Professional Downgraders

15 10 2007


Kind of Magic a nice and easy 7c 😛



We cannot all be better by what we do. Some take the shortest path… The Downgrade!

They are not bad persons is just their way of fitting the climbing community. Sitting around a climbers’ table they lack subjects others might want to comment, so in order to gain a place among the greatests they push the grades down! If necessary they’ll do it to all the routes they’ve done (or try) except their hardest climb (climb that they will swear on their mother’s grave that’s the hardest route of that grade).


For me the downgrader has a similar status to the worst football player I had in high school! This guy knew that he didn’t play football so he distinguished himself by his karate football style. No one wanted him playing on the other side (you can guess why). The downgrader is of the same character, every body knows who he is and why he downgrades, but it’s just better to have him on our side than to have every climb we do downgraded.


Even for the other climbers it is not easy to escape from the downgrading style! Imagine that at your best you have done two 6b’s and your friend, who is clearly not as strong as you, has just done one of those 6b’s! Three choices come up: Find a harder route, give up climbing because life isn’t fair, or downgrade it!

 Find a harder route 

You probably have to try/train harder and find a 6b+ that suits you, and then, with some luck, you will have to ask that friend to belay you (who will clearly want you to fall and preferably in the ground so that he could do that route before you). Moreover, you will be considered an equally skilled climber during the trying period. After that, you will enjoy a different climbing status from your friend until: a “6b+ or more” climber downgrades your 6b+ or, even worst, your friend catches you again. As you can see this is clearly not an option!

 Give up climbing 

Don’t show your face in the crag or the climbing gym and avoid the regular sport climbing vacations (go alternative like traditional climbing, etc. in unknown places). Keep training hard at home and then, 2 years latter, appear in the crag/gym saying you have done nothing for 2 years! Every one will say you are special and if you trained you would be among the greatests.


I which life would be so simple! Imagine that you can decide who is climbing better, every time some does a route with a higher grade you can decide if that is really harder or not! After earring a very enthusiastic report of the ascent you’ll say: Yeah, it’s an excellent route but it’s no more than 6b. Which is equivalent to: amazing route with a continuous pinch for the right hand and excellent footholds for both feet…, yeah but no more than my building’s stairs! Or putted in another way: it’s just sad that it isn’t even considered climbing!


Infra you can see a decision tree example of how you can decide in a similar situation…





3 responses

22 10 2007

The eternal question… is it ou isnt’ that hard? In case of dougt, downgrade!!!

Good point about the 3 options… 🙂

7 11 2007
Tore Årthun

Brilliant website! you hit the nail on the professional downgraders article!


7 11 2007
Traducción: Who is Mr « Blog d’en Passarell

[…] grados más altos pueden estar sobrecotados, o los grados inferiores ser muy duros (véase el post Professional downgraders), la escala puede ser más sensible a pequeños cambios (en el nivel de escalada) cuando te acercas […]

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