The latest downgrading issue has arisen with Dave MacLeod's ascent of Walk of Life first done by James Pearson and graded E12. Macleod's blog explains his experience on the route and reasons for rating it E9. Naturally this has created a little stir in an otherwise moribund climbing news climate with questions about Pearson's motivations for rating a route E12. Bjorn Pohl, one of the people at 8a.nu, really takes Pearson to task at his blog in a surprisingly direct fashion. I quote:
How is this possible? Who or What is to blame?
1. Is it simply a question of James having to get out more, repeating other people's hard routes to get a grip on the grades?
2. Has James felt too much pressure from sponsors (real or imagined), affecting his judgment?
3. Has James been consciously misleading us to get the headlines?
4. Is the E-system to blame?
This is a good example of when someone ought to back away a bit and let the dust settle instead of insinuating that another climber is a liar with not enough experience or judgment. I would respect the contributions of a climber like Pearson who has walked the walk a lot more before before I would condescendingly state "everyone is allowed to make a mistake or three."