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bobtheboulderer


May 21, 2002, 11:40 AM
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John Gill Ratings?
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How do John Gills B1, B2, and B3 ratings stack up against today's V rating system? What is a problem like The Thimble rated today as it was a B3 in his day?


wigglestick


May 21, 2002, 12:07 PM
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I never quite understood the Gill system. It seemed that is was pretty much like B-easy B-hard and B-impossible. But judging by the time that problems were rated using the B system I would make an educated guess that
B1= 5.10 and under
B2= 5.10 to 5.12
B3= 5.12 and up

So I guess that
B1= roughly V0
B2= V1-V4
B3= V5-V15

*Edit*
I researched this a little and found what I originally suspected to be true. The B system kept changing as the standards of climbing were raised. A B1 represented the hardest roped climbs of the era while B3 represented things that were so hard only one person had done them. As soon as they were repeated they were rated B2. For more info Click HERE

[ This Message was edited by: wigglestick on 2002-05-21 12:19 ]


jgill


Jun 1, 2002, 10:17 PM
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The reference by Wigglestick gives a fairly decent description of my system. Keep in mind that the ethics of rock climbing were different then. If you fell on a roped climb, you descended and started the pitch over. Hangdogging and top-rope practice of a move were considered unethical. Under these circumstances the hardest bouldering moves would invariably exceed the hardest traditional moves. I devised a system in which B1 represented the highest level of difficulty found in roped climbing - at the time. B2 was "bouldering class" difficulty. B3 was objective and applied to a route climbed only once, but tried by others. When it was eventually repeated, it fell into either the B1 or B2 categries. I wanted to encourage bouldering as an elite activity, but, at the same time, discourage the kind of number hunger inherant in the YDS. I perceived bouldering as having dimensions other than a singular qwest for greater difficulty. Years later, when I saw problems described as B1- or B2+, I knew that particular game was up! Sherman's system is more appropriate in the present climate - but it lacks the nuance to encourage looking into the activity for more subtle treasures.

[ This Message was edited by: jgill on 2002-06-01 22:19 ]


roughster


Jun 1, 2002, 10:54 PM
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John Gill Ratings? [In reply to]
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John,

Would just like to say you have always been an inspiration to myself (and I am sure many many others) as a climber.

It is truley great to have someone of your caliber actively posting to this site!


Partner pianomahnn


Jun 2, 2002, 7:06 PM
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John Gill Ratings? [In reply to]
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/me wishes for the old system

YDS is buggin me.


jgill


Jun 3, 2002, 7:28 PM
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Thank you, Roughster. I'm happy to contribute.


krustyklimber


Jun 4, 2002, 4:19 PM
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Ditto what Aaron/roughster said! It is insiring to say the least to have you personally clear that up for us!

I have always admired you, Bridwell and Sharma's grading systems! They give an accurate decription of the difficulty relative to the time, where a Beckey 5.9 could be and is under scrutiny to change these old school grades. Where there will be no changing of a grade, when Sharma says it's 5-hard you know it's hard! Or when "the Bird" says "DFU" you know you'd better not F**k it up, or you will be F**ked up!

Your system was and still is the best scale for bouldering in a non-competetive setting.
B1 being for the average mortal and old guys like me. B2 steps it up a notch, you have to be a "real boulderer" to throw those out! And then B3, reserved for those problems only sent by Rock Gods (like you)!

Thank you so much for all that you have given to our sport/way of life, you have been a shining example of what a climber can be, if you apply yourself! Not to mention I have never heard of you saying anything negative about other forms of climbing or other climbers!!

Jeff


stewbabby


Jun 4, 2002, 4:42 PM
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John, I am from Birmingham, Alabama and was at the boulderfields last week. I did a problem that still bears your name. The Gill problem. This problem still scares off plenty of climbers today. Do you remember about when you put up this problem. I, like the others, respect and love the work that you have done for our sport.

stewart


jgill


Jun 4, 2002, 5:36 PM
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Boy, that's a puzzle, Stewart. I don't know what that would be. I last climbed in the Birmingham area about 1964, and then only at Shades Mountain on some really nice short overhanging cliffs (climbing out of the rusty cans, broken bottles, and similar debris at the base was a delightful experience!) Is this the area you are talking about? I thought I had heard that this spot was now inaccessible.


paulc


Jun 4, 2002, 6:54 PM
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hey John,

OT, but are you and MC out of GA still trading mail regarding your routes down there, would ask him, but he is in Peru now yah.

Just curious.

Paul


stewbabby


Jun 4, 2002, 6:59 PM
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Sorry everyone for hyjacking the thread. Yes, John that is the area. There is a small cliffline that runs along the top of shadescrest mountain, that yes is still plauged my litter. And yes the access to it is messed up. But about 1/2 mile down the mountain there is a waterfall and boulderfield. It is listed as the shadescrest boulderfields. You are listed in the Dixie craggers atlas as haveing a few first ascents there. We have been fighting a battle with developers to preserve it. The boulderfields is listed here
http://www.rockclimbing.com/routes/listArea.php?AreaID=2308
A few of my pictures linked to here are from the area that you are talking about. I will try to find a picture of your namesake problem and send it to you.

stewart



[ This Message was edited by: stewbabby on 2002-06-04 19:01 ]


jgill


Jun 5, 2002, 7:53 PM
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Thanks, Stewart. I am interested. If I climbed it, it would have been about 1963.

Paul, I haven't really sent much info to MC yet. I really didn't do that much in the south. . .pretty much preliminary stuff, I suspect.


redzit


Jun 7, 2002, 11:12 AM
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i too, respect you John,
But, I've only been climbing sence Augest, What the heck is a YDS???

(ps. I hope non of our compliment and praising make you feel like your in a odd spot. )


climbjs


Jun 7, 2002, 11:44 AM
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Mr. Gill-
It is truly an honor to have your input on this website! Having grown up climbing in the Black Hills of South Dakota, I am always awed seeing the problems you established, routes you established, and philosophies of climbing. You are and have been a personal hero to me!


sidepull


Jun 7, 2002, 3:01 PM
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Here are some of Klem Loskot's thoughts about rating. Don't confuse his B-system with John Gills. (check www.nadventure.com).

"Udo told me a story about how he witnessed two young Polar Bears in the Salt Lake City Zoo. Their cage had a waterfall that was fed from a pool in a sort of balcony about 3 meters above the water. First the polar bears threw a ball up on this balcony till. (They didn’t throw very well, so it took them a while before it rested on the water.) Then they waited for the current to take the ball to the edge of the waterfall where it stayed. The polar bears could (barely) jump to the edge of this balcony and hang on. They spent the following hour or so jumping on the balcony and trying to climb (sometimes with heelhooks!) to where the ball was lying on the water. Now they tried to hang on with one hand and reach out for the ball with the other. Most of the times they were running out of juice and fell backwards into the water. The (human) crowd got really excited by watching the polar bears try and shouted at them to psyche the bears up. This seemed to help and finally they had their ball back. Of course they threw the ball again and the game started to repeat itself... At one point, the polar bears will have the whole thing wired. They will throw the ball so precisely that it rests on the water first try and immediately succeed in jumping and climbing for it. Hopefully the zoo management will give them a sloping edge of the balcony than, our hang the balcony higher to make the jump harder, but most likely the polar bears have to invent a new, more difficult game. This is what I would do.
I want to do the highest jump and the hardest climb in my cage. Primarily I’m not interested in how hard this might be for the other polar bears. Okay, it’s interesting to see the others try, sometimes we get "Big Toni" from the ice if the jump is really high, or skinny Markus if the holds on the balcony are really bad. But to put a small number on so much fun seems to be a bit ridiculous to me. In my head, everything is clear: A "grauzone" of routes and boulders that (hopefully) have been pleasantly difficult, but where I never had a doubt that I eventually would succeed. And than the problems that kept me up at night, which I had to try a couple of days, always doubtful if they are really possible for me. These things I will call B1 from now on. And than the limit. If I eventually succeed on these I’m not even sure if I’ll be ever able to do them again, since too many uncontrollable factors are involved. Even I don’t know all the ingredients of the luck-opportunity-mixture that allows me to climb these things. These climbs I call B3. I cannot imagine that I will have more than a handful of B3’s throughout my life. Maybe somebody repeats my problem, maybe I can do it again or I just get doubtful about if it is really so hard... anyway I might downrate it to B2 to make new room for B3’s.
When climbing with friends, of course I will still tell them how hard I think a problem is in the traditional sense, I just don’t find this interesting for me anymore. I’m going climbing and not running on tracks and I realized that I can’t find objective measurements for an activity so diverse. One last word about Pierre Bollinger’s repeat and downrating of "Muadib" (rated 8b bloc by Toni Lamprecht after the first ascent, confirmed by Klem after the 2nd ascent, than downrated to 7c+ by Pierre Bollinger after the third ascent). If I could do Muadib that easily, I would have added the obvious and difficult sit-down start to it to have some kind of challenge. I’m sure that’s what the polar bears had done. But sometimes humans climb for different motives than polar bears, don't they?"
--- Klem Loskot


jgill


Jun 11, 2002, 7:40 PM
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Redzit, the YDS is the "Yosemite Decimal System", created to grade climbing from simple uphill walking to extreme stuff. Mostly, these days, you only hear of the
"fifth class" designation, meaning "pitons or other forms of protection needed - but free climbing". Fourth class means "rope used but no hardware". Third class means "rope not required, but exposed and potentially dangerous". Sixth class means aid climbing.
Originally,(late 40s or early 50s?) class five was subdivided from 5.0 to 5.9, in proper mathematics. In the late 50s, harder free climbs were done so the system continued into 5.10 "improperly". All of the above info is from what I recall - the definitions may not be exactly the same as the originals, but you get the idea.


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