Grade 7, what are your views

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B.Bairstow
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Grade 7, what are your views

Post by B.Bairstow » Sat Mar 28, 2009 3:33 pm

Grade six is starting to get paddled more and more, Have there or are they gonna invent a grade 7? What do you think?

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Re: Grade 7, what are your views

Post by Simon Westgarth » Sat Mar 28, 2009 4:17 pm

On Class V and beyond, a line may be present and with increasing difficulty be ever more marginal. Yet when you paddle at that level, numbers and grading are not important, in fact not even considered, as you either go or you do not. Unlike climbing there is very little mileage in an open ended system, the river is too dynamic a place to practise the moves to complete the task.

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Re: Grade 7, what are your views

Post by Mark R » Sat Mar 28, 2009 4:57 pm

Image

Grade 6? 7? 12?


Is there any value at all in sticking a number on this?
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MikeR
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Re: Grade 7, what are your views

Post by MikeR » Sat Mar 28, 2009 5:06 pm

This reminds me of the Amp on Spinal Tap that is louder because it can be turned up to 11.

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Re: Grade 7, what are your views

Post by morsey » Sat Mar 28, 2009 5:13 pm

That photo is class.

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SwamP
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Re: Grade 7, what are your views

Post by SwamP » Sat Mar 28, 2009 5:57 pm

Think Paddy and Mark hit the nail on the head...coupled with Spinal Tap hahaha

Above 5 who cares?
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James Hartley
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Re: Grade 7, what are your views

Post by James Hartley » Sat Mar 28, 2009 6:04 pm

Mark R wrote:Image

Grade 6? 7? 12?


Is there any value at all in sticking a number on this?
Dead easy to grade that, its a must make portage move, so therefore its a grade nought, zero, not doing it!
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Re: Grade 7, what are your views

Post by Edwindle » Sat Mar 28, 2009 7:26 pm

Grade 7 will only make me feel like more of a noob because I can only paddle 4 grades beneath that. 3 grades is fine.
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Re: Grade 7, what are your views

Post by WideBoy » Sat Mar 28, 2009 7:44 pm

I was under the impression that anything over 4+ was merely graded as 'GNARL', and paddled by 'Xteme' type folks, rather than kayakers?!

For example, see above pic from Mark.
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Re: Grade 7, what are your views

Post by B.Bairstow » Sat Mar 28, 2009 8:31 pm

Yes but no one answered the question. I kind of got a inclin that people dont care, but sooner or later its gonna be an option. A portage in a guide book can sometimes be paddled is this a grade or too knarl?? Is this not confusing?? A runnable portage? or grade six or more????

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Re: Grade 7, what are your views

Post by Mark R » Sat Mar 28, 2009 8:39 pm

B.Bairstow wrote:Yes but no one answered the question.
Yes, they did.

To paraphrase, the answer is, what's the point?



The picture I posted ... you could spend all day arguing whether it is an easy grade 6, or a hard grade 6, or whether it is better to call it grade 7, or grade 8.3, or whatever. And why not have that argument, these debates are always fun? But it would have no bearing on anything real. Anything beyond Grade 5 is going to be run rarely, by very few people. These rapids are run on minutely fine yes/no judgements based on conditions on the day. Numbers cease to matter.
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Dave T
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Re: Grade 7, what are your views

Post by Dave T » Sat Mar 28, 2009 8:54 pm

There are some sections in Norway that are graded 7 in the guidebook. From memory I think the rapid that is a portage for most on the Raundalselvi play run is graded a 7 (could have the sections mixed up) and it looks like death on a stick... urgh.

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Re: Grade 7, what are your views

Post by B.Bairstow » Sat Mar 28, 2009 9:13 pm

Cheers Dave, thats what id heard and just wondered a bit. Obviously people are starting to use grade seven. When kayaking first took place was grade six used or has it developed with the improvment of equiment and technoogy.

And Mark I do kinda see where your coming from but there is point. Its like the difference between an E11 and an E10. Both fucking impossible but ones still harder than the other!

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Re: Grade 7, what are your views

Post by Toby » Sat Mar 28, 2009 10:26 pm

A much better, older and wiser paddler than me was asked a similar question recently about 'Was there anything above Grade Six and do people paddle it?' His answer was basically no, in his view if you can paddle it it isn't really a Grade Six. If it is paddled, it is by experts on their own judgement and he termed it a "Thank God Day run" (Although you do get Grade something + sections and grade something - sections eg Grade IV+)

As I understand it, there are sections that might be paddled on the day by certain paddlers who are on top of their game, as they judge that the flows are exactly right and can exactly visualise what they need to do to make the line and stay alive, but it is really down to the individual. ( and an all powerful Higher Moral Authority/ Deity).
Although, what I might regard as a certain death gnarl-from-hell, other people might regard as a 'sporting' play boat run. ( Mr Parker is the originator, as far as I know, of the river grade 'sporting', so he will be able to define it.) Some-one else recently posted a grading as 'rock and roll' (I think,it may have been 'ragtime') which again, I think is a nice way of grading rivers. Possibly Grade VI would be described as 'Wagnerian'?

However I feel that on the basis that most mortals will portage round the Grade VI, and any one thinking of running it will inspect it as carefully as possible before making a choice (and possibly a sacrifice to appease the river gods..) you don't need to have a grade higher, when you see the words Grade Six, you know you will be getting out of your boat. Although I do see the point about improvements in boat design etc as opening up more runs, so some runs that previously were not feasible now become feasible, i wouldn't say that this needs a new grade, just the section becomes not a grade six. (I'm avoiding writing reports, hence the long winded answer. Sorry.)
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Re: Grade 7, what are your views

Post by Adrian Shanahan » Sat Mar 28, 2009 10:33 pm

B.Bairstow wrote:Grade six is starting to get paddled more and more, Have there or are they gonna invent a grade 7? What do you think?
I have heard this time and time again, Once you get to class V and above all rapids/falls become one of two things, Grade Yes & Grade No. I would personally think that folks who try to convince me of otherwise are just waffling.

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Re: Grade 7, what are your views

Post by meatballs » Sat Mar 28, 2009 10:45 pm

I have heard this time and time again, Once you get to class V and above all rapids/falls become one of two things, Grade Yes & Grade No. I would personally think that folks who try to convince me of otherwise are just waffling.
Obviously all runs are Yes or No to individuals. But it wont be the same yes or no's through a group of people at any of the current grades. The grade 2 boater probably thinks you waffle a lot...

The majority (or all) of the posts are from people who have never ran grade 6 (an educated guess!). You really need to canvas people who do run grade 6s and find out why they dont run others and why people who do run both of those runs but wont run others...

Did climbers all go through the same argument when they graded something Extreme, and then decided to move onto E1-whatever when people managed to complete those climbs?
Those grades didn't apply to the average climber, but obviously now more and more average climbers have ventured onto those grades from when they were introduced - you can say 'psst it doesn't matter' now, but I'm sure the same things were said years ago and those people have egg on their faces.

Si makes a good point that the river isn't as static an environment as climbing but that didn't stop people spotting the difference between 4s and 5s, and then 5s and 6s...

If you are at the top of your game and can see the change in difficulty of some of the world's hardest (all currently grade 6) rapids why not increase the grade? It's going to make no difference to the paddlers below that level.

I've seen those big massive inflatable rescue raft video - who's to say someone could easily get down lots of grade Xs with those and then find theres rivers they cant get down - the next grade...
A much better, older and wiser paddler than me was asked a similar question recently about 'Was there anything above Grade Six and do people paddle it?' His answer was basically no, in his view if you can paddle it it isn't really a Grade Six. If it is paddled, it is by experts on their own judgement and he termed it a "Thank God Day run" (Although you do get Grade something + sections and grade something - sections eg Grade IV+)
And here for me personally the most important reason why we should have higher grades despite the fact that I wouldn't touch them with a barge pole:
It's much better to add grades than for people to start to downgrade 4s, 5s, 6s to lower grades decreasing the granularity of the grading system - that helps no-one and increases the danger for those using the grades as a guide...

It's also futureproof which is always handy.
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Gavin Shedden
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Re: Grade 7, what are your views

Post by Gavin Shedden » Sun Mar 29, 2009 9:41 am

James Hartley wrote:
Mark R wrote:Image

Grade 6? 7? 12?


Is there any value at all in sticking a number on this?
Dead easy to grade that, its a must make portage move, so therefore its a grade nought, zero, not doing it!

Its a grade 3 you would flush out after a while ? like a week later

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Re: Grade 7, what are your views

Post by Mark R » Sun Mar 29, 2009 9:49 am

g man wrote:Its a grade 3 you would flush out after a while ? like a week later
Put yourself in the driving seat and see what that paddler sees. The gradient is considerable (don't be deceived by the bird's eye view) and the water is unstable and surging wildly. At any given moment he sees perhaps 5% of what we can see in the photo. He pulled it all off, too. Bloody amazing bit of paddling.

More pics of the same rapid ...
http://darinm.blogspot.com/2008/12/paki ... -woke.html
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Re: Grade 7, what are your views

Post by feelingjustfine » Sun Mar 29, 2009 10:57 am

It is pretty nuts the rapids that are being run these days-almsot makes you feel bad when I think I'm doing something awesome on high flows up here then look at a picture like the above and it makes me realise how far there is to go....not sure I'll ever get there!

I quite like the term "grade X"-kind of says (to me) it is beyond a 5, what more needs to be said other than "X"....

I also think MarkR you are being generous with your estimate of 5% vision- "I doubt even that" in the words of Todd Rivers!
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Re: Grade 7, what are your views

Post by SwamP » Sun Mar 29, 2009 6:49 pm

Yep I'm with FJF, we're all crap!...but aint it fun!
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Re: Grade 7, what are your views

Post by jmmoxon » Sun Mar 29, 2009 9:18 pm

The problem with grading at the upper levels is illustrated by the following - I have paddled the Whitcombe in New Zealand 3 times, over those trips I have paddled all the rapids, however, I have always walked at least 1 rapid on each trip (different rapids become harder or easier at different levels). I have also seen someone miss the boof on a sneak route & end up main lining one of the rapids that looked like the most horrendous set of pourovers, but he just rode the back of a boulder & cruised through.

I have also paddled supposed grade 6s when they were lower than normal (Brandenburger Gorge) & others when higher than normal (Bonne). How do you propose to cover these?

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Re: Grade 7, what are your views

Post by Gavin Shedden » Sun Mar 29, 2009 9:23 pm

Mark R wrote:
g man wrote:Its a grade 3 you would flush out after a while ? like a week later
Put yourself in the driving seat and see what that paddler sees. The gradient is considerable (don't be deceived by the bird's eye view) and the water is unstable and surging wildly. At any given moment he sees perhaps 5% of what we can see in the photo. He pulled it all off, too. Bloody amazing bit of paddling.

More pics of the same rapid ...
http://darinm.blogspot.com/2008/12/paki ... -woke.html

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Re: Grade 7, what are your views

Post by meatballs » Sun Mar 29, 2009 9:46 pm

jmmoxon wrote: I have also paddled supposed grade 6s when they were lower than normal (Brandenburger Gorge) & others when higher than normal (Bonne). How do you propose to cover these?

Mike
Were they truly a grade 6 at the lower levels? I would say that rapids can change grade at different levels (but should always be listed with or as the highest they can be).

Think of it this way Mike,

Why are there grade 6s that you have been content to paddle, and what has stopped you from running the all the other grade 6s you've come across - if it's just water level then theres no need for higher grades, if it was because they were technically more difficult or more dangerous or you couldn't set up protection then why not give them a higher grade? Just as climbing adjective encompasses a range of things - protection, technical difficulty, and how strenuous it is.
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Re: Grade 7, what are your views

Post by jmmoxon » Sun Mar 29, 2009 10:14 pm

Neither of the mentioned rapids was more than grade 4- at the lower & higher flows encountered, the Brandenburger was pretty low & Bonne was very high.

My view is that with +/- & the present grades we already have potentially 20 grades for rivers (although +/- is rarely used for gr 1/2/3 - just as technical grades are rarely used for climbs below severe) - I like to include grade 0 for flat but flowing water & grade X for recommended portages (grade 6 is thus rapids that can occasionally be paddled, but will be walked by most).

I have also totally disappeared in a whirlpool on what is normally a grade 2 river in Chile (it was in flood)!

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Re: Grade 7, what are your views

Post by meatballs » Sun Mar 29, 2009 11:04 pm

jmmoxon wrote:just as technical grades are rarely used for climbs below severe) - I like to include grade 0 for flat but flowing water & grade X for recommended portages (grade 6 is thus rapids that can occasionally be paddled, but will be walked by most).

Mike
If I was grading it using those rules it would be 0-5 and 6 (and above) would be all be an X. That doesn't help or give more experienced and much better boaters than me any useful information. The same as if we stick with 1-6 or with 1-6 + X.

How about this, what are the downsides to grading above 6 apart from arguments about what is really a 7... or an 8... :D
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Re: Grade 7, what are your views

Post by Adrian Shanahan » Sun Mar 29, 2009 11:07 pm

meatballs wrote: That doesn't help or give more experienced and much better boaters than me any useful information. The same as if we stick with 1-6 or with 1-6 + X.
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Re: Grade 7, what are your views

Post by meatballs » Sun Mar 29, 2009 11:31 pm

I'm generally happy on grade 4, I generally walk 5 although theres a couple I will contemplate. I'm also not a big fan of dropping off waterfalls.

I'm for having higher grades because
a) I don't see why the top end of boaters wouldn't be able to differentiate between higher grades, it doesn't affect me, and will probably never do - I'm not that brave.
b) I don't believe in having a closed system when the sport is still developing and progressing such as peoples skills, understanding and equipment.
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Re: Grade 7, what are your views

Post by Adrian Shanahan » Sun Mar 29, 2009 11:48 pm

Right oh,

The reason I asked was to try make the point that grading is a very subjective thing, I try never put a number on my boating saying I am a grade ( whatever) paddler but I have run allot of class V in various places ( locally & internationally ) and a few runs of what I would have considered "pushy" class V . What I said above and I think Simon was alluding to the same thing is that once you start putting yourself in situations such as V + generally any grade you give a rapid / fall becomes irrelevant as the white water environment esp at this level is ever changing and any decision weather a paddler will run a rapid made by the paddler at the time. i.e. if he thinks it will go or not. This is what I call grade Yes or grade No. I hope that makes sense.

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Re: Grade 7, what are your views

Post by meatballs » Mon Mar 30, 2009 12:07 am

Adrian Shanahan wrote:Right oh,

The reason I asked was to try make the point that grading is a very subjective thing, I try never put a number on my boating saying I am a grade ( whatever) paddler but I have run allot of class V in various places ( locally & internationally ) and a few runs of what I would have considered "pushy" class V . What I said above and I think Simon was alluding to the same thing is that once you start putting yourself in situations such as V + generally any grade you give a rapid / fall becomes irrelevant as the white water environment esp at this level is ever changing and any decision weather a paddler will run a rapid made by the paddler at the time. i.e. if he thinks it will go or not. This is what I call grade Yes or grade No. I hope that makes sense.

Adrian
Aye I was almost going to add that it was 4/5 on low volume creeky stuff. Put me on big volume and I have little experience to draw upon.

Every grade is subjective, every decision to run that rapid is subjective. Everyboater thinks, "Yes"/"No", or "It'll go"/"That'll hurt" What your argument says to me is that we should abolish all grades - or that you believe it incapable for someone that is better than you to differentiate between two rapids? Personally I agree with you and Simon that I doubt they can on most things, but I'm still open to the idea.

If people paddling 6s think ah this is harder, I'll call it a 7 does it make any difference to you? I'll have started portaging a mile upriver ;)
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Re: Grade 7, what are your views

Post by Adrian Shanahan » Mon Mar 30, 2009 12:47 am

meatballs wrote:Every grade is subjective, every decision to run that rapid is subjective. Everyboater thinks, "Yes"/"No", or "It'll go"
I 100% agree with you, and I personally think people put way too much stock in what the number in the guide book says. For me a guide book is just that a "guide" or indication if you will, I run every rapid on a Yes/No basis and there have been days where I have walked so called "lesser stuff" as I just wasn't feeling the love on the day. I would be of the opinion that once a guide book indicates a rapid as V + it is a given that a paddler can expect ( if you forgive me) "extreme white water" where inspection is necessary on all occasions, and then a paddler can play the Yes /No game show in his head, If you put any higher numbers i.e. grade 6 / 7/ 8 they are of no addition as an rapid of V+ is going to be inspected.

I am not saying we should scrap guide books or river grades as they are a great resource from people looking to discover new or different white water. I have seen it happen time and time again where folks paddle class 3/4 in one place and then head away for a trip somewhere new, see a 3/4 in a guide book barrel on down and the carnage ensues. This happens all because folks clutch onto the concept of "Rivers by numbers". All rapids and rivers should be judged on their own merits taking into account conditions at the time, actually knowledge of the river & and honest self appraisal of ones own ability. By all means use guide books and grades to point you in the right direction but do not rely on the numbers in the pages as you might not live to regret it some time. ( dramatic but true)

If I am using grades I uses one of two systems-

Option 1 = Grades I II III IV VI with the addition of a - or + where needed, this seems to be fairly well recognised worldwide

Option 2 = Grades I II III IV V VI as above but with the addition of a letter (A-F) after the grade number i.e. Grade IV (D) where the letter in this case D indicates the seriousness of a swim / getting it wrong. A = nothing bad happens what so ever , F = certain death

Option 3 = Coran has his own one which has certain merits but far too long to go into in this post.

But as I said all grades are subjective and each river/rapid should be judged on its own merits. I would add that any boater setting them selves up to run a grade 7 rapid as you put it would totally ignore any numbers in guide book and judge on the day.

Apologies for the long-windedness of the post but I hope you see where I am coming from.

Adrian



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