My post adds to this that because of the problem of mats on grit routes, they are not that useful for understanding e-grades.
Simple as that really.
I don't agree with the guy who commented on my post that if you use lots of mats you might as well toprope - the buzz of highballing a long way above mats is very different to toproping and has a quality to it that is worth something.
James Pearson has taken a gutsy personal stand by doing these routes without any mats. I admire him loads for doing that, especially when that effort has seemed to be dismissed or ignored by others. But ultimately it shouldn't matter if the choice was made primarily for his own climbing experience. It's normal that setting a strong example won’t necessarily bring many followers, either because they simply disagree with the direction, or they want to take the easier option [of mat use].
If everyone who climbed on grit suddenly took James’ example of no mats there would be some stressed out doctors in Sheffield’s orthopaedic unit next weekend I’ll bet. Not everyone has the same level of skill and control that James does! But neither does everyone want to spend their Saturday evening getting a plaster put on their ankle – they’d rather just use mats, make it safe and enjoy the moves. The flip side of this is that some of the grit e-grades will become meaningless.
So this is how the argument plays out – hence my point about looking to all the types of cliff to argue about upper end e-grades, not just the shortest routes on one rock type.
These discussions get a little tiresome in climbing, unless offset by beer. It’s a necessary evil I guess.