Pembroke, and a bit of confusion over E-grades

newly resoled rockshoes with the One True sticky rubber from FiveTen
Dave has posted about last weekend in Pembroke so I'll just rehash my own perspective of it. Firstly, don't always believe the forecast! Every single one predicted rain, lots of the stuff and boy were they wrong. It rained three times, once on each night for a short period, and once on Monday morning as we packed up. The Climbing Gods were obviously in a good mood so I'm not complaining!

Other than that, Pembroke is always somewhere fun to visit and it was a quality weekend with a great bunch of people. I've spent only a few weekends there over the years so still find the zawns intimidating for some unknown reason, but am completely at home on the main sea cliffs - I guess they're comparable to the cliffs back home.
I'll be honest, and I'm sure many will have noticed, I don't do much trad anymore. And I especially don't do hard/bold trad anymore - I just don't see the logic of the risk. Of course, that's my own perspective so if you love trad and it's your passion, keep it up - I'm honestly in awe of ye :) Anyway, Dave persuaded me into a go on Ghost Train, an E7 6b in one of the zawns. I'd only one top-rope on it, and a truly interesting experience. As always, the E7 grade intimidated me, and I was relatively gripped before even pulling on. I blew a foothold about 4 meters up which instantly decided for me that I would never lead it - the rock was crumbly in sections, even if the movement/climbing was excellent. I also stepped off about half way up to scope out a move - I could tell that the route was only about 7a+/7b climbing by then so checked out one of the mid-point sections, a pocket I missed sorted out what felt like a truly difficult move. It was an easy top-out from there, just keep moving steadily.

So, it showed my confusion over the E-grading system. So, I'm going to use what is a more logical system for me by taking what the difficulty is on the route and then bench marking it for whether it's safe (no letter added to grading), it's really bold with potential for injury (an 'R' after the grade), or whether you just don't want to fall off (an 'X' after the grade). It's called the American grading system :)
In that system, I'd give it a 5.12a R. It's funny, when I see it written as that, it's not a difficult route at all and I genuinely feel open to climbing it, but with an E7 grade on it, I've no interest in touching it, and would never have even considered top-roping it! So, from now on, I'm abandoning the use of the E-grade system, trying everything I can on top-rope and re-grading for my own use with sports climbing-style benchmarking - focus on the physical difficulty and not on whether it's bold/dangerous. I hear Master's Edge is only 7b+/5.12c R sports climbing so must have a go on a rope at some point.....
Obviously if the 'R' turns to an 'X' for going-to-die-if-you-fall-off then it'll be automatically be discarded for a potential ascent :)
That's my thoughts on gradings right now - I think I'll just leave it at that, as I know most don't see what I'm on about :)

Other than that, it was a great weekend ticking off lots of routes between 5.8 and 5.10 (VS to E3 - he he he :) - all super-safe, super-fun, and in fantastic situations. Actually, sorry, I can't so I'll regrade some of the classic routes I was on - The Butcher which is an E3 is a 5.10d (french 6b sports route) - doesn't even get a letter, it's super safe. If I'd known that before I tried it, I wouldn't have wasted so much time at the crux wondering about whether I was going to fall off or not :)

as ever, Pembroke though lived up to it's fantastic reputation - beautiful limestone, long routes, and an amazing situation above the sea. Naomi was cruising also - she looks like she'll have a good summer in Europe, and Matt gets nicest-location-for-a-lead with his final morning climb of the classic E1 at Mother Carey's - I've blanked the name of the route.

Do I've any photos? none, I was distracted by climbing so you'll have to put up with the solitary photo of my newly resoled shoes courtesy of Feet First shoe repairs, near Sheffield :) Hope everyone else got out climbing!

Roll on the weekends....