Skip to main content

Handicap Bouldering (grades)


Okay, this is all a bit of fun, and grade-obsession in climbing only disillusions me, but a comment on the ever-entertaining Sam's World of Pain popped out at me, and being older and heavier than most boulderers these days, I thought I'd develop my own grading system! According to Sam, via Steve McLure, half a stone (7lbs or 3.2kg) is equivalent to half a grade (a 'plus' or 'minus' grade eg. 8a to 8a+). This got me thinking, is there not a handicap system out there, like there is for horse-racing? In my world of new grades, skinnies should be climbing with weight-belts and fatties get a numerical headstart!

1. Work out how many half stone you are above or below average weight.

The 'average man' principle:
The average man is allocated 110 lbs (50 kg) for the first 5 feet (1.524 m) in height. Thereafter, he is allocated 5½ lbs (2.495 kg) for every additional inch (0.025 m) in height.
Thus, a man 6 feet tall (1.829 m) would be allocated 110 lbs (50 kg) plus 12 x 5½ lbs (2.495 kg), which comes to 176 lbs or 12 st. 8 lbs (80 kg).
Females are allocated 100 lbs (45 kg) for the first 5 feet (1.524 m) and 5lbs (2.268 kg) for every inch thereafter. Therefore a woman who is 5 ft 6 ins (1.676 m) tall would be given 100 lbs plus 6 x 5 lbs, which totals 130 lbs or 9 st. 4 lbs (59 kg).

2. Subtract or add one half grade for each half stone above or below average weight. Half stone = 7 lbs = 3.2kg

3. Whatever grade you last achieved, add or subtract the plus or minus handicap for your 'real grade'

I climbed a 7a last week so via the new handicap grade system, where I am rather astonishingly 2 stone 'overweight' (it's still post-Christmas, okay?), I 'really' climbed 4 half grades harder, therefore I maxed out at 7c... for January that's a big yeehah! If you are 2 stone 'underweight' and did the same problem you maxed at Font 6b... weakling, eat some creatine!

Therefore, to achieve 8a, that magical bouldering grade where you suddenly turn into some levitating guru (or a boastful arse),  you can be average weight and do it, or you can be 3 stone overweight and climb a 7a. If you are a stone 'underweight', you'll have to climb an 8b to get the 8a!

This will no doubt displease and demotivate you hard-campussing skinnies and delight the genetically-challenged heavyweights...but hey, welcome to reality according to Stone Country!!!



Comments

Stewart Munro said…
Its got some potential but I would be concerned that it would promote people to increase their weight so that their max grade would increase. Plus being a skinny person it would really mess with mine ;)
sam clarke said…
That can't be right... According to your average weight principle I'm underweight!!!!!
Anonymous said…
Good Lord, John, that is depressing.

My best effort was Font 6a+ when I was a stone and a half underweight. That makes my par score Font 5. Now I'm a stone and a half overweight I should barely be good for Font 3+, if that even exists. I can still climb flights of stairs unaided if that counts?

Popular posts from this blog

Clyde Bloc Sport

Cammy Bell enjoying the summer evenings at Dunglass

Currently we are developing the Stone Country Bloc Sport website to include a new series of area guides in pdf format, reworking Dumby and other Glasgow-radius crags with sport climbing included (so we'll have the new sports crags at Lomond and elsewhere...details to come!). These topos will also be available from the exciting new Betaguides website (due to launch in the next month or so - a complete database of bouldering in Britain).

For the new Bloc Sport webiste I've been embroiled in all things Joomla, which is frying my head, so can't promise anything too soon, so I'll put the topos up on the blog as soon as we get them. Here's an example topo from the guides, which we will be producing in guidebook format next year - it's the Dunglass sport wall:


Dunglass has been a saviour for me over the early summer, acting as a good training ground to get some basic fitness back. We have fully bolted the West Wall (…

Plato's Cave

In his famous 'allegory of the cave', the Greek philosopher Plato pondered the artificiality of reality in imagining how we could be fooled into thinking shadows on the wall (i.e. virtual reality) could be seen as 'real' life. I'm paraphrasing, of course. What has this got to do with climbing?

Well, I was pondering this myself recently while sitting on an artificial concrete boulder at the new Cuningar Loop bouldering park in Glasgow. Does it really matter that a boulder is made of concrete, surrounded by plantation and skirted with kind gravel traps rather than tree roots and spikey boulders? Isn't the 'real' thing so much better: the isolated erratic bloc deposited by geology's long-term aesthetic artwork? Well, yes, that's entirely up to you, but sometimes the artificial saves the day ... I was scuppered by Glasgow's cross-town traffic and turned back to my local artifice that is Cuningar to climb the blue circuit I had imagined as somet…

Timeline Walks of Scotland #Culbin Sands

The Moray Firth’s sand-bitten southern coast, between Findhorn and Nairn, is home to Scotland’s most cautionary tract of land. Now a wilderness of maritime forest, dunes, salt marsh and spits of sand, its human history has been dated to the Bronze Age, around 1300 BC, but it is a territory that since glacial times would have been mobile and mutable.

The Laich of Moray is the fertile strip of plain squeezed between the foothills of the Cairngorms and the Moray Firth’s south coast. In Gaelic it is called Machair Mhoireibh (the machair of Moray), a perfect habitat for golf courses and rich arable farmland, threaded by the glacially-rivered straths of Nairn, Findhorn and Spey.

Culbin is an old parish which is now buried under 28 square kilometres of duneland and recent forestry. Sweeping east of Narin and curving in to rise up to its greatest heights above the estuary of the River Findhorn, it is now managed by Forestry Commission Scotland, but it is notable that this is a humanly retr…