touch if you’ve got any questions, and we look forward to seeing you soon!