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Grading Systems Compared

In an impossible attempt (for reasons to be outlined later) to publish a valid and correct comparison table, here is our effort. Before I start my rant on just why a table like this should be only used as a loose guide, and before you get all huffy because you thought you were a 5.13 guy but now only boulder V7 instead of V10, read this:

A practical guide to applying the V-system
Copyright 1998 John Sherman

Now back to why these tables never really work:
The basic flaw or real truth of V-grading is it is area specific. What this means is the system was never envisioned to cross pollinate with the YDS, Font, J.T. or whatever. As Sherman said in the first Hueco guide: "The V rating system is an open ended system for grading boulder problems. It originated in Hueco Tanks." He went on to say, " Whether a problem is intimidating, scary, loose or has a bad landing has no effect on the V grade. Only the physical difficulty counts, that is the technicality of the moves combined with the demands on one's power and endurance." He added, "...the ratings are consensus of opinions of expert boulderers in excellent shape, or when lacking a consensus, my opinion of how hard it felt when I did it." A sample of boulder problems followed this advice and listed the standard problems for each V grade at Hueco, with a few from other areas thrown in to help those from out of town and clueless. Nowhere did it say that V4 was 5.12a or any other grade. So, when bouldering in the Bishop area, use our sample problems for each grade as your guide to how the area is graded. If you do one of our V4 standards and then do a problem that is easier, it is probably V3....if it is harder, it is probably V5. If it is 25 feet high and rated V0, that does not mean it will be easier than a sit down 5 footer graded V0...it should be just as hard...maybe right up to the last move. Bad landing? Who cares... V2 is still V2, whether you are landing on a lawn or Punji sticks.
Addendum: In the winter of 2000, a stack of Brits were here for an extended stay. They reworked the chart below to help out with the Font and Peak grades. These were no ordinary slackers, but guys and gals who have been pulling hard for years and have a great experience in all the areas and grades up to V11 or so. The thing that rang most true was this: If you are used to Hueco grades (ie: pulling hard, positive holds, power, steep) and go to the Font, chances are you will get your butt kicked. The Font is mostly slopers, not so steep, and requires technique. The Peak is somewhere in the middle, with power problems and slopers in the mix.

"Remember that grades are not a measuring stick for the size of your ego, they are merely a guide
to the routes that you may consider attempting.

Dave Pegg, author of the Rifle Guide by RockFax Guidebooks.

"...Bollocks, Dave Pegg, and you know it. Grades are a measuring stick for the size of your ego they are also directly proportional to the amount of free gear some gullible company gives you and how often you get laid. "
Mick Ryan, publisher of the Rifle Guide by RockFax Guidebooks.

Y.D.S. grade Font
Joshua Tree grade B
Phoenix grade Bishop Examples,
others in parenthesis
HR=Horsetooth, HT=Hueco, IR=Indian Rock JT=Joshua Tree, M=Morrison YNP=Yosemite
VB  5.6-5.9  5 B0-  5.6 - 5.9  B0-  P0  Jolly Beggar boulder, south face routes (Happies)
  V0-  5.10a  5  B0  5.10-  B0  P1- A Whispering Sea of Towering Trees, (Happies)
Split Melon (Happies) Benny (Happies)
 (Round Room traverse, HT)
 V0  5.10  5+  B0+  5.10  B0  P1  Point of Perfection (Club Med) Corner, (Happies)
The Brown Wall (Happies)
 V0+  5.10+  6a  B1-  5.10+  B0  P2  Fire Pit, (Sads) Gotta' Find A Truck, (Happies)
The Persuit of WOW (Happies)
(Betty Jo Yablonski, JT / WaterCourse Rt, IR
 V1  5.11a  6b  B1  A-  B0  P3  Jah-Niece, (Lonelys) Musical Therapy (Club Med)
Hole in my Heart, (Happies)
 V2  5.11  6b-  B2  A  B0  P4  Santeria, (Lonelys) ChupaCabra, (Lonelys)
Big Chicken, (Happies) Sunspots (Happies)
(Stem Gem, JT)
 V3  5.11+  6b



 A+  B0+  P5  Pottengers Wish List, (Happies) Bleached Bones (Happies) (White Rastafarian, JT / Mental Block HR / Bachar Cracker, Shiver Me Timbers, YNP)
 V4  5.12a





 B-  B1-  P6  Nice Tooth (Lonelys) Ham is Sex (Neuroses)
Big Chicken SD, (Happies) Serengeti, (Happies)
(right Eliminator, HR)
 V5  5.12



 B6  B  B1  P7  Groundwater (Happies) Rave (Happies)
Hair Trigger (Happies) Action Figure (Happies)
(All Washed Up, JT / 45degree wall, HT)
 V6  5.12+



 B7  B+  B1  P8 High Plains Drifter (BMilk)
Every Color You Are (Happies) The Gleaner (Happies) (Planet X, Pumping Monzonite, JT / center El Murray, HT / Pinch Route, HR )
 V7  5.13a  7a+  B8  C-  B1+  P8+/P9 Take the Force of the Blow (Happies)
Come Together (Sads) Morning Dove White (Happies)
(Caveman, Soar Eagle, JT / Cytogrinder, M)
 V8  5.13  7b



 C  B2-  P9+/P10-  Disco Diva (Happies) Fast Dance (Happies)
(Midnight Lightning, YNP)
 V9  5.13+  7b+  B9  C+  B2  P10  Cholos (Happies) Redrum (Happies) Sailor Coon (Sads) He Got Game (Happies)
(Never Say Never, Eldo / The Force, YNP / Sex after Death, HT )
 V10  5.14a  7c  B9+  D-  B2  P10+ Slow Dance (Happies) Beefcake (Sads)
Stained Glass (BMilk)
(Meathook, HR / Dominator, Thriller YNP)
 V11  5.14b  7c+  B10  D  B2+  P11-

Slice and Dice (Sads) 
The Force (YNP)
 V12  5.14c  8a  B11  D+ B3-  P11 Buttermilker (Bmilk)
 V13  5.14d  8a+  B12  E-  B3-  P11+ Dominator (YNP)
Superman (Cressbrook Crag X)
 V14  5.15a  8b  B13  E  B3  P12-  Somewhere on GRANITE
 V15  5.15b  8b+  B14  E+  B3+  P12  Somewhere on GRANITE

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