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What you wish you knew for your first class III

FAQ and threads for those just starting to hike the Colorado 14ers.
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Re: What you wish you knew for your first class III

Postby shotgung » Tue Jun 26, 2012 8:07 am

milan wrote:As many people wrote here, the ratings doesn't tell anything about the exposure. I wish I realized those exposure barrs before I went my first class III (Longs Peak) 5 years ago. I rope climb, so class III is not a problem with technique for me. Its fight with my mind (scared of exposure). I usually stop, tell myself, yeah, it is exposed but if you were on the rope, you even would not think about this part how easy it really is. And it usually works. If you don't see easy passage forward, you need to look over the corner, walk on the ledge farther or something to find it. I usually don't have problem routefinding on the way down, I tend to remember each step at exposed areas so I exactly know where to put my foot or where is the best handhold; but it's different for everybody. Sawtooth is easy to start with. I didn't go Kelso. My favorite was Wetterhorn..


The Sawtooth was my first class III. My brother and I stood back and said, "how the hell?" We then decided to try it and if we felt uncomfortable, we would turn around. We never turned around. It wasn't as bad as it looked and we eventually went from Evans to Bierstadt and back, via the same route.

Here's a question: Climbing Mt. Rainier on July 21-25. Class II or III? No hands used but still a viscious climb.
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Re: What you wish you knew for your first class III

Postby colokeith » Tue Jun 26, 2012 8:21 am

Wow, Thanks everybody for the great responses!!!!

I have also been advised to pay special attention to weather. Rain or a little ice may be annoying on a class II route, but slick rocks are terrifying with big exposure. Also it is usually much more difficult to beat a hasty retreat in the event of a thunderstorm
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Re: What you wish you knew for your first class III

Postby kansas » Tue Jun 26, 2012 8:25 am

Here's a question: Climbing Mt. Rainier on July 21-25. Class II or III? No hands used but still a viscious climb.


Exposed class 2 in a couple spots on the DC route.
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Re: What you wish you knew for your first class III

Postby Scott P » Tue Jun 26, 2012 8:26 am

It seems that definition of class 3 is often made more complicated than it needs to be. Climb a class 3 and you will know the definition. Same with the other classes as well.

Most healthy people can climb class 3, so it's not something to get really anxious about or to spend time dwelling/worrying too much before trying it.

My four and six year olds on a class 3 route a few years back:

Image

Here's a question: Climbing Mt. Rainier on July 21-25. Class II or III? No hands used but still a viscious climb.


It’s PD on the Alpine scale. As far as climbing PD without using any hands; I don’t know anyone that can do it. Even if your hand doesn’t touch the ice, you will use them. People don’t usually touch the ice with their hands even when vertical ice-climbing, but it doesn’t mean hands aren’t used. Comparing Rainier to a class II or III on a Colorado 14er just isn't a good comparison.
Last edited by Scott P on Tue Jun 26, 2012 8:37 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: What you wish you knew for your first class III

Postby KentonB » Tue Jun 26, 2012 8:32 am

Scott P wrote:Most healthy people can climb class 3, so it's not something to get really anxious about or to spend time dwelling/worrying too much before trying it.

My four and six year olds on a class 3 route a few years back:

Good point... most of my kids LOVE Class 3 scrambling. My youngest doesn't enjoy hiking unless there is some Class 3 climbing somewhere along the route! In my experience, most kids are natural mountain goats. LOL

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

Postby metalmountain » Tue Jun 26, 2012 8:49 am

I think a lesson I have learned is that not all class 3/4 is the same. It is very dependent on the rock as to how comfortable it feels. Exposed class 3 climbing can be a blast (S. ridge of Sneffels is mostly solid,S. to N. Arapaho, and the E. ridge of Bierstadt is another good example). Exposed class 3/4 climbing on loose crap is a whole different animal in my opinion. I would lump the west ridge of Quandary and Ellingwood ridge on La Plata (although there is solid rock here, it seemed like the majority of it took you directly to a cliff #-o ) into those categories. Seems like you can only trust about every third rock you grab or put your foot on.
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Re: What you wish you knew for your first class III

Postby jet » Tue Jun 26, 2012 8:55 am

In construction fall protection is a major component of safety. The way I tell people on my jobsite is to start at the top. Engage brain (think), eyes(look), neck upper body(turn), legs, and last move feet. The most common action I see is moving before looking. I've seen guys walk off roofs, step into open stairwells etc. Class 3 and above should be slower, much more deliberate. Over the years, fear of heights and being able to move comfortably on work above ground is the most common issue I see in people. Maybe 3 or 4 year olds can climb comfortably but I don't trust very many 20 year olds.

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

Postby Dex » Tue Jun 26, 2012 1:35 pm

I don't climb since I go it alone.

When I've done it; I found going down the mountain more difficult and scarey then going up.

Would a trekking pole be of any help for the way down.
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Re: What you wish you knew for your first class III

Postby Sgt_Wilky » Tue Jun 26, 2012 2:28 pm

Dex wrote:I don't climb since I go it alone.

When I've done it; I found going down the mountain more difficult and scarey then going up.

Would a trekking pole be of any help for the way down.


I learned that lesson on Mt. Meeker. Coming down was much more difficult than going up. I got myself lost on the Loft coming down and it was very unpleasant. But it also depends on the mountain that you're climbing, and the routes you take.

Regarding trekking poles, I have found in my limited experience, that in order for me to continue hiking, that I must use trekking poles coming down to save my knees. However, care must be taken when descending, that the poles don't become more of a hassle and end up causing injury to yourself by getting stuck in rocks and causing you to lose your balance and could prevent you from reaching out with your hands and stopping a fall. People who say, "It's all downhill from here," should be hit in the throat.
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Re: What you wish you knew for your first class III

Postby J-RockandRockpile » Tue Jun 26, 2012 2:34 pm

I agree with a few previously mentioned comments that - the anticipation is actually worse then the climb itself. Once you are out on the mountain you'll be fine. Just relax and enjoy and bottom line if it doesn't feel right don't force it.
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Re: What you wish you knew for your first class III

Postby Shawnee Bob » Tue Jun 26, 2012 3:36 pm

J-RockandRockpile wrote:I agree with a few previously mentioned comments that - the anticipation is actually worse then the climb itself. Once you are out on the mountain you'll be fine. Just relax and enjoy and bottom line if it doesn't feel right don't force it.


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

Postby bpko » Tue Jun 26, 2012 4:02 pm

J-RockandRockpile wrote:I agree with a few previously mentioned comments that - the anticipation is actually worse then the climb itself. Once you are out on the mountain you'll be fine. Just relax and enjoy and bottom line if it doesn't feel right don't force it.


Amen to that. When I told my parents I was climbing Longs, I was met with scary voices and words of "long," "fall," "dead," "never find you again." The entire hike up to the Keyhole (I did this solo and was probably still too inexperienced to be solo hiking a Class III) I found myself hiking slower and slower to avoid reaching the ledges, trough, and homestretch, due to fear and anticipation. Looking back, they were the most fun I've ever had on a mountain.
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