Grading for bouldering

Grading for bouldering

Bouldering has a number of different grading systems, although two, the Font and V systems, are most widespread in their use. This article shows how all the different systems compare to each other.

This table shows that bouldering utilises a variety of grading systems, although two, V grades and the Font system are the most widespread.

V Grade Peak Bouldering Grade Font Bouldering Grade Sport Grade (traverses)
V0- BO    
V0 B1 4  
V0+ B2
B3
B4
4+  
V1 5
5+
6b
6b+
 
V2  
V3 7a
7a+
7b
V4 B5 6c
V5 B6 6c+
V6 B7 7a 7c
V7 B8 7a+
7b+
7c
7c+
8a
7c+
V8 B9
B10
B11
8a
V9 8a+
V10 8b
V11 8b+
V12 B12 8a+ 8c
V13 B13 8b 8c+
V14 B14 8b+ 9a

The B system (as used in the Peak Bouldering Guide) is essentially the same as the V system, although occasionally traverses are given French sport climbing grades. It should also be noted that the Northumberland Bouldering Guide uses a system unique to that county, although it appears similar to both V and B grades.
 
The UK technical grade operates within all of the other systems, as it indicates the difficulty of the hardest single move
Meanwhile the UK technical grade operates within all of the other systems, as it indicates the difficulty of the hardest single move. Due to this, it usually fails to show the overall difficulty of a problem, and since a single technical grade can span four or five overall grades, it is not usually used by boulderers.

British bouldering guides tend to use V or B grades although many problems, principally those of 8a or above, are also known by their Font grade. UK guidebook writers have primarily adopted V grades because they are more useful in grading easier problems. One minor adaptation of the V system you may encounter is the use of V8+, between V8 and 9, as the equivalent of Font 7b+.

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