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Class 3 vs. Class 4 -- What is the difference??

FAQ and threads for those just starting to hike the Colorado 14ers.
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Postby thebeave7 » Tue Mar 20, 2007 2:36 pm

Interesting points made by all. Apparently everyone has specific aspects of a climb/scramble that contribute most to their concept of ratings. There are definitely many overlapping factors, but probably the best advice may be what rider has just suggested. Most of these routes are well documented, so look at pictures, read reports, and pass your own judgement as to whether the route is something you can/want to undertake.
I've actually had the Cali vs CO rating discussion with many a people, and most seem to agree that the Cali system is a little more difficult. After many years of scrambling in California I haven't had any problems with C3-4 out here, though maybe I'm just getting used to it. I would personally not rate Split Mt as Class 3, maybe loose class 2+, but I don't recall ever having to scramble on the way up from Red Mt Lake. Russell has a few tricky moves(very exposed), but isn't too technically demanding. If you go to summitpost.org there are plenty of route photos to browse through to gain an idea of what to expect(for Cali, CO, and all others).
Enough bickering about ratings, LETS GO CLIMB!!!
Eric
PS Clyde Minaret is a truly stunning C4 climb(Cali rating), major exposure, but good holds/ledges.

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Postby hikerguy0 » Tue Mar 20, 2007 2:43 pm

I would definitely like any links to good route info. I'm familiar with SummitPost (highly cool) and (obviously) this site, but always appreciate others.

Enough bickering about ratings, LETS GO CLIMB!!!


here, here! :-)

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Postby Matt » Tue Mar 20, 2007 3:03 pm

I agree with the man from Los Alamos: pictures don't always help you. Just like numbers, they don't lie, but can be misleading.
Case in point. I think it exaggerates both the difficulty of the summit pitch and risk of death from a fall on Wetterhorn, based on my experience there.
http://www.summitpost.org/image/39519/1 ... rk-is.html
Most pictures of the Homestretch make it look much more intimidating than it is, too.
http://www.14ers.com/php14ers/uphoto.ph ... gm=uphotos
http://www.14ers.com/photos/longspeak/2 ... ngs12a.jpg
Both routes seemed to me as hard as a class 4 should be.
We are all greater artists than we realize -FWN
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Postby thebeave7 » Tue Mar 20, 2007 3:14 pm

Longs is Class 4? Man, I must have found a new easy route, :)
Eric
Last edited by thebeave7 on Tue Mar 20, 2007 3:18 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Postby Matt » Tue Mar 20, 2007 3:17 pm

:lol:
Ah, ambiguity.
I mean that both class 3 routes seemed much easier than I expected--the photos make them look more like my expectation of a class 4 route in terms of difficulty.
Last edited by Matt on Tue Mar 20, 2007 3:46 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby hikerguy0 » Tue Mar 20, 2007 3:28 pm

OK, you lost me on that last one. If a class 3 is easier than expected, would it not be more like a class 2? Class 4 is a more difficult class.

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Postby denalibound » Tue Mar 20, 2007 3:31 pm

malcolml1 wrote: If one can treat exposure as fun then often the technical difficulty almost vanishes and becomes the same as boldering.

In my dreams! If technical difficulty would almost vanish, then I would be running up 5.12b, like it was a stairmaster.

Technical difficulty is a static measure that isn't influenced by other variables unless those other variables actually change the dynamic of the route, like rain or ice.

For instance, consider a flight of stairs. Just plain old stairs like you would find in a the average home. Since you can't really place one foot in front of the other and need to make the effort to lift your feet 9 inches or so to reach the next step, it's probably just above class1, and since you won't put a hand down it's probably not class 3, so it's more or less an easy class 2.

If we move that same flight outside and place it 40 feet off the ground, does that make it any harder to walk up? No, you can still run up theim like you do at home, no problem. You may be a little more cautious because a fall may result in greater injury, but it is not more technically difficult. Still class 2.

So what if we then remove the railings and decrease the width to 2 feet. You may get freaked out, you may feel very uncomfortable with the possibility of a fall, you may believe you can't do it, but when it comes down to it, the necessary steps to climb it are no different from when it was in your house. Therefore the technical difficulty remains unchanged. Again still class 2.

An increase in exposure may make a route feel like it's more technically difficult, but it doesn't actually make it more difficult. That increased difficulty is a matter of perception based on fear of what may happen to you if you fall. That's what exposure measures and the combination of exposure and technical difficulty illustrates a more complete understanding of the route as a whole.

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Postby Devin » Tue Mar 20, 2007 3:37 pm

del_sur wrote:I agree with the man from Los Alamos: pictures don't always help you. Just like numbers, they don't lie, but can be misleading.
Case in point. I think it exaggerates both the difficulty of the summit pitch and risk of death from a fall on Wetterhorn, based on my experience there.
http://www.summitpost.org/image/39519/1 ... rk-is.html
Most pictures of the Homestretch make it look much more intimidating than it is, too.
http://www.14ers.com/php14ers/uphoto.ph ... gm=uphotos
http://www.14ers.com/photos/longspeak/2 ... ngs12a.jpg
Both routes seemed to me as hard as a class 4 should be.


Definitely. I haven't been on Wetterhorn, but I have been on the homestretch on Longs, and it isn't nearly as bad as some of the photos make it seem.

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Postby Matt » Tue Mar 20, 2007 3:37 pm

hikerguy0 wrote:OK, you lost me on that last one. If a class 3 is easier than expected, would it not be more like a class 2? Class 4 is a more difficult class.


Sorry, man. Great thread.
I've never done any "official" class 4 routes, so I have no experience, just expectations of how hard one could be.
Those two routes were much easier than I thought, and Long's was my first class 3, much easier than I thought it would be.
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Postby MtHurd » Tue Mar 20, 2007 3:39 pm

Sunlight Peak is class 4; however, only ONE (final summit) move is class 4, the rest is class 2.

Postby Jon Frohlich » Tue Mar 20, 2007 4:56 pm

Barry Raven wrote:Sunlight Peak is class 4; however, only ONE (final summit) move is class 4, the rest is class 2.


Unless you found a different route than I did I would dispute this claim. I've seen you post this twice and it's misleading. While true that the final summit move is the only real Class 4 on Sunlight there are definitely Class 3 moves leading up to that point. Most of the peak is Class 2 to be sure but the moves in the photo below are most definitely not Class 2. I also remember a few other short Class 3 sections before this as well.

http://www.14ers.com/photos/windomgroup/bRSunl_219.jpg

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Postby Rockymtnhigh69 » Tue Mar 20, 2007 7:40 pm

hikerguy0 wrote:OK, you lost me on that last one. If a class 3 is easier than expected, would it not be more like a class 2? Class 4 is a more difficult class.


Class 3 is in a whole different league than a Class 2 as far as difficulty and exposure. Class 4 moves takes to another level again.
On my first take-off, I hit second gear and went through the speed limit on a two-lane blacktop highway full of ranch traffic. By the time I went up to third, I was going 75 and the tach was barely above 4000 rpm....
And that's when the Ducati got its second wind. From 4000 to 6000 in third will take you from 75 mph to 95 in two seconds - and after that, Bubba, you still have fourth, fifth, and sixth. Ho, ho.

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