Ethan Pringle, The Wheel of Life, and why grades can(‘t) be ignored
"When I was 11 or 12 years old, I cared a lot more about grades than I do now. I was more (outwardly) competitive, especially around other strong kids my age. I think I said some pretty stupid and egotistical things back then. Luckily I can’t remember what they were.
Not that I don’t care at all about grades now. I’d be lying if I said I don’t think about the number/letter combination attached to a difficult piece of rock I want to climb. That’s why I sometimes like to avoid using a guidebook when I go to a new area and just get on whatever looks cool. That way, I bring fewer expectations to the climbs.
The silly thing about grades in climbing is that every climber is different, every piece of rock is different, and conditions are a little different every day -- with this in mind, it seems futile to attach a specific rating to piece of stone… but still, we persist. We argue and bicker and insult each other’s opinions -- most often on anonymous Internet forums -- over these things that don’t really even exist. I mean, a boulder could give a rat’s ass if it’s an 11 or a 12 or a 16!" - Ethan Pringle