Climber on wall near Squamish wearing orange climbing helmet

Climbing grade conversion

In North America both sport and trad rock climbs are graded using the YDS (Yosemite Decimal System). This system starts at 5.0 (like climbing a steep ladder) and progresses in difficulty up to 5.15 (an overhanging cliff). The grade of a rock route is usually based on the crux, the most difficult move. The first climber to complete a route assigns a grade, which can change as more people make the ascent and come to a consensus.

Grades are subjective. Standards vary among climbing areas. Routes may feel substantially harder than their grade indicates depending on the weather, the length of the route, the type of rock, the whims of the first ascensionist, any number of factors.

Use this chart as a rough guide to compare climbing and bouldering grades in other parts of the world.

Climbing grades Bouldering
French UK Austr. UIAA North America Hueco UK Font
1-2 HVD 8-9 I-II 5.2-3
2-3 MS 10-12 III 5.4-5
4 S 13- IV 5.6
4+ VS 13+ V- 5.7
5a HVS 14 V 5.8
5b 15 V+ 5.9 V0 B1 4
6a E1 5b 19 VI+ 5.10a
6a+ E2 5c 19/20 VI+/VII- 5.10b V0+ B2 4+
6b 20 VII 5.10c V1 B3 5
6b+ E3 5c 21 VII+ 5.10d
6c 21/22 VII+/VIII- 5.11a V2 B4 6a
6c+ E4 6a 22 VIII- 5.11b V3 6a+
7a 23 VIII 5.11c/d B5-6
7a+ E5 6b 24 VIII/VIII+ 5.12a V4 6b/c
7b 25 VIII+ 5.12b V5 6c
7b+ E6 6b 26 IX- 5.12c  V6 B7 6c+
7c 27 IX 5.12d 7a
7c+ 28 IX/IX+ 5.13a V7 B8 7a+
8a E7 6c 29 IX+ 5.13b V8 7b
8a+ 30 X- 5.13c B9 7c
8b E8 7a 31 x 5.13d V9
8b+ 32 X/X+ 5.14a V10 B10 7c+
8c E9 7b 33 X+ 5.14b V11
8c+ 34 XI- 5.14c V12/13 B12 8a+
9a E10 7c 35 XI 5.14d/5.15

MEC climbing gear package

MEC Ambassador Alannah Yip climbing in Squamish

If you’re new to climbing or are ready for a gear upgrade, check out the 10% off climbing gear package from MEC for details.

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