By Chris O’Connell
This post was originally published on the Boston Rock Gym blog and reprinted with permission from the author.
I visited a new rock gym not long ago and found myself excited leaving the gym later that evening. I had just flashed a half dozen 12’s, and that was straight off the couch. While I was feeling really good about myself, I also recognize that I haven’t gotten any better or stronger with my training regimen of atrophy. I was just enjoying the phenomena of “Vanity Grading.”
I don’t know if vanity grading is a harmless practice that will simply foster higher self-esteem or if it’s a harbinger of the coming apocalypse. I suspect that it falls somewhere in between. I’m not sure that ‘vanity sizing’ has any serious risks other than not being able to fit your fat ass into a euro designer offering when your sizing measuring stick comes from JC Penny. I see that as being more amusing than anything else, but what about climbers being offered a steady diet of vanity graded gym climbs? Should that climber dare venture into the wild, they could conceivably find themselves in deep shit.
It’s a given that the vast majority of gym climbers do not cross over to outdoor climbing, but do we owe the minority that do venture outdoors a grading experience that is more in line with the regional norms? Is it time to recognize that gym climbing is a separate branch of the ‘Climbing Tree’ and not worry about what ‘crosses over’ and what doesn’t? I’m not sure what the answer is; grading is always a contentious topic.
Climbing Business Journal is an independent news outlet dedicated to covering the indoor climbing industry. Here you will find the latest coverage of climbing industry news, gym developments, industry best practices, risk management, climbing competitions, youth coaching and routesetting. Have an article idea? CBJ loves to hear from readers like you!