Understanding Climbing Grades

As you enter the world of climbing and make your way around a climbing gym or outdoor crag, you'll face numerical and alphabetized measures of difficulty, otherwise known as climbing grades. That is, all climbing grades essentially are a measure of difficulty. Climbing grades are designed to be as objective as possible. But grades are inherently subjective because individuals climb the climbs and reach a consensus. Because of this, grades can vary across gyms and areas. However, in general, you can assume that climbs with higher grades are more challenging than those with lower grades. At a climbing gym, you will find two types of climbing: roped climbing and bouldering. In the United States, each gym has its own variation of the standard grading systems. However, many equivalent grading systems are used globally for routes and bouldering.