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What, you may ask, is coasteering? Does saying it is similar to kloofing help? Thought not. Many sites describe coasteering; here is a brief description exerpted from outsideonline.com, What Is Coasteering, and Where Can I Do It?

Coasteering is a combination of rock climbing, swimming, and optional cliff jumping. As you’ve probably guessed from the term, this sport, which got its start in Wales, takes place on a coastline. It has allure for those looking for an adrenaline rush—and some exercise—in a beautiful environment.

One of the greatest things about coasteering is that almost everybody can do it. Andy Middleton, founder of the TYF Group, which facilitates outdoor adventures in southwest Wales, says that “anyone who’s capable of walking the coast would be OK to coasteer. We introduced our kids to it not long after they’d learned to walk.” His organization has hosted coasteering excursions for people well into their seventies.

This sounds thrilling, but a coasteering experience that would be fine for a child soon after it has learned to walk, or a person in their seventies, however athletic and proficient, probably doesn't offer much of a challenge to an experienced coasteerer (if this is a word) in her prime. And vice versa: a route that would challenge an experienced coasteerer is probably no place for a beginner.

I have searched Are there grades in coasteering, and the few hits I got were about training coasteering guides, such as this one.

Hence my question: Is there a grading system, even an embryonic grading system, for this sport, similar (but perhaps more complicated) to the grading system for climbing? Or not, for reasons of the newness of the sport or the nature of the sport? Or would someone thinking about trying a route have to rely on a qualitative description of the route?

My thanks to @gerrit for raising this in Chat. He declined to post a question. As for kloofing, it seems to be canyoneering with a South African accent.

  • It's hard to tell what you're looking for. Do you imagine that a coasteering grade would be a single figure which would encompass the difficulties of each element (climbing, swimming, diving)? I can't imagine that any single grade value could possibly give someone the details they need to judge the route. The swimming distance and conditions are completely orthogonal to the climbing distance and difficulty. – Beanluc Jan 23 '18 at 0:24
  • I did raise something about coasteering in chat? I am not aware of that, in fact before reading your question I didn't even know what it was (I was suspecting deep water soloing, but that's definitely not the case). – imsodin Jan 23 '18 at 0:28
  • @imsodin Sorry it was gerrit. – ab2 Jan 23 '18 at 0:33
  • @Beanluc I don't know whether or if or how a coasteering route would be "graded". That is the Q, to which you seem to have the beginnings of an A. There has to be some guidance as to difficulty level, or people would be going to sites completely inappropriate to their skill level. As for the "single number" problem, tell it to the economists who use GDP for the economy. :) – ab2 Jan 23 '18 at 0:42
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From the coasteering excursions I and my family have been on in Scotland, the rest of the UK and some other European countries, there appears to be no consistent grading.

What I have seen is use of common grading for the climbing parts plus usually a comment on the "relative danger" on the drop to water and swimming sections. This commentary may have height and tide information, as well as any key risks to be aware of.

So it's not yet as formalised as climbing routes.

(My favourite part of all coasteering is overhang routes, giving the option of falling into the sea below - no safety gear required!

  • I would be seriously scared. One kid swimming below can turn a dangerous move with a fallback into a choice between two kinds of death. – Censored to protect the guilty Jan 24 '18 at 19:07
  • not scary at all - just make sure you don't have people swimming below. It is honestly that simple. That said, I did have a little concern once under an arch when I spotted a boat going underneath me... – Rory Alsop Jan 24 '18 at 19:31

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