Forum
Buying gear? Please use these links to help 14ers.com:

More info...

Other ways to help...

What you wish you knew for your first class III

FAQ and threads for those just starting to hike the Colorado 14ers.
User avatar
Posts: 461
Joined: Mon Jan 03, 2011 1:03 pm
Location: Castle Rock, CO

What you wish you knew for your first class III

Postby colokeith » Mon Jun 25, 2012 2:44 pm

I am going to attempt Kelso ridge next week, as my first class 3 fourteener. I feel ready. I am excited, and a little nervous.

I have seen plenty of threads on what route makes for a good first time class 3 climb. I would like to know if you have any advice for someone making the step up to class III stuff. What do you wish you had known when you started climbing these routes?
To climb is to push yourself in a way you might not normally imagine is possible. If your stamina, skill, and luck are sound you will get to stand on top. ... I realized that with climbing, I'd found something that nourished my soul and could forge me into a better version myself - Jim Davidson

User avatar
Posts: 85
Joined: Sun Aug 21, 2011 7:02 am
Location: Evans, CO

Re: What you wish you knew for your first class III

Postby Sgt_Wilky » Mon Jun 25, 2012 2:49 pm

I wish I knew that I didn't have to be as nervous as I was, and that while doing it I would be having a blast! BTW, Longs was my first class 3. Mt. Meeker was my second (on Friday! \:D/ )
"The merit of an action lies in finishing it to the end" -Genghis Khan

"I sat on top and was immediately addicted. I must do more of this." -SuperPolok

"A man never discloses his own character so clearly as when he describes another's." -Jean Paul Richter

User avatar
Posts: 5414
Joined: Wed May 04, 2005 10:46 am
Location: Craig

Re: What you wish you knew for your first class III

Postby Scott P » Mon Jun 25, 2012 2:50 pm

I would like to know if you have any advice for someone making the step up to class III stuff.


Have fun, don't worry, be safe and just go do it.
I'm slow and fat. Unfortunately, those are my good qualities.

User avatar
Posts: 138
Joined: Mon Nov 03, 2008 8:15 am
Location: Denver (Southeast)

Re: What you wish you knew for your first class III

Postby jeremy27 » Mon Jun 25, 2012 3:30 pm

I'm hardly an expert but bring a helmet. My first Class III was Longs and I wished I'd brought a helmet.

User avatar
Posts: 272
Joined: Tue May 03, 2011 10:02 pm
Location: Kansas City, Mo.

Re: What you wish you knew for your first class III

Postby Craig Cook » Mon Jun 25, 2012 3:31 pm

Great thread, Keith. I'm nervous about trying a class 3 route, myself. Would love to do Longs or Wetterhorn sometime in the near future.
Never play leapfrog with a unicorn.

Re: What you wish you knew for your first class III

Postby lodgling » Mon Jun 25, 2012 3:36 pm

My advice is that if the route is rated Class III, then it shouldn't require anything more difficult than Class III.

Therefore, if you find yourself about to make a Class IV or V move, then you are off route. STOP, retrace your steps, find the Class III solution around that obstacle.

User avatar
Posts: 432
Joined: Wed Aug 15, 2007 4:05 pm
Location: Lakewood, CO

Re: What you wish you knew for your first class III

Postby Rich H » Mon Jun 25, 2012 3:37 pm

always looking up as you move...I guess that goes with the helmet. Have fun - stay loose - know your escape routes in case something goes wrong.

User avatar
Posts: 749
Joined: Thu Sep 28, 2006 8:46 pm
Location: Nidderdale, North Yorkshire

Re: What you wish you knew for your first class III

Postby pvnisher » Mon Jun 25, 2012 3:54 pm

+1 on that if you find yourself with something that looks scary, you're probably off route.

It's just basic scrambling, occassionally using your hands. I went up Wetterhorn and maybe used my hands 2-3 times, otherwise it's like going up steep stairs without a handrail. Other people use their hands all over the place, and that's cool, too.
My advice for Class 3 is that it's not going to be as hard as you think. You could take pretty much anyone who can walk and they'll make it up Class 3.
Your body is plenty strong and coordinated.

Anytime you feel sketched out by terrain, find yourself a safe spot, sit down, and relax for a few minutes. You will gradually adjust to it and fell more calm. It's like hopping into a hot tub. All at once hurts, but slowly feels easy. By sitting and having some water in an exposed (but safe) location, you will reset your brain to feeling safe with that level of exposure. And feeling safe makes you move more smoothly and not stress out.

Re: What you wish you knew for your first class III

Postby sstratta » Mon Jun 25, 2012 4:36 pm

I think everyone has a different definiton of what "scary" is. For me, the challenge of moving on from class 2 to class 3 (and even from class 3 to class 4 to class 5!) was dealing with exposure...knowing that if I fall there will be greater consequences. Not all class 3 routes have a lot of exposure, but some do (I've never been on Kelso Ridge, so can't speak for that route...but if you go to the route page on this website it should give the exposure ranking), and I've been on some class 3 routes that were a piece of cake and then others that had me scared/nervous for a good portion of the entire day since it was more exposed. Not everyone has a "fear of heights", so if you're one of those people then this post is probably not that useful. But if you do, the following might help. I find it's good to first survey/analyze the entire route from the bottom (or at least the section that is visible at the time) and then, once you've decided on your course of action (as in, "I'm going to go here, then over there, then climb up to the ridge from that gully, etc..."), focus on one move at a time. By focusing on the move that's directly in front of you sometimes makes you forget about the exposure and/or the difficulty of the entire route. Then, periodically, you take a break and look at the big picture to make sure you're still on route (or make sure your buddies are doing okay), then go back to focusing on just the move that is in front of you. Also, it's easy to say "don't look down", but most times you do anyway, especially to check on other people or to make sure you know what the route looks like for your descent (this is also a good thing to do - sometimes climbing up and climbing down the same route can look drastically different, and it's easy to get off-route on the way down). I also agree with wearing a helmet!!! Hope that helps, good luck!

User avatar
Posts: 1485
Joined: Wed Jun 29, 2005 9:17 am
Location: Dillon

Re: What you wish you knew for your first class III

Postby TravelingMatt » Mon Jun 25, 2012 4:38 pm

These apply to harder/less traveled scrambles, ie, not most 14ers. But anyway...

1. Think two or three moves ahead
2. Before committing to a move, always ask yourself, Self, where are you going to put your other foot?
3. While going up something, check to make sure you'll be comfortable going down it.
So pleas'd at first the towering Alps we try,
Mount o'er the vales, and seem to tread the sky,
Th' increasing prospects tire our wand'ring eyes,
Hills peep o'er hills, and Alps on Alps arise!
-- Alexander Pope

User avatar
Posts: 520
Joined: Wed Aug 01, 2007 12:16 pm
Location: Aurora, CO

Re: What you wish you knew for your first class III

Postby Jay521 » Mon Jun 25, 2012 5:21 pm

This IS a great thread. And I echo everything that has been written here. I didn't get around to trying any class 3 until I was 60 years old and boy - do I wish I had started doing it earlier. I have to admit that my heart rate jumps a bit at exposure, but as others have said - if you are prepared, know your route and take a couple deep breaths, I think you will find it is MAJOR enjoyable. Good luck, be safe, push yourself but not too far and wear a helmet.

And let us know how it goes!
I take the mountain climber's approach to housekeeping - don't look down

User avatar
Posts: 76
Joined: Mon Jan 09, 2012 8:57 am
Location: South East Michigan

Re: What you wish you knew for your first class III

Postby joshbrink » Mon Jun 25, 2012 6:33 pm

I am also doing my first class 3 in september, kelso ridge and then the sawtooth traverse later in the week. My question is what is the biggest difference between class 3 and 4? If your comfortable with heights/exposure and your feeling good on the climb what are the tell tale signs your on a class 4/off route instead of 3?
“I am losing precious days. I am degenerating into a machine for making money. I am learning nothing in this trivial world of men. I must break away and get out into the mountains to learn the news”
― John Muir

Next

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 11 guests