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Rock Climbing Rating Table

The rating systems shown in this table compare the main rating systems that are used in the Climbing World. There are many more rating systems, but we will use this one for now.

UIAA rating system
The Union Internationale des Associations d'Alpinisme (UIAA) rating scale is used mostly in Western Germany and Austria.

The French rating system
The French rating system is slowly becoming the international standard, at least for comparing really hard climbs. It is used in France, as well as in Spain and Italy.

The British grading system
People in Britain have two different ratings: an adjectival grading and a technical grading. The adjectival grading says something about the overall difficulty of the climb. On the other hand, the technical grading shows something about the most difficult move of the climb. For instance, an easy climb with a difficult move would have a relatively low adjectival grading with a high technical rating (like E4/6c). A sustained climb with long runouts and poor pro - a real British climb - but no real difficult technical moves has a high adjectival rating with a low technical rating (like E7/6b).


USA (YDS)
The Yosemite Decimal System is the North American rating system. The first number in the YDS designates the class of the climb (always "5" for free climbs), while the second number defines the difficulty.

USA France
UIAA
5.7 4
5.8 5a
5.9 5b
5.10 5c
5.10a 6a
VI+
5.10b 6a+
VI+/VII-
5.10c 6b
VII
5.10d 6b+
VII+
5.11a 6c
VII+/VIII-
5.11b/c 6c+
VIII-
5.11d 7a
VIII
5.12a 7a+
VIII/VIII+
5.12b 7b
VIII+
5.12c 7b+
IX-
5.12d 7c
IX
5.13a 7c+
IX/IX+
5.13b 8a
IX+
5.13c 8a+
X-
5.13d 8b
X
5.14a 8b+
X+
5.14b 8c
XI-
5.14c 8c+
XI
5.14d 9a
XI+
5.15a 9a+
XII-


Keep in mind that there are many rating tables. The one above is an example. You can also choose what Rating System you will use based on your preferences.

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Article Comments
ffemt
Thursday 10th April 2008 at 9:41:10 PM  

Remember rating systems are subjective. One 5.9 might seem easy and another impossible. Use them for guidance. If a climb looks interesting, but the rating is harder or easier than you would like to attempt give it a try anyway. Climbing is about having fun and improving yourself.

bradkillough
Wednesday 16th April 2008 at 10:56:48 AM  

I have to agree with Mike.
The grading system is alot different here in this part of the country than say, Yosemite.
Well, Yosemite is diferent from anywhere, I think. Its like opinions, everyone has a different idea on what the climb feels like to them, occording to their srength and endurance.

HARDROCK
Sunday 14th June 2009 at 11:32:21 AM  

CLIMBING IS A LOT LIKE SEX: THERE IS NO ONE METHOD THAT IS CORRECT, THERE IS NO PERFECT METHOD, THERE IS NO PERFECT RATING FOR A CLIMB. IT IS ALL ABOUT YOUR PERSONAL VIEW AND SKILL LEVEL. A CLIMB THAT IS A 5.11 TO ONE PERSON MAYBE A 5.4 TO ANOTHER ; JUST LIKE A PERFECT 10 FOR A WOMAN TO ONE MAN, MAYBE A 7 TO ANOTHER. IF YOU SEE A CLIMB THAT YOU MIGHT LIKE TO TRY, TRY IT. YOU MAY FIND IT HARD, YOU MAY FIND IT EASY, YOU MAY JUST LEARN ALITTLE MORE ABOUT YOURSELF FROM TRYING IT. IT NEVER HURTS TO TEST YOURSELF AND RATE THE CLIMB ON YOUR OWN MERITS NOT SOME ONE ELSE....

JawadYasin
Friday 26th March 2010 at 11:58:08 PM  

@HARDROCK:
I totally agree with u.
Therez no specific grading system that can be applied, keeping inview that a rock can be very easy for a person while it could be a difficult one for another.
So, irrespective of the Rating, just do it if u wanna have fun.
Afterall, climbing is all about fun & entertainment...

Earthdave
Thursday 27th January 2011 at 6:56:35 AM  

Well, I am going to disagree with some of the previous comments. Yes, grading systems are imperfect and subjective. However, comments like ''it never hurts to test yourself'' is not appropriate with climbing. Get run out on a route over your head, perhaps with dangerous bolt placement (it happens a lot), you can hurt yourself badly or die. Best advice I have is start low in grades, especially if you are in a new place or on a new type of rock. Yeah, you may be a 5.9/5c climber on pocketed limestone, but you''re a total amateur on granite cracks or sandstone faces. Take it easy, be careful, don''t let ego drive you to do it because ''I''m this level of climber and anything less is lame''.


 
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