Exposure...Make or Break the hiker/climber?

FAQ and threads for those just starting to hike the Colorado 14ers.
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Exposure...Make or Break the hiker/climber?

Postby highaltmama » Mon Mar 19, 2007 7:03 pm

Just wondering...does the tolerance for exposure make or break the climber? I'm not at that point yet, but I would really like to be. I've never done mountains with any major exposure so I don't know. I just wonder about the line between just hiking and starting actual climbing and I want to know how people start that and how they know whether they even want to attempt that? :?
It is better to light a candle than to curse the darkness...Eleanor Roosevelt
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Postby guitmo223 » Mon Mar 19, 2007 9:07 pm

IMHO, a good fear of heights is a healthy thing. Inexperienced clmbers without this fear (i.e., my boys) will tend to get themselves into places they should not be. There are probably many experienced, successful climbers who have had a problem with acrophobia and have overcome it by getting up there and being extremely careful.

I think experience is the key word.
"Although prepared for martyrdom, I preferred it be postponed" - Sir Winston Churchill
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Postby denalibound » Mon Mar 19, 2007 9:18 pm

Nobody really has a fear of heights, they have a fear of falling!
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Postby mainpeak » Mon Mar 19, 2007 10:19 pm

scrambling is a good start. So is top roping ( climbing will being tied in to a harness and belayed from above). You can always see if you like it first before you expose yourself, um, to exposure. :)

I think exposure is great to experience, though, if done safely. For many people, climbing is something that is very special in that you learn something about yourself every time you go out.

In that sense, it is no different than hiking a 14er. It's just a more vertical approach to movement, and with that, comes a stronger emphasis on safety and concentration.
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Postby iowa_born » Mon Mar 19, 2007 10:37 pm

You are in an interesting dilemma. My definition between hiking and climbing is defined by what I would tell my mom I did while not roped up. If it would scare my mom it is climbing. But as a mother yourself, I just don't know how that would work out?
The more I climb the more gear I need, the more gear I have the more I need to climb...its a vicious cycle.
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Postby MtHurd » Mon Mar 19, 2007 10:41 pm

Do the Little Bear/Blanca ridge and you will know. :wink:
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Postby thebeave7 » Mon Mar 19, 2007 10:44 pm

Exposure does factor in to climbing/scrambling pretty often when you reach the class 3 and above range. Class 4-5 is definite exposure, but that is to come later on. Start with easier class 2-3 routes(you can get many suggestions from people here), and work your way up slowly. It is all personal comfort. One of the above posts is correct, the minute you don't fear/respect the exposure/danger, that's when bad things can happen.
An example of when class 4 and exposure meet.
PS If you get to a point where you aren't comfortable continuing there is no shame in turning back. The mountains will be there for a long time.
“Getting to the top is optional, but getting down is mandatory. A lot of people get focused on the summit and forget that.” Ed Viesturs
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Postby guitmo223 » Tue Mar 20, 2007 12:34 am

If you are worried about it, get a good friend, associate, or someone from this forum who is a good leader on class five climbing. Purchase the equipment and go for it. I guarantee that you will have the time of your life, and you'll know if you're ready.

Class five climbing is fun and safe if you have a good leader and the proper equipment / training. It will definately prepare you for extreme unprotected exposure.
"Although prepared for martyrdom, I preferred it be postponed" - Sir Winston Churchill
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Postby Duffus Kentucky Climber » Tue Mar 20, 2007 7:13 am

After my wife uttered the immortal words, "when are we going to climb one of those?" (14ers). We hired a local climbing guide/instructor, got the gear and headed to the local rock routes to "learn the ropes." We figured that even if we never did any class 5 climbing on a fourteener, that it wouldn't hurt anything to be prepared, and be also able to avoid or get out of problems in the mountains and be able to help in rescue situations. The exposure on class five sport routes will get your attention. A twenty foot fall at any altitude will break major bones. I think anything you can do in preparation will make your experiences on 14er routes safer and more relaxing and fun. (It doesn't, though, keep you from getting sewing machine legs on the scary places.)
It looks like the ridge is just right up there!
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Postby CO Native » Tue Mar 20, 2007 7:44 am

denalibound wrote:Nobody really has a fear of heights, they have a fear of falling!

Nobody really has a fear of falling, they have a fear of the landing.
Remember what your knees are for.
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Postby kiddrockies » Tue Mar 20, 2007 8:22 am

It's easy to overcome fear of heights - it's just a matter of working your way gradually into it. I've found you can re-gain it too, by staying on the ground way too long. But to me, the make-or-break issue is ENDURANCE. Just having the heart and lungs and mental toughness, and being willing to train hard. There are lots of other benefits to training for climbing, of course. Health, preventive medicine, and a nice pair of legs and booty.
The Lord God is my strength, and He will make my feet like hind's feet, and He will make me to walk upon the high places.
Habakkuk 3:19

And after he had dismissed the crowds, he went up the mountain by himself to pray.
Matthew 14:23
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Postby Yog » Tue Mar 20, 2007 9:19 am

TheBeav - Wow, that picture of Clyde Minaret "class IV" looks very much like what class V would be here. It is steeper and more airy than many of the Flatirons (class V) & class IV I have encountered here in Colorado. Clyde Minaret is in California, and, unless I am mistaken, they have a higher rating system than we do in Colorado (anybody know why this is?).

So is this an example of how Colorado's rating system is lower than other climbing areas? On the other hand, Eldorado Canyon is rated lower than it should be (according to climbers I've climbed with there), but if this is the case, then it is rated correctly in relation to climbing areas in other states....

I don't think that picture of Clyde Minaret is really a good example of Colorado class IV climbing. But that's just my opinion. Pyramid Peak (standard route) is rated by Roach as Class IV, but I thought it was more like class III. There were not any parts that I recall being freaked or uneasy about exposure.

I also see this is being discussed here http://www.14ers.com/bb/viewtopic.php?t=5296

Sorry bout that! :oops:
. . .Now, after the hours of torment . . . I have nothing more to do than breathe . . .I am nothing more than a single, narrow, gasping lung, floating over the mists and the summits.
-Reinhold Messner

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