Why do we use Font grading?

August 5, 2019
Why do we use Font grading at Chimera?

There are two types of grading used at Chimera.

Firstly, the climbs are colour coded, making it easy for beginners to work out which routes to try. Secondly, we use the Font grading system to assign an individual grade to each and every route.

The Font system originated in Fontainebleau, a forest in France home to thousands of beautiful boulders. The mecca of outdoor bouldering, Font has become a hallowed destination for climbers, who flock there hoping to sample some of the magic for themselves. A grading system was pioneered which is used throughout Europe, in order to give individual problems a rating.

The reason Chimera use Font grading is due to our proximity to the local Sandstone. All our staff grew up scrambling and playing on sandstone, and those that got serious about their climbing started making trips to Font at a very early age. It takes us the same amount of time to get to Font as to the Peaks – thus Font is often visited, and used as a test to determine if winter training has paid off, and those gains have been made.

Font means a lot to all of us at Chimera, and thus it was far more fitting that we use their grading system.

Why grade though? Well, because it is disheartening not to get off the start of a route because you are climbing something way out of your ability. Or likewise, to flash everything (climb it first time) and never be challenged.

Once you have been climbing a while, you’ll get a feel for where you are and what your level is. Then it is great fun to try and beat your previous personal best and climb a new grade. But don’t get too hung up on grades as of course, they are very subjective.

Font Grading

What might be easy for a tall climber might cause someone with lesser reach all sorts of issues. But likewise, someone with a lot of finger strength will be fine with smaller hand holds, but could struggle on the bigger, sloping holds.

The moral is, keep an eye on grades, use them as a guideline but don’t get too hung up on sending a certain number at the start. Remember, climbing is fun and should always stay that way no matter what!

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