View Full Version : Trap Dike climbing classifications

08-07-2004, 12:21 PM
I'm possibly planning a trip up the Trap Dike on Colden and noticed on the "Summit Post" web site that they rated the climb as a 4. It seems where you exit the dike has alot to do with how difficult the climb is. My ? is what scale is being used by "Summit Post" to rate this climb. Some other forums indicate that the exposure is not to great as long as you do not exit the dike to early. If anybody has experience with the Dike, I'd appreciate your imput. I feel like on a nice dry day that it's within my ability, judging by trip reports and photos I've seen, but I want to be very careful not to put my self in a position where our group needs to be rescued. A well planned trip is the first step in avoiding that scenario. All responses appreciated. Buddy

08-07-2004, 03:58 PM
Well, I'm not sure what the "Summit Post" is, but to me the final word is Don Mellor's guidebook, Climbing in the Adirondacks - covers rock and ice routes as well as slide climbs. Both the Eagle Slide and the Trap Dike are rated Class 3, not 4. And, having been up each a few times, I'd have to say I'd agree, not that Don needs my approval. But I've never felt the need for a rope on either one. It is important on the Dike not to exit too early, but assuming you do that, everything should be fine.

08-07-2004, 04:12 PM
Buddy, I don't want to sound like the proverbial 'broken record', but my consistant advice with the Dike is to watch the weather for a couple of days before you go. If it has rained right before you climb, it will be a b...h to get around that waterfall at the crux. There is a cairn marking the exit point onto the slab, so watch for that. A good rope is not a bad thing to bring, just in case. Good luck and good climbing!

08-07-2004, 05:21 PM
Have to second that... the Dike, and any slide, really, acts like a funnel for rainwater to head down the mountain. Climbing the Trap Dike even the day after a rainstorm can be like climbing out your bathtub drain when someone's letting the water out. I'd always prefer the second of two dry days if I can get it.

out there
08-07-2004, 07:40 PM
I have done the Trap Dike dry and while raining steadily and the difficulty within the dike itself does not change dramatically (skip the thunderstorms though). Yes you will get much more wet but either way you will need to use three points of contact in a few sections and be comfortable with some exposure. The slides however will require more care when wet and most people will need more time and technique. I know Mellor ( at least in my older edition of climbing in the ADKS) vacillates between class 3 and 4 for the Trap Dike but his guide in general seeks to maintain an air of discovery. If the Trap Dike is class 3 then it's a sandbag rating because you need to use your hands, hence class 4. Since ropes are not necessary for most to safely ascend it is not class 5. Beyond the rating game is the true measure of difficulty which is processed by the individual's physical (and more importantly) psychological capacity. I have been technical climbing for 12+ yrs and have had newbies FREEZE on class 5 and on Trap Dike. While reason and technique have always prevailed you will need to read your teamates. How well do you know them? How much experience do they (and you) bring the situation?
If you are concerned enough to ask advice then I bet you can do it or at least have fun trying but your teamates are what you need to evaluate. Good Luck

08-07-2004, 07:55 PM
Class 1 - Hiking - Example: the trail to Marcy

Class 2 - Rougher terrain - Examples: the cable section on the Gothics trail or the slides on Whiteface

Class 3 - Handholds necessary, increased exposure, dangerous falls possible - Example: the Eagle slide on Giant

Class 4 - A rope is used to protect the hard sections, but the climbers generally move simultaneously - Examples: the waterfall section on the Trap Dike or most of the Case route on Wallface.

Class 5 - ...

(from Climbing in the Adirondacks, Don Mellor)

Sounds like mostly class 3, but definitely some class 4.

08-08-2004, 08:24 AM
I want to try the case route on wallface--have you done it? I plan on summiting wallface, and would like to do it from that route. I have mellors book, and I have climbed a bit, but I would like to do it without bringing ropes in.

08-08-2004, 01:15 PM

Spence and Brian have climbed Wallface and had written up an description of the route they took. Mostly hiking with a little bit of scrambling. I've been meaning to see if they'd like to go with me sometime. You could join us. Maybe next Spring?


08-08-2004, 03:04 PM
Just pm me and I'm in(as long as I'm not working).

Michael M
08-11-2004, 12:34 PM
Out there

Most experienced climbers would concur with Don Mellor's widely accepted and published descriptions of climbing grades 1 - 6

Class 3 - Handholds necessary, increased exposure, dangerous falls possible

I only point this out so that others will not think that 3rd Class doesn’t require handholds! Quite to the contrary -- it does and is often the most hairy part of an extended mountain assent

Michael CM