E-grades for American Highball Boulder Problems

by Mick Ryan E7 ? Some protectionless routes in the UK that were once given E-grades are now increasingly given bouldering grades, Font or V, take your pick, and are redefined as highball boulder problems – or Super Blocs to some.In an interesting twist, Wills Young of Bishop, sent us a list of highball boulder problems around Bishop, California, that he has assigned E-grades to. The Ninth V7 (Pollen Grains, Matt Wilder, Nov. 2005) ? E6 This Side of Paradise V10 (Bardini Boulders, Matt Wilder, Nov. 2005) ? E7 Flight of the Bumblebee V9 (Secrets of the Beehive Area, Kevin Jorgeson, Jan. 2007) ? E8Evilution V11/12 (Peabody Boulders, Jason Kehl, Nov. 2002) ? E8 Pick of the crop is The Beautiful and the Damned V13 at the Bardini Boulders first climbed by Kevin Jorgeson this last January and given a proposed E-grade of E9. This monster got a repeat by Ethan Pringle, another American climber who is making waves like Jorgeson, both of whom Wills describes as world-class climbers. These problems/routes are usually pre-inspected on a rope and in some cases moves are practiced. In other Bishop, California news, the famous boulder problem, Mandala, at the Peabody Boulders, first climbed in 2000 by Chris Sharma has had a bit of a makeover. In 2002 the French boulderer Tony Lamiche added a sit-start bumping the grade from V12 to V14 (after making an impressive flash of the original). This season Jeff Silcox added a direct finish, the original snook off left, at the same grade of V12. Then Paul Robinson linked Lamiche´s sit-start to Silcox´s direct finish to give another V14 link. Chris Sharma also made a quick repeat of another Bishop testpiece, Goldfish Trombone at the Happy Boulders, a V14 established by the Tasmanian climber, Sam Edwards. Sharma completed this problem in one session.