Discussion: UIAA default bouldering grade context

  • Started: 9 weeks ago on Tue 18th May 2021

Public discussion This is a public discussion in World.

Stefan A started this discussion 9 weeks ago.

UIAA default bouldering grade context

Why does the UIAA grade context default to the use of the V-scale in bouldering areas on the Is there even a single boulder problem on this planet in a region that uses the UIAA grading system (for climbing), where the boulder is originally given in the V-scale? The default bouldering grade for UIAA ( and maybe all of europe?) should be the FB grading scale.

replied 9 weeks ago.

Can you post an example of where this happens? The grade input field for boulders in the UIAA grading context expects FB grades, not V grades, so I suppose it's just as you would expect.

I agree, though, that the help page lists "V-Scale" under "General grade systems" for UIAA. But the same is true for French! So I guess this is some kind of artifact, because both UIAA and FR list the Fontainebleau scale under "Additional boulder systems" and that is what is actually used.

Stefan A replied 9 weeks ago.

The bouldering areas in the Odenwald are by default UIAA-context, the boulders are graded in FB, but the default presented grade is the V-scale, e.g.

replied 9 weeks ago.

Ah, indeed, the statistics are messed up in areas with boulders only. Nicky is there a reason why V-Scale is even in the grading system? And why the result different from e.g. boulder areas in France (outside of Fontainebleau), despite V-Scale being listed for FR in the same way?

replied 9 weeks ago.

yes the V grade should not be used/shown in FR or UIAA context. This should be fixed.

For a quick solution i have changed the grading context to FR for this area.

replied 9 weeks ago.

I had my hassle too with the FB vs. FR problem. I planned to read in the github and already prepared a proposal. Now that the theme is brought up here, i add it for discussion:

replied 9 weeks ago.



The best way to describe this issue is how I experienced it. I added thousands of boulders. The usual way is set create new boulder, set name, set style to Boulder, have a look at the grade context dropdown menu - "Ah it is a boulder, so it should be 'FB' and not 'FR', this is for french sport climbing". Then you see at the route grade this looks ugly: {FB}7A+, but if this is the right way - okay. Then while edit existing areas for some boulders there is this {FB}, sometimes not, but it is a boulder and context should be FB and not french sport climbing! So same procedure for editing hundreds of boulders to add the missing {FB} too. Then i learned that the context could be set for a whole crag, which resulted in long lists to the admins (thank you Nicky!) to change the context for dozens of areas, which is a hassle to make the list and and a big and never ending effort for the admins, who i think have better use of their time. Then I learned that the context FR already include the Fontainebleau scale for the FR context - "hm, this intuiteviley felt strange but okay". Then I was thinking a few days about solutions like that if context is FR then this {FB} should just not be shown at all! This would avoid other users with the same confusion i had and make the appearance of thecrag not so ugly. After it settles down a few days now the finding: Moment, then why does this FB exist at all? The US context does not have its own VB bouldering context and no such problems and confusion at all! This is all only because there is the possibility to set a separate FB, despite it is already included in FR.

To structure the problem it is important to clearly define the difference between climbing scales, bouldering scales and the grade context which at the moment is a bit messed up together. At the moment the list of grade contexts consists of different climbing scales and one boulder scale (FB). So why is there this one bouldering scale in the list? Why not both (VB and FB) or better no bouldering scale? As I understand a grade context should better set defaults for the local sport and trad climbing scale AND? the local bouldering scale (and every style like ice, deepwatersoloing etc?) in a country or area. I tried to visualise this how I think it should be in the following table:

Grade context - Sport+trad climbing scale - Bouldering scale (- Deepwatersoloing - Iceclimbing - ...)

US - YDS - VB (- YDS/VB - WI - ...)

FR - FR - FB

AU - AU - VB

UK - UK - VB


SX - SX - FB







I hope the problem and the uselessness of an extra FB context is clear? What do you think? What effort and time would it take to remove FB?


  1. (Short term solution to avoid more confusion: In grade contexts where the bouldering scale is FB (like FR, UIAA etc.) don't show the extra {FB}.)

I don't know how long the removal of FB and the database cleanup (see below) takes. If it takes long, it would be a nice intermediary solution when the {FB} at the route grade would not be shown when the grade context already include the FB for boulders. Then every user can figure out himself that it makes no difference for the appearance of the route grade if the context is FR or FB.)

  1. Remove grade context'FB'

but at the same time 'FB' is removed this should be done:

  1. Database Cleanup Instead of just remove 'FB' and replace it with 'FR' it should be checked for every 'FB' crag and route if not the general grade context could be restored. For example bouldering areas or routes in germany ('UIAA') which have now 'FB' should not change to 'FR' but back to 'UIAA' which includes the Fontaibebleau-scale for bouldering as well, see table above.

  2. (Another option to consider is to specify the grade context name from US to USVB, FR to FRFB, UIAA to UIAAFB, SA to SAVB etc...)

replied 9 weeks ago.

Regarding the former proposal there are to options for a clean solution:

1. When in the add/edit route form a style is chosen then in the grade context dropdown menu only the allowed grades systems should be selectable. So if it is a sport or a trad climb then you should choose between climbing grade systems like YDS, Ewbanks, FR, etc. If it is a boulder you should only choose between VB and FB. If it is a icleclimb you should choose between AI, WI and M-scale. And so on. If the style is changed then the grade context fields should be empty again or at least followed by a failure notice 'no valid grade system for the selected style' while saving.

I know to implement this is a bigger issue, because the 2 now independent fields would become cointerpendent which is more complicated to implement, right?

2. The other option would be to view the "grade context" not as a grade context for a country or area to set defaults for every style but just for the sport and trad climbing grade system. For the boulder grade systems there are only 2 systems VB and FB which different notations are easy to distinct. If this option 2 is prefered then it should be more clearly communicated that the "grade context" is the gradings system ONLY for the sport and trad routes and NOT for boulders and others styles. Therefore i propose:

  1. In the add/edit route form rename 'grade context' to 'sport/trad' ('sport/trad context' is too long?)

  2. In the route and area pages rename 'grade context' to 'sport/trad grading', 'sport/trad grade system' or 'sport/trad scale' something like that. In the german version very unspecific 'Bewertungskontext' should be changed to 'Sport/Trad Skala'.

And if this option 2 is prefered then it should be more clearly communicated that the "grade context" is the gradings system ONLY for the sport and trad routes and not for every style in the country but only the sport/trad grading system, therefore i propose:

  1. Rename US to YDS

  2. Rename AU to Ewbanks

replied 6 weeks ago.

Nicky, Simon Dale, Ulfi: Do you have an opinion about the removal of the 'FB' style, beacause it is not necessary and adds confusion?

Or is it better towork in the github and repost it there? I find the actual discussion about route grades in the world forum quite usefull, but yes everybody who is not interested is spammed...

replied 6 weeks ago.

Yes we want to remove the FB context because it is mostly not needed. However I think there are some edge cases.

BTW grade context is not the same as grade system. Where we have common name between them it has cause confusion.

Context is saying that there is a regional interpretation of grades that may conflict between grading systems. The US context includes both the YDS and V scale grading systemss as well as Aid and Ice climbing.

It is better to get the technical discussion to github because we do not have the tools to manage issues properly on our forums.

Please note that global climbing grades is super complex.

Stefan A replied 4 weeks ago.

What is the expected time frame for (some of) the fixes? Regarding my initial observatoin, is there more involved than simply removing the V-scale from the UIAA context and setting FR/FB as default for bouldering grades?

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