Super Easy Climbing?


Original Post
Kaihaku · · Kaneohe, Hawaii · Joined Oct 2016 · Points: 15

In the Yosemite decimal system, climbing grades go all the way down to 5.0. However I never see routes easier than, 5.6ish(that is the easiest route near me.) I've read about 5.4 routes in Italy. Now I get that it isn't cool to climb ultra low grades so there isn't a lot of demand, not to mention that most people with a little bit of technique can climb 5.6(generally speaking). But I am curious still, does anyone know of any routes lower than 5.6? And if so how are they too climb?

Kyle Tarry · · Portland, OR · Joined Mar 2015 · Points: 162
Mark E Dixon · · Sprezzatura, Someday · Joined Nov 2007 · Points: 549

The Third Flatiron, at 5.2, is a genuinely great climb.

Many others in the Flatirons nearly as good at only slightly greater difficulty.

Marc801 C · · Sandy, Utah · Joined Feb 2014 · Points: 65
Kyle Tarry wrote:

There are 129 routes on MP between 5.0 and 5.5 at the Gunks

And many of those are absolutely spectacular, with great moves and positions for the grade.

This is the second pitch of Easy Overhang, 5.2 (originally rated 5.0):


[Photo from Mountain Project route page]

NegativeK · · Chicago, IL · Joined Jul 2016 · Points: 5
crackatoa Spiesbach · · Boulder,Co · Joined May 2014 · Points: 70

I've read about 5.4 routes in Italy, but never anywhere else. 

. But I am curious still, does anyone know of any routes lower than 5.6? And if so how are they too climb? 

Those two sentences have to be a joke...you didn't even bother to search MP first???  You're either a really lame Troll or I lost a little faith in humanity..

Edit: MP has over 1000 routes listed below 5.6... and we all know mp covers but  a small fraction 

Jake wander · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Aug 2014 · Points: 165

nothing below 5.6? 

thats all i climb!

Matthew Tangeman · · Unknown Hometown · Joined May 2015 · Points: 35

I think a lot of this can be attributed to the fact that no one can really tell the difference between, say, a 5.2 and a 5.3. Even more so with YDS inflation... old school routes are probably a different story.

I know of one guidebook that just uses "5-" for any route below 5.5.

Mike Womack · · Los Angeles, CA · Joined Mar 2014 · Points: 1,486

There's less urgency to clean, FA, and document 5.5 and under when there are harder and more challenging things to do.  Also, I'd guess lots of people just solo it and move on. 

AndrewArroz · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jan 2016 · Points: 10

Where are you based? Go to Tahquitz in California or anyplace else where the climbs were put up in the early days of the YDS. There are genuinely great 5.4s and such there. There are also 5.8s and 5.9s that will put the fear into you. 

Marc801 C · · Sandy, Utah · Joined Feb 2014 · Points: 65
Matthew Tangeman wrote:

I think a lot of this can be attributed to the fact that no one can really tell the difference between, say, a 5.2 and a 5.3. Even more so with YDS inflation... old school routes are probably a different story.

I feel this is heavily area-dependent. In Yosemite where there's very little below 5.6 and only a fraction of that being worthwhile, enjoyable climbing, yes, 5.1 - 5.3 are almost indistinguishable. In the Gunks though there really is a discernible difference, although there has been grade inflation there as well.

Forever Outside · · Los Angeles, CA · Joined Feb 2017 · Points: 160
Mike Womack wrote:

There's less urgency to clean, FA, and document 5.5 and under when there are harder and more challenging things to do.  Also, I'd guess lots of people just solo it and move on. 

That doesn't even make sense.  With that logic, there is no reason to clean 5.10 because there are more challenging things to do, or 5.12 because harder routes exist.
Besides, nobody knows what grade the route is before they attempt a FA.  Also, most people I know don't free solo anything, ever.  

There are plenty of routes under 5.6 that are classics (at least in California)  I think of a few; the Eye (Joshua Tree), White Maiden's Walkway/Fingertip Traverse (Tahquitz), Tenaya Peak (Yosemite), Lone Pine Peak North Ridge (Lone Pine) and on and on ...  

Jason Todd · · Cody, WY · Joined Apr 2012 · Points: 958

Custer State Park in South Dakota is chock full of  <5.6 routes that are quality and worthwhile. Most of them might "feel" harder.

AndrewArroz · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jan 2016 · Points: 10

I think the real reason is that at the current general level of "average" climbing almost everyone can do a 5.6 or 5.7 as CURRENTLY rated. That leaves out the old-school ones like WMW that are a bit stout and would be rated higher today. So with climbs now going up to 5.15 with a lot of intermediate letters, too, I just don't think a lot of people distinguish between a 5.4 and a 5.5 and a 5.6 when rating a new climb. I mean, if someone can tell me the distinction I'd love to know, but I just don't see it. I think most of us routinely free solo 5.1 and 5.2 without even thinking of it as such.

Dirk Diggler · · Boulder, Colorado · Joined Nov 2014 · Points: 225

Some areas hold a lot of easier climbs and some areas don't. Most of the east faces in the Flatirons are under 5.6. 

20 kN · · Hawaii · Joined Feb 2009 · Points: 1,352

It depends on if it's an "old school" rating or if it's using the current rating system. With the current rating system, anything below 5.5 is essentially just 4th class, and guidebooks typically label it as such. With the modem system, below 5.5 is typically just scrambling on slab or something more vertical but extremely ledgy and most climbers would feel fine on it without a rope.

Ted Pinson · · Chicago, IL · Joined Jul 2014 · Points: 190
20 kN wrote:

It depends on if it's an "old school" rating or if it's using the current rating system. With the current rating system, anything below 5.5 is essentially just 4th class, and guidebooks typically label it as such. With the modem system, below 5.5 is typically just scrambling on slab or something more vertical but extremely ledgy and most climbers would feel fine on it without a rope.

Wouldn't that be 5th class?:/  I've seen it labeled as "low 5th class" or "5th class scrambling."

Marc801 C · · Sandy, Utah · Joined Feb 2014 · Points: 65
20 kN wrote:

With the modem system, below 5.5 is typically just scrambling on slab or something more vertical but extremely ledgy and most climbers would feel fine on it without a rope.

I seriously disagree with this.

Gunkiemike · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jul 2009 · Points: 2,740

At the areas like Devil's Lake or the Gunks that have lots of sub-5.5 routes, the vast majority of them were FA'ed a long time ago.  If it looked easy, it was tried early on in the area's development.  New routes nowadays are much harder for a couple reasons: as mentioned above, route developers want to put their effort into something notable AKA hard. And, as I just said, the easy lines were picked off years ago, so that leaves only more difficult terrain, at least at the more popular spots. You might find an easy route put up recently in the backcountry, but that's not typical, nor do low level climbers tend to venture that far away from the popular spots.

As to whether one can tell a 5.2 from a 5.3, well certainly a 5.11 climber would have trouble.  But spend time with newbies just breaking into the sport and you will see that the increments between those lowly grades are very real.  Folks laugh that Gunkies debate whether a route is 5.4+ or 5.5-, but given the hordes of novices here, it's not a totally meaningless exercise.    

rgold · · Poughkeepsie, NY · Joined Feb 2008 · Points: 525

An unroped stroll on a popular 5.6 in the Gunks.

No doubt superfluous ropes on a nice Gunks 5.5.

5.6 Hiking in the Wind River Range

  

Marc801 C · · Sandy, Utah · Joined Feb 2014 · Points: 65

The ropes are unnecessary on this 5.3 as well:

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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