Protection rateings and the truth...


Original Post
Nick Goldsmith · · Pomfret VT · Joined Aug 2009 · Points: 15

I get that you don't want to call a rout an X because it is a great climb and you want folks to climb it but some climbs are simply dangerous.

I have climbed Hessitation in the Daks perhaps 15 or 20 times? led on most of those outings. It is one of my favorits anywheres. The red Melnor book stated that both the leader and the 2nd are subject to long dangerous falls on P2. that did not stop me from haveing a go at it in 1985. My newish lawer book calls that pitch a 5.5R a more realistic description would be 5.6X that slab over the roof is 5.6 all day long and if you don't believe me on the x part try greasing off just before the belay. let me know how that goes for you.... You simply can not fall on that pitch in several locations or you will be seriously FCKED up or dead. It's a serious pitch at the grade with route finding challenges and micro gear and a 30yr old pin at the crux.

Bob follows P2 yesterday

Overture. This is annother favorite that I have led 3 or 4 times and followed a half dozen times. P 3 in the newer book is describes as 5.8G that is a joke. When you step down to the bolt out below the arette you then have to climb up about 20 ft of dicey face protected by micro gear behind exfoliating flakes. the move around the arette into the corner and finally good gear is spicy. blow it there and you rip the pitch to the bolt. Seriously bad juju. You will hit the shelf below the bolt, get fcked up pretty good, you will then go over the roof for annother 20ft or so your rope may cut at this point and you may die a horrible death or you might just be dangleing down there incapacitated with a nasty core shot. I would like to see the AMGA approved self rescue attempt in that scenario. So 5.8X for that pitch would be honest ;) Don't believe me. go up there and jump. Let me know how that works for you..... Killer great pitch but you simply can not fall on it.

Nick Goldsmith · · Pomfret VT · Joined Aug 2009 · Points: 15

INMOP most the gear above the bolt in this shot is suspect do to poor rock quality, exfoliating flakes.

p3 Overture

FrankPS · · Atascadero, CA · Joined Nov 2009 · Points: 15

Ratings are subjective. You assume the risk. There, that should cover it. Climb on.

Delete Delete · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Oct 2008 · Points: 0

Seams like protection ratings should be much less subjective than difficulty ratings. If you fall, with no options for protection (that will hold), will you definitely get seriously injured? That should be up for much less of an argument than how difficult a move is. As for trusting beta, that's on you...

Tom Sherman · · Bristol, RI · Joined Feb 2013 · Points: 81

Nick why you so fired up about this, this monday morning? Shouldn't you be sharpening your ice tools?

Bill Kirby · · Baltimore Maryland · Joined Jul 2012 · Points: 40

You spelled Jim Lawyer's name wrong.

Are you giving beta so nobody gets hurt or are you making a case for new bolts?

teece303 · · Highlands Ranch, CO · Joined Dec 2012 · Points: 283

It's an honest truth.

Especially on easy routes.

Gravity is always awake, there are a lot of easy routes that deserve the X rating but don't get it. A long fall on a 5.5 is always a terrible idea.

(And no: an X rating is NOT subjective.)

Alexander K · · The road · Joined Oct 2014 · Points: 45

A good belay can almost always take the x-rating out of a slab climb. Just give your belayer a pair of running shoes, a grigri and all of your trust.

Em Cos · · Boulder, CO · Joined Apr 2010 · Points: 0

Yeah, that definitely won't work on any but the first pitch...

Tradgic Yogurt · · Unknown Hometown · Joined May 2016 · Points: 55


The way I learned protection ratings was more or less:

PG - Relatively minor injury, say breaking ankles.
R - Major injury, but probably not death. Broken legs, broken backs.
X - More dead than Rob Stark.

Using the OP's description, the first would be an R and the second sounds more R than X to me.
Ted Pinson · · Chicago, IL · Joined Jul 2014 · Points: 45

Well, danger ratings ARE subjective in the sense that they depend on the gear you have and your ability to actually find placements. Just like a 5.7 can become a 5.10 if you miss the 5.7 holds/beta, a PG route can become an X if you can't find the PG placements.

Alexander K · · The road · Joined Oct 2014 · Points: 45
Tradgic Yogurt wrote: The way I learned protection ratings was more or less: PG - Relatively minor injury, say breaking ankles. R - Major injury, but probably not death. Broken legs, broken backs. X - More dead than Rob Stark. Using the OP's description, the first would be an R and the second sounds more R than X to me.
I totally agree with this. There are very few climbs that have protection and earn an X-rating, at least in my book.

With slab climbing deaths from falls are very rare, as you cheese grate down you never end up going that fast. I know of plenty of bad injuries from 100+ foot falls at Stone Mountain NC, I don't think any climber has died there yet. Generally if something is R/X and a classic it is because the climbing in the runouts is trivial compared to the rest of the route. Coming from an area where many routes earn an implied R/X rating and no one bats an eye, I'm always a little amused by the debates on mountain project over whether some classic route in Eldorado Canyon should actually get a PG13 because of XYZ.

Don't sandbag your partners and work towards developing a concensus, but a good belay and a solid mental state when on easy ground goes a long way towards keeping you and your partner safe. When I'm on a runout slab, I like to think back to the guy making the first ascent without climbing shoes and hand drilling bolts along the way.
FrankPS · · Atascadero, CA · Joined Nov 2009 · Points: 15

http://www.mountainproject.com/v/how-do-you-interpret-safety-ratings/112166425#a_112171101

JCM · · Seattle, WA · Joined Jun 2008 · Points: 5

If you don't like the protection ratings in the dacks guidebook, you're in for a rude awakening almost anywhere else. I found that Jim Lawyer's book has more consistent and reliable protection ratings than any other book I've used. Quibbling between 5.5r and 5.6x is splitting hairs.

Nick Goldsmith · · Pomfret VT · Joined Aug 2009 · Points: 15

No these routs do not need bolts. done them both many many times and hike them rather casually. I do however think Jim down played the seriousness of both of these routs. Like I said earlier in the old red guide Mellor states that both the leader and 2nd are exposed to long dangerous falls on P2. I felt that was a pretty good description of the pitch. Neither of these climbs are slab climbs and anyone who doubts my assement of the danger of a fall on those pitches should go up there and test it.

Eric D · · Gnarnia · Joined Nov 2006 · Points: 165
JCM wrote:Quibbling between 5.5r and 5.6x is splitting hairs.
Exactly.
Nick Goldsmith · · Pomfret VT · Joined Aug 2009 · Points: 15

not if it encourages an aspireing trad climber to get in over their heads and die.

Nick Goldsmith · · Pomfret VT · Joined Aug 2009 · Points: 15
june m · · elmore ,vt · Joined Jun 2011 · Points: 13

It is unfortunate that many easy climbs have bad fall consequences. And novice climbers may not be aware of them. Even some sport climbs have ground fall potential if you blow the 2nd or 3 rd clip. I agree the the 2nd pitch of hesatation has serious fall potential. There is a lot in a route name

Nick Goldsmith · · Pomfret VT · Joined Aug 2009 · Points: 15

I remember my first time up hessitation 23 years ago. It was called a 5.7 in the book and I recall wandering arround up there for quite a while trying to figure out where p2 actually went and being a bit sketched after I turned the roof getting to the belay ledge. I was by no means a noob at the time... Great climb, highly recomended but you simply can not fall on the 2nd half of p2

beensandbagged · · R.I. · Joined Oct 2013 · Points: 0

Every guide book has ratings you can quibble with. Ratings both protection and difficulty should be taking with a grain of salt. Everybody who climbs needs to know when to say no, pack it up and turn around.

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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