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#39422 - 09/02/08 11:51 PM Re: new guidebook in August? [Re: BrianRI]
pedestrian Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 08/05/02
Posts: 2244
Loc: a heavily fortified bunker!
 Originally Posted By: BrianRI
I think some of this grade creep can be attributed to the shear numbers of people climbing a route and polishing the rock.


As a self-described geezer, do you spend a lot of time in gyms?

I think perhaps this trend towards inflation has a lot to do with gym and sport climbers. I see a lot of appallingly incorrect (inflated) grades at my gym, and some of the stuff I've been on at Rumney and the New seems a little soft as well, if only to the extent that the mere presence of bolts makes protecting the moves physically easier... the authors of the guidebook in question are clearly the new kids on the block among Gunks guidebook authors; are they young enough that their earliest climbing experiences were shaped by a badly-grading gym, or sport?

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#39423 - 09/03/08 01:38 AM Re: new guidebook in August? [Re: pedestrian]
tradgunkie Offline
newbie

Registered: 09/10/03
Posts: 38
 Originally Posted By: pedestrian
the authors of the guidebook in question are clearly the new kids on the block among Gunks guidebook authors; are they young enough that their earliest climbing experiences were shaped by a badly-grading gym, or sport?


One of the authors, Zach Orenczak, learned to climb at the Gunks. He spent all four of his high school years at the Gunks and also traveled to some southern sandstone of New River, Obed, and Red River. He then went to college in Wyoming and climbed throughout that area, mostly trad stuff. He's been developing some bolted sport areas lately, perhaps that has softened him up.

Just speculation, but I'm wondering if upon returning to the Gunks, he felt that the grades here are stiffer than ones he's seen in his travels.

I don't know Rachel Lynn that well, but I'm sure she spends little time in the gym.
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#39425 - 09/03/08 03:12 AM Re: new guidebook in August? [Re: tradgunkie]
redtag Offline
journeyman

Registered: 06/26/07
Posts: 98
so fcuking what???? ...just because he's travelled or he learned to climb here doesnt mean he has a clue...

i've travelled all over the place too, and i learned to climb in the gunks...and i find this new guidebook to be a bound and glossy piece of dogshit...

the grade inflation is just pure bullshit - dumbing it down at its worst - clearly pandering to the whining new-school noobs who need their egos to be stroked to keep their dollars flowing into the climbing industries pockets...

the authors knew this dogshit would sell based on the fancy publishing and 'topos' and didnt care whether the quality of the content was high or not or if they did care have no idea about what quality is...it seems that the motivation for this guidebook was a combination of ego and greed...no desire to serve the climbing community, no consideration of local tradition, no care toward good style or good ethics, no respect for consistency or accuracy, and no attention to detail...others have already detailed some of the poor work that went into this book so i wont bother to belabor that point any longer

consensus gunks grades, as presented by williams or swain, are and have been consistent and fair...gunks climbs are graded harder than some areas and softer than others...thats life...

and whats this crap about climbs being harder if you dont have the right beta??? well DUH!!!!....you can make any climb several grades harder if YOU'RE NOT CLIMBING IT WELL.....if you don't onsight 10s very well, and always screw up the sequence because the climb is too hard that doesnt make the climb an 11 or 12...its makes YOU NOT A GOOD ONSIGHT CLIMBER AT THE 5.10 LEVEL....climb some more 10s and you'll get there...do more pushups...eat fewer donuts.....having bad or no beta on a climb doesnt change the grade of the climb....some people actually read the rock well...they actually onsight well...and they actually enjoy onsighting....

this book should find its way to the round file, not to the book shelf, or the backpack

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#39430 - 09/03/08 01:52 PM Re: new guidebook in August? [Re: tradgunkie]
Julie Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 01/16/00
Posts: 2090
Loc: SoCal
 Originally Posted By: tradgunkie
He spent all four of his high school years at the Gunks and also traveled to some southern sandstone of New River, Obed, and Red River. He then went to college in Wyoming and climbed throughout that area, mostly trad stuff.


High school, you say? All four years?

I'm so impressed.

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#39433 - 09/03/08 02:56 PM Re: new guidebook in August? [Re: BrianRI]
Frank Florence Offline
addict

Registered: 01/05/00
Posts: 528
Loc: moved to Bend
BrianRI made the point that I hear more and more frequently about the Trapps, that the routes are getting polished and therefore are harder. Honestly, while there may presently be a few examples of that, I don't think that's the case for the vast majority of Trapps climbs, and the polishing is even less prevalent at the other Gunks cliffs. But it is a potential worth considering if use is focused on a relatively small number of climbs.

Concern over polished routes illustrates a useful characteristics of a guidebook that seems to be lacking here. While I haven't read any more of this new guidebook other than what was on the web briefly, it seems to be strongly focused on the climbs that are already the most popular. Hey, let's have every Uberfall route as slick as the Herdie-Gerdie block.

And whether or not all these routes end up polished, how about some relief from the crowds? Does this guide attempt to describe hidden gems, enjoyable link-ups, or simply a little variety? As far as I can tell, the new guide stands in stark contrast to how DW's latest guide helped spread the word on many very good but less frequently climbed routes, giving us all a chance to get scared in new places and thinning the hordes in the process. I happily anticipate the same treatment for the Nears.

Maybe hanging out in line at the base of crowded routes suits the readers of this new guide. I'd rather climb.

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#39434 - 09/03/08 03:00 PM Re: new guidebook in August? [Re: Julie]
rg@ofmc Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 12/25/99
Posts: 2472
Loc: Poughkeepsie, NY
Ped, I spend an evening or two a week in the gym. I'd be backing off 5.4's if I didn't. But my gym's grades ain't soft. Mostly they are inconsistent, reflecting the strengths, weaknesses, and experience of the setter, who probably boulders V10. By and large, I find the routes to be undergraded, but that may be a reflection of my geezerly decline. Whatever the reality, you couldn't blame "grade inflation" on anything I've observed in the gym.

Whether sport climbing has softened grades or not is beyond my level of expertise; the (perhaps sad) fact of the matter is that I have never done even one sport climb, unless you want to count something like Dream of Wild Turkeys, which does have closely bolted 5.9--5.10 together with typically run-out 5.8 offwidth.

As for the authors being too young to know a real grade when they see it, I accept the stipulation that they are experienced and well-travelled, so that naivete can't be the explanation for their choice of gunks grades. In any case, I hope I have made it clear that a case can be made for raising some classic gunks grades, so that a certain amount of "inflation," applied consistently with a clearly stated rationale, wouldn't be a bad thing in my opinion.

Furthermore, although I have been (I believe justifiably) harsh in my criticism of this new guide, I don't want any part of the tendency to ascribe base motives to the authors. Quite the contrary. I think it is possible to peer past the crap and see a concept shimmering in the distance. I don't think I'd like this particular concept even if it was effectively achieved, but that dislike would boil down to a matter of taste and philosophy, and others might quite properly see things differently.

Ultimately, what makes The Gunks by far the worst guidebook I've ever seen is not the concept but the execution. If there is a "whatever" culture spreading in our world, this could be its bible. The thing that is on the shelves is a first draft that is desperately in need of an editor and of a team of expert critical readers. In putting this first draft out, the authors have failed to exercise the due diligence required of someone who is a provider of critical information, and frankly, this offends me, both as an academic who believes passionately in making an effort to get things right, and as a climber who expects a guidebook to provide, well, guidance you can put some trust in.

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#39436 - 09/03/08 03:35 PM Re: new guidebook in August? [Re: rg@ofmc]
bird Offline
stranger

Registered: 07/18/05
Posts: 4
Loc: NY
I'm a bit late to this discussion, but just thumbed through the book at R&I. I can't believe Shockley's is 5.8+ what a crock. When I first climbed it in ~1981, it was rated 5.5, now 5.6. Part of what makes the Gunks the Gunks is the conservative ratings. As for bad beta leading to higher grades that's bunk. Last weekend on Jackie I "missed" a hold and had to back down a few feet on one section. Had I kept going, the climb would have probably felt like 5.7 or 8 to me. Should that change the rating? Absolutely not. I agree with the previous post that typos and misinformation are inexcusable, put out work you can be proud of, not something that's "close enough".
Anyway, I hope the marketplace sorts this out and this is the first and last printing of this lame guide.

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#39440 - 09/03/08 04:44 PM Re: new guidebook in August? [Re: rg@ofmc]
Timbo Offline
addict

Registered: 12/23/99
Posts: 696
Loc: Delaware
 Originally Posted By: rg@ofmc
The thing that is on the shelves is a first draft that is desperately in need of an editor and of a team of expert critical readers. In putting this first draft out, the authors have failed to exercise the due diligence required of someone who is a provider of critical information, and frankly, this offends me, both as an academic who believes passionately in making an effort to get things right, and as a climber who expects a guidebook to provide, well, guidance you can put some trust in.


As a professional writer (technical reports), I agree 100 percent with Rich. It drives me nuts when I see poor writing, with numerous grammar and spelling errors, in "professional" publications.

But an interesting point occured to me. The previous black, grey, and rainbow (Select) Dicks were chock full of bad grammar and mispellings (most were corrected in the recent Trapps Guide). And annoying as they were to me as a writer, I found them quaint and indicative of part of the author's down-home character fused into the guide. I believe the previous guides were self published (someone correct me if I am wrong). I am more than willing to forgive some grammar and language quirks in such cases. But (and this is the big but) I do not recall any inconsistencies in grades or route descriptions throughout the book.

So, the big differences here are:
1) This new guide is published by a "legit" publishing company. Someone should have given this thing a thorough edit. If someone did, then that person should be sacked by Ralph the Wonder Llama because they are not very good at their job.

2) All (or almost all) errors in Dicks' previous guides were grammar or spelling, not route information inconsistencies.

So, if you are going to publish a slick, picture-laden, corporate-publishing-company climbing guide, you damn well should get a decent editor to review it.
TS
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#39444 - 09/03/08 05:38 PM Re: new guidebook in August? [Re: Timbo]
rg@ofmc Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 12/25/99
Posts: 2472
Loc: Poughkeepsie, NY
Timbo, I believe in grammar and spelling too but am willing to be forgiving in something like a guidebook. This guidebook also has a bunch of layout problems---I didn't even want to get into that. But when it comes to the handling or mishandling of the hard data at the core of the guidebook's purpose, then I think a far more stringent standard of correctness is only natural and appropriate.

As for the "legitimacy" of the publishing company, I think it may just be the authors' business. So it is probably appropriate to view this guide as self-published too, with whatever slack you want to cut for that. Still, in my view, self-publishing does not relieve a guidebook author from the demands of due diligence.

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#39446 - 09/03/08 06:06 PM Re: new guidebook in August? [Re: rg@ofmc]
d-elvis Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 04/26/00
Posts: 3650
Loc: Central PA
To chime in, first page disclaimers aside, if you negligently (or intentionally) misrepresent or disregard the grade of a route in a guidebook at a nationally known and popular climbing area when historical consensus and other established guidebooks have the grade otherwise, this may be actionable should someone hurt themselves relying on the grade stated in the "guide".
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