V5 (5 points 1 topic)

Topic: Bouldering Grades

  1. In American bouldering, the scale for rating the difficulty of a boulder problem is called the V Scale.  The V is short for Vermin which is the nickname of John Sherman, the man who crafted the scale.  Essentially the V Scale indicates the consensus difficulty level related to a particular route.  The lower the number, the easier the climb.  Starting at V0, the scale currently tops out at V17.  
  2. In European bouldering, the scale for rating the difficulty of a bouldering problem is called the Font Scale, named after the popular bouldering destination Fontainebleau.  The Font Scale has some similarities to the V Scale.  Both designate a higher number to represent a more difficult climb, but the Font Scale includes the added benefit of being wonky AF.  It starts at 3 rather than 0, and when the difficulty of a route is rated harder than a 6, letters suddenly appear, and then plus signs start popping up as well.
  3. Now of course both scales are equally useful in grading a route, but parsimony certainly favors the V Scale.  While there are advocates of the Font Scale, I’m sure these people also prefer things like the Modified Stableford Scoring Format, the Fixed Location finding system, and alphabetizing things based on the last letter of a word.  These people probably put avocados in the fridge.  They keep Tupperware lids with no bottoms.  Font Scale Enthusiasts don’t place the cap back on the toothpaste.  But both scales are fine, even though Fonters like black licorice and put empty trays of cookies back into the cupboard.  They back into angled parking and use the doorbell instead of knocking.  So, yeah…both scales are equally useful.
  4. There is also a Japanese rating system called The Dankyu System.  This system is split between Kyu rating, and the Dan Rating.  The higher the Kyu number the easier the climb.  The grades count down from about 10 Kyu (the easiest routes) to 1 Kyu.  The next level of difficulty after 1 Kyu is 1 Dan.  Once we get into the Dan side of the scale the harder routes are represented by higher numbers.  Going up to 6 Dan.  The Dankyu scale like the V Scale and the Font scale is open ended, so if someone sends a route harder than has ever been climbed, we would just add another level to the scale e.g. 7 Dan/V 18/9A+.  I can’t say too much about the Dankyu scale because I am just not very familiar with it, but I did hear people who embrace the Font Scale often put milk in their cereal bowl before pouring the cereal.
V ScaleFont ScaleDankyu
V037 Kyu
V145 Kyu
V254 Kyu
V36A/6A+3 Kyu
V56C/6C+2 Kyu
V67A1 Kyu
V77A+1 Dan
V87B/7B+2 Dan
V107C+3 Dan
V128A+4 Dan
V148B+5 Dan
V168C+6 Dan
A comparison of the three scales.

V5 – 5 Points 1 Topic!


15 Replies to “V5 (5 points 1 topic)”

    1. I’ll have to give it another shot…in all fairness I haven’t tried it since I was a little kid. Thanks for the encouragement!


  1. I keep my avos in the fridge so I guess I know which system I have to use… In my younger days I did some very tame bouldering but now, stepping up on to a high curb is my limit and I don’t think that will show up on any scale!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. This is such a touching comment…I like the thought of bouldering up a high curb! Thanks for comment and supporting the cold avocado movement!


    1. There is an ancient tale about a people who made money from writing blogs. No one has ever been able to verify the origins or truth of this tale, but the story remains. Sadly, that tale is not about us, perhaps one day as the winds grow in our favor, but alas, today is not that day!

      Liked by 3 people

  2. Hey Carrot, do you have Instagram or tik tok? Would love to follow you!


    1. Yeah, @theDIHEDRAL for both. I’ll make sure to follow you back. I was looking through your site and it’s very engaging! If you ever want to share a piece here, let me know and we can make it happen!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I really appreciate that! I’m super new and creating a blog was something I wanted to do for a long time! I love your site! I’ve only done indoor climbing so reading your posts is all foreign information! It’s super interesting!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I’m sure it’s only a matter of time before you are climbing on rock faces throughout your travels! But if you ever need any advice, just say the word!

        Liked by 1 person

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