Grade 7, what are your views

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Re: Grade 7, what are your views

Post by meatballs » Thu Apr 16, 2009 5:23 pm

David Fairweather wrote:The point about guidebooks makes sense, but a guidebook without grades could be just as useful as any with grades, you would just have to read the words, which give a far better idea of the river than a single number ever could.
A lot of people argue that they don't like to read a blow by blow account of a river, nor have too much information given to them!

In conversation the other day it came up how nice the Alps guidebooks are for having a breakdown of runs and grades (without having to trawl through all the information) to choose destinations to go to.

The guidebook point was a side issue, can no-one argue the positives (natural, logical, future-proof) or the negatives of having a closed system (less information as we push a wider range of rivers into 6 levels, low-ratings or downrating rapids as harder stuff is done)?
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Re: Grade 7, what are your views

Post by David Fairweather » Thu Apr 16, 2009 5:28 pm

meatballs wrote:A lot of people argue that they don't like to read a blow by blow account of a river, nor have too much information given to them!
That's fair, but a description such as "hard pool drop river in a deep gorge" or "big volume, continuous rapids with little in the way of big holes" is far more useful than simply "gd 4" and doesn't give away any too much info. A lot of people put a worrying amount of emphasis on grades.

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Re: Grade 7, what are your views

Post by meatballs » Thu Apr 16, 2009 5:30 pm

David Fairweather wrote:
meatballs wrote:A lot of people argue that they don't like to read a blow by blow account of a river, nor have too much information given to them!
That's fair, but a description such as "hard pool drop river in a deep gorge" or "big volume, continuous rapids with little in the way of big holes" is far more useful than simply "gd 4" and doesn't give away any too much info. A lot of people put a worrying amount of emphasis on grades.
'hard pool drop river in a deep gorge' doesn't tell me as much as grd 5 pool drop river in gorge unless I know the person who's written the guide. Yes grades on their own aren't great, descriptions of rivers on their own aren't great which is still why we have both. Not arguing that point :)
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Re: Grade 7, what are your views

Post by jmmoxon » Fri Apr 17, 2009 6:44 pm

But the Grand Canyon goes up to class 10 (equivalent to grade 4)...

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Re: Grade 7, what are your views

Post by jmmoxon » Fri Apr 17, 2009 6:55 pm

However in the Wales guidebook there is a lot of runnable GD 6!
I don't think there are that many. The descriptions in the Welsh guidebook were mostly written in the 1980s/early 90s, when we still had a lot of hangover from paddling fibreglass boats - some of these drops are no longer grade 6 as we no longer worry so much about breaking boats on rocky drops, and a lot of the drops are run nowadays at very low levels when they are normally easier than the grade given - with a decent flow of water (which is what most of the rivers are graded for) they can be altogether more impressive.

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Re: Grade 7, what are your views

Post by B.Bairstow » Sat Apr 18, 2009 12:44 am

Mike, that is my point....

Quote ''in the 1980s/early 90s, when we still had a lot of hangover from paddling fibreglass boats - some of these drops are no longer grade 6 as we no longer worry so much about breaking boats on rocky drops, and a lot of the drops are run nowadays''(ABOVE)

Therefore intwenty years time maybe all the grades six's are run and grade seven may be a possibility????

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Re: Grade 7, what are your views

Post by cswalker » Sat Apr 18, 2009 6:34 pm

I don't get this thread!? And assuming since "Grade 7" is your benchmark to the discussion I am assuming that the International Grading System methodology is being questioned?

Grade 1
Moving water, unobstructed and without technical difficulties. There may be small waves and riffles to 'challenge' the paddler.
An example of a local rivers which could be considered Grade I would be The Wye (Symonds Yat is Grade 1+)

Grade 2
Waves, small stoppers and other minor obstructions to avoid. Eddies and cushion waves may be strong.
The Barle would be a good example of a Grade II river in the south west.

Grade 3
Waves, stoppers and technical difficulties are more severe. There may be drops and powerful constrictions. The main distinguishing factor of Grade III water is that the paddler will have to follow a recognisable route to avoid obstacles and hazards.
The Dart (Loop) and Tryweryn are two of the more famous Grade III rivers paddled by the club.

Grade 4
Severe waves, drops, stoppers and other obstructions. The route is not easily recognisable and will usually require careful inspection from the boat or bank.
Grade 4 encompasses a wide range of rivers, from those with pool-drop rapids to those with extended continuous rapids; so there is a huge variation in difficulty. It is common to distinguish easier grade 4 rapids by grading them as 4- and harder rapids as 4+ (or in some cases, 3/4 or 4/5)
For the more experienced paddlers the club leads trips to rivers like the Upper Dart and Afon Rhonda which both contain

Grade 5
Extremely difficult rapids with precise and technically demanding routes to be followed. Stoppers, currents and waves will be powerful and inspection is essential.
As a club our focus is on paddling whitewater up to Grade IV and we rearely publish details of trips o harder water. However, a small group of club paddlers may arrange private trips from time to time.

Grade 6
All of the above carried to extremes. Grade 6 usually means unrunnable rapids, which may just be possible in certain conditions.


Therefore;

Grade 7
Totally unrunnable at any level with certain loss of loss by anyone foolhardy enough to attempt such a rapid / fall / cataract.

The answer seems fairly simple to me!

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Re: Grade 7, what are your views

Post by rich gunton » Sat Apr 18, 2009 9:35 pm

I would guess that the small group of people who can run this stuff grade 7 and so forth wont care too much about giving it a grade. I think things are starting to be graded at seven etc because grade five isnt big enough to cover everyhting that is being run these days. Doug ammons book covers it well, and the proceeded go to charity.

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Re: Grade 7, what are your views

Post by Mark R » Fri Nov 13, 2009 11:21 pm

Mark R wrote:Image

Grade 6? 7? 12?


Is there any value at all in sticking a number on this?

http://worldkayakblogs.com/jscreekin/20 ... sequences/

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Re: Grade 7, what are your views

Post by Rdscott » Fri Nov 13, 2009 11:29 pm

Check the grading section on here.
it doesnt state what garde 6 is it mearly suggests thet it is un runable, maybe the fact is that the sections of 6 that are being paddled are more 5's and need down grading.

The thing i love about the kayaking grading is its all on a continuum and can change with water levels and with time. Unlike climbing where it is verymuch stuck where it is and standardised even if it shouldn't be.

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Re: Grade 7, what are your views

Post by Fatboy » Sat Nov 14, 2009 1:08 pm

I personally don't see a need to expand it. The grading system works for me, and for many others. AVI may be a V+ on the day someone paddles it. Or it may be a VI, and they are very, very good / lucky / strong. I don't think that anyone at any level should paddle a rapid because it has a grade, and they "usually are alright". As others have said, at that level, the grade is much more of a sugggestion, and conditions are judged at the time.

The argument that a lot of people have made is that it doesn't allow for progression, and have compared it to climbing grades, which exploded due to the introduction of better safety gear - so you can now protect certain routes rather than soloing them; and the invention of sticky rubber - you can now use your feet more efficiently than before.

Kayaking - Throwlines are still the same as they ever were - if you can't throw a bag to the swimmer, then they're in the same position they ever were. Kayaks are limited as to how fast they go by their length. Falls still land on rocks. I don't think there is the same scope for as rapid a progression in kayaking as in climbing (which I believe is slowing, if I can but remember the article by Steve McClure), due to the impossibility of punching certain holes in boats under 12m long.

Just a thought.
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Re: Grade 7, what are your views

Post by clarky999 » Sat Nov 14, 2009 1:18 pm

Therefore intwenty years time maybe all the grades six's are run and grade seven may be a possibility????
No. Look at the definition of grade 6:
Grade 6
All of the above carried to extremes. Grade 6 usually means unrunnable rapids, which may just be possible in certain conditions.
If something is being run more and more often, then it isn't really a grade 6 is it. The river can just be downgraded - much the same way in which they are often are in low water. There is no need to extend the grades, the only step up from grade 6 is completely unrunnable.

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Re: Grade 7, what are your views

Post by cripper » Sat Nov 14, 2009 8:10 pm

I'd agree both that the river need only be downgraded, rather than a new system introduced., and that each rapid should be run on a yes/no basis.

If you want to put in a grade 7, try Murchison falls?!

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Re: Grade 7, what are your views

Post by ricwalker » Sat Nov 14, 2009 8:14 pm

Grade Deal or Grade No Deal pretty much covers everything...

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Re: Grade 7, what are your views

Post by jmmoxon » Sat Nov 14, 2009 8:41 pm

I guess the difference between grade 4+ and 5- is the consequences of messing up, the actual technical difficulty is probably quite similar.
If something is being run more and more often, then it isn't really a grade 6 is it. The river can just be downgraded - much the same way in which they are often are in low water.
It may still be grade 6 at certain water levels, so is it better that it is graded 5, encouraging more people to paddle it, or stays as grade 6? The suggestion that top end grade 5 is renamed grade 6 & that "unrunnable, except in exceptional circumstances" becomes grade 7, is basically doing just that. Of course a 7th grade already exists in the form of X or P(ortage).

Unfortunately our climate means rivers are often paddled at less than optimum levels, a good example of why expanding the grading system is fraught with difficulty is the Etive, at low water the sections between drops are grade 2, but how do you grade the drops? Grade 4 - because you can't see what is at the bottom - once you know the line they are mostly grade 3. However, with a decent flow it's definitely grade 4 & at high water it's grade 5. The grades of rivers are defined for paddling rivers at a "good" water level, not low water. From river description on this website:
Frazer Pearce offers an alternative view on the Etive....'The Etive is a ditch. Often paddled at ridiculously low levels by masses of paddlers who would be much better off walking in the surrounding hills. Worth paddling once in your life, but only for the photos to impress your mum. Most of the drops are massively overgraded, except for the portage on Crack of Dawn. Nothing else rates anything more than a 3 at the levels the Etive is normally paddled at. The paddlers who get the most out of the Etive have usually only been paddling for a few weeks, certainly less than a year and haven't run big drops before. Not much technical skill required unless things are honking in which case the whole thing is a different kettle of fish. Hint: you aren't supposed to be able to jump over a river.'
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Re: Grade 7, what are your views

Post by Eoghain » Sun Nov 15, 2009 2:34 pm

That sequence is the most incredible display of skill I have ever seen. To come up off a low brace from that angle, straight into a correction/boof stroke all above a massive hole in crazy water... hats off!

whoever said the low brace was useless.....

Thanks for putting that photo up Mark.

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Re: Grade 7, what are your views

Post by Rdscott » Sun Nov 15, 2009 2:56 pm

I use the grading system as a guide to what i think.

Most grade 3's including alpine i have never had a problem on, and paddle these with minimal caution.
Grade 4's paddle with cauting and prepare to get out and look/ walk round, the variable in class 4 rapids changes so much its not worth risking this.
Grade 5 very cuatiouse same as above.

I have paddled 5's that were easier than 4's its all a personal prefrance on to paddle or not to paddle. At the end of the day its only one of many grading systems that has been excepted.

You could Apply terry stories system on to it with grades 1 to 6 then moves A to F, which could sort out the issue but i'd suggest just using your head.

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Re: Grade 7, what are your views

Post by ChrisMac » Sun Nov 15, 2009 5:42 pm

I dont see the point of extending the existing grading further. In short if you are good enough and experienced enough to be running 5 5+ then I think it doesnt matter what it is graded you are going to assess the risks and run it or not depending on the day, your mood and any other factors.

To me the grading system is there for no other purpose than to give an idea of the level of difficulty. I actually think that the grading system is of most benefit at the lower grades where newer paddlers are more likely to be building their skills and experience and therefore the grade of a river is probably a more important factor in the decision making process. Once you are at the higher grades then with a bit of luck you have the skill and experience to decide for yourself

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Re: Grade 7, what are your views

Post by Mark R » Sun Nov 15, 2009 6:00 pm

Eoghain wrote:That sequence is the most incredible display of skill I have ever seen. To come up off a low brace from that angle, straight into a correction/boof stroke all above a massive hole in crazy water... hats off!

whoever said the low brace was useless.....

Thanks for putting that photo up Mark.
Indeed - how's that for a one-stroke boof?
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Re: Grade 7, what are your views

Post by jmmoxon » Sun Nov 15, 2009 6:15 pm

On a big volume river (like the photo) there may be a grade 3 route down one side & a few grade 4, 5 or 6 lines through the middle - what grade do you give a rapid like that (let alone the river)? - not suggesting the route in the photo is an easy line.

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Re: Grade 7, what are your views

Post by Mark R » Sun Nov 15, 2009 6:22 pm

On the blog entry (link above somewhere), they noted that this was the mankiest rapid on the Rhondu Indus (a section not noted for user-friendly rapids), and that everyone happily walked except this guy.

I don't think that line is an 'easier' chicken chute in any sense, it skirts some awful siphons and takes on several monster pourovers. It's worth looking closely at the original pics in the blog, appalling and amazing stuff.
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Re: Grade 7, what are your views

Post by woody » Sun Nov 15, 2009 6:23 pm

Yeah, awesome photo, can only aspire to that level of skill and ability. Interestingly that was one of the original shots from the blog that I really wanted to see more of, really wanted to know how he pulled it off. I'm just making my way through the blog of the whole Indus trip which is cracking.

As for grades, my own personal philosophy is that there are two: can and can't, but 1-6 suffices, no need for a seventh. If you're operating at that level you know what you are doing anyway, or are a crazy uni fresher.

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