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Grade III Routes


Original Post
MOConnor O'Connor · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Apr 2011 · Points: 135

Question: How do routes in New Hampshire like Standard Route 5.5 (White Horse Ledges), Sliding Board 5.7(White Horse Ledges or the Whitney Gilman 5.7 (Cannon Cliff) not get grade III? 6-9 pitches of climbing with hour+ descents?

Nick Stayner · · Wymont Kingdom · Joined Mar 2006 · Points: 2,295

Question: do those grades even matter today? Grade V, traditionally a multiday ordesl, routinely get climbed by committed weekend warriors in 8 hrs or less, while grade IIs are routinely epiced on by newbs.

just like YDS grades, "committment grades" or whatever you call them, are totally subjective and meant as a guideline to help you choose an appropriate route. Pretty worthless in today's world of good topos and online beta IMO... can't remember the last time i paid attention to one.

JonW · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Apr 2010 · Points: 0

Whitehorse is a 20 minute approach. That's why it's not Grade III.

MOConnor O'Connor · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Apr 2011 · Points: 135

yeah the ones at white horse make more sense but what about the Whitney Gilman?

Larry · · SoAZ · Joined Jan 2006 · Points: 35

OK, what about the upper Exum Ridge on the Grand Teton?

According to this site, it's 12 pitches, 4000 ft long, and ends at 13,766. Takes the better part of a day to a full day to get to the base, depending on your load.

Grade II.

You can argue about grades forever. They give you a rough idea. Then you just need to go find out for yourself.

TomCaldwell · · Clemson, S.C. · Joined Jun 2009 · Points: 2,613

6-9 pitches at those grades with only a few hour descent is grade III or less. Some people can fly up this stuff and are really efficient at belay changes. If these grades are close to your limit or are challenging, then it is obvious it will take you longer. You will be placing more gear and moving slower in general. Use these grades as a starting point, because time will vary greatly depending on each party.

Darren in Vegas · · Las Vegas, NV · Joined Feb 2006 · Points: 2,180
JonW wrote:Whitehorse is a 20 minute approach. That's why it's not Grade III.
Approach has nothing to do with commitment grades. It is all about how long the climbing portion of the route takes

From Alpinist magazine:
National Climbing Classification System (USA):

NCCS grades, often called "commitment grades," indicate the time investment in a route for an "average" climbing team.

I and II: Half a day or less for the technical (5th class) portion of the route.
III:Most of a day of roped climbing.
IV: A full day of technical climbing.
V: Typically requires an overnight on the route, or done fast and free in a day.
VI: Two or more days of hard climbing.
VII: Remote walls climbed in alpine style.

Notice that it is only for time on route (the technical portion).
Floridaputz · · Oakland Park, Florida · Joined Mar 2006 · Points: 1,925

Darren has it spot on. The key point to me is "average climbers". Not how fast young hot shots can do it, or how slow other parties climb, but average climbers.

When you read trip reports today, all people talk about is the ratings. Oh, no way was that 5.9, we climbed it car to car in 4 hours. I have always put in in perspective the way I learned, that what Darren posted is the correct definition of grade. But still, upper exum a grade II ?

skiclimber · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jul 2006 · Points: 30

Lame question!

next thread please

Darren in Vegas · · Las Vegas, NV · Joined Feb 2006 · Points: 2,180
Floridaputz wrote:But still, upper exum a grade II ?
yes, again it has to do with the fact that the approach has nothing to do with the grade. Grade II says half a day or less for the technical climbing portion. I think my partner and I did the upper exum in like two or three hours, just the climbing portion, that would leave three or four more hours of time for it still to be a half day of climbing, and therefore grade II.
Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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