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Mount Neva class 4?

Colorado 13er questions, conditions, and other info should be posted here. Also includes topics related to 13ers.com. 13er Trip Reports
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Mount Neva class 4?

Postby jtdudley » Sun Aug 10, 2008 5:30 pm

So I climbed Mt. Neva today via the NW ridge (from Arapahoe Pass TH). Although I had heard someone talking that this was a class 4, when I was on it, I was suprised at the fun scrambling and solid holds. If this truely is a class 4 climb it would be my first. I felt other class 3s were more difficult and more exposed than this. Any input from others on this ridge? Is this typical to a class 4? What really seperates a class 3 from a class 4? Thanks.

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Re: Mount Neva class 4?

Postby 14erFreak127 » Sun Aug 10, 2008 6:31 pm

It is a class 3.
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Re: Mount Neva class 4?

Postby Layne Bracy » Sun Aug 10, 2008 7:39 pm

jtdudley wrote:So I climbed Mt. Neva today via the NW ridge (from Arapahoe Pass TH).


First, let's clarify which route you took. If you really took the NW ridge, then Roach calls that class 2. In this route, you traverse from Arapaho Pass to Caribou Pass, descend to Columbine Lake and finally ascend Neva via the NW ridge. Kind of circuitous.

However, if you tackled Neva 'straight-on' from Arapaho Pass, wrapping around Lake Dorothy following the ridge the whole way, then you took the North Ridge, which Roach calls class 4. I agree with this rating for the crux pitch we took(though perhaps there would be a round-about way to bypass it.) I thought this pitch was more difficult than anything I found on the 14er standard routes. I never used or wanted a rope for the 14ers, but I would have been pretty uncomfortable downclimbing the crux on the Neva North ridge.

Here are pictures by James Just of Kevin and me on the crux.
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Re: Mount Neva class 4?

Postby jtdudley » Sun Aug 10, 2008 7:53 pm

Thanks for the responses. I took the North ridge which I thought was a lot of fun. The crux was certainly the most technical spot, although I felt the footing and holds were solid enough that I never felt uncomfortable (and I have not done a ton of climbing). I felt the exposure was less than that on something like Wetterhorn. I guess I am a little confused on the difference between class 3 and class 4 in this case. If class 4 is considered a no fall zone, what about class 3s with significant exposure? When people express they "had to make a couple class 4 moves" what is this refering to? Although not new to scrambling and exploring, I am new to trying to classify what I do and trying to figure out the various classes. Thanks for educating me.

Regardless of what class neva was, it is a great scramble and a fun escape from the crowds on a busy trail. Wish the weather was clearer to see the views.

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Re: Mount Neva class 4?

Postby Layne Bracy » Sun Aug 10, 2008 11:11 pm

jtdudley wrote: I felt the exposure was less than that on something like Wetterhorn. I guess I am a little confused on the difference between class 3 and class 4 in this case. If class 4 is considered a no fall zone, what about class 3s with significant exposure? When people express they "had to make a couple class 4 moves" what is this refering to?


While exposure and class tend to correlate, this is not always so. For example, a narrow sidewalk high in the sky would be class 1 but with death the result of a fall. Conversely, a boulder with tiny holds several feet off the ground would be class 5 but a fall would cause no injury.

Confusion sometimes results from people describing routes with severe exposure. Afraid that calling a route class 2 would make hikers underestimate the danger, they may 'upgrade' the route to ward off the unprepared. As an example, Capitol's knife-edge is often rated class 4 due to exposure whereas a 'true' rating might be class 2.

The difference between class 3 and 4 is still somewhat hard to describe. For me, class 4 requires a little more thought on the moves and is more vertical than class 3. When downclimbing class 3 I have little difficulty and can move at a steady pace. Easy class 4 I can downclimb facing out but will go slowly - Little Bear hourglass. Harder class 4 I will downclimb facing in - Mt Wilson summit pitch. Even harder class 4 I would prefer to rappel - the Neva crux.

This last paragraph doesn't apply to everyone. I know people who are uncomfortable downclimbing class 3 and others who downclimb class 5 without a rope!

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Re: Mount Neva class 4?

Postby jtdudley » Mon Aug 11, 2008 7:16 am

Thank you for your thorough response! Well said! This cleared quite a bit up in my head. I certainly downclimbed the crux facing the wall in 3 or 4 spots, which I guess makes sense given the classifications and your description.

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