In a study conducted by researchers at the University of Canterbury in New Zealand, Self-reported Ability Assessment in Rock Climbing, the accuracy of self-reported ability in 29 competitive rock climbers was examined. The results of this study did not show a significant difference between the climbers’ self-reported “best ascent” and their actual ability. This study concluded that using self-report was a valid way of determining a climbers skill level.
I would like to know if the climbers knew that they were not going to be physically tested, if they would have reported a different ability level. The climbers knew that they were going to have to prove themselves, so why would they lie? I believe that an interesting twist to this study would be to have two groups, one group who knew they were going to climb, and another who did not. Also, I think it would be interesting to test other types of climbers, such as ice climbers, lead climbers, and athletes who boulder.
In general I really believe you will not find climbers lying about their ability, because at some point, either someone is going to see them climb, or want them as their climbing partner. The later could prove deadly if the climbers are not honest with one another. I believe there are many situations like this in sport, where lying about your ability will only cause you embarrassment and possible injury. It is in my opinion that athletes only lie about their ability when they know for sure that their audience will never see them in action.