Grade (climbing)

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In rock climbing, mountaineering and other climbing disciplines, climbers give a climbing grade to a route that concisely describes the difficulty and danger of climbing the route. Different aspects of climbing each have their own grading system, and many different nationalities developed their own, distinctive grading systems.

There are a number of factors that contribute to the difficulty of a climb including the technical difficulty of the moves, the strength and stamina required, the level of commitment, and the difficulty of protecting the climber. Different grading systems consider these factors in different ways, so no two grading systems have an exact one-to-one correspondence.

Climbing grades are inherently subjective[1] - they are the opinion of one or a few climbers, often the first ascentionist or the author(s) of a guidebook. While grades are usually applied fairly consistently across a climbing area, there are often perceived differences between grading at different climbing areas. Because of these variables, a given climber might find a route to be either 'too hard' or 'too easy' for the grade applied.[2]


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