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Official 19/11/2015- New Ice Grading PO System/Canada
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Nov 17, 2015, 9:44 PM
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Registered: Mar 21, 2007
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Official 19/11/2015- New Ice Grading PO System/Canada
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Well here is how it works. A full picked out grade is worth a .5 subtraction from the routes original grade. For example say you climbed Moonlight Gr4+ but it had a picked out PO-3 rating you would subtract ( 3 X -.5) + 4+ = 3 or other wise -1.5 + 4.5 = 3. So if you climber rainbow Serpent but it was in a PO-4 grading it would work out to -2 + 6 = GR4.
So to make it even simpler; Just be sure to remember that the PO grade is a negative grade that is to be subtracted from the grad in the guide book. This will give a better reference to the historical difficulty. To a certain point it compensates for the modern tools and screw and but’s a grade three climber jumping into the head space of a much bolder era.

PO-1 = - .5
PO-2 = - 1
PO-3 = -1.5
PO-4 = -2
PO-5 = -2.5

Now there can be a plus or minus grade to the PO grade for example a 2+. In this case the + grade is worth .25 but the difference goes to the house in this case the waterfall. so it would be rounded off to the lower PO grade. That way we will reduce sand bagging.
If you a snowboarder or boulder we have a youtube tutorial to help you with the math. So just one more example. Louise Falls is often PO-4 by mid season in reality is only a 2+. this is hard to believe but if your being honest with yourself and subtract the multi-pitch exposure it is no harder then climbing a ladder from bottom to the top.
Therapies a problem however. If we give something a PO-5 on something like “This House of Sky” which is only a three to start with. -2.5 + 3 = .5 . Is it possible to have grades this low in ice climbing. Now we are talking about the technical climbing with todays equipment. All I can say is that the forefathers of ice climbing in their wisdom saw fit to leave that buffer of Grades 1 to 2. They somehow knew that climbing would one day require the possibility of negative grading.

This is a definition of the Picked Out Grade

PO-0; This is a virgin ice climb that has yet to taste steel and/or has heeled itself to the point that it leaves no trace of a prior ascent.

PO-1;] Here the may be nothing more then a couple usable pre-made tool placements but a bit of the chandelier ice has been cleaned and perhaps a few of the hanging icicles that you could have dropped on your partner are no longer present.

PO-2; This is really an extension or PO-1 but to a slightly greater degree. Signs of travel are present and former ice screw placements may be present and possibly utilized.

PO-3 This is the point where the handicap system really takes place. You can now freely utilize the drafting mechanism. 20% of your hand tool placements are a gimme requiring almost no swinging to build a firm purchase. When you feel the need to place a screw you can choose from one or two of the pre-placed holes that other climbers have constructed for you or build your own. Foot placements have become slightly obvious.

PO-4 You have pretty much entered the realm of peg-board climbing! You have to build no more then 1 or 2 placements and thats only because your glass eye’s have fogged up. The main issue is that one in every 10 moves may require you switch tools from one hand to the other. Foot placements are obvious to the point that you have a very distinct feeling that you are on a ladder. The only exception to the rule is that if your 4 foot nothing or seven feet tall you may have to shuffle things around a bit to get to that optional foot placement you are searching for. The standard right hand screw placement is nearly (if not) impossible. Lefties may still be left with this option.

PO-5 Here it no longer matters what your shape/size is. You can no longer place a new pick hole as there is no possible place to put one. The main challenge here is to choose between the seemingly endless amount of pick holes. The foot placements are so well defined that if you place your front points against the ice it suddenly feels overhanging. You also no longer have the option of placing a screw into fresh ice as the is no possible way you can get one in on either hand placement.

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