understated trad grades

Simon Cahill sent me this note on a multi-pitch route at Sentinel:

Just had a great couple of days out with Maddie, day 1 climbed a route on the sentinel, can’t remember the name something like Kasarkstan [actually: Kharzang] and is route number 1 in your book. The grade given is v-diff. It’s a great climb but at v-diff is way off and potentially dangerous as a good severe leader would have an epic. I think it’s pretty solid VS with a lot of 4b climbing and I had to work the crux several times to get it so I think probably 4c ….I talked to Ralph about it this morning and he thought it was an HVS horror, not that bad but not V-diff. I think any update of the guidebook should include a serious regrade.

The descriptions and grades for trad routes were in most cases taken verbatim from Alan Stark’s PDF guide (I bought the copyright from Alan). Those descriptions were in turn mostly taken direct from first ascentionist’s accounts. Many routes have only had one ascent. John Gregory did review the text to some extent before publication, but it is reasonably likely that there are some other errors in there. However, thankfully this is the first error of this magnitude (2 -3 Brit trad grades difference) that has been identified. Be careful out there! Generally, in my opinion, as spelled out in the introduction to the guidebook, UAE trad should be approached with caution, especially on first acquaintance.

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