Grading System

How Our Grading System Works

We try to make your life easier when visiting the Climbing Lab. All our routes are colour-coded and range from the easy to the tricky (to say the least). This is an excellent way of working out where you are and for planning your climbing session.

our grades blackboard

In addition, each of our colour grades has 2 starting discs which show where your hands must start. These starting discs have a further sub-grading of green – easy, yellow – medium and red – hard. We find this helps you to know where you are within a band of grades.

Route Setters

Amongst our staff and regular visitors are a super talented team of route setters. Every few weeks, they think up more interesting and challenging bouldering routes for you to enjoy. It’s not as easy as you think and it takes a lot of experience.

Climbing Grade from VB to V8

VB - 1


This is where our Beginners start. The holds are huge, the walls are vertical and virtually no problem-solving is needed. The router are also not full height and are limited to 2.5 meters. You simply start climbing upwards.

V0 - V2


The next rung up on the ladder is the Intermediate scale of V grades. Most casual boulderers will find themselves within this scale. Again, almost no thought is needed prior to beginning the climb. Some of the holds can be small, but they are generally there to add balance for the feet. Most routes within these grades will have more than one possible way up.

V1 - V3


This is our Difficult range of grades. Often they require a single hard move to crack them with the remainder of the holds being relatively easy. You can expect some holds to be small and these will require an increasing amount of strength. We like to think this is where the routes get tricky and they may require a few goes to get them right. The wall often involve overhung sections needing a lot of strength or heel hooks.

V2 - V4


Our Super-Difficult selection of routes have become well known as a good indicator for those boulderers who have trained hard and are well beyond the part-time visitor to our wall. They comprise a mixture of overhung routes, uppercuts, tough starts and some head scratching.

V3 - V5


Advanced is how this selection of grades can be described. You will have been climbing for sometime gradually building up your strength, flexibility and technical skills. There will be a mix of tricky starts, crimpy small grips, balance shifting, dyno's and overhangs.

V4 - V6


We like to think that our Super-Advanced selection of routes are a distinct step-up from the previous level. They are designed to be real puzzlers, requiring a excellent strength, ingenuity and balance.

V5 - V7


If you are climbing within our Elite range of routes, you will probably be at a decent competition level. Not many make it this far, but for those of you have the solid skills, this is where you can expect to be really tested. The routes will certainly be overhung and are designed to offer you little in the way of purchase. Finger tip-sized grips are the order of the day.

V7+


If you are climbing within our Super-Elite range of routes, you will be climbing at the best of the best. We don't have many route-setters who can create your perfect route, but we know have created some inspirational tough routes.

Competition Circuit V1+


The competition circuit comprises a real selection of grades running from Beginner to Elite. You can climb them in order of increasing difficulty or you use a strategy whereby you burn-out on the easier grades. It's up to you.

The V Scale

We use the V Scale which means “Verm” or “Vermin” and is the nickname of John Sherman who was a legendary boulderer in the late 1980’s. You will find that most of the UK Indoor Bouldering walls use the V Scale and it really helps you to know what to expect with consistency even if you visiting us for the first time.