Protection on Class 5 traverses

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MrGinger
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Protection on Class 5 traverses

Post by MrGinger » Tue Jun 21, 2016 7:26 pm

As the title says, I'm curious about protection on some exposed class 5 pitches on some of the Great Traverses - or more so why it seems as if no one uses pro. Am I just missing trip reports/photos of climbs where protection is used? Or is it that protection is sketchy on the majority of loose scree on ridges? Or are exposed pitches just the nature of the beast?

Really I'm looking for any general knowledge on the traverses and acceptability of exposure/lack of protection.

Thanks!
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Liquid Shadow
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Re: Protection on Class 5 traverses

Post by Liquid Shadow » Tue Jun 21, 2016 7:38 pm

Rock can be sketchy, more weight to carry up, will slow you down significantly.
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bobalob
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Re: Protection on Class 5 traverses

Post by bobalob » Tue Jun 21, 2016 7:40 pm

On the Four Great Traverses there isn't much protection able to be placed and ropes tend to just pull off the loose rock as it is pulled along. The ridges are all very exposed but are not sustained class 5 climbing rather a few or less small class 5 sections that are low class 5. This also makes protection a lot to carry to use for 15 ft of climbing. They are really more of a mental game with easier climbing/scrambling that is just very exposed. People will tend to rapel from the summit of Crestone Needle if going from Needle to Peak and down part of the Bells traverse if going North Bell to South. Hope that helps!
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justiner
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Re: Protection on Class 5 traverses

Post by justiner » Tue Jun 21, 2016 7:48 pm

* El Diente -> Wilson has no Class 5 sections, and roping up would be highly dangerous, as you would be liable to cause more rockfall with the rope dragging all over the place

* Peak to Needle traverse is mostly Class 3, with a 5.2 move lower down, and the Class 4 summit pitch, which doesn't have anywhere to place pro. The 5.2 pitch had a fixed line the last time I was up there (lame.) If you were to reverse this, there was tat and a rap ring to rap the summit pitch, if downclimbing isn't comfortable

* Maroon Bells Traverse also has a lot of loose crap, and a one or two move 5.6 section (right.). there is also a rap station to rap the crux if going in reverse. This can also be avoided if you follow the right loose gully of rubble.

* Little Bear -> Blanca is so long, and so exposed you think it would make sense to rope up, but if you try to pitch out everything, you'll never get across. If you look at the comments on the MP page, there's a lot of, "why aren't more people roping up?!" talk,

https://www.mountainproject.com/v/littl ... /105760884" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

One of the dangers of bringing gear for these relatively easy pitches is that it slows you down, and you don't want to be caught in the T-storm up high and exposed on these traverses. Better to be comfortable with the exposure (mostly) and the grade (you can do it, even though you don't know you can), then bring too much gear. IMHO.

People rope up for the Keyhole route on Longs, or to go across the Knife edge of Capitol, so parties can and do rope up for these traverses. I don't think it's needed, if you take the time to become a competent scrambler first. Light and Fast!
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Monster5
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Re: Protection on Class 5 traverses

Post by Monster5 » Tue Jun 21, 2016 8:11 pm

Traditionally, the great traverses are all class 4 with the exception of the Little Bear-Blanca traverse, which is rated 5.0-5.2 (see Roach's guide). I would agree with this. As the 14ers are becoming more popular, the ratings are becoming a bit inflated. That may sound elitist, but there are plenty of "benchmark" climbs out there to compare the 14er difficulties to.

The reason most don't protect them is because, frankly, they either A) lack the skill for rope work in alpine terrain, or B) they do have rope work skill yet don't need it because in acquiring said skill, they've become comfortable on that terrain. Generally. Ropes are used in some cases, like in the Needle to Peak or North maroon to Maroon directions.
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Brian C
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Re: Protection on Class 5 traverses

Post by Brian C » Tue Jun 21, 2016 10:20 pm

Usually people who feel the need for a rope don't have the skills to use one and people who know how to use a rope are comfortable doing those routes without one.
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TallGrass
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Re: Protection on Class 5 traverses

Post by TallGrass » Tue Jun 21, 2016 10:30 pm

Monster5 wrote:The reason most don't protect them is because, frankly, they either A) lack the skill for rope work in alpine terrain, or B) they do have rope work skill yet don't need it because in acquiring said skill, they've become comfortable on that terrain. Generally. Ropes are used in some cases, like in the Needle to Peak or North maroon to Maroon directions.
Or they're going solo -- why bring a rope if you haven't a belayer? Or what if there's no good spot to belay? A rope for rappelling makes sense because it's faster, whereas seeing foot holds is harder when downclimbing. If the Class 5 is juggy, not vertical (90 degrees), or chimney, it's easier to stop and rest so you don't get pumped out. Some might pack a short rope (< 20m, ~30' rapp) just to cross one or two points like Cap's knife edge, but ropes are more often used up & down not side-to-side which what a traverse mostly is.

Granite Peak, the Montana HP, is only Class 4 (from Avalance Lake) though some up it to Class 5 due to "consequence." It's a solid climb but so vertical in spots that you can't see the foot holds going down unless you lean out, but then you're pulling out on rock instead of pushing down. So most do 4-6 raps.

Little Bear's Hourglass is similar. People rap it to spend less time in its cross-hairs. It so long it'd require a LOT of rope to be packed in, so people have left retired climbing ropes behind which occasionally get replaced. Gash Ridge has some piton anchors to rap the C4 section down into the Gash, but I saw none coming up out of it toward Blanca.

Even if you don't get into sport or trad climbing, it's good to have your own rap gear (harness, tube device like an ATC Guide, and locking HMS biner, maybe an auto- or hollow-block too) so you can follow, then maybe your own rope (e.g. Beal Rando is great) and anchor stuff (slings, rings, quick links). Get your knowledge and skills down on in-town stuff before heading for the mountain.
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Monster5
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Re: Protection on Class 5 traverses

Post by Monster5 » Tue Jun 21, 2016 11:03 pm

The greatest prank Middlebrook could ever pull on this forum would be to admit tallgrass is his troll account.
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Liquid Shadow
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Re: Protection on Class 5 traverses

Post by Liquid Shadow » Tue Jun 21, 2016 11:11 pm

Monster5 wrote:The greatest prank Middlebrook could ever pull on this forum would be to admit tallgrass is his troll account.
*Mind blown*
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rob runkle
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Re: Protection on Class 5 traverses

Post by rob runkle » Wed Jun 22, 2016 6:02 am

justiner wrote:* El Diente -> Wilson has no Class 5 sections, and roping up would be highly dangerous, as you would be liable to cause more rockfall with the rope dragging all over the place

* Peak to Needle traverse is mostly Class 3, with a 5.2 move lower down, and the Class 4 summit pitch, which doesn't have anywhere to place pro. The 5.2 pitch had a fixed line the last time I was up there (lame.) If you were to reverse this, there was tat and a rap ring to rap the summit pitch, if downclimbing isn't comfortable

* Maroon Bells Traverse also has a lot of loose crap, and a one or two move 5.6 section (right.). there is also a rap station to rap the crux if going in reverse. This can also be avoided if you follow the right loose gully of rubble.

* Little Bear -> Blanca is so long, and so exposed you think it would make sense to rope up, but if you try to pitch out everything, you'll never get across. If you look at the comments on the MP page, there's a lot of, "why aren't more people roping up?!" talk,

https://www.mountainproject.com/v/littl ... /105760884" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

One of the dangers of bringing gear for these relatively easy pitches is that it slows you down, and you don't want to be caught in the T-storm up high and exposed on these traverses. Better to be comfortable with the exposure (mostly) and the grade (you can do it, even though you don't know you can), then bring too much gear. IMHO.

People rope up for the Keyhole route on Longs, or to go across the Knife edge of Capitol, so parties can and do rope up for these traverses. I don't think it's needed, if you take the time to become a competent scrambler first. Light and Fast!
+100
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polar
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Re: Protection on Class 5 traverses

Post by polar » Wed Jun 22, 2016 7:04 am

justiner wrote:If you look at the comments on the MP page, there's a lot of, "why aren't more people roping up?!" talk,

https://www.mountainproject.com/v/littl ... /105760884" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
I think "a lot of" is a bit of an exaggeration, Out of the 25 comments, I only counted two that actually recommended a rope, and only for simul-climbing (or running belay).
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illusion7il
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Re: Protection on Class 5 traverses

Post by illusion7il » Wed Jun 22, 2016 3:12 pm

Monster5 wrote:The greatest prank Middlebrook could ever pull on this forum would be to admit tallgrass is his troll account.
+1
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