Black Mtn. guiding…

So those that have either bought the new Black Mountain “guide” book or have heard about it not having V ratings, may have an option to participate in a project that a friend has started called Climbwise.net. The creator, Les Van Exel, has created a site that allows those registered and logged in to create profiles for any boulder problems at any crag of any state that he includes in the directory. Black Mountain currently is the primary crag he’s listed problem to test it out–that number’s about 22 the last time I checked.

He admits it’s in beta stage and is a bit glitchy, but it seems to be in the right direction in my opinion when it concerns ratings. This is because he uses an average or mean (I don’t know which) and is similar to the old Bleau.info* or a gritstone website (that I can’t locate now) that creates percentages for each grade given, or spread of ratings, for any specific problem. More climbers that rate it the more accurate it gets.

Van Exel’s site can load a bit slow since it’s on his home server, and any time he reboots the server the site loses its cached pages but are created once the page is loaded again. Check it out and offer feedback to Les. It can become a great complement to the guidebook and actually make the book more worth buying. Right now? It doesn’t seem worth it.

On the grades issue, I think it’s a shame not to have ratings. The personal nature of ratings makes second-guessing what another person might rate it or how hard it might be irrelevant. So the only grades that matter are those that ascenders offer. Grades are just a personal assessment tool for guiding that when it includes more inputs becomes a more precise reference for determining choice. Add more information like height and reach, and the number as tool becomes even more useful. It’s all very pragmatic and not absolute. We humans do well with such generalizations and opinions. And guidebooks are supposed to guide us to what we want to do. Perfection is not applicable.

On the topic of BM guidebooks’ color scheme, all I have to say is that the difficulty range for each color can be up to 7 grades (it’s unclear since the color point on the graphic disappears as it reaches its outlier numbers). 7 grades. I can warm up and power out all within one color, and I don’t want to hike all over the hills to do what the guide should do: direct me to things not too hard.

At the core of each color, one can say it covers 3 grades–ignoring any color overlap. Yet I personally experienced grading problems among varied climber sizes relatively easily distilled down to either one of 2 grades. I digress…. I’ll leave a ratings rant for another post.

* bleau.info recently underwent an ownership change and is now totally different, but on some problems there are ratings by users with the same percentage spread of given grades.

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~ by r. mulligan on 2015/04/22.

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