After my recent project was radically downgraded I have decided to take a second look at grades. Obviously bouldering is ridiculously subjective as conditions and height can play a massive role in altering one's perceptions. But there are other subjective factors that cannot be ignored such as tradition, reputation of an area, and reputation of a climber that cause people to accept a consensus. I based my grade of There Will be Blood on my perceptions of two local problems that are similar in style and which I did recently. These are 606 in Eldorado Canyon which has long been regarded as solid V10 and the Left Graham Arete which also has been graded V11 very consistently. 606 took me about 6 tries in a couple of hours while LGA took a few sessions and maybe 10 tries over all. So I was baffled to see grades like V10 for TWBB from the low start, which took me well over two weeks to complete the whole version, and have a couple of ideas.
One is that height played a huge role on two moves that I found particularly hard. Moving to the crimp I found I had to keep my feet low and really stretch for the hold, meaning that taller climbers would easily do the move without feeling crunched and then not be so extended for the throw to the lip. The other possibility, and this may be way off base, is that the key crimp was exfoliating allowing better purchase for later ascents. Each dyno for the lip pulled it out a bit more, making it better, until finally it snapped. The sad part about Flagstaff is that holds are fragile and violent moves on flakes tend to break them. My sequence was much more static and I believe much harder, but also more likely to extend the life of the now-departed crimp. The new hold is far, far smaller than it was and while the problem might still go, the remaining flake, if not handled with great care, will quickly disintegrate to nothing.
In any event, when putting up new problems in a hypercompetitive scene like Boulder you always run a risk of seeming too ambitious or even pretentious in giving problems a grade. I try to seriously compare my experiences at other areas and on other problems before I make a decision to rate a problem. I want to thank the people that wrote their comments on this blog in a spirit of understanding and generosity. I appreciate it.