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Sawtooth classification

FAQ and threads for those just starting to hike the Colorado 14ers.
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Sawtooth classification

Postby bethtrombone » Mon Aug 08, 2011 7:14 pm

I just hiked Evans and climbed on the Sawtooth as well. I love climbing and try to find more difficult routes when I can, and it seemed as though some of the stuff on the Sawtooth could have been class 4 climbing, particularly a fun chimney I found. Anyone know any more info about the class of this?
Thx,
Beth
I can and will remind you of two of the most important facts I know:
1. Everything is part of the mystery.
2. It's never too late to have a happy childhood.
-Tom Robbins

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Re: Sawtooth classification

Postby wildlobo71 » Mon Aug 08, 2011 7:21 pm

bethtrombone wrote:I just hiked Evans and climbed on the Sawtooth as well. I love climbing and try to find more difficult routes when I can, and it seemed as though some of the stuff on the Sawtooth could have been class 4 climbing, particularly a fun chimney I found. Anyone know any more info about the class of this?
Thx,
Beth


It's typically classified as Class 3, but there are some areas that I'm sure you could make tougher... your own personal class 4. Hang off the west side and play the ridge, and you probably could have a lot of class 4, but not sustained for any great length. Is the chimney about 2/3 the way from Bierstadt to Evans before you get up to the ramp (ledge)? If so, I know this and - at least the route most everyone takes who goes over it - it's considered Class 3, with a few careful step around moves.
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Re: Sawtooth classification

Postby mlees » Mon Aug 08, 2011 9:04 pm

I agree with the above, and just got done with the sawtooth myself. Most of the standard route is class 2, and by California standards it would probably all be considered class 2 with maybe some class 3 moves. I would say I hit some class 4 stuff for sure, but I think I might have ventured a little off the beaten path.

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Re: Sawtooth classification

Postby 14erFred » Tue Aug 09, 2011 11:29 am

Beth: As noted above, the rating of the Sawtooth Ridge depends on the particular route you take. If you drop low down into Abyss basin from the start, then the bulk of the climb is class 2, with some class 3+ moves to regain the ridge at the point at which you cross from east to west to gain the final ledges. But if you remain high on the ridge the entire way, then the terrain remains class 2-3 depending on how close you stay to the crest of the ridge. As wildlobo aptly noted, you could increase the rating of the climb to class 4 by flirting with the edge of the ridge, but only on certain stretches and not for its entire length. The final ledges at the north end are fairly wide even at their narrowest spots, although the exposure to the west is serious (see photo below). This is not a place to trip or slip. My friends and I made sure to tuck our boot laces into the top of each boot, to make sure to avoid catching the loop of one boot lace on the eyelet of the other boot; and I highly recommend this safety precaution.
Sawtooth Ledges.2011.JPG
Sawtooth Ledges.2011.JPG (171.54 KiB) Viewed 674 times

I'd rate the traverse lower in Abyss basin as class 3 (due to the crux climb to regain the cross-over and the final ledges) and the traverse of the Sawtooth crest as class 3+. I'd rate the ledges at the north end as easy class 3, though a fall there would likely be fatal.
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