This is a public discussion for Breakfast Cookie.


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Kate Hunt started this discussion 2 years ago

That's no 5.10b. . . unless there's a move we really, really weren't seeing. The other party near us at the crag agreed, too. (Incidentally, what happened to the "relative difficulty" ratings on ascent logs? I've never handed out a "sandbag" before but I'd be tempted here.)

replied 2 years ago

Sandbag was local terminology, I don't think it spread very far. We canned the relative difficulty as an input because it was too much of an inexact science. Instead we are allowing people to put the grade they think it was on the ascent.

BTW, have you got permissions to add the grade you think it should be to route.

Kate Hunt replied 2 years ago

Well, we use sandbag in Ontario... but generally I've had to explain what it means to people who haven't heard it before, true. Plus, by some definitions I've seen for the term, it implies that someone was being dishonest or malicious when they reported the grade, which I don't think is the case here...

I'll check to see if I've got permission to add the grade but I don't think I have editing permission for Calabogie. Then again, until I manage to actually climb it all the way I don't think I can really give it a grade.

David Gibbs replied 2 years ago

"Sandbag" is a local term to where? It has been in use in (at least) this area for a long time -- one of the earlier guides to the local (Ottawa, Ontario, Canada) area was titled: "Selected Climbs, Sandbags and Others Around the Eardley Escarpment" (by Peter Slivka, published in 1995).

I also really liked the easy/hard/sandbag for its grade -- giving an explicit rating feels like I have to put a more specific label on how hard the climb was, rather than it just felt on/off for its grade which I liked in the old tick-box list.

replied 2 years ago

A lot of climbers did not seem to know what a sandbag was, so I assumed it was just an Australian thing. It's good to know others use it as well.

Maybe we should put it back in. I have added it to our issues list:

but there are heaps of other priorities so it might take a while to consider fully.

Rope Gunner replied 2 years ago

The route is easily rated as a sustained 5.10b, crux could be negotiably higher, but the moves feel sustained to a minimum 10b.

Rope Gunner replied 2 years ago

But again, all route grades are usually subjective to the route setter.

David Gibbs replied 2 years ago

All grades are subjective.. but...

If Hakuna Matata (5.10a) is a 5.10a, then I'd say this is a lot harder than 5.10b. Or vice versa, if this is a 5.10b, then Hakuna Matata is no 5.10a. (When I first climbed Hakuna Matata, I graded it 5.8 -- it is comparable in difficult, I thought, to Cool But Concerned (5.8). I've red-pointed Hakuna Matata, but not yet Cool But Concerned.)

My problem with grading stuff at Calabogie, especially new stuff, is should it be graded in approximate comparison of the old-school grades of older routes there (e.g. Cool But Concerned (5.8), Phasers on Stun (5.5), Phasers on Kill (5.7)) or more in line with newer stuff being put up around Ottawa (e.g. much of the grading at Montagne d'Argent) which feel a couple grades softer on everything.

Rope Gunner replied 2 years ago

Well keeping with grading and route setting, here's a grading and setting 1'oh'1 :

Generally, when a route is set, it is the route setter's decision as to grading. This said, when a person sets the route, it is their purview as to the route grading and naming. Generally speaking, one MUST be able to easily and comfortably climb a said grade to RATE it accurately. Usually the line is thoroughly cleaned and then, and only after it has been safely cleaned, the key holds, moves and the route setter, establish the grade. Keeping in mind that every climber is different and different styles apply, one move for the setter may be a walk in the park, but that same move for you might be foreign. This being said, routes are subject to their individual setters.

Furthermore, where are the gradings on this site taken from? Seeing as the principal contributor is yourself, perhaps you could illuminate me as to the origins?

Whereas for Hakuna-matata, by sliding to the left and traversing the crack above the roof may seem like a 5.8, I do agree, it steers away from the general bolt line heading to the anchors, perhaps the grading is listed as to pull the roof. It's easy to get lost in opinionated discussions as to routes and grading, it is usually general understanding (my own and some of my fellow partners and colleagues) that to be on route, one arm has to be in reach of "the" bolt line. So if YOU grade the route a 5.8 and you are climbing away from the intended line, then you are erroneous and not taking into factual matter the said route. In this case, you’d be giving an opinion about a variation and not the said route.

As for grading discrepancies, it’s like having a shawarma. You could be on the east coast, and it’s a totally different thing then the west coast. It’s part of the game. Different eras, regions, different styles, different rock, different moves, different setters. There’s no use in being closed minded to the idea that routes may hold different ratings depending on the region. My opinion is simple, on-sight or flash it properly before you can grade it. If you don’t climb the grade, then don’t grade it.

Rope Gunner replied 2 years ago

And just so i'm not miss-read or miss-understood, or inadvertently offend anyone, i strongly believe that openly critiquing a route or it's grade, is like openly critiquing Picasso, Van Gogh or even Salvador Dali for their choice of brushes or colours, when you haven't met the artist or let alone know how to paint.

David Gibbs replied 2 years ago

If we're talking route-setting (i.e. in a gym), sure it is route-setter's decision on grading. If we're talking route-development (i.e.. outside) I disagree that it is the route-developer's decision on grading. It is the first-ascensionist who gets to name the route, clearly, but even at the top level, it is pretty clearly not the route-developer's or first-ascenionist's decision on grade -- the FA may propose a grade, and you will generally see things like "proposed grade of 9a+, awaiting confirmation", or "original FA suggested 9a, but has been down-graded to 8b on repeat". Grades are intended to be a concensus agreement on how hard a route is.

As to who can rate a climb accurately -- in my experience someone can only generally rate a climb (reasonably) accurately if it is climbable by that person, but not too easy for that person. I can generally (depending on the region) climb in the 5.8-5.10b range, so for something in the 5.0-5.5 range, I might have difficulty distinguishing between 5.2 and 5.3 -- they are 5.easy for me. Similarly, if the person who put up Breakfast Cookie climbs 5.12, then he (or she) may have difficulty distinguishing between a 5.10b and 5.10d -- they're all "kinda 5.10ish" to him/her. I agree that I can't accurately rate this climb -- I can't finish it. But I can, pretty clearly say, that I can generally climb a (recently put-up) 5.10b, on top-rope, clean or with some amount of hang-dogging. I could not climb this one successfully, with lots of thrashing on top-rope -- that suggests to me that it is harder than 5.10b -- I don't know how much harder, but harder. I have a lower-boundary for the grade, but not an upper. And, sure, it could be a style that I'm weak at -- my crack technique, for example, is weak compared to my other climbing, and especially my off-width technique -- but this does not look to be a climb in a noticeably different style than other climbing in the Ottawa area.

As to the ratings on the crag for Calabogie -- I got most of the from Climbing Around Ottawa (PDF, 2008) compiled by Christiaan Burchell, and he appears to have gotten them from Climbing around Calabogie (1991) by Marcus Buck and Steve Adcock. Newer routes, either came from someone else's grade and name (little rock at the bottom, e.g. Homeward Bound, 5.12a), or from a concensus of the people I've climbed with and talked to about a route (e.g. (unkown 1, 5.5).

Deciding exactly where a route goes varies from style to style and area to area. I would agree with you that, on short sport routes in an area where they are generally close to each other, the "within arm's reach of the bolt-line" is a reasonable designation of where the route goes. (Whereas is you're climbing Yankee Clipper in El Potrero Chico, on route would mean that you're in the path cleared of cactus, but it will wander a bit more than the arm's-length from the bolt line.) On Hakuna-matata in particular, the last bolt is a fair way from the final anchors, which are off to the right -- exactly how you project that line is unclear, and whether or not you put in an "optional" cam in the crack to reduce the run-out to the anchors (I didn't, it is easy going after pulling over the roof) makes arguing about the exact line a bit tricky. I find another useful guide for where the climb goes tends to be, "if you're in the lichen, you're off the route".

I'm well aware that grades differ by region. I have climbed in Germany, Switzerland, France, England, Mexico, Ontario, Quebec, New York, New Hampshire, Texas, and Washington. But, you don't even have to change regions -- Montagne d'Argent's grades are, I find, about two grades softer than Eardley Escarpment (Luskville, Gatineau park) grades.

I believe that grade are reached by concensus, and that open discussion of grades are what lead to this concensus. I believe that open critiquing or commenting on grades is normal and expected. Heck, when you have a guide book that says things like, "The grade of this climb has given rise to much debate and controversy." (About Neruda (5.6), Cave Wall, Western Cwm), this suggests that discussion, critique and controversy about grades is common. Also, critiquing artists, whether they be masters or not, is something that is done all over the place, people get doctorates in this. Authors higher professionals to critique and improve their works (called editors). Entire internet sites exist for people to openly critique films.

And, you hadn't much offended until you added "let alone know how to paint". I've done on-sight ground-up FAs. I've hung on rappel scrubbing lichen and trundling rock off routes.

Rope Gunner replied 2 years ago

So in other words, you're copy pasting his work? Thus Copy-write infringement?

I still disagree, if you set a route, it's your name on a grade, you set it, you know the moves,

Rope Gunner replied 2 years ago

And as for cleaning and setting routes, i've read over your Lac Sam contributions, which by the way karma upon yourself for the effort, but to public display crags as open when it's a novel about "trundling" boulders etc.. doesn't look safe or even sound safe to be listed as publicly open. I've discussed over with a couple of colleagues and a couple of members of the FQME and we almost made a trip out to actually see this process.

What would happen if you are trundling boulders, after publicly saying it's open and climbable and someone were to approach and squashed like a bug or gravely injured? Would you accept responsibility for it? And from what i gather some or most of the cleaning is done through top-rope? How much of risk are you imposing on your belayer by doing this? Cleaning is safely done on rappel without a belayer on the bottom waiting for a chunk of rock on his head? You're publicly posting this information, thus almost a chronological narrative of events... Personally, i wouldn't want to be near those cliffs while you're on them "cleaning", it's more of an accident waiting to happen. Are you setting up safety precautions around the areas you're cleaning? If an accident on crown land happens, how do you think this would look upon the climbing community?

Rope Gunner replied 2 years ago

Another scenario, you're trundling stuff off a project, while on top-rope, you sever you're rope.... what next?

David Gibbs replied 2 years ago

Who's work? Christiaan's? If you look at what he has for Calabogie, it is pretty clearly an un-corrected (or not completely corrected) OCR of the Buck-Adcock work. Further I don't think that names & grades are owned by the writer of a work that records them. Arguably, the route descriptions are -- when I've seen or climbed a route myself, I write my own description. Even when I've taken a description, I have written my own, based on the original -- no cut&paste.

If you "set a route", sure you know it -- you attached the holds to the wall, you know which holds you used, how they feel, etc. On rock, though, it is different. You don't know which undulation someone else is going to use a smear, you don't know which small hold that you ignored another shorter climber is going to use. You don't, you can't, know all the possible choices for how the climb might go -- that's the beauty of climbing on real rock. There isn't anything like just one way to use the rock. (Arguably, at the really top-end of the sport, this may be less the case -- but even then, watching videos of Chris Sharma and Sean McColl climbing Dreamcatcher, they do things differently.)

Hm... let's see, first sentence, "Undevelopped gneiss/diorite looking down on a picturesque lake." I don't know what undevelopped says to you -- but to me it says, "loose rock, lichen, and dirt". I will make the warning more explicit, though.

I have no idea what gave you the idea we would be trundling rock on top-rope. Most of the cleaning is done on rappel. I actually did cut my rope a couple weeks ago, trying to rappel into one of the bigger faces which had a bunch of broken rock & greenery above it. The boulder I was pulling off caught one of the loops and pulled it out about 20 feet, then severed it. (I say most is done on rappel, because not quite all -- generally while climbing we'll have a brush with us, and may stop either on ascent or lower to brush a bit of lichen off.)

As to others around -- if we're cleaning on the lower cliffs, anyone approaching would be heard and noticed. For the upper cliffs, we can see any boats that approach or park at the edge of the lake close to the cliffs. If they've come in from the top ahead of us, we'll see they've parked. If they come in later, we'll see them before they end up below us.

Your "another scenario": trundling stuff on top-rope and sever the rope. Not going to happen, as I say, we don't trundle stuff on top rope. As much as possible, we try to make sure there is no rope below us when trundling. Do it on belay, with the rope looped/coiled at rappeller level rather than hanging below. If we still get unlucky (as I did a couple weeks ago, with the rock catching a loop and pulling it out), then we need to ascend back up our rope, or get a top-belay and climb back out. (I climbed back up my rope through the scramble section, then had a top belay to climb out the steep bit when I cut my rope.) Most of what we've been working on is (mostly) less than vertical, so ascending the rope is not overly difficult.

There is, also, a (flagged) hiking path from lake level to the top of the cliffs. It does not pass anywhere even remotely close to the fall zone where we are cleaning. (And is the route most anyone at the lake would take up the cliff if they didn't drive around -- most of the rest of the hill is pretty dense and uncomfortable bushwhacking.)

I've been up there with an experienced route-developper (Randy Reed, co-author of "Thunder Bay Rock", developper and FA of a good number of climbs in the Thunder Bay area), and he expressed no concern or problems with what we were doing.

I'd love to have other people come out, take a look around, climb some of the stuff we've cleaned, and even if they want, start scrubbing and cleaning something new. If you only climb 5.hard, you may not find there's too much that we've cleaned that is challenging, though. We've been cleaning stuff we can climb.

Rope Gunner replied 2 years ago

Before you get your panties more twisted in a knot, you may want to get some more research done.

Rope Gunner replied 2 years ago

So if I consider your Montagne d'Argent contributions, where did they originate from? Did you get explicit consent from the PERMA to publish all that info publicly?

Rope Gunner replied 2 years ago

So you don't identify your area as rock fall risk area, your not informing directly any readers that work is on-going and to use caution on site? And my credentials are extended further then to a gym, where are yours from?

Brendan Heywood replied 2 years ago

hey guys, this seems to be getting a bit personal. This is a collaborative site, so please collaborate. If you feel an area description could do with a warning about rock fall then just add it, or better yet start a discussion about it and then let the main contributor add it when it is resolved. The last thing we want is 'edit warring'.

We (the admins) don't want to get into arguments about particular grades, however we do feel that a consensus grade is more likely to be more accurate than the grade from a single person, and grades in newly developed areas always tend to wander a bit. When new guide books are written they have no qualms about giving a grade different to what the FA said, if they differ vastly then we encourage you to put some words into the description like 'Graded X by the FA'. Often as rock falls away and routes get cleaner or more polished grades change over time anyway. Safety is more important than ego, the last thing we want is a beginner jumping on a route outside their league because of a poor grade rating.

When it comes to copyright we have a pretty clear policy linked in the footer. Route names are like road names or town names, they are public domain. Descriptions and photos are copyright and need to be rewritten or re-shot. If you do get permission for copyright stuff stick that in the description, probably in the 'history' field and show attribution if required.

The work done so far is great. It can only get better with more feedback and use, please try and keep it all constructive.

Rope Gunner replied 2 years ago

Not only do i disagree with the statement that routes names are considered public domain, i will articulated as such, while keeping a bias on ethics.

Given that the only location to obtain route information, ratings, descriptions, FAs etc.. is in the officially published guidebook, it is not public domain, i can not articulate for american copyright laws as i have no knowledge of them,

this said ;

1- To copy an entire route listing from a published book and publish it publicly is in fact a copyright issue. (in other words, parts, passages or even complete content) thus Plagiarism.

2- In this event, the guide book which costs peanuts and is complete, also funds the continuous work done at this gem of site, gear maintenance and also serves to fund developments in the are.

3- By having a button at the top of the pages, this site may be receiving payments for the information presented, which is plagiarized by the prime contributor.

4- The prime contributor does not have any consent from the publishing entity to reproduced the information therein.

Before i continue and litigate these facts, i wish to state that i am a found supporter of such web sites, but if it's only a little known area, an area under development or an area where no published information exists.

Synopsis : As stated above, the prime contributor copies the information out of a published guide book, plagiarizing it's content and displays it publicly without explicit consent for the publisher, thus creating a FREE guidebook, available publicly, this meaning to anyone. The contributions are not a reproduction for personal use. By potentially receiving dividends from the DONATE button, the site administrators may be receiving funds from a plagiarized information source.

My biggest beef is that first of all, ethically, what does it do to crag operators? By copying their publishings, and posting them freely and publicly through the net, the contributor is short-changing the crag operators, owners of funds which are re-injected into the very sport we love. If there's a guide-book already available, dirt-cheap, their is ABSOLUTELY ZERO reasons to copy anything from the covers of that guidebook and post it publicly. NONE!!! At all!! ETHICALLY, it's a shot to their nuts. The site in question, is very close to my heart, it's the only one of a kind set-up anywhere to the east in Canada, the entire establishment is angled towards climbers, from a cheap, 35$ annual membership that covers the costs of climbing, camping on site, fire wood, wood fired sauna, top quality bolting etc.. As far as i'm concerned, i'm copy pasting this conversation as is, and i may undertake other actions.

What it comes down to, is taking someone's book, copying what you want from it, and posting it publicly. Plain and simple, thumbs down for the shit ethics.

Rope Gunner replied 2 years ago

Further more, i'm placing the Onus on the prime contributor to disclose the actual source of the entire route listings.

replied 2 years ago

Hi Rope Gunner,

My name is Campbell Gome (site admin, along with Simon Dale and Brendan Heywood who’ve posted above).

If you think there might be an issue with copyright then we would appreciate it very much if you could put us in touch with the guidebook/site publisher and/or author via email on so that we can contact them.

Thank you in anticipation, Campbell Gome

Rope Gunner replied 2 years ago

i'll be speaking directly with him tomorrow.

Rope Gunner replied 2 years ago

It'll be up to him at that point wether or not he contacts, but i'll gladly pass the message on.

replied 2 years ago

Thanks, much appreciated. Campbell

Rope Gunner replied 2 years ago

The operator \ owner is aware and is dealing with the issue. Cheers.

replied 2 years ago

Thank you.

David Gibbs replied 2 years ago

I was up at MdA over the weekend and talked to Gaetan (operator/owner). He has no problem with the route listings: names, ratings, descriptions, etc, being posted on The Crag, but he would rather the photo-topos not be up as he feels they compete with the guide book, and uses the guide book revenues to re-invest in MdA and new areas they are opening.

My intention is to remove all photo-topos that duplicate guide book information.

replied 2 years ago

OK, thanks David.

Rope Gunner replied 2 years ago

It's been over a week now and we are wondering about the pictures being removed.

replied 2 years ago

Should be done shortly. We've had to implement some technical stuff in the back-end so that the topos can be removed from the site but archived in case there comes a time when they can be re-instated. I've also emailed Gaetan, but not heard anything. (I used the email addresses at, if you've got a more current email address for Gaetan could you email it to me at or just pass that email address to him?) Thanks.

Rope Gunner replied 2 years ago

Like i said from the get go, it's out of my hands now. I shared my piece now it's on someone else's plate.

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Showing all 32 messages