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  • Writer's pictureKai Fitchen

Everything You Need to Know About Climbing Grades in South Africa

If you're a climber traveling to South Africa, you'll very quickly start hearing some interesting codes being thrown around at our crags. Thus, as with every climbing destination WELCOME TO YET ANOTHER GRADING SYSTEM! While bouldering grades follow the Font French Grading System trad and sport go off on their own tangent.


While, you will come across a table at the bottom where you will be able to do a quick conversion, due to history, rock type, and ethics, it doesn't always convert very well.


The South African system uses a numerical scale from 1 to 38, with 1 being the easiest and 38 being the most difficult- as simple as that!


In contrast, the European system is generally based on the French method and uses numbers and letters to indicate how hard a route is, with higher numbers meaning more challenging routes. The American system also uses a mix of letters and numbers, with the numbers ranging from 5.0 to 5.15, and the letters indicating the difficulty within each number grade.




As we all know, climbing grades are subjective and some crags and areas are known for Sandbagging, and others for the particular conditions needed to have a great time. Thus, as always get hold of an experienced local to make the best of your trip!






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