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Intro to class 3

FAQ and threads for those just starting to hike the Colorado 14ers.
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Intro to class 3

Postby joshbrink » Wed Feb 01, 2012 6:05 am

I am coming out in september and want to get some experience on class 3. I was thinking about the sawtooth traverse between beirstadt and evans. Is this a good place to start or is there a better intro to class 3 climbing? I am fairly new to Colorado climbing with just Democrat and Buffalo Mt but have done climbing and lots of hiking in other places and I am looking to advance my skills. Thanks for any advice.
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Re: Intro to class 3

Postby Tory Wells » Wed Feb 01, 2012 6:34 am

Kelso Ridge on Torreys is a great beginner class 3 due to the ease of route finding, as is Long's Keyhole.
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Re: Intro to class 3

Postby Brian C » Wed Feb 01, 2012 6:36 am

There are a ton of threads out there on this. Try searching the forum. I found these these three in about 30 seconds.

First Class 3

Good class 3 to start on

Advice for 1st class 3
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Re: Intro to class 3

Postby Tornadoman » Wed Feb 01, 2012 7:04 am

Wetterhorn is a good choice, although it's a lot further away from Denver (if that matters to you).

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Re: Intro to class 3

Postby joshbrink » Wed Feb 01, 2012 8:22 am

is the sawtooth an ok place to start or would I be better of with one of the above mentioned? Thanks
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Re: Intro to class 3

Postby Matt Lemke » Wed Feb 01, 2012 8:29 am

The Sawatch has two centennial 13ers that are considered class 3 by standard routes. Ice Mountain and North Apostle (even N Apostle is still pushing class 2 though)

La Plata by the Ellingwood Ridge is a great Class 3 non-standard route.
Huron might have one non-standard class 3 route but other than these good luck...not to many routes in the Sawatch for class 3
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Re: Intro to class 3

Postby jaymz » Wed Feb 01, 2012 8:40 am

My first class 3 was the Sawtooth, and I did Kelso a month afterwards. Kelso was much more fun in my opinion; it's more of a sustained, longer class 3 route on fun scrambling (the class 3 on the Sawtooth is pretty short, relatively speaking). The Sawtooth involves quite the slog up Bierstadt and back down through the Willows. If you've got the time, you might try the Tour d'Abyss, which is a loop that involves parking on Evans, hiking down into the valley and up the SE ridge of Bierstadt (which is also a fun class 3), and then over the Sawtooth to Evans and back down to your car. That also involves a good slog back to your car once you pass the Sawtooth. It took me 10 hours, but I'm slow.
All this to say, I'd recommend Kelso Ridge as a first over the Sawtooth, but it comes down to personal choice as to what kind of day you're looking for.

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Re: Intro to class 3

Postby kansas » Wed Feb 01, 2012 8:49 am

Matt Lemke wrote:The Sawatch has two centennial 13ers that are considered class 3 by standard routes. Ice Mountain and North Apostle (even N Apostle is still pushing class 2 though)

La Plata by the Ellingwood Ridge is a great Class 3 non-standard route.
Huron might have one non-standard class 3 route but other than these good luck...not to many routes in the Sawatch for class 3


All of these are absolutely ridiculous suggestions for a first class 3, Ice Mountain is as rotten and dangerous as they come and pushing class 4, N. Apostle is Class 2 at best, and Ellingwood Ridge is a serious commitment even for experienced climbers.

The sawtooth is a great place to start, Kelso Ridge is a fun one, Wetterhorn is well worth the drive, I see no problem with Long's either.

Good luck! Once you start class 3, you'll be happily looking for it everywhere.
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Re: Intro to class 3

Postby joshbrink » Wed Feb 01, 2012 9:04 am

Thanks for all the great info so far,,, When you talk about route finding are you talking in terms of finding the path of least resistance on the mountain or in terms of being able to land navigate with a topo map or both? I do have a lot of experience with land nav, how to use a compass, just curious. And when you talk about difficult route finding what are the issues?
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Re: Intro to class 3

Postby Matt Lemke » Wed Feb 01, 2012 9:04 am

Iman86 wrote:
Matt Lemke wrote:The Sawatch has two centennial 13ers that are considered class 3 by standard routes. Ice Mountain and North Apostle (even N Apostle is still pushing class 2 though)

La Plata by the Ellingwood Ridge is a great Class 3 non-standard route.
Huron might have one non-standard class 3 route but other than these good luck...not to many routes in the Sawatch for class 3


Matt and I will forever argue the "true class rating" of Ice....I guess I will just have to climb it and see 8)

Yes....the info is correct but i WOULD NOT recommend any of those routes as a 'first class 3'

Longs Peak is an ideal first Class 3 since there are no routefinding issues. Sawtooth isn't bad, but not really Class 3 IMO


Matt, read Roach's Thirteeners book. Two class 3 routes up Ice. Whoever told you Ice has harder rock didn't know what they were talking about. Maybe they said class 4 because of the steep snow potential but that does not increase the rock difficulty.
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Re: Intro to class 3

Postby BillMiddlebrook » Wed Feb 01, 2012 9:11 am

Come on, liv!

Quandary's West Ridge route is NOT a good "Intro to Class 3" nor is it a "hike"
Only SNOW will end the madness

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Re: Intro to class 3

Postby Jon Frohlich » Wed Feb 01, 2012 9:14 am

Matt Lemke wrote:
Matt, read Roach's Thirteeners book. Two class 3 routes up Ice. Whoever told you Ice has harder rock didn't know what they were talking about. Maybe they said class 4 because of the steep snow potential but that does not increase the rock difficulty.


Matt, just curious, but from your peak list it doesn't appear that you've climbed Ice or N. Apostle either. Are you speaking from experience or just what you've read? I agree with Kansas. The suggestion of Ice as intro to Class 3 is a very bad idea.

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