The bouldering grades system is called the V-scale. It is named after a famous Hueco Tanks climber who climbed the amazing boulders of Hueco Tanks, Texas. This bouldering grades system is simple to understand that is today, it is much easier than the various rock climbing ratings. This rating system is widely used around the world to differentiate the difficulties in climbing boulders.
The bouldering grades system starts with V0 in other words, the easiest climbing bouldering grade. This system is made to help you tackle the proper bouldering problem that suits your level and expertise. Bouldering grade, much like rock climbing danger ratings are subjective and are rated by those who first climbed along with backup from succeeding climbers. Therefore, you can learn and read about grades and how to use them the grading system is only an estimate. With this in mind, you can successfully climb a higher level boulder problem but have difficulty climbing another boulder problem with similar grades.
Flaws in the V-Scale
Though the V-scale is widely used to determine the difficulty in solving boulder problems there is a flaw to it. The flaw is that it does not give enough variability between grades. In contrast to rock climbing danger ratings, bouldering grades are looser and allow for error in judgment on the part of those who have accomplished the boulder problem. For example, you may climb a V4 and have no problem solving it, but when it comes to another V4 on a different boulder you find it a challenge.
V-Scale Vs. Font Scale
The V-scale and Font Scale are the two most popularly used bouldering grades system in the world. While the V-scale is more often used in North America and Oceania, the Font Scale is used in Europe and Asia. What is great about the V-Scale and Font Scale is that they can be directly translated to each other. This is on contrast to rock climbing danger ratings where it can be difficult to translate one system to another. Both scales are left open ended to make room for more challenging bouldering problems should they come along.
Using Grades to Choose Climbs
Knowing a little about how grading work will aid you tremendously on which boulder problems are best to tackle at your given level. Making use of the V-Scale and the Font Scale will guide you greatly when it comes to choosing the right bouldering problem for you. Remember, these climbing grades are highly subjective so its best not to treat them as an end-all-be-all, rather as a guide to see if you can manage the challenge put up. All in all, it is great to use the V-Scale and Font Scale for reference and guidance but never as a guarantee. Additionally, make use of the sale to ensure that you do not bite off more than you can chew when it comes to bouldering challenges. This will prevent you from any untoward injury.