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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: downclimbing

Postby HuskyRunner » Fri Jun 29, 2012 5:31 pm

screeman57 wrote:An experienced climber-friend once suggested that I walk downstairs backwards with my eyes closed to get used to downclimbing class 3. Certainly no substitute for real-world situations, and I can't really attest to it's effectiveness. Has anyone else heard of this or any other "exercises?"


Can't say I've heard of anybody suggesting this but it sounds like a good idea, probably better if you find a short section of class 3 or class 4 terrain, get a friend and a rope and practice. I started climbing at a small crags outside of D.C., to make the most of the climbs we typically down-climbed the routes. I still do this a lot on 3rd, 4th and 5th class terrain, nothing like being comfortable, calm and moving efficiently when the terrain demands it. Did a fair bit of this on the Sawtooth today.
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Re: What you wish you knew for your first class III

Postby Dave B » Fri Jun 29, 2012 5:59 pm

[precision nazi] the class rating system is usually reported in Arabic numbering (i.e. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5) whereas route grades are in Roman numerals (I, II, III, IV etc.). This is important because a grade III or grade IV route is way different than a class 3 or 4 [/precision nazi].
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Re: What you wish you knew for your first class III

Postby DeTour » Fri Jun 29, 2012 9:11 pm

eagrnnr wrote:My father and I are doing Longs in about 2 weeks, this'll be our second attempt. First one we got stopped at the Keyhole by high winds.

Here's a free Longs tip: IT'S ALWAYS WINDY AT THE KEYHOLE. (Pardon me for yelling, but you have to yell to be heard over that wind! :lol: ) I actually read that in a Longs trail guide (Donohue), and have found it to be true every time I've been there (once). There's a funnel effect of wind from Glacier Gorge sweeping up through the lowest notches in Keyhole Ridge.

Some more experienced folks shared a great tip that day: Because IT'S ALWAYS WINDY AT THE KEYHOLE, don't make your judgement on wind based on that location. Even if it seems like you'll get blown off the mountain, make your way a little ways past the Keyhole along the ledges - maybe 100 feet of easy horizontal trail, although I believe there is some exposure there. Stop there and assess the wind. It may be completely different than at the Keyhole. It took a few mountains for me to realize how often that funnel effect can create raging winds at lower elevations, while the upper reaches of the mountain turn out to be relatively calm.

sivadselim wrote:GLOVES

Not the kind for warmth (you'll probably want to carry those, too, though), but gloves for hand protection

+1 to that. Someone will probably excoriate me for this, but I use the $3 sure-grip work gloves you can get at Home Depot, Lowes, just about any store with tools or gardening stuff, or fishing gear for that matter. I feel like my grip on rock is better with them on than with my bare hands, and they offer pretty good protection. They're not much good for cold, but for July-August climbs they've worked for me. Or you might go for the same palm grip material in a better quality glove, with a back-of-the-hand strap to secure the gloves on your hand better. I've just never had a problem with the cheapo type slipping, and I love that grippy plastic fiber stuff for gripping rock.
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Re: What you wish you knew for your first class III

Postby patternmike » Sat Jul 07, 2012 6:16 am

Doing Kelso's next month for first time and first class 3. I saw a gopro video posted on 14ers last week and climber and shadow looked to show climber carrying a rope. Haven't read any mention of rope needed on this thread. Is a rope suggested on this route?

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

Postby Brian C » Sat Jul 07, 2012 6:29 am

patternmike wrote:Doing Kelso's next month for first time and first class 3 ... Is a rope suggested on this route?


No.

This opens the whole "if you need one then you shouldn't do it" can of worms. I would guess that if it's your first class 3 you likely don't know how to do ropework safely anyway and if you did I doubt you'd think about bringing a rope on a class 3. I'd say that if you're concerned about it then go with somebody much more experienced than you or do an easier route first (i.e. Sawtooth, Longs). Kelso is not hard class 3 by any means but it is harder than some other routes especially if you get off-route. As Gerry says in his guide..."this is a climb, not a hike".
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Re: What you wish you knew for your first class III

Postby oldschool » Sat Jul 07, 2012 7:10 am

I wish I knew, way back in the 70's when I started doing Class 5 rock climbing, as well as Class 3 and 4 scrambling is that I was more capable than I gave myself credit for. I found no shame in not making it, knowing I could come back to try again. Embrace the challenge!

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

Postby HuskyRunner » Sat Jul 07, 2012 7:15 am

I checked paternMike's profile and it looks like he does some climbing so I'll give him a straight forward answer. No rope required on Kelso, it's actually a fairly mild class 3 route. There is a little exposure here and there but nothing bad, the so called knife edge is pretty mild as well. Take in mind that I'm describing this from the point of view from somebody that does more rock and alpine climbing than peak bagging.

If you're looking for a fun scramble you might want to take a look at the NE ridge of Bancroft. It has a rappel and a short section that goes about 5.3-5.4 (there is the direct route as well) and then a good bit of class 3 and some class 4.

paternMike, looks like you live in Ohio, are you able to get to CO a good bit?
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Re: What you wish you knew for your first class III

Postby ChrisRoberts » Sat Jul 07, 2012 10:37 am

Gloves can be really nice to have.

The thing about class 3 is, if you can find the time to hit a non-14er with a good stretch of class 3, do it as practice. You won't have as many other people to worry about and you'll learn some of the basics before saddling up to a major mountain.

Don't worry about falling. If you can rock hop with ease, there should be no reason to fear exposure on class 3. Confidence in your footing is important, but don't let it get you into trouble.
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Re: What you wish you knew for your first class III

Postby patternmike » Tue Jul 10, 2012 2:45 pm

Thanks for the feedback on the rope question for Kelso's Ridge. I feel confident in attemnpting this but didn't want to get half way up and realize I hadn't done my research and needed a rope. I have a fair amount of rock climbing experience indoors and out (5.9-5.10). The only class 3 climbing I have done was climbing Disappointment Cleaver on Rainier and we were roped up. That was pretty easy and i am not even sure it was rated class 3. We are going to climb in Boulder canyon and Eldorado the 2 days before we head up to Torreys. I also recognize that doing class 3 without a rope is much more dangerous than doing class 5 with a rope and will respect that and be cautious.

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

Postby HuskyRunner » Tue Jul 10, 2012 6:31 pm

patternmike wrote: I also recognize that doing class 3 without a rope is much more dangerous than doing class 5 with a rope and will respect that and be cautious.



That depends, you're climbing in Eldo, s**t loads of loose rock! Climbing in Eldo under another party scares the crap out of me, rather be runout 80' on a slab in Splatte than under another party in Eldo!

You'll be fine on Kelso, really pretty mellow for 3rd class, just don't trip in the wrong place an you'll be peachy.
"I made up my mind not to care so much about the destination, and simply enjoy the journey." David Archuleta
"And if they get out there they see, son of a bitch, this is a beautiful planet." Jim Whittaker

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

Postby Aug_Dog » Wed Jul 11, 2012 1:36 pm

Very interesting thread.

I've done quite a bit of class III and am sometimes confused about what qualifies as Class III. I've done the Sawtooth and I've done Longs. Also did Lindsay and stayed real high on the gulley, to the point where I feel like a couple of moves were low class IV. Same thing with the Castle/Conundrum combo. We made an error that left us descending a nasty, nasty section of the saddle back down into the saddle. There were some moves there downclimbing that section that were very much class IV.

I have three questions:

Sunlight:

How many of you did NOT do the summit block move? We're going out there in a couple weeks and I'm not sure if I'm going to attempt the move. I'm very confident I can do it, but I'm just not sure it's really worth it. Anyone else have a similar sentiment?

Sawtooth:

What moves, stretches or sections are actually class III? The ledge system is NOT class III in my opinion. Does exposure make class III? Was the descent down Bierstadt to the ridge III? I know the traverse up over or around the gendarme is class III, but seriously, what else on that route warrants that distinction?

Longs:

Same question. I know the rebar rock move is class III. I would say the homestretch is probably 2+ or low III. The chockstone is probably III. But again, what else on that route is class III?

I can't wait to read some of your replies!!!
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Re: What you wish you knew for your first class III

Postby Shawnee Bob » Wed Jul 11, 2012 1:43 pm

Can't speak to those specific placs, but in terms of rating a route, if one section of it is Class 3, it's considered a Class 3 route.

The rule I heard that makes sense to me: You need your hands to ascend/descend Class 3 and 4. If you can downclimb said section facing out, it's Class 3. If you have to descend facing in, it's Class 4.
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