Buddy’s Climbing Wall Holds Guide – A Comparison of British and Sport Climbing Grades

Buddy’s Climbing Wall Holds Guide – A Comparison of British and Sport Climbing Grades

Buddy’s Climbing Wall Holds Guide


climbing wall holds,

The System of Climbing Wall Holds – Climbing grades are an attempt to give a climber some idea of how steep or easy a climb will be. There are many different systems which cause much confusion and debate. This is further complicated by the fact that the grading is subjective and not scientific. “Difficulty” also comes in many disguises, such as technically challenging, a measure of danger, the distance to climb and the amount of muscle power needed, to name but a few.
British traditional rock climbing Holds have two parts; the first part (e.g., VS – Very Severe) tells how hard a route is overall, taking into account all its aspects; the second part (e.g., 4c – not specified for every course) tells how technically challenging the most challenging part is; both assume the climber has no pre-knowledge of the route. The higher up the scale, the more subjective the climbing grades become (over E7 it is almost a guess as few E7’s are climbed with no pre-knowledge).

atomik climbing holds,

This system of climbing grades only works for traditional climbing where protection is placed in by the climber as he goes. It is therefore not appropriate for climbing walls with bolted on security (and frequently with quickdraws in place as well). For climbing walls, the French Sports Grading System (e.g., 6a sometimes written as f6a) is usually used. This was developed for rock climbing routes where bolted protection is left in place for future climbers and is sometimes referred to as “Redpoint” grades. It also assumes the climber has some prior knowledge of the route. This grading system also describes the whole way so it could be extended and difficult or short and very challenging. It is the system that is used by many UK climbing walls.

What we look at: As well as providing the usual information for a climbing wall holds such as the size and number of routes, their grades (where these are available!), opening hours etc we will also give our opinion on the overall assessment of the climbing wall  holds giving each a star rating from zero to five (some climbing walls may not have a star rating – this may be because they don’t deserve one, in which case we will say so giving them a zero score, or it may just be that we have not graded them yet).

The stars will be awarded based on an overall view of the center. The assessment will be based on the following criteria:



No Stars = Not assessed
1 Star = Poor (not worth a visit)
2 Star = Average (worth a visit but don’t expect much)
3 Star = Good (worth a visit if you are in the area)
4 Star = Very well (definitely worth a visit)
5 Star = Excellent (a must do – well worth traveling to)

The Routes:
• How tall are they?
• How many are there?
• What range of grades do they cover?
• Are the classes marked?
• How often are the routes changed?
• What is provided (i.e., ropes, anchor points or quickdraws)?
• Is the wall suitable for lead climbing?
• Are there overhangs?
• Is there a bouldering wall? What size and what grades?
• Is there a traverse wall? What size and what classes?
• Are there auto belays and how many?

The Management:
• Is it run by climbers for climbers?
• How friendly and helpful are the staff?
• How busy is the center?
• Is it part of a more massive complex like a leisure center?
• Do you require membership and how much is it?
• What does it cost to climb?
• Is there a competency test (written/verbal)?
• What is the booking in procedure?
• Is there a system for arranging climbing partners?
• How do you contact them?
• Do they have a website?
• Are they members of the ABC
(Association of British Climbing Centres)?

The Facilities:
• What are the opening hours?
• Is it always open to the public?
• Where is it and how do you find it?
• What is parking like?
• Is there a café or even a bar?
• Are there lockers and do they lock?
• Is there a spectator area?
• Are there areas for climbers to relax?
• What are the toilets like?
• Is there a shop, what does it sell and what is it like?
• How is the wall constructed and who built it?

Who is Welcome:
• Can you climb if you are a novice?
• Can you use the bouldering wall if you are a novice?
• Are groups welcome?
• Could you hold a kids birthday party there?

Instructors, Courses, and Competitions:
• What competitions do they run?
• Is there the course for novices?
• Are there courses for advanced climbers?
• Is supervision available for groups?
• How many instructors are there (full time, freelance, SPA, etc.)?
• Can SPA and MIA holders take their groups?

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