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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 HuskyRunner » Wed Jul 11, 2012 2:01 pm

Aug_Dog wrote:Very interesting thread.

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!!!


About the only move on the Sawtooth that I would personally call 3rd class would be over the Gendarme, I'm sure you could make it more of a 3rd class scramble but following the cairns I would call class 2.

I've only come down the Keyhole in winter conditions but can't really say I saw anything that was 3rd class there either but then I never even saw the rebar/pole, must have walked by it.

Planning on heading up Kelso again, first time without snow on it for me, I'll pay more attention but the other 2 times I've been on the route it seemed like there were only a couple of short sections (maybe a move or two) that were really 3rd class.

Meeker ridge and Meeker via the Iron Gates, now that I would call 3rd class once you get past the gates and certainly the ridge over to Meeker, I'm betting that some would call it 4th but that seems a stretch. My intro to 4th class was hiking up Teewinot, if you're intimidated by 3rd or 4th class on some of these 14er routes I suggest you think twice, at least twice, before hitting Teton 3rd or 4th class terrain.
"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

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

Postby metalmountain » Wed Jul 11, 2012 2:37 pm

Aug_Dog wrote:
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?



The big gendarme has one section of class 3. Its not long though. The rest, including once you crossover, is class2/2+. It is almost entirely class 2 once you cross over though. As said before, exposure doesn't make something class 3. The descent is class 2. If there is snow on the ridge it can change things though and you can get into some spicier stuff (albeit short lived) to avoid it. Its a good route to get someone used to some exposure, but I would never really pitch the sawtooth as a good class 3 route in my opinion.
"The greatest battle is not physical but psychological. The demons telling us to give up when we push ourselves to the limit can never be silenced for good. They must always be answered by the quiet, steady dignity that simply refuses to give in. Courage. We all suffer. Keep going." - Graeme Fife

"I found that nothing truly matters, that you cannot find for free." - The Gaslight Anthem

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

Postby Aug_Dog » Wed Jul 11, 2012 2:42 pm

metalmountain wrote:
Aug_Dog wrote:
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?



The big gendarme has one section of class 3. Its not long though. The rest, including once you crossover, is class2/2+. It is almost entirely class 2 once you cross over though. As said before, exposure doesn't make something class 3. The descent is class 2. If there is snow on the ridge it can change things though and you can get into some spicier stuff (albeit short lived) to avoid it. Its a good route to get someone used to some exposure, but I would never really pitch the sawtooth as a good class 3 route in my opinion.


That's exactly what i was intimating. I mean, i'm fine calling it class III if for no other reason, to make people pause before attempting it. Not that it stops people from attempting Longs when they have no business being up there.
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Re: What you wish you knew for your first class III

Postby Mohare77 » Wed Jul 11, 2012 3:31 pm

Does kelso see much traffic on weekdays? 0-10 climbers? or more like 0-5?

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

Postby Monster5 » Wed Jul 11, 2012 3:40 pm

Keep in mind a few things when considering technical difficulty:

-The YDS ratings and class rating extensions are based on consensus. As in what may be class 4 for me (5'6") may be class 3 for Andyouseeme or Matt Lemke (7'giant"). Or a 5.8 crack to me may seem 5.9 to them since I can utilize smaller and closer spaced holds they cannot, though that part's a bit ridiculous - everybody knows the tall freaks who don't have step stools readily available in the kitchen (hypothetically; my kitchen consists of a jetboil on my car hood) have the advantage at weekend warrior skill levels.

-Class ratings do not account for exposure. This one gets beaten to death, but nobody ever remembers it when recalling difficulty. Yes, there is a strong correlation between difficulty and exposure, but the two are not always linked. Ever crawl into the top bunk of a bunkbed? Yeah. About class 4. Ever jump a high fence? ~5.easy. Climb a roof? 5.easy. Walk this path? Mostly class 1. The facing in/out thing is pretty good in dry conditions. I don't differentiate much between technical difficulty on route, but Class 3: Mindless non-simply-balancing hand placements. Class 4: Begin actually looking/considering the holds, which are readily available. 5.easy: Actively search and test for both hand/foot holds. 5.4-5.8: Make somebody else lead it, if possible. Alpine >5.9: The weather looks crummy and I'm supposed to go to a wedding later.

-Class ratings are generally given by the most difficult move, not the average difficulty. In addition, the ratings mostly consider only the required moves. Kelso Ridge has plenty of class 3/4, but most people bypass it all to the right on crappy scree trails in summer and then claim it is overhyped and easy (the flexibility is what makes it such a popular beginner route). Hence, the ridge purists on the site. Stay the ridge unless forced off or bored.

The average hiker with no climbing background should have few problems with low-moderately exposed class 3 or 4. Physically. Mentally, however, is a different game.

Comments in red:

Aug_Dog wrote:
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?

If you're confident you can do it, then do it. It would be silly to go all the way out there not to summit. Yes, some individuals say that they climb for their own goals and blah blah (ironically on a public site with public peak lists, an overzealous forum, and lengthy "accomplishments" sections). It would be wrong to give them crap for it as individual goals are different (unless they're a braggart), but they still didn't summit the peak. They can't close their eyes and make it non-existent. The summit exists and just because it is inconvenient or difficult does not change that fact. I'm not gonna stop at the Dallas crux and say I summitted Dallas. I'm not gonna stop 100' short of Bross' true summit and say I summitted Bross. Nor am I going to drive to 14K' on Evans, or take a train down Pikes (okay, these guys aren't good examples as they still hit the top; the mode is more in question). I'm not going to claim all the 14ers without doing Culebra as it stills exists. Nor am I going to throw an asterisk next to my peak list or become a defensive, blustery hedgehog. Oh yeah - AND IT'S FUN! Afterwards, maybe, but still.

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?

Answered above. A few moves of c3.

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 would agree with most of this, but the chock move at the top of the Trough is the only class 4 move on route for me. Short, easy, and not exposed, but c4 nonetheless. There may be one or two moves near the Keyhole at c3.


Mohare - depends on the weekday. But 1-2 parties (2-6 people) sounds about right in summer conditions.
"Mountains are the means, the man is the end. The goal is not to reach the tops of mountains, but to improve the man." - Walter Bonatti

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