There’s no scientific equation to determine an exact grade, as there are too many differing factors. To establish the difficulty of the climb, the problem is broken down move by move. For example, if in a whole problem there are three or four ‘V2’ moves, that climb could average out at an overall V3+. Then taking the holds into consideration, this can either make it harder or easier again. Another element to keep in mind if you’re climbing in the gym, those problems will reflect the route setter’s style, build and strengths. So it’s easy to see why it’s hard to be definite, and this is why I’m trying to take the grading system a little less seriously.
Whether you boulder or rope climb, inside or out, I think it’s safe to say we have all fallen prey to the grading system at some point. You go somewhere new, try a problem graded at the level you usually climb easily, only to get spat off it. Or on the flip side, you have a crack at a higher grade and finish it like it’s nothing. It’s all very confusing.
Each individual climb or route is never going to be the same experience for every climber. Also a problems difficulty can be relative to the climber, which is why grades aren’t always the best way to track your progression. Having goals is awesome and having a grading system is important, but I think basing your climbing solely on grades can be perplexing and disheartening.
Don’t get consumed by the grading system or beat yourself up over it. If you see a climb that looks fun, don’t be put off by the tag or colour depicting the grade- just try it!
In all honesty it doesn’t matter what grade you’re climbing at, as long as you’re enjoying it and trying hard 🙂