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Grade IV Climbs in the NE?


Original Post
Jake Cramer 1 · · State College, PA · Joined Sep 2016 · Points: 80

On Saturday some friends and I climbed The Diagonal on Wallface (Adirondacks, NY), and had a grand old time. In short, I really appreciated the relative remoteness and commitment of climbing a big route with a long approach. It got me wondering- aside from a couple other routes on wallface that are around 900/1000 feet and are described as either III or IV (NCCS) in different guidebooks- are there any true, sustained Grade IV walls in the Northeast? To put it another way, since time is relative for different parties, what are your favorite long (800 ft.+) and reasonably sustained routes in the Northeast?

Alan Emery · · Lebanon, NH · Joined Aug 2011 · Points: 257
Russ Keane · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Feb 2013 · Points: 140

^^ I don't know if anything on Cannon is grade IV.   The approach is 30-40 minutes, and the routes can be done quickly.   I met a 2-person team the other day who did Whitney-Gilman, Moby Grape, and Lakeview all on the same day.

James Schroeder · · Sauk County, WI · Joined May 2002 · Points: 3,047
Russ Keane wrote:

^^ I don't know if anything on Cannon is grade IV.   The approach is 30-40 minutes, and the routes can be done quickly.   I met a 2-person team the other day who did Whitney-Gilman, Moby Grape, and Lakeview all on the same day.

This brings up an interesting point, maybe the Freerider goes at Grade II now for everybody?

Joe Prescott · · Fort Collins · Joined Apr 2013 · Points: 20

A lot of routes on Canon can't be done quickly by normal folks. Ghostrider maybe?

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

^^ I don't know if anything on Cannon is grade IV.   The approach is 30-40 minutes, and the routes can be done quickly.   I met a 2-person team the other day who did Whitney-Gilman, Moby Grape, and Lakeview all on the same day.

What about the Labyrinth Wall, VMC Direct Direct, or The Ghost? 

Farzin · · San Diego, CA · Joined May 2009 · Points: 0

Baffin Islands.

Russ Keane · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Feb 2013 · Points: 140

Maybe I am not clear on what grade IV means.  If we are talking about "remoteness and commitment of a big route with a long approach" as stated in the OP, such as Wallface in the Dacks, I was suggesting maybe Cannon is not quite that.   The parking lot is so close.   Even the hardest of routes seem to be done easily in a day.  Again I may be way off base.  Sorry if so.

danieldrudolph · · Chicago, IL · Joined Jun 2014 · Points: 0

When I think of a remote big route in the Northeast, The Armadillo on Khatadin and The Pinnacle on Mount Washington are pretty much the only thing that comes to mind. I've done neither but I've been around both areas and know a bit about the climbs. While there are harder routes on Cannon that would take even strong climbers a day, these routes on Khatadin and Mount Washington have miles of approach. Khatadin is the only thing in Central Maine for miles upon miles. The Armadillo is given a grade IV here and The Pinnacle is given a III but I can't imagine either going down in less than 6-8 hours unless done by soloists or very, very fit and skilled mountaineers.

Michael C · · New Jersey · Joined Jun 2011 · Points: 340

The Uberfall.

You're welcome. 

Joe Prescott · · Fort Collins · Joined Apr 2013 · Points: 20

I think the commitment grade takes into account a lot more than approach/remoteness and might be more weighted on the actual climbing. You could have an "easy" route in the middle of nowhere that takes all day (or multiple days) or you could have a long involved route with a very short approach that takes more commitment. If you are on the wall all day, regardless of how close to the car you are, that is a grade IV.

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

When I think of a remote big route in the Northeast, The Armadillo on Khatadin and The Pinnacle on Mount Washington are pretty much the only thing that comes to mind. I've done neither but I've been around both areas and know a bit about the climbs. While there are harder routes on Cannon that would take even strong climbers a day, these routes on Khatadin and Mount Washington have miles of approach. Khatadin is the only thing in Central Maine for miles upon miles. The Armadillo is given a grade IV here and The Pinnacle is given a III but I can't imagine either going down in less than 6-8 hours unless done by soloists or very, very fit and skilled mountaineers.

The grade refers to length of time on the climb - it has nothing to do with the approach or remoteness. Consider that, although done by some parties in a day, The Nose on El Cap,with it's 20 minute approach, is still considered a grade VI.

Keatan · · Bozeman, MT · Joined Apr 2011 · Points: 20
Marc801 C wrote:

The grade refers to length of time on the climb - it has nothing to do with the approach or remoteness. Consider that, although done by some parties in a day, The Nose on El Cap,with it's 20 minute approach, is still considered a grade VI.

This. For example, despite a 4hr approach, the Lower Exum is grade iii.

caesar.salad · · earth · Joined Dec 2012 · Points: 85
Marc801 C wrote:

The grade refers to length of time on the climb - it has nothing to do with the approach or remoteness. 

Um. No.

Joe Prescott · · Fort Collins · Joined Apr 2013 · Points: 20
caesar.salad · · earth · Joined Dec 2012 · Points: 85
Joe Prescott wrote:

Good explanation: http://www.alpinist.com/p/online/grades

I was about to edit my post to cite that exact page.

John Gehrig · · Easton, PA · Joined Nov 2011 · Points: 20
Nick Goldsmith · · Pomfret VT · Joined Aug 2009 · Points: 440

these days it's all relative... Free rider is  3rd class grade 11 for one guy, everyone else  its a bit harder.  normal folks,  most of the big wall section on cannon is 111 and 1V. then again what is Normal???????

caesar.salad · · earth · Joined Dec 2012 · Points: 85

Do the Girdle Traverse of cannon. Grade VI bitches. Multiple bivvies. Bring rations. 

Marc801 C · · Sandy, Utah · Joined Feb 2014 · Points: 65
caesar.salad wrote:

I was about to edit my post to cite that exact page.

And that page, regarding USA routes and the NCCS grade strictly talks about length of time climbing - nothing about approach. My point stands.

Zak Munro · · VT,CO, Bar Harbor ME · Joined Sep 2012 · Points: 345

Definitely relative.  A lot of routes in the South Basin of Katahdin can  be done within  12 hours, but quite a few routes on the Tabor Wall in the North Basin would be considered grade lV I would think. 

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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