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Wednesday, March 31, 2010

the thoughts on v16

besides hearing the FRFM controversy I have been hearing a bit of cntroversy about the grading of my new climb. None of this upsets me, and I am glad that people are intrigued by the possibility of how hard this climb may be. Some people, including me, believe the climb to be v16/8c+ and others do not feel that it could possibly be this hard. I would like to put my thoughts out there in regards to the difficulty of "lucid dreaming."

I have been climbing since i was 11 years old. I started from the very bottom and know what it felt like for v0 to be difficult. I have worked through each grade. Every grade brought up its own difficulty for me and some i struggled a great deal with while others were not as hard. Some years I would jump a few grades and others none at all. Through each year of my climbing career i have felt much stronger and have improved both mentally and physically as well as technically.

Since I climbed my first v15's, Jade in late 2007 and Terremer in early 2008, a lot of time has passed. Since the day that I climbed terremer until the other day I had not sent a climb that was rated the same grade or harder. I have climbed well over 500 days since the day that i climbed terremer and know that i have become a much better climber in this time period. I have climbed multiple v14's and 5.14d in a very quick fashion and have competed well in both national and world cup bouldering competitions, all of which preparing me for the climb i sent yesterday. Not only have i competed and climbed outside, but i have also put in more than my fair share of days in the climbing gym, training as hard as i possibly could to one day push the standards of boudering. I would say that in the two year time frame from Terremer to now, I have climbed multiple problems in CATS that are of very similar difficulty to "lucid dreams", "terremer", etc. This, I know does not count for anything but again has prepared me for the hardest of climbs outside.

In the past 2 months I have put a good 7 days of effort into attempting Daniel's "the game" in boulder canyon. This climb in my opinion is a quintessential marker in bouldering. This climb in my mind is v16. This climb is really really hard. I have now been able to do the climb in 2 overlapping sequences and hope to be able to finish the entire line before the temps get too hot. This climb was a good basis for me on how to grade my climb in bishop.

After working "lucid dreaming" and eventually sending the line, it was very hard for me to come up with an idea of its difficulty. The climb is very different from "the game" and requires much different strengths to complete. I thought about terremer and jade. Both of which have a single move that mark the crux. "lucid" has a 2 move crux sequence which i believe to be even more difficult than if you were to combine the jade crux move with the terremer crux move. This 2 move sequence truly was an epic for me. I fell on each of the move hundreds of times and the ability to link the two moves came after 12 days of patiently waiting for everything to be perfect. I know that these two moves joined together are the two hardest single moves in a row that i have ever done. I know that it is a great deal harder that jade and terremer. And i know that this to some does not justify the grade of v16 but in conjunction with the training, the comps, the time, everything from the moment i did terremer to the moment i did "lucid" a lot has changed. I have become a much better climber in every aspect of my climbing. I know that this climb may get downgraded by the second ascendant, however in my mind I know that this is BY FAR the 2 hardest move i have ever completed and in a way really marks a break through for me. Terremer and Jade are one insanely hard move cruxes. This is 2. What will it take to be able to do 3 of these moves in a row? What will the grade on that be? And where can i find this climb? because i want to start working it.

Please feel free to comment. I would love to hear what others have to say and if anyone has any questions ask away.

The footage of "lucid dreams" will be premiered in this years fifth annual reel rock film tour. Check the dates of when the show will be around you as it is looking to be the best one yet!

53 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hard to comment on the grade for the non-mutants but that seems consistant with DW's way of grading...

mad props to you - that line looks horrendously hard...

Elliott Grissom said...

Sick man. I can't wait for you to come back to Arkansas and work on some of these roof projects. They'll definitely be hard.

Christopher said...

what I would like to say is that I have no freaking clue what v-grade this climb deserves, but I'm willing to trust one of the strongest boulderers on Earth if that's what he feels. As for The Game, TAKE THAT RIG DOWN, PAUL!!!

Mr.k said...

One report clear, lucid and satisfactory.
I agree totally with you point of view.
If for you is that hard, why don't declare that grade? just because some people think that kind of hardness is impossible?
I'with you man!

Mr.kalled said...

One report clear, lucid and satisfactory.
I agree totally with you point of view.
If for you is that hard, why don't declare that grade? just because some people think that kind of hardness is impossible?

Rainer said...

Congrats for the ascent!!! I think it's a pitty that there is a controversy about the grade. Nobody besides you knows how hard this is. Those people should shut up, repeat it and comment on the grade afterwards. There won't be an afterwards in 99.9% of all cases.

Anonymous said...

Congrats on the ascent. Very impressive effort on a very difficult line. However i do wonder about the motivation of calling it V16 so quickly. Why not call it hard/top end V15 and wait for people to repeat it and confirm the grade, and if repetitions belive it harder than V15 then all good.

- Steve

Constantin said...

I'm not a strong climber but I climbed easy routes that other graded as hard and vice versa.
The thing is I saw some of my friends, who are much stronger than me, "suffering" when someone else came to them and said: "Hey! That you route you climbed is not 8a is 7c". And from there it started a small animosity between the two...

I'd say chill out! Don't put too much value on grades. Being cool, relaxed and seeing climbing as fun is way much better than competing for grade supremacy.
I saw strong climbers not caring about grades (and they climb hard stuff 8b and such) and they seem to enjoy it better than the ones who care about ratings, grades, first ascents...

Cheers!

Unai said...

CONGRATULATIONS PAUL. Very good writing.

Andrew said...

Paul,
Congratulations again. It seems like whatever grade you say, there will be controversy. Just be honest like you are, and don't worry. I hope you find another project out here. See you when you come back.
Andrew

Anonymous said...

If Daniel Woods graded The Game 'hard 15' do you think you would still have given Lucid Dreams V16?

Keith said...

don't grade it.

Anthony said...

Congrats Paul
-Put your stamp on the problem and let the other punters be damned. You know what they say, when you're at the top all people want to do is bring you down. Time for you to enjoy your victory...and maybe paint. Congrats

Anthony

Paul said...

at anon- "If Daniel Woods graded The Game 'hard 15' do you think you would still have given Lucid Dreams V16?"

I would say "dw, you are crazy, you know very well that this line is one of the hardest climbs in the world if not the very hardest. We need to progress the sport of bouldering and not get stuck in this v15 rut and never move forward. The thing is the next level and you should rate it as such."

Anonymous said...

I'm an old alpine climber, and the hardest I've ever bouldered is V7, so take this for what it's worth.

I applaud Paul's V16 rating for its honesty. He says straight up (1) that he is rating it because he thinks it is a huge leap for him and (2) if future ascensionists downrate it that is fine with him.

The unwillingness of some people to call it like they see it is, in my opinion, weak. When people call a 5.9 climb 5.11, they are inflating the grade and everyone calls BS. When someone calls a 5.13 climb 5.11+ everyone whines about sandbagging.

In terms of new routes, especially at the cutting edge there are only two legitimate options. (1) Don't rate the climb at all. Sharma once practiced this and it make sense. Wait for a good half dozen ascents to form a consensus and then rate the climb. (2) Have the balls to honestly rate the route--no fluff, no sandbagging--and call it like you see it.

I think that there may be other good reasons for not rating climbs, but if we are going to discuss ratings at all, we should applaud people like Paul to rate climbs both honestly and openly.

Bouldering is not really my thing, but I'm psyched for your success with this problem. Good luck on The Game.

--Brian

Anonymous said...

Daniel C

Paul Congrats on unlocking a long time bishop project! What a precious stone you have plucked! As for the grade V16 or V15……. Umm… grades are so subjective placing hard core facts about what make a problem a certain level of hardness and then having to grade it will always be super hard at this new level of climbing you and others have reached. This is what makes climbing so exciting, frustrating, and unique. Thanks for being the guy and taking a lot of heat on this subject!!! Your one cool dude and I’d give you and your friends a ride around the Ozarks any day!

Ben Grubb said...

I think that both the article and comments are pretty well spot on. Grades are merely guidelines; sometimes a problem feels a lot harder for someone for various reasons (size, shape, strengths, conditions etc etc). If Paul's saying that this problem felt hard for him, then it's reasonable to assume that it could well be V16.

Either way, it's a spectacular achievement and we should all be happy for Paul, and excited to be witnessing yet another climbing boundary being pushed!

Thanks for a well written and honest review of your experience, Paul.

Anonymous said...

I don't climb at a very high level in comparison to you Paul but even at my level there is still debates on grading. The problem, as always with climbing, is that everyone is different which leads to disagreements. People tend to have strengths in different areas so it is very hard accurately grading a route, however I admire you for calling it. I think that V16 is an astonishing grade and I hope you carry on pushing the boundaries. I am positive that you will find the V17 and beyong. Just keep doing what your doing and ignore everyone else, enjoy it man

Anonymous said...

JONNY GEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE

tim said...

Hey Paul congrats! Great job! Lots of work finally paid off!. It seems that the epic arete in g.b. might be a possibility for another enduring project. I look forward to when ever that may come .Thanks for pushing the envelope!

Anonymous said...

Whoever Brian is (he posted at 9:59), he's wise. I agree.

devlin said...

After watching you work this climb, and feeling the holds for myself over numerous bishop trips I have to say you would know best for the grade, but I concur that its Very very very very hard. I've never had the chance to see Terremer or Jade first hand, nor any other V15's for that matter, but the moves on Lucid Dreaming appear to be on a par far higher than any of the 14's at the milks. And considering the quick work you' ve made with many of the 14's in bishop (and the world) along with how many people have tried and failed at Lucid Dreaming, yet succeeded on numerous 14's, it seems fair to say that problem isn't likely a 15. I am sad that anyone really cares to argue on the matter. I think one of the bigger issues in bouldering over the past decade has been grade deflation, and the subjectivity of our sport in relation to grading.

The problem is something of the future which is now in the NOW, and I congratulate you for your efforts and the send.

steve said...

Nice job, Paul. Got any cool photos of the problem? I really miss Bishop. So, which was *really* harder, Lucid Dreams or Sea of Holes? Much congrats to you. I'm sure Chip is super psyched!

Anonymous said...

Congrats Paul!

It seems that suggesting cutting-end grades can be as much of a thrill as sending them :-) Look at other people that have done the same. The beasts gave them a couple of years of disgarce until (slowly) they agreed on giving them glory. Hopefully this will omly will be a short controversy leaving only positive feelings afterwards.

Well (an bravely) done P. Keep it up!

/Frog

Wes Miraglio said...

I saw Daniel try those two moves in 2009 (but not before saving his skin so he could climb the rest of the day) right before I went to Hueco and even from a spectators stand point and coming from someone whose been in this game 16 years, they looked like it would take some serious time and massive amounts of training and patience like you had given. Congrats on the send. Call it what you feel is appropriate. And let the haters, the controversy, and punters who want to call you out CHOMP ON THIS and let them try it and bitch and moan and complain. Good job Paul!

Kevin B said...

Congrats on the send! Problem looks insane. very inspiring.

Anonymous said...

Oh Jonny Jonny GEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!

Nice one Paul...totally psyched to see you send The Game in the near future.

sock hands said...

bitch, you are rad. well deserved send. psyched for the footage.

regardless of grade, it seems that you really needed to hone your strenghts and focus on the send. i hope that this gain in fortitude will prepare you to carry all my gear into upper chaos this summer whenever my whim should require it.

all the best and onto the next
--j

Morgan Barnes said...

Grats on an awesome ascent!

Anonymous said...

The first ascent is always the hardest. All you can do is suggest a grade that you feel is appropriate, and hope superman struggles with it a little too (sand bagging is for p_ssies that afraid to play their cards).

Timmy D said...

well someone else has to send it before it can be downgraded. with only a hand full of climbers sending the hardest problems in the world i would believe the route to hold true! Sick send and can't wait to see what you re putting up in the future!

Anonymous said...

I must say that I've always been skeptical over the last couple of years as V16 has been suggested before on problems (Wheel of Life). How can one suggest a V16 grade without having a move harder than V12?
I really like the approach you take into trying to grade this problem. I think a lot of care has to be taken to keep from "number inflating," letting the grades getting way out of hand, and it sounds as though you are taking a proactive approach to this. Only time will tell, but Congratulations on the send! It's cool to see the "mutants" taking such a methodical approach to climbing.

Anonymous said...

Paul, all I can say is you are straight up ridiculous. This line is absolutely baller. Keep on crushing hard; I can't wait to see the hardest lines which I am sure you will continue to establish. Its a shame people would rather focus on grades than commend you on your hard work and effort. Cheers man and good luck on your future endeavors

Anonymous said...

Are you aware that someone has an 8a account claiming to have done the sit start in 2004?

Anonymous said...

But Jade.. is it really v15 ???
Nalle did it really fast, in the rain.
and D.G said this about Desperanza:

Dave graham

01. Mar, 2010

I think this boulder being graded v15 could be devastating to the future of the v15 grade. I have climbed esperanza, and consider it be soft 8b+, even potentially 8b. If you want to use a logical comparison, and leave hype out of the math, this boulder does not end up as v15…but future repetitions by people who have independent minds will be able to give an honest second opinions…No one likes it when people try to judge a boulders grades without making a repetition for reference, but as time goes on, we will have to find a solution of how 7a+ into 8b+ equals 8c, and further how 8b+ into 8b+, also equals 8c.

Does anyone follow me?

The history of bouldering up to this day still stands for something, especially outside of Boulder, Colorado.


Just wondering....

Paul said...

at latest 2 anon comments.

I am aware that someone claimed to do the line a while back. I am almost positive that this is fake as no one has ever heard of this person and everyone believes my ascent to be the first.

At other guy:

yes i am aware that nalle did jade in the rain. I also did Jade in the rain. This climb does not get harder in the rain it just makes the v0 top out a little harder (maybe v2). and yes i had read what dave had written. I can agree with dave in many of his aspects however i feel that for a sport that needs evolution and progression there is no harm in giving a climb the grade that you think it deserves. If it gets downgraded then so be it. But I dont think that we as a climbing community should not even explore the idea of higher grades. If bouldering just were to stay at v15 forever and nothing was ever graded harder no matter how long it took someon, then the sport would eventually become stale and their would be no progression which is what is needed to keep a sport healthy, growing, and exciting.

Anonymous said...

More then just being about the progression of the sport, if an open grading scale exists then its going to continue to go up and up as kids like yourself get stronger and stronger. If you think its harder then 15 points then it probably is... Haters can just repeat it and downgrade it, that is if they can manage a send...

Anonymous said...

"I am aware that someone claimed to do the line a while back. I am almost positive that this is fake as no one has ever heard of this person and everyone believes my ascent to be the first."

Wow, I didn't realize I could be positive of things with such little evidence. Just because someone isn't from Boulder doesn't mean they aren't strong.

Anonymous said...

I was there, nice job. Inspiring.

I also have some pictures of you running up the slab if you would like a copy.

-kory

May said...

Dont worry, Paul. Such comments are expected, no matter what grade you think it is. Just by the fact that is THIS boulder and a top climber as you.

Congrats! I cant wait to watch it.

Perica said...

Congratulations on your climb. It is great (and inspiring) to see climbers like you or Daniel succeed.

Also, I like your thoughts on the grade.

Greetings from Croatia!

Jacob Staerk said...

Thank you for your thoughts on the matter. And a big congratulation on your send!

Whatever grade lucid is, or will become, it seems to be a peek into the future and a coming classic for sure.

Also, I see no logical reason why it wouldn't be 8C+ and I definitely support climbers who dare to claim hard. It is much easier to downgrade.

God job and congrats from Denmark (on behalf of the nation and the queen).

Jacob

Justin said...

Hey Paul, congratulations on your remarkable ascent! Regardless of all the banter about grades your ascent is one to be incredibly proud of. I hope its just the beginning for you.

I'm confused about something you alluded to in your blog post, which you mentioned again in response to an anonymous commentor.

"If bouldering just were to stay at v15 forever and nothing was ever graded harder no matter how long it took someon, then the sport would eventually become stale and their would be no progression which is what is needed to keep a sport healthy, growing, and exciting."

Why exactly does the sport need to "grow" and how do you determine its "health" as a non living entity or concept? Also, in regard to the sport potentially no longer being exciting...how does v16, v17, or v18 affect that exactly?

Perhaps for you to remain excited you need new grades (you're a beast), but for me and I'm assuming most other climbers those grades have little impact on how "exciting" bouldering is.

I'm not trying to criticize, your thoughts have been expressed by others (Carlo T. and Joe K. come to mind.) I'm just trying to understand.

Once again, congrats.

Essay over.

Jon-William said...

@early anon: The stand start crux (the v12 move) has the left hand already established on an awful pinch. Doing the sit means doing an unholy deadpoint to that pinch which needs to be set perfectly in order to stick the dyno, which makes the dyno much harder.
@latest anon: wills young would probably be aware if someone had climbed the problem already, he has lived there and kept up with new ascents for a while now.

also, I wish Dave would just come back to Bishop, RMNP and Hueco for a short trip to try out these new hard problems

Anonymous said...

ddddddddd JONNY ddddddddd JONNY.

Anonymous said...

To whomever suggested that "just because someone isn't from Boulder doesn't mean they aren't strong":

While that may be true, a line as obvious (you can see it from the parking lot!) as this, that would require tons of work from anyone, no matter how strong they are...

I guess what I'm trying to say is that no matter how "under the radar" you are, someone would probably still find out about an ascent this big. Cmon, it would take tons of pads to make reasonably safe. People are bound to see you working on something like this.

well done Paul!

-Chris

Zach Mortimer said...

well done paulie keep up the good work

hasan said...

Hi Paul
I guess off topic but I just saw a video of Midnight Lightening at yosemite. Was wondering if you have had a go at it.
best
hasan

Anonymous said...

In contrast to the skepticism that the high end grades are arbitrary I think it's important to remember that the first Hueco guide book topped out at v9. This is a very flashable grade for modern strong climbers (not pros).

Christopher said...

Hey Paul,
Congrats on the send, man. VERY nice work!

I totally trust your judgment on Lucid's difficulty, but I do have one question. You said that the move to the pinch and from the pinch are the single two hardest moves you've ever done, and you compared it to combining the crux on Jade w/ the crux on Terremer. I thought, though, that the move from the pinch was "only" given solid V12 by Jared Roth? Is the move different when setting up from the sit start, or is it just harder to do by the time you get there, or what's the deal w/ that move? Just curious, and thought it might shed some light on things.

Oh and by the way, could you give us any hints on what you plan on getting on out in Rocklands? Maybe you could steal some beta from Nalle while he's out there and try Livin' Large...

Anyway, good job on the send man!

Stoo said...

Super awesome effort on the problem, looks dirty hard for sure! Why not come to New Zealand next?? Flock Hill is calling!

Anonymous said...

tacking numbers on progresses the sport how?

WeekendBouldering said...

Just call it v17 and walk away.

No but really, congrats on the send, and I completely agree with your standpoint on grades.

I find it funny that people can say it looks like or feels like v16 when the grade itself is just beginning to be played with. Its almost as if there are guidelines for exactly what v16 should feel like.

The problem is there isn't, and because there isn't, there is a possibility that we will get caught up in the v15 grade simply because we are too afraid to define v16.

I think Daniel and your efforts are essential to the progression of this sport.

Who knows, perhaps v17 isn't that crazy after all.