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Topic split - gap between onsight and redpoint performance (Read 5996 times)

Ged

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BTW, not all UK routes are desparate to onsight, Defcon 3 is just as onsightable as any 8a in Chulila IMHO. All the holds are well chalked and the line quite obvious.
This is true, but they are very few and far between.

Maybe we could start a list to help aspirant UK onsighters? Infinitive Gravity and then potentially some of the stuff at Shipwreck Cove are the only ones that immediately spring to mind. Though onsighting good cons might be the crux at both venues.

Oh, and Brean is a reasonable crag for onsighting. With the odd exception (like Defcon) most stuff on Yorks & Peak limestone is nails to onsight.

All the routes at potato head, as long as they are chalked.

spidermonkey09

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Thats the thing, I do really love getting completely boxed when onsighting, its one of the best things about trad climbing I think. So I think its mostly due to just not trying it on bolts much, due to a combination of climbing a lot on Yorkshire/Peak lime where onsighting is nails and wanting to just do loads of climbing when I go on holiday, rather than just try one route, fail and massage my forearms all day!

Ged, I'm happy with 7c+'s too as I haven't onsighted any of them either! Good effort onsighting Coloseum, for me to get fit enough to onsight anything of that grade in Rodellar I think I'd need to do a lot of preparation (or get bigger arms).

remus

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Thought I'd apply a bit of #SCIENCE to the proceedings so had a quick look at some of the lattice data. Looks like the average difference between RP and OS grade (to be precise, RP - OS) is 2.6 grades across the sample I looked at. Usual caveats apply, potentially biased sample etc.

This hasn't been picked up by anyone but seems pretty odd to me - I'd consider 3 to be a good onsight climber, and less than three a bad redpointer, and if I had to guess at averages I'd have gone around 4. Even more so given my (entirely pie in the sky) assumptions about the lattice data set (grade focused climbers probably more into projecting so as to get bigger numbers to stick a green tick next to on insta...)

2.6 seems really low, are people stretching the definition of onsight (so it means flash...)

My intuition agrees with yours, 2.6 feels pretty low. I suspect it's because the 3/4 rule only applies to someone who's put a lot of effort in to both onsighting and redpointing, which suggests that the people in the sample are biased slightly towards onsights (and quick redpoints?) than hard redpoints.

Duncan campbell

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Onsighting is such a funny thing. I often think of myself as a climber who is better at onsighting, but then sometimes I feel like I'm a much better quick redpointer. For me its quite a fluid thing. My disparity is 3 or 4? (7b+ o/s, 7c flash, 8a+ RP) Though I have also o/s'ed 7b multipitch and supposed 7b on trad (Pretty Girls and Barbarossa).

Much of my initial life as a climber was spent onsighting and I work routes like an onsighter - I climb between rests and am terrible at lowering and re-doing sequences.  :slap:

I'm excited to go abroad and try and push my onsighting as I find the UK in general hard to onsight at and I haven't been abroad since climbing 8a+ or 8a more consistently (incidentally my best trad onsights have been since upping my RPing.)

I always admire how good at onsighting some of my mates are. a few that stand out;

Nathan bloody Lee - hes onsighted some tricky things in the UK; Tequila Mockingbird, the Shining (probably a good UK 8a for onsighting?) plus quite a few other bits.

Ben Silvestre - pretty sure he onsighted 7c/7c+ when his best RP was 8a.



NaoB

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And what are we using to measure? The best onsight you've ever done on a one-off low gravity day with a strong up draft on a softly graded route (8a flash or 7c+ os for me), or the more realistic step down to the level where I've done a handful to consolidate (7c+ flash and 7c os for me)?

spidermonkey09

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And what are we using to measure? The best onsight you've ever done on a one-off low gravity day with a strong up draft on a softly graded route (8a flash or 7c+ os for me), or the more realistic step down to the level where I've done a handful to consolidate (7c+ flash and 7c os for me)?

I think one has to take the one-off low gravity day, because thats the kind of day I certainly tend to need to get my best RPs done; at least that way its comparing like with like!

Fultonius

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Will the gap[ not shift too, so long as you're comparing your "single best redpoint"?

That's a very good point. I've O/Sd 3 x F7bs and I suspect that I would be able to do more at that grade, if I had the trips / time / routes to try. I've RPd one (soft) F8a that took a lot of sessions, and 2 x 7c+s that took a few sessions.

I suspect a "one off" siege RP might correspond roughly to your concept of a floaty / light / got the sequence right top end O/S.

Using your "3 rep max" equivalent would probably make things more comparable?


i.e. for me: Max RP: f8a (soft), 3 rep max RP (7c+ [for the sake of argument, as I've only done 2 but suspect a 3rd could come quite quickl])

Max 1 rep O/S f7b* / max 3 rep O/S f7b   (

* I have never tried 7b+ but would have thought possible on a the right route / day etc.

So 1RM differential: 4 grades (potentially 3 if I found the right route/tried loads of 7b+s), 3RM: 3 grades


I kind of suspect you all might be the same (especially if you have decent pyramids)

Neil F

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For many years my on sight maximum was exactly the same as my redpoint maximum - 7c+.  And in the higher grades (7b and above) I'd on sighted (or at least flashed) as many routes of a particular grade as I'd redpointed.

That probably reflected my general lack of interest in redpointing as much as any great talent for on sighting.  Indeed for a long time when I was climbing my best, that lack of motivation for 'projects' meant I that I wouldn't go on anything (sport-wise) that I didn't think I could do in a day.

Anyway, I then went an ruined it all by dragging my reluctant frame up the Crucifixion, thereby inadvertently establishing a redpoint / on sight grade desparity which I will take to my grave....

Neil

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Good topic. I don't get out on rock half as much as I'd like and find onsighting very difficult. But am quite good at getting quick redpoints in my grade range. I will often flail up something on a first try, dogging the hell out of it looking useless then get it next go.

My average best onsight grade would be F6c, and average quick redpoint F7b. So 4 grade difference.
Best flash 7a+, best redpoint 7c. 3 grade difference.

On an average weekend warrior trip I would tend to onsight only in my warm up grades then look for something to redpoint in a few goes. Mainly my onsighting or flashing would be on trips abroad where the routefinding is more obvious and I have a bit of time to get used to the nuances of the rock.

Steve Crowe

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Jonas, am I right in thinking that you're onsight grade has stayed fairly similar for a while, but your redpoint grade has gone up a fair bit? That's just the impression I've got from what you've written on various threads. If so, what did you do? Live near good projects? Or more than that? It sounds like we have fairly similar os grades (7c+,occasional soft 8a},but I've been nowhere close to redpoint ING 8b+. But maybe that is just lack of trying ones that suit my style.

Interested to hear what your magic bullet is.

I am pretty proud of my 8a.nu log book as it is an almost perfect pyramid, well actually more of a spinning top with 4x 5ís at the bottom and 4 x 8bís at the top and one very long 8b+ on the very top of all that. At my best I could climb some 8a+ís quickly and Iíve climbed 20 altogether. I have onsighted five 8aís (including two 8aís in a day although that was at Chullia), Iíve climbed 62 8aís altogether. Iíve climbed 63 7c+ís, of which 13 were onsight.

I used to believe I could on-sight 7c+ whereas Iíd suspect the 8aís were probably going to get downgraded at some point.

I have onsighted almost half the 7cís (38 out of 95), and more of the 7b+ís (69 out of 120).

At the other extreme, while Iíve rarely failed to onsight 7a or below I have in fact red pointed all the way down to 6b. 

As for the magic bullet, I don't know but I do really enjoy getting pumped and although I'm not strong I can recover quickly on slightly sub max holds.

Wood FT

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Anyway, I then went an ruined it all by dragging my reluctant frame up the Crucifixion, thereby inadvertently establishing a redpoint / on sight grade desparity which I will take to my grave....

Neil

And we thank you for that

abarro81

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With respect to onsightable euro 8as, almost everywhere you're likely to go for a trip has them.. best bet is to look on 8a.nu for that area and look for ones that are popular, people sometimes call soft but don't downgrade much, and that get onsighted a lot..

I'm thinking things like Coliseum (or many other rodellar 8as),
Margalef: Dr Feelgood, Sativa, Aeroplastica L2, transilvania etc.
ATP L3 at Masriudoms
That classic 8a at Sella
Lots in Greece
Hidrophobia up at Montsant
Lourdes at Chorro
Plenty everywhere that's not an old school hardcore venue like Buoux basically! I'd have to trawl my logbook to make a long list.. Obviously I lean towards comments like "all big holds" or "no hard moves" but others may prefer something shorter or more fingery!

Liamhutch89

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Hopefully not too off topic, but does anyone have an opinion on whether the flash/repoint grade disparity should be different on boulders?

I'm almost a number grade apart but do feel that I'm pretty abysmal at flashing stuff!

Fultonius

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Based on nothing but a hunch, I'd expect the gap to be bigger for most boulderers.

Mine is actually closer, 7A best onsight, 7B max  (one 7B+ but it's a traverse) .

Bradders

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Hopefully not too off topic, but does anyone have an opinion on whether the flash/repoint grade disparity should be different on boulders?

I'm almost a number grade apart but do feel that I'm pretty abysmal at flashing stuff!

I've flashed a handful of 7B+s, versus 8A+ all time best, or more regular multi-session / siege / project max around 8A, so yeah 3 or 4 grades.

Again it probably depends a lot on whether you actually try to do it. For a long time if I was going to try a problem specifically I'd often warm up on it, rather than on other things, which pretty much precludes a flash automatically. I dont think I've ever even tried to flash a 7C in fact. I've more recently started trying again though as I think it's a good skill to practice, especially if like me "trying hard" is a bit of a weakness.
« Last Edit: January 11, 2022, 09:06:23 pm by Bradders »

MischaHY

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I've lived hours away from any hard bouldering for years with one exception of an 8B+ lime rising traverse which can be broken down into 8A+ and 8A. I did the 8A bit a couple of years ago for my first and only 8A - otherwise my meagre bouldering has all been board climbing on Moon/Kilter or just indoor stuff (although loads of outdoor route climbing). On both boards I have bizarrely flashed 7C quite a few times but never managed harder than 7C+. I'm not sure if this is due to lack of general effort or whatever - maybe good route reading and poor power?

abarro81

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I wouldn't read anything into it if it's based on Moon or Kilter board grades, they're all over the place! Plus you have an almost unlimited number of basic, easy to read problems to try to flash (unlike outside) so I'd expect a smaller gap might be normal. My flash and RP grade on the Moonboard are currently the same, though that's also a product of having had quite a few sessions on there trying to do things first try or fast, and not really having projected on that board.

Hopefully not too off topic, but does anyone have an opinion on whether the flash/repoint grade disparity should be different on boulders?
My boulder flash/worked gap is 3-4 (this is true whether based on comparing absolute maxs or "should have a decent flash go if it's my style" against "should have a decent chance of doing it if it's my style"). Given that boulder grades are quite erratic I wouldn't be surprised if the range of "normal" gaps was broader for bouldering though, i.e. you'd get more people with both a small gap (e.g. 1-2) and a large gap (e.g. 5-6)

andy moles

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I always admire how good at onsighting some of my mates are. a few that stand out;

Nathan bloody Lee - hes onsighted some tricky things in the UK; Tequila Mockingbird, the Shining (probably a good UK 8a for onsighting?) plus quite a few other bits.

Ben Silvestre - pretty sure he onsighted 7c/7c+ when his best RP was 8a.

You can add Malcolm S to that, I watched him O/S 7c when I think he'd only recently done a first 8a.

I'm of the average by the sound of it, 3-4 grades. I've not done a lot of redpointing, but I also have a few weaknesses when it comes to maxing out onsight.

Duncan campbell

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I always admire how good at onsighting some of my mates are. a few that stand out;

Nathan bloody Lee - hes onsighted some tricky things in the UK; Tequila Mockingbird, the Shining (probably a good UK 8a for onsighting?) plus quite a few other bits.

Ben Silvestre - pretty sure he onsighted 7c/7c+ when his best RP was 8a.

You can add Malcolm S to that, I watched him O/S 7c when I think he'd only recently done a first 8a.

I'm of the average by the sound of it, 3-4 grades. I've not done a lot of redpointing, but I also have a few weaknesses when it comes to maxing out onsight.

Ooh yeah another master of the onsight. Rob Greenwood would probably also qualify.


Stabbsy

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I can remember BITD being out at Millstone - doing one of the Embankments while someone, who I think used to frequent this site, was trying Scritto's Republic on top-rope. They were of the opinion that a number grade (so 6 grades) was the standard difference between OS and RP. I've never been anywhere near that! 2 grades for me - 7c onsight, 8a redpoint. However, I've never spent any great length of time on anything, 3 sessions for anything I've succeeded on, so maybe I'd expect to be at the lower end of things.

Also, as others have said, onsighting fits well with Euro routes (plus some US/RRG ones in my case), whereas I've rarely tried anything "hard" on trips - they've always been about volume so there won't be many routes abroad that have taken more than 3 goes. If you look at UK routes only, I'm at 4 grades (7b onsight, 8a redpoint) which feels a bit more like the norm. I've probably onsighted 7a+ on gear (Golden Mile at Chee Tor maybe?), but I struggle to apply French grades to trad routes as you always get more pumped placing wires.

Hopefully not too off topic, but does anyone have an opinion on whether the flash/repoint grade disparity should be different on boulders?

I'm almost a number grade apart but do feel that I'm pretty abysmal at flashing stuff!
Personal view is that this could be a bit more random than the routes one, largely because bouldering grades are a lot more subjective - too easy to find something that suits you, although I suppose that should apply to both flashed and worked problems so who knows! For me, it's one grade (flashed 7B+, hardest 7C). However, the 2 problems I've found the hardest and have taken the most personal effort have both been 7B.

jwi

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Warning: Epically long post.

Some empiricial data to ponder

Data scraped in 2017 from a popular provider of online ticklists provides some data on climbers performances. As users get ďpointsĒ for climbing routes of a certain grade, they are incentivised to log routes or boulders at the highest possible grade they can get away with, regardless of what they think. Also, there is no system of signing off the ascents by belayers so not all ascents logged will have taken place. However, noisy data is better than no data.



As we can see, the best performance ever on fully worked routes has a somewhat bell-shaped distribution with median around 7b and with a premium for climbing a route graded 8a. (Much like there are lots of Marathon runners finishing just under 3 hours, but not many in just over 3 hours.)

The median best performance is surprisingly stable over time and shows signs of only slow increase over fifteen years:

Code: [Select]
year                "2003" "2004" "2005" "2006" "2007" "2008" "2009" "2010" "2011" "2012" "2013" "2014" "2015" "2016" "2017"
Median of top grade "7b"   "7b"   "7b"   "7b"   "7b"   "7b"   "7b"   "7b"   "7b"   "7b"   "7b+"  "7b+"  "7b+"  "7b+"  "7b+"

As some users never climb in the redpoint style the premium for climbing 8a is actually understated in the chart above.

If we look at the distribution of only redpoint ascents:



we see that the mode is 8a, even though the median is 7b+

Climbers who can get up an 8a with enough work are clearly more likely to put in the required effort than those who can get ut 7c+ with enough work.

This effect is slightly less pronounced if we look at ascents at a stable level. Here are the distributions for highest onsight grade and highest grade achieved ďSecond GoĒ



There is still clearly a premium for ascending 8a in faster styles as well.

For bouldering



The median of the best performance in bouldering is not improving any quicker than those of sport climbing
Code: [Select]
year                "2003" "2004" "2005" "2006" "2007" "2008" "2009" "2010" "2011" "2012" "2013" "2014" "2015" "2016"
Median of top grade "7B"   "7B"   "7B"   "7A+"  "7A+"  "7B"   "7B"   "7B"   "7B"   "7B"   "7B"   "7B"   "7B+"  "7B+"
                    [,15]
year                "2017"
Median of top grade "7B+"

To compare highest red-point grade with highest onsight grade we only look at users who have logged a reasonable amount of climbs in both styles.

Say at least both 100 red-point and onsight ascents.

Scatterplot


Grouped boxplot:


As we can see, the best redpoint and onsight grade are highly correlated ($R^2=$0.8716624). There seems to be about 2 full letter-grades between the hardest redpoint and the hardest onsight for climbers having climbed 8b or harder, as per JiBeís old rule-of-thumb. The median best onsight grade for a climber having redpointed 8c is 8a etc. There are two and a half letter grades between the redpoint and the onsight grade for climbers having climbed from 7c to 8a+ at best. Fully half of the climbers having redpointed 8a have onsighted 7b+. For climbers having redpointed no harder than 7b+ there is just two letter grades difference.

Ideally the difference should be the same across the grades. The discrepancy could be explained by significant grade inflation in the higher grades (that is, the difference between becomes smaller the harder the routes) or that elite climbers are not pursuing onsight ascents outdoors for whatever reason.

In case you are wondering, there is no big difference is we look at the highest grade achieved redpoint vs onsight in a single year.



Relation between performances in bouldering and sport-climbing


There is a fairly strong relationship between best bouldering grade and best redpoint grade as well. This is of course unsurprising since harder routes generally have harder cruxes. For climbers who have logged at least N=100 boulders and the same amount of redpoint ascents, it seems like the typical bouldering strength required to climb an 8a route is about 7B+ whereas 25% of those who can do 7B have also done 8a. The lowest bouldering strength required for someone doing a fair amount of bouldering to do 8a is 7A.


Duma

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Good stattage jwi! I would have thought the 8a premium would lead to a bigger gap to os level for those with 8a as max redpoint, but can't notice it in your graphs, is that because it's not there, or just doesn't show in this analysis?

jwi

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As you can see the dispersion in onsight grade is highest in the group of those who have 8a as highest rp grade. I think that is another way to see the premium awarded 8a. There are users who have logged more than 100 onsights but none harder than 7a, and still managed to scrape up an 8a. That is pretty impressive to me!

duncan

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Great stuff! A subgroup analysis of climbers using the YDS system might reveal a similar peak at 7c+ (5.13a).

The increased gap between onsight and RP grades at big grades must be at least partially due to wanting big grades more: I donít know anyone who has spent 120 days projecting a 7b. A good statistician might be able to determine if the width of grades narrows with big numbers. I am not even a bad statistician but I can think of plenty of social reasons why this might be so.

abarro81

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The increased gap between onsight and RP grades at big grades must be at least partially due to wanting big grades more: I donít know anyone who has spent 120 days projecting a 7b.

Interesting, my assumption was more that it was based on length of time climbing (i.e. the 7b group would include more newer climbers who haven't yet stopped improving and so felt the need to project, they just think they'll come back next year and bash it out fast)... but actually if they have to have already logged 100 RP and 100 os to get in the data set maybe your interpretation is more likely to be right...

 

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