Mountain Project Logo

what does Exposure mean to you?

Original Post
Kurt G. · · Reading, PA · Joined Nov 2012 · Points: 156

So in seeing a lot of posts and photos on here I've come to realize that exposure means several different things to people and I wanted to start a post of peoples opinions and pictures for what defines exposure.
To me exposure is being off the ground and having nothing underneath you except what you're standing on. Such as a ledge and the only thing below that is the ground or maybe a little bit of rock and then the ground.
It seems the other popular definition is just to be high up and open to the sky and weather and such. Like a piece of rock that puts you out away from the wall.
Further still some people define it as making a move or being on a section of wall that leaves you vulnerable to injury if you mess up.
I think all of these are true but I'm partial to the first.
I'd like to see what everyone else thinks and I'd love to see some great exposure pictures!

here's mine. this is traversing the block on horsemen in the gunks. a small block of rock and the ground below you.

Nick Votto · · CO, CT, IT · Joined Jul 2008 · Points: 320

Oh Sierra....

Nick Votto · · CO, CT, IT · Joined Jul 2008 · Points: 320

Fairy Tale Traverse on Mt Washington...

Fairy Tale

ton · · Salt Lake City · Joined Aug 2014 · Points: 0

the first move onto Rebuffat's Arete (Rewritten, Eldorado Canyon, CO) is one of my favorite exposure moments.

Luc-514 · · Montreal, QC · Joined Nov 2006 · Points: 10,348

Poke-O Sunburst Arete, running it out on an arete sticking out of the cliff.
Pulling the roof at the end of Frog's head, it sticks out over the cliff and my feet can't reach once I commit.
Pipe pitch on Whitney-Gilman.
Pigeon Spire traverse.
Poke-O Catharsis, which in the unprotected slab got replaced with getting off-route on Whitehorse with nada pro for 60+ feet (and finding a carpet of slippery needles on the slab before reaching some trees).

Bill Kirby · · San Francisco CA · Joined Jul 2012 · Points: 480
Rogers slide

I think of exposure I think of being exposed to weather and gravity. This shot is up on Rogers slide. No protection from the elements and lots of air under your feet.
B.S. Luther · · Yorba Linda, CA · Joined Dec 2009 · Points: 65

You don't need to be climbing to find some..

Belaying above the void on Keeler Needle

Chris Reyes · · Seattle, WA · Joined Nov 2014 · Points: 40
Nick Votto wrote:Fairy Tale Traverse on Mt Washington...
Ugh. This was one of my first leads (the actual first being the prior pitches). Terrifying and it wasn't even that hard.

When you take the bolts away from a sport weeny I suppose.....

That would top my list at least. Along with The Dangler in the Gunks.

Also oddly, Charity Toad in Runmey, I found the move off the second belay and to the first bolt oddly exposed for...Rumney.

I think it can depend on usage. You could have exposed (as in to the elements) like some of the big NE slab routes, but then you can also have very exposed (airy?) parts of climbs that don't fit the first definition. I'll accept and understand either. Usually if I bring up the former with someone who's not familiar to the climb though I'll clarify a bit.
. · · souf yeast · Joined Jun 2014 · Points: 1,014

gebhardt-duffy 5.7 climbing the ridge of senica rocks defined exposure for me. Sheer drops on both sides and behind you, the only thing that was not a drop was to continue up the loose rock ridge.

Stagg54 Taggart · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Dec 2006 · Points: 10

partly depends on if you are more of a rock climber or mountaineer.

To a rock climber, it is about hanging out in space. ie. high up and very little between you and the ground.

To a mountaineer it can exposed to the elements. ie. a section of a fairly flat (3rd/4th class) ridge could be considered exposed since there is nowhere to hide if a storm rolls. To a mountaineer it can also mean a large fall potential (not necessarily high up and very little between you and the ground), but a spot where a fall could be large and kill you. Ie. a couple hundred foot slide down a snowfield into boulders or off a cliff.

wivanoff · · Northeast, USA · Joined Mar 2012 · Points: 553
kurt gregory wrote:To me exposure is being off the ground and having nothing underneath you except what you're standing on.
I'd agree with your definition.

The traverse on Horseman is exposed. Yellow Ridge & Thin slabs at the Gunks.
The pipe pitch on Whitney-Gilman at Cannon, NH.
Ashort · · Las Vegas, NV · Joined Apr 2014 · Points: 55

Photos from 2 exposed climbs I did this past year.

Acid Baby, 5.10+ - Enchantments

Vesper Peak

arjun · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Oct 2014 · Points: 5

Fine Jade

Luc-514 · · Montreal, QC · Joined Nov 2006 · Points: 10,348

Oh ya, getting lost on the descent on Lembert Dome, 4+++ slab no pro.

Connor FM · · Burlington, VT · Joined Apr 2012 · Points: 56

Anything that makes my brain go "WHOOOOOOOOAAAAA".

Old lady H · · Boise, ID · Joined Aug 2015 · Points: 1,145

Exposure is when plan B is hoping for good luck; an epic is when you hope for a plan C.

Krisz · · Roskilde, Denmark · Joined Oct 2015 · Points: 20
Nick Votto · · CO, CT, IT · Joined Jul 2008 · Points: 320
Krisz wrote:
Yup, and there's the OP's answer
mountainhick · · Black Hawk, CO · Joined Mar 2009 · Points: 120

On some climbs it's like the bottom drops out from under you.

The diving board, Eldo.

Kurt G. · · Reading, PA · Joined Nov 2012 · Points: 156
Nick Votto wrote: Yup, and there's the OP's answer
Couldn't agree more! when I think exposed it should make my stomach turn and that sure does!
Jake Jones · · Richmond, VA · Joined Jul 2011 · Points: 1,794

The more like an insignificant dot I feel in a large expanse of vertical terrain, the more exposure I experience.

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

General Climbing
Post a Reply to "what does Exposure mean to you?"

Log In to Reply