Writing on his blog about his recent redpoint of his first 5.14d―Escalatamasters (5.14d) at Perles, Spain―James Pearson offers some insight into the fact that sometimes grades do matter:
I loose count of how many times I must have said grades are not important, insisting instead it is the beauty of the climb and the moves that I search for. Yet for the last few years, hiding just a little way beneath everything else, was an urge to succeed only for a number. It might have been small, barely noticeable at times, but there it sat none the less, an ever present hope for something I thought perhaps I would never achieve.
But it’s a nice number, don’t you think? 9a [5.14d]. I hope you can forgive my shallowness?
Check out the full post for a nice recap of Pearson’s effort on the line as well as a handful of nice pictures of the route.
Update: Thanks to the commenter who unearthed this footage of Dave Graham on the route
And here is a video of Dave Graham climbing the same route:
This whole ‘grades matter’ vs ‘grades don’t matter’ thing is another purely subjective topic that is best left alone. Everyone can decide for themselves and we’ll all be happier without the vitriol.
No offense to James. I don’t want to criticize him or his motives. But why does this make it into your news but BJ Tilden’s new 8c+ doesn’t get a Peep?
I’d be willing to bet my left testicle that Bj’s route is actualy harder then Escalatmasters. Which is widely regarded as a gimmi (endurance) 9a. It begins with a steep 8a+/8b to a no hands kneebar and then kicks back to a vertical 8b+. Does (8b) + no hands rest + (8b+) = 9a??? Apparently in santa linya there is a route that climbs (8c+) +NHR+(8c+) = 9a.
I find it interesting that James makes no comments in reference to the difficulty or the grade. There are quite a few exceptions… (Segrist, Ondra, Carlo, G. Moroni + others) but taking the topo grade and then receiving the publicity seems to be a common trend in the professional circle. You can say grades aren’t important… but they seem to be a huge deciding factor of what gets published in the media. If Escalatmasters was graded 8c, would it have made it into the news?
I think credit should be given where it is due. Any maybe a little less attention should be given to the number/publicity chasers. But hey… they are just trying to keep their sponsors happy. Big grades, big money!
Where might I learn more about this BJ Tilden 8c+??
Sorry Colin P. You are totally right… but I couldn’t help myself.
I saw it on the updates bar on 8a.nu and then heard nothing more. You could probably send him a message through 8a to ask him about it. Or ask around to get his contact info.