How will Brexit affect sport climbing grades?

In view of the current climate, the BMC decided to poll its membership on the question of grades. Should British grades come first? Is there room for foreign grades taking over our routes? The results are in and it’s time for Operation BFG.

The fruits of last year’s Brexit referendum are ripening and, while the UK lays out plans to move all EU laws back home, we’re setting into motion Operation BFG: Bye-Bye Foreign Grades

Considering the present anti-EU sentiment, it’s crystal clear that the British do not like being told what to do by the rest of Europe. In light of this bombshell, the BMC decided to canvass a portion of its membership to decide if foreign grades should stay, or if they, along with straight bananas, should be deported back from whence they came.

The results speak for themselves, and, while it was a close call, the current patriotic fervour won out. British Grades First.

Steve McClure, BMC ambassador and upholder of British grades, said: 

“As the premier forcing ground for rock climbing in the UK, it is essential that Raven Tor doesn’t lose sight of British values and be lost to a sport climbing generation. In recent times, there has been a move to foreign grades, but I’m pleased to say the current trend is to move back to grades that are better understood and have more meaning – real, honest, British grades.

“It is especially important considering the current political climate. Climbing mirrors what the British public voted for: we don’t want foreign grades coming over here and taking up all our routes.”

DOWNLOAD: Updated British grades on routes at Raven Tor

Clearly, this is a move for the greater good. The continued use of foreign grades merely complicates matters for everybody, and for less experienced climbers it can be positively dangerous. Obviously the BMC is a champion of safe-practice measures, and as such, all routes and boulders will be graded using the British system in the future.

Old French sport grades will remain in place for a year, but thereafter future references in guidebooks, on UKC and in articles, must become British Technical grades. The same goes for bouldering grades, with the Fontainebleau and Hueco systems to be replaced with a British Technical grade, and highballs to be given a full British Trad grade.

WATCH: In action: the BMC Grading Squad on BMC TV

The BMC hopes this decision once again proves our dedication to listening to the opinions of our members. Please continue to support our great work with protecting access, promoting the interests of our members, and ensuring that those foreign grades stay where they belong. 

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