What are you measuring?
Tracking your own personal progression is important for motivation and it's difficult to improve what you can't measure. We all look at this differently and there's no right or wrong here for this sport. What is important though is that the system is fair and consistent.
Bouldering all over the world predominantly uses what's known as the V-Grade system. It's a benchmark standard which provides a universal reference point with relation to the degree of difficulty of each route / problem. And it's subjective. However, with lots of data comes consistency and accuracy relative to the environment. Rock climbing of all disciplines work this way and high-trafficked outdoor routes are a fine example of this working effectively.
However, it gets a little tricky when indoor Bouldering gyms aren't consistent with each other. But that's ok.
What is important is that the grade within each facility is consistent to itself. The Ten4 grading system takes this to another level. We might borrow some analogies from golf to illustrate the point.
Golf is a sport. The handicap system applies for the very same reasons. Regular competition rounds builds data and its the large congregation of this data that's used to determine one's handicap (with complicated yet explainable formulas). If you happen to land a hole-in-one then that's terrific in the moment and it helps towards having a good round but it doesn't mean you're now a pro as it's effect on your handicap will be tiny because it's only a small amount of data. Consistency is the key.
Now back to Bouldering. Our regular competition is the Ten4 Boulder League and it's the collective volume of this this data that determines your grade (handicap in golf terms).
The grading system is a two-edged sword. It allows you to set honest motivational goals and it insulates yourself against the subjective nature of the sport. For example, I might love the idea of reaching 200 points in a round of the T4L It's a solid goal but I sleep a lot better when I know deep down that I can do this consistently over a broad range of different routes. And this is what the grade gives us - it looks at the macro instead of focusing on the micro.
This system provides an accurate measure of your grade. It's unique to Ten4 and just like ourselves, it rewards those who play the long game. The hole-in-one moments are great when they happen but ultimately it's your overall GRADE that speaks the truth.
4 Apr 2022