when are you ‘strong enough’?

something has been on my mind lately with regard to climbing…why is ‘downgrading’ of routes and boulder problems so rampant these days? have grades inflated that much? of course, i have no answers for these questions. i wish i did. but i will air my thoughts.

i believe the most well known professional climber that is ‘guilty’ of downgrading, is jimmy webb. now don’t think i’m bad mouthing him or talking shit, that is just simply not the case. the guy is a crusher! he is so disturbingly strong it’s crazy. and he’s been on a tear lately, sending hard boulders left and right. and he gives them ‘personal grades’ which is the nice way to say that he’s downgrading. my only question is when can he admit (and of course when can we all admit the same for ourselves) that he is (or we are) actually just that strong? when can he take v15 instead of downgrading (giving a personal grade) to v14? i know it’s a bit tougher for these guys pushing limits and climbing harder than anyone else in the world. but if you decrease the grades for us mortals, i think it still applies.

when can you take the higher grade and feel comfortable doing so? there is so much self-loathing and self-deprecation in climbing that i believe most of us think we suck. when can we be confident in our abilities and take full credit for our accomplishments? can it ever happen?

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