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robreglinski


Dec 4, 2004, 4:09 AM
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Approach class?
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hey there

ok when you guys talk about the class of approach what are you saying ive read a few topos for next years big adventrue and they keep talking about class 4 approach or class 3 Abseil (yes im from the UK)

forgive me but in the UK theres nothing like this we use terms like Good track, bad path or scary as polished exposed descent :shock:

we do however have a P rating in some areas which is just stupid :roll:

any help would be great
Rob


jstp


Dec 4, 2004, 6:36 AM
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I am sure this has been dealt with at least fifty times but.... the class of an objective/climb/hike is on a scale of 1 to 6. Most approaches fall in the ranges of Class 3 or Class 4. The class of a hike or approach is not the same as a technical climbing grade (see Classes 5 and 6 below) or a commitment grade (which is the roman numerals beside a rating I to VII. I being a single pith route or and VII being a huge multi week remote expedition undertaking).


Class 1 is flat ground, walking on a highway.

Class 2 is pretty much your standard hike, obvious well maintained trail that might have a hill or rock somwhere along the way.

Class 3 is an approach with some scrambling, overcoming boulders, scree and other such typical climbing approach fare. It is generally rather steep as well, and not always on a trail, or a trail that comes and goes... as so many climbers trails do.

Class 4 is this taken to the next level. More of everything, and probably bigger and steeper. There may be short sections of nearly technical (class 5) climbing involved, and some parties may want to rope up on Class 4 because it can get steep (even they only short-rope).

Class 5 is technical free climbing with more specific ratings like the YDS 5.0 - 5.15 or the British E7.

Class 6 is aid climbing with the additional ratings of A1 to A5.


robreglinski


Dec 4, 2004, 6:56 AM
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ahhhhh :oops: :oops: :oops:

yes i did know that i was just being dumb :roll: thanks for turning on the light so to speak :D

end thread
Rob


boltdude


Dec 4, 2004, 12:44 PM
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jstp repeates the most commonly held understanding of classes, but it's incorrect in the 1st to 4th class range.

1st class: trail, including rough trail - a mule can make it, but a horse may not be able to.
2nd class: scrambling, need hands for balance - talus hopping is 2nd class.
3rd class: exposed scrambling, non-climbers may need to be roped up - a narrow staircase with no railing on the outside of a skyscraper. Easy, but if you fall you die.
4th class: steep climbing with small holds, a strong leader does not place pro, but makes belays and belays weaker climbers. In the Sierra, common to find climbing up to 5.6 or so. Note: for most modern climbers, 4th class through 5.6 are largely indistinguishable, especially since most routes in the 5.0-5.5 range involved chimneys, offwidths, and so on.


scottquig


Aug 4, 2005, 4:09 PM
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In reply to:
jstp repeates the most commonly held understanding of classes, but it's incorrect in the 1st to 4th class range.

1st class: trail, including rough trail - a mule can make it, but a horse may not be able to.
2nd class: scrambling, need hands for balance - talus hopping is 2nd class.
3rd class: exposed scrambling, non-climbers may need to be roped up - a narrow staircase with no railing on the outside of a skyscraper. Easy, but if you fall you die.
4th class: steep climbing with small holds, a strong leader does not place pro, but makes belays and belays weaker climbers. In the Sierra, common to find climbing up to 5.6 or so. Note: for most modern climbers, 4th class through 5.6 are largely indistinguishable, especially since most routes in the 5.0-5.5 range involved chimneys, offwidths, and so on.

no


bones


Aug 4, 2005, 5:21 PM
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In reply to:
In reply to:
jstp repeates the most commonly held understanding of classes, but it's incorrect in the 1st to 4th class range.

1st class: trail, including rough trail - a mule can make it, but a horse may not be able to.
2nd class: scrambling, need hands for balance - talus hopping is 2nd class.
3rd class: exposed scrambling, non-climbers may need to be roped up - a narrow staircase with no railing on the outside of a skyscraper. Easy, but if you fall you die.
4th class: steep climbing with small holds, a strong leader does not place pro, but makes belays and belays weaker climbers. In the Sierra, common to find climbing up to 5.6 or so. Note: for most modern climbers, 4th class through 5.6 are largely indistinguishable, especially since most routes in the 5.0-5.5 range involved chimneys, offwidths, and so on.

no

Change the above word "no" to "I'm a noob and have no idea what I'm talking about" and I'd agree with you.


foxtrotuniform


Aug 4, 2005, 5:41 PM
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Your 4th class definition is a little screwy. I'm not aware of anyone who ever belays on class four approaches, hell you can do them in hiking boots with packs on.

And 5.6 being indestinguishable from class 4?? Come on. It's night and day.


foxtrotuniform


Aug 4, 2005, 5:48 PM
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4th Class:
http://www.ageworld.net/...dome/med/Image08.jpg

5.6:
http://www.cse.msu.edu/...ing/ok/scott_5_6.jpg


scottquig


Aug 4, 2005, 9:55 PM
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In reply to:
Change the above word "no" to "I'm a noob and have no idea what I'm talking about" and I'd agree with you.

Well, that would be lying...but just to make an elitist feel better about climber-bashing: I suck and you're awesome.

Every book I've read and every person I've talked to classifies climbs like jstp said.


crotch


Aug 4, 2005, 11:07 PM
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The terrain in the pic is 2nd class.



snoopy138


Aug 4, 2005, 11:09 PM
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In reply to:
Your 4th class definition is a little screwy. I'm not aware of anyone who ever belays on class four approaches, hell you can do them in hiking boots with packs on.

And 5.6 being indestinguishable from class 4?? Come on. It's night and day.

That picture you showed was class 1, maybe 2. Head up a class 4 route in the High Sierra and see if it's anything like that. Though they can be done in hiking boots w/ packs.

http://www.rockclimbing.com/...p.cgi?Detailed=36267

This is class 2 on Mt. Conness, though it's not so much an approach as a route.

The only part of boltdude's post that I'd disagree with at all is that class 1 can include talus scrambling (SW face of Mt. Kaweah, for example).


artaxerxes


Aug 5, 2005, 7:55 AM
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In reply to:
Your 4th class definition is a little screwy. I'm not aware of anyone who ever belays on class four approaches, hell you can do them in hiking boots with packs on.

And 5.6 being indestinguishable from class 4?? Come on. It's night and day.

It may be night and day between 5.6 and 4th class when you walk up to the prominent hunk of rock that is your local crag, but when you're climbing less defined, varying alpine terrain, you'll find the gloaming has a way of sneaking up on you, and it's the grading system that's quantized, not the climb.

If you find that difficult to believe, let me recommend Shark Fin Tower in Boston Basin (North Cascades). Fred Beckey's guide describes the direct line as [something to the effect of] "a 4th class route with a 5.6 mantle crux." I'm not much of a climber, but even on the sharp end, the crux didn't really stick out in terms of difficulty.


matixa


Aug 5, 2005, 8:07 AM
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[quote="jstp"]I am sure this has been dealt with at least fifty times but.... the class of an objective/climb/hike is on a scale of 1 to 6. Most approaches fall in the ranges of Class 3 or Class 4. The class of a hike or approach is not the same as a technical climbing grade (see Classes 5 and 6 below) or a commitment grade (which is the roman numerals beside a rating I to VII. I being a single pith route or and VII being a huge multi week remote expedition undertaking).


Class 1 is flat ground, walking on a highway.

Class 2 is pretty much your standard hike, obvious well maintained trail that might have a hill or rock somwhere along the way.

Class 3 is an approach with some scrambling, overcoming boulders, scree and other such typical climbing approach fare. It is generally rather steep as well, and not always on a trail, or a trail that comes and goes... as so many climbers trails do.

Class 4 is this taken to the next level. More of everything, and probably bigger and steeper. There may be short sections of nearly technical (class 5) climbing involved, and some parties may want to rope up on Class 4 because it can get steep (even they only short-rope).

Class 5 is technical free climbing with more specific ratings like the YDS 5.0 - 5.15 or the British E7.

Class 6 is aid climbing with the additional ratings of A1 to A5.[/quote
]

This definition is correct per most books and climbers.


feanor007


Aug 5, 2005, 8:22 AM
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ok, this is not my opinon, it is the deffinetions given by Mountaineering: The Freedom of the Hills 7th edition on page 550. i'll post the full MLA citation if any one really wants it

Freedom of the Hills, p550
In reply to:
Class 1: Hiking
Class 2: Simple scrambling with possible, occasional use of hands
Class 3: Scrambling, a rope might be carried
Class 4: Simple climbing, often with exposure. A rope is often used. A fall on Class-4 rock could be fatel. Typically, natural protection can be easily found
Class 5: Where rock climbing begins in ernest. Climbing invoves use of rope belaying and protection (natural or artifical) to protect the leader from a long fall

my editoral comments, after scrambling both in the appalachians and the rockies, i felt the rocky ratings were noticably stiffer. i have no Seirra experiance but a friend joked that 3rd class in California goes all the way up to 5.8

suffice to say, before stepping out on sustained 3rd or 4th class climbing, be prepared for lots of exposure and signifigent scrambing and route finding obstecals

my 2 cents


Partner taualum23


Aug 5, 2005, 9:32 AM
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In reply to:
http://www.rockclimbing.com/...p.cgi?Detailed=36267

This is class 2 on Mt. Conness, though it's not so much an approach as a route.

While the class 4 descriptions in this thread could be dangerous if someone goes intot he sierra with that definition in mind after reading a guidebook, am I the only onw who sees this pic as most surely NOT class 2?

I happen to think that fourth class is anything up 5.0. Basically, I can get a no-hands whenever I want, and can sit down to take a breather. A fall, hwover, would often be the end of me. Saying 4th class can go to 5.6 is silly. If it is, then why does 5.0-5.5 exist. I understand that some guidebooks do call things 4th class that are 5.4, or 5.4, but I think that's an innacuracy, and a potentially dangerous one. Someone will say "if they are nto ready for it, they shouldn't be up there." to which I'll reply, if they had known they had to solo 5.4, not do a rock-scramble, they likely wouldn't be.


caughtinside


Aug 5, 2005, 9:40 AM
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In my experience, boltdude's explanation is correct. 4th class can include up to 5.6. However, that will usually be one isolated move of 5.6. Also, 4th class tends to be lower angle, and offer you many different ways to go through, and you might not always find the easiest way.

You see grades like 5.3 or 5.4 more where the climbing is more sustained at the grade.


hansensv


Aug 5, 2005, 9:47 AM
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In reply to:
I happen to think that fourth class is anything up 5.0. Basically, I can get a no-hands whenever I want, and can sit down to take a breather. A fall, hwover, would often be the end of me. Saying 4th class can go to 5.6 is silly. If it is, then why does 5.0-5.5 exist. I understand that some guidebooks do call things 4th class that are 5.4, or 5.4, but I think that's an innacuracy, and a potentially dangerous one. Someone will say "if they are nto ready for it, they shouldn't be up there." to which I'll reply, if they had known they had to solo 5.4, not do a rock-scramble, they likely wouldn't be.

You are right about there being a difference. The problem is that many of the descriptions of routes/approaches describe anything that those who did the FA didn't rope up for as 4th class even if it was 5.0-5.4. Fourth class also means, "we didn't rope up" and that is where the statement comes from that 4th class goes up to 5.4 or 5.5

You just have to be aware that a 4th class approach may require you to be bold or to rope up.


asandh


Aug 5, 2005, 9:55 AM
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:)


asandh


Aug 5, 2005, 9:56 AM
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caughtinside wrote:
In reply to:
In my experience, boltdude's explanation is correct. 4th class can include up to 5.6.

Its not that 4th class includes moves up to 5.6, this is baloney and essentially destroys any attempt at creating a rating system. 4th class is 4th class and 5.6 is 5.6.

Its just that many experienced climbers ascend this type of terraine in the mountains "as if it was 4th class" so when they pass route info on to their peers they call it 4th class. Anyone who has ever climbed in the Sierras using Steve Ropers old guide knows what I mean. I rope up on many of Ropers 4th class sections.

This whole approach is very confusing and potentially dangerous for the "average mountain climber" who definitely can tell a difference between 4th class and 5.6.


caughtinside


Aug 5, 2005, 10:10 AM
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Ok, you kind of just agreed with me. 'They do it as if it was 4th class' is what's important, since you can't see otherwise on the topo!

Are you going to rope up for one 5.6 move in the middle of 1000' of '4th class?' Maybe, maybe not.

Technically, sure, 4th class has a definition. But in practice, you should be prepared to find 5th class moves on '4th' class terrain. If you don't like that, talk to the guy who wrote the guide!

And your 5.9-5.12 thing is just silly, and you know it. 8^)


crotch


Aug 5, 2005, 10:10 AM
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In reply to:
I happen to think that fourth class is anything up 5.0. Basically, I can get a no-hands whenever I want, and can sit down to take a breather. A fall, hwover, would often be the end of me. Saying 4th class can go to 5.6 is silly. If it is, then why does 5.0-5.5 exist.

CONTEXT.

IME, in the Sierra, a ropelength of 4th class will consist mostly of scrambling in the no-fall zone, but with occassional 5th class moves. These 5th class stretches are typically brief, and preceeded or followed by a decent ledge or stance where you can collect yourself for a moment.

In the mountains, it makes little sense to pitch out thousands of feet of terrain for the sake of a few technical moves here or there, and that is where the utility of the 4th class rating lies.

A rating of 4th class indicates that you'll be on mostly easier terrain, but you should be prepared to bust a move NOW AND THEN. On the other hand, a 5.whatever rating in the mountains usually indicates more sustained difficulties. In the field and for preparation, the distinction between occassional and sustained difficulties is quite useful.

In the context of cragging, it makes no sense to rate a picth with 5th class moves as 4th class.


asandh


Aug 5, 2005, 10:21 AM
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:)


alpinerockfiend


Aug 5, 2005, 10:33 AM
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An interesting side note: Joe Kelsey, author of the Wind River guidebook, once told me the way he judged the difference between third and fourth class was by whether or not his dog could climb the route unassisted! Just goes to show once more that the approach class "grades" are given pretty arbitarily. Enough- on with the squabbling and nitpicking!


bigjonnyc


Aug 5, 2005, 10:34 AM
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I'm an idiot.


caughtinside


Aug 5, 2005, 10:37 AM
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In reply to:
Whiney sissies.
100% of your posts are completely worthless. Idiot.

asandh, I agree with your last post, but I think crotch's post is perhaps the most accurate in describing the reality that is '4th class alpine' climbing.

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