Circuit Grading

April 5, 2018 4:32 pm
It’s been almost a year since we made the change from setting by circuit to setting by wall area aka ‘zonal setting’. The main reason for this change was to give us the freedom to move volumes around the wall every time the zone was reset, thus creating an ever changing canvas for route setters and customers alike.

Once zonal setting was established, we then took things one step further by moving away from using specific colours for specific grades (aka circuits), to setting problems in any colour (one colour per problem) and using a tag to denote which grade circuit the problem belongs to. This had several benefits, including:

  • Route setters have more freedom to use all the holds we have
  • You guys get to use a wider variety of holds, rather than just one colour’s worth
  • Both these points mean we are able to get much more value for money from both our route setters and climbing holds – some of which were rarely used!
Shiny, nice new tags!
We’ve listened to lots of positive feedback about zonal setting, the use of volumes, and how you have enjoyed using different climbing holds. But we also had feedback about the grading (inconsistencies) and also the tags.

Having given the existing set up a good 6 months to bed in, listen to feedback and allow for any other issues to crop up – we’re now going to make a little tweak to how we grade/group the problems together into circuits.



We have removed all grade overlap between the circuits, e.g. a Font 6b problem could have been tagged with either a 3 or 4 as it overlapped both circuits, now it should only belong to Circuit 3 only.

We believe this simple change will remove most of the inconsistencies we have had as it clarifies things for the setters when tagging up the problems – “do I group it in Circuit 3 or 4?” – and we believe it will make things much clearer for you guys too.



New tags have been ordered, delivered, and all problems have now been re-tagged. The only reason we didn’t buy tags months ago was because we were acutely aware of issues and we weren’t sure if we were going to stick with the system or not, so didn’t want to potentially waste the money!



Grading is subjective and as hard as we try, it will never be bang on. We use a range of different setters who all have their own styles, each zone has different wall angles, and no doubt you will all have a different view of what a grade should ‘feel like’.

These all lead to differences in the perceived grade of a problem – so please allow some tolerance for grading…

Thomas Smith


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