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Discussion: Norwegian grading scale

  • Started: 7 months ago on Tue 2nd Jun 2020

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Endre Verden started this discussion 7 months ago.

Norwegian grading scale

Hi.

What has been used as a basis for the Norwegian scaling to the French? The comparison looks very different from what seen and experienced on my travels.

The scale as it is on the wiki page, is what I know to be "correct". The only dispute is where "the offset" is in the 6a+ - 6c range. But it is mostly known excepted as follows:

6a = 6-

6a+ = still 6- (hard)

6b = 6

6b+ = 6+

6c = 7-

After that it is aligned with the french scale with established half grades, such as 7/8- , 8/8+ , 9-/9 and 9/9+.

replied 7 months ago.

Hi Endre Verden, thanks for asking. Best is to look at the table here: https://www.thecrag.com/en/article/grades

As you can see the width of Norwegian grades at 6 is not aligned with French grades which results in what you explain.

Internally we use grade ranges for each grade and grading system to compensate for this. Try the interactive converter on the page listed above to see what happens but be aware that if you do circular conversions (e.g. Norwegian to Ewbanks to French to Norwegian) this can lead to odd results being displayed - internally they are handled correctly.

Let us know if you find something unexpected.

Thanks for using theCrag, Ulf

replied 7 months ago.

Hi Endre, I'm more used to the Rockfax grade conversion and usually I see (and use) conversions like these: 6b = 6+ 6b+ = 7- 6c = 7 6c+ = 7/7+ 7a = 7+

When I see what people tick on 8a.nu and how others convert grades this seems more common in my opinion.

Endre Verden replied 7 months ago.

Hi Ulfi and Christer Honoré-Livermore

I've made a chart of the expected result, and thecrag result. As you see they are very different.

I've also attached photes of two of the major climbing guide books in Norway, and the 8a Conversion table.

Also in the latest El Chorro guide, Rockfax has removed their conversion to "Norway".

Comparison:

Klatrefører for Bergen:

Klatrefører for Sogn og Fjordane:

8a Conversion table

replied 7 months ago.

Dear both, thanks for putting that up. Honestly I don't see where the discrepancy is. If we focus on the range of 6 this is what is happening:

  • Norwegian 6 covers French 6a+ and low 6b
  • Norwegian 6+ covers French 6b (about 2/3's) and lower 6b+
  • Norwegian 7- covers the rest of 6b+ and lower 6c
  • Norwegian 7 covers 6c and lower 6c+

etc. Be aware that many of the table comparisons simplify for easier conversion - meaning they make grades fit to each other even though the width and transitions are not precisely matched. You see that if you look at your tables above and try to match the other way round, meaning what is 6a French in Norwegian?

  • First table: 6a = 6- which is only partially true as 6- is much wider and goes as far down as 5b+. It is a nice example to see that the width of grades in Norwegian scale are not the same across the whole scale.
  • Or look at 6c+, this can either be a 7 OR a 7+ in Norwegian. The first table makes it a 7 which is again a simplification.

It is important to remeber that a grade is never a fixed number but a range - even if it is just a single number (like 7, or 6a), a grade is always a range and these ranges overlap making conversions from one to the other quite tricky.

On theCrag we use a fine grained system with more than 500 grades in the background to reflect that - read more in the 2 articles on grades and grades on theCrag.

Another good reference (not for Norwegian I'm afraid) is the article by the IRCRA on grade conversions here: https://www.ircra.rocks/single-post/2016/09/12/Reporting-Grades-in-Climbing-Research

That being said, we are always happy to look at examples where you think something is wrong or new.

Looking forward to learn more on Norwegian grades

Endre Verden replied 7 months ago.

I do not concur with "6-" being a wide grade here locally or in my experience. And 6- aligns with my experience of 6a internationally.

I can onsight warm up on "6b - 6b+" and "6 - 6+", I cannot OS warm up on 6c nor 7-. Which again shows that these are pretty aligned from my experience.

When climbing was more isolated it was naturally that different areas and grade scales evolved differently. However as climbing as become international, the grade scales has gotten more aligned. So these simplified scales are more true than not.

So if I take a Norwegian crag, and press "convert" on that crag. The crag's grades does not tell my anything, as they are not correct of what I would expect.

So my argument is that the wide grade ranges that doesn't "hit" have been pretty much wiped out by international climbing. And that thecrag's grade scale is not what I or people locally would except a FR/NO conversion would be.

Like one of the baseline grades, 9- convert to 8a+, not 8a which it should.

Also note that there are some consensus/established half grades in Norway. They do not follow a system. Other than that they have a consensus of being "full" grades.

Yeah, I'm an outsider looking in for now, but this misalignment was one of the major reasons for me picking 8a.nu, 8 years ago.

replied 7 months ago.

Hi Endre Verden thanks again for your comments - I had another look at your table above and it might be that it merits another look. I have handed that over to the techies (see here https://github.com/theCrag/website/issues/1004). Let's see what is coming back.

Regrading your further comments, excellent that your personal experience is in line with the table at this range, 6+ ending at lower 6b+ and not being able to onsight 7- or 6c+. This seems correct to me .

I don't understand your comment regarding 9- as it maps to 8a and includes the lower 8a+. Can you be more specific what you don’t like?

Half grades are common in many systems, the only thing they do is shifting the range. You can have a 7c/7c+ or a 7/7- (Norwegian) it is all valid on theCrag - that’s the beauty of working with ranges at the base.

Another important point to highlight is that on theCrag you record your ascents against local grades - so you have “raw data”. If, for whatever reason, changes to conversions would apply at a later stage, this is all done automatically.

Keep looking in - of course you are always welcome to step in!

Thanks again!

replied 7 months ago.

endre verden is correct. the sogn and fjordane table is spot on. i believe i tried to explain to thecrag guys some years ago that the slash grades are actually a legitimate grade, not an in between grade like can be entered on thecrag. for eks. a route could theoretically be 8/8+ / 8+, ie a 7c/7c+. it looks ridiculous and im sure norwegian guidebook authors would never write a route like so.

replied 7 months ago.

Thanks Christopher Glastonbury - the slash or half grades are not really the issue technically (it might be a question to display them discretley though) but it might be that at lower grade ranges there is actaully something weird - we are on it. Any input is welcome!

@endre replied 7 months ago.

Just a quick comment, both the guide for Drammen (Drammensgranitt), Oslo (I have the 1995 version), Trøndelag (Trønderrock) and Romerike klatring have conversiontables more in line with thecrag. They all agree that 6b = 6+ 6b+ = 7- 7a = 7+

They disagree slightly on 6c/6c+ (Oslo setting 6c+=7, while the other three has 6c=7, and 6c+=7/7+).

Also "scandinavian (8a.nu) usually means Sweden which is a bit stiffer than Norway.

So I guess western Norway is a bit stiffer in that range than the eastern and middle part of Norway.

We all know that grades vary, but I think the thecrag table reflects that quite well.

@endre replied 7 months ago.

However, all the guide books agree that 8- = 7b, not 7a+ as suggested by thecrag.

replied 7 months ago.

Thanks @endre ! Can you please put images of these tables as well for reference?

Endre Verden replied 7 months ago.

I stand corrected the dispute/misalignment is in the grade area 6- to 6c+.

From 7+ (7a) up to 9+ (8c) it's pretty clear (including the half grades 7/8+ (7a+), 8/8+ (7c), 9-/9 (8a+) and 9/9+ (8b+) (also want to include 8c+ --> 9+/10-). And due to international travel these are 1:1 grades, not gliding scales.

@endre there might have been more of a difference in 95, but the scales have pretty much aligned due to internal travel. So if I go back to the old climbing guide book for Klatrefører for Bergen, it would not have the scale that it does have today.

So I would suggest to look at newer guide books, and not old ones. Klatrefører for Bergen is from 2014, and the Klatrefører for Sogn og Fjordane is from 2018.

So it would be nice to see scales from newer guidebooks around the country. Mine are from the west side of the country.

Ulfi when using the convert feature it shows 9- routes as 8a+, which is incorrect and looks weird. And I would suggest these are 1:1, not gliding. Note that 9-/9 is accepted "full grade" which correspond to 8a+.

@endre replied 7 months ago.

The newest I have is from "klatrebibelen" (The climbing bible), a norwegian book with information on every aspect of climbing from 2019:

Then there is Romerike from 2015. This was published by The Norwegian Bolt Fund (editor Runar Carlsen who have helped developed a lot of crags all around Norway and have a ton of FAs). Interestingly enough, this guide lists all grades in the French grading system instead of norwegian:

Trønderrock 2011:

Drammen 2009:

And finally Oslo, not sure why I thought it was from 95, it is from 2003. It is worth noting that those who wrote Drammen for sure would have looked at the Oslofører conversion table (it is the same area) and decided to change it.

@endre replied 7 months ago.

Interesting that the newest ones says that 7a+ = 8- (which also is in line with thecrag) while the rest thinks 7b = 8-.

@endre replied 7 months ago.

Maybe it is time for a quote:

"I've seen 5.11 divided into 11 different grades of increasing difficulty, as follows: 5.11a, 5.10d, 5.11-, 5.11b, 5.11, 5.11c, 5.9 squeeze, 5.11+, 5.10 OW, 5.12a, 5.11d" — Brutus of Wyde.

Some crags are soft, some are hard. Usually both at the same time.

Endre Verden replied 7 months ago.

I would say those for the most part those look ok and aligned, with the exception of the klatrebibelen, and Oslo guide which doesn't recognize the half grades. Klatrebiblen is pretty much all over the place.

So again it is pretty clear above 7+ / 7a (and they are 1:1).

Here in Bergen we don't have or use the grade 7/7+. It is used, in Sogn og Fjordane, but even the guide doesn't put it as a consensus "full" grade so myself don't recognize it as a full grade. I would congratulate you for a personal best on 7+/8- route, but I wouldn't for 7/7+. However I don't know how you look at it on the east side.

Do you recognize 7/7+ as a "full" grade in the same way 8/8+ is recognized?

Here the alignment to the grades are at 6a/6a+, and this fits what I can OS warm up on 6 (6b) and 6+ (6b+). I cannot OS warmup on 7- or 6c, so again I think personally those are aligned.

replied 7 months ago.

Why is this a discussion on world level? Leaving...

@endre replied 7 months ago.

Another one from Climb Norway (collection of 30+ crags from different places in Norway, 2018):

No opinion on what a "full" grade is.

Endre Verden replied 7 months ago.

So the question is whether the offset/alignment is put at the 6c+ (7/7+), or at the 6a+ (6-/6), with the consequences that have.

Else the serious guides are pretty much aligned.

Personally from my experience climbing in Norway and internationally, I suggest the offset at 6a+ is the correct, but there are probably some that would disagree.

Endre Verden replied 7 months ago.

Marc dM I see the open github issues #1056 and #2278 are pretty much the same issue as issue #1004 and all these can be merged?

Marc dM replied 7 months ago.

Thank you Endre, you are correct i've cleaned it up now.

replied 7 months ago.

Thank you all for your contributions here, very valuable. You think you can come up with a consensus on how it should be? Preferbaly this includes also a mapping to UIAA grades, just to be safe. Thanks again!

@endre replied 7 months ago.

I think all agree that 7- can map to both 6b+ and 6c, and this is reflected in the grade conversion table. So I guess the question is what the "default" conversion should be(?) (I'm not quite sure where this conversion is used to be honest).

Anyway, the correct answer is the average of all 6b+ and 7- in the world I guess. I've only been to about 10-15 crags around Europe (not including Norway), and not climbed that many routes each place, so I am nowhere close to say which is correct or not by myself. I would think that those who have written the guides have collected info from more crags and people, so IMO it makes sense to base the decision on existing guides. To me it looks like the Climb Norway guide is the biggest common denominator.

The great thing with sites like this is that everybody gets to set their own perceived grade of a climb, and by looking at that, you can quite easily deduce if the climb is soft or hard for its grade. If a 6b+ has 20% 6b+ and 80% 6c, well then you know it is a stiff 6b+.

In Norway, French is considered the main international standard (most Norwegians travel to warmer climates to climb), so there are few conversion tables to UIAA. So unless you get complaints, you probably dont need to worry about UIAA ;-)

Endre Verden replied 7 months ago.

I must say that I have a bias here. Based on my personal experience 7- = 6c, and we don't have 7/7+ here.

Maybe there are actual local differences. Maybe 6 to 7 actually are easier in other parts of the country.

My suggestion would be as follows, but there a big question how to handle the "yellow" range, because there are routes defined as middle grades in several of the guidebooks like shown above.

For conversion and "points" I would suggest that all half grades just should get the lower grade, so

6-/6 = 6- = 6a

6+/7- = 6+ = 6b+

7/7+ = 7 = 6c+

... etc

While the half grades below should be standalone grades:

7+/8- = 7a+

8/8+ = 7c

9-/9 = 8a+

9/9+ = 8b+

9+/10- = 8c+

Either way it must be possible to log the routes as they are established, in other words with the half grades. Established half grades or not. This is not possible today. It's not possible to search for these half grades either.

EDIT: changed so a 4 converts to 4b, not 4b+:

replied 7 months ago.

Bias is ok as long as others agree with it - anyone wants to agree / disagree with what Endre Verden suggests?

@endre replied 7 months ago.

I haven't given my personal opinion on the grades because I don't think one persons opinion count for much in this context. If we are going to vote, then I think the guide books should be given a number of votes as well (pick a number between 5 and 100).

If you want to actually push for a change on this, you should gather some data to build your case, and then talk to the editors of the guide books.

Actually, comparing guidebook grades to what is reported by users (here and on similar sites) would be quite interesting.

@endre replied 7 months ago.

Wow, interesting timing. Norsk Klatring (norwegian climbing magazine) published an (long) article today on grades and grade conversions (behind a paywall).

They presented the following table:

@endre replied 7 months ago.

Forgot the link for those that have a subscription: https://www.norsk-klatring.no/klippeklatring/graderingssystemene-for-klatring

replied 7 months ago.

Thanks again to everyone for contributing here. We will carefully look at this and make use of it in the re-work for Norwegian grades. This might take a moment. In the emantime, if you see anything else out there that might be useful be sure to post it in this forum. Thanks again!

replied 10 weeks ago.

Thanks again to Endre Verden and everyone who added to this. We have started work on some of these aspects but would like to ask for one more clarification:

Could you please add a conversion to UIAA to the table above (the one with the yellow section here: https://www.thecrag.com/discussion/3355226088/norwegian-grading-scale#m3365129766). The only one that maps Norwegian to UIAA is listed here by @endre (https://www.thecrag.com/discussion/3355226088/norwegian-grading-scale#m3359490732) and rather maps to Alternative 3 - so we just want to be sure we get it right.

Thanks again, Ulf

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