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dom15931
09-17-2005, 08:33 AM
...in the east? (class 4)

I was going to make a poll, but that leaves out the one's I dont know about, which I dont want to do! :D

So far I'd go for the Trap Dike on Colden (I know Eagle Slide is gonna likely beat this one out once I do it) The waterfall, variable exit point, open slide, and the fact there it isnt a marked trail do it for me. I loved this one!

Behind that would be the Huntington Ravine on Washington and then lesser extent the Knife Edge on Katahdin, though this one is really not technically difficult at all IMHO, but quite breathtaking.

Also I was definately surprised by the onslaught of Flume Slide Trail on Mt. Flume in Franconia. Quite relentless with a steep gain of 1800 feet in 0.7 Miles. Near bushwacking and slippery when wet with a very low level of foot traffic for the area. If you havn't done this one and your in the area check it out!

What are some other tough ones?

king tut
09-17-2005, 09:38 AM
I would say that the hardest climbs/hikes in maine are
-the knife edge on katahdin.
-the cathedral trail up katahdin is pretty difficult as well, very steep.
-the abol slide on katahdin is not scary in any places but it does rise a good 2,000 feet up the slide in about a mile, it'll hurt your lungs more than your mind.
-the precipice trail in acadia is only about a mile to the top, but it is all iron rungs, skirting cliffs, climbing over big rocks. I have done this trail several times and the knife edge several times, and i would say that the knife edge is a little more vertigo inducing but not by a lot. I have a few shots of the precipice in my pics, if you want to take a look.

patrickbrusil
09-17-2005, 11:18 AM
There are certainly parts of the North Slide on Tri-Pyramid that deserve to be in this categlory. Also the Arrow Slide on North Hancock is a beast.

sweeper
09-17-2005, 02:22 PM
In addition to the ones above

-King Ravine
-Great gulf HW
-Madison gulf HW
-6 husbands


further down
-Carter Dome
-Either end of Wildcat
-East Osceola
-Willey
-Hi-Cannon
-North Kinsman
-Beaver Brk
and possible Zeacliff

una_dogger
09-17-2005, 03:52 PM
Could someone post the class ratings and descriptions?
Are they the same as the system developed by the Sierra Club for out west??
I'm not sure Zeacliff would qualify; there's really only one rock that required hand over foot scrambling. The rest of its just a steep uphill walk. I'd rate it Class II by Sierra Club standards.
Sabrina

Edited to add The Beckhorn on Dix in the Daks as one of the toughest full pack climbs. Lots of hand over foot here, tons of slab, and no ladders or assists.

wayward son
09-17-2005, 04:59 PM
I agree with King Tut with the precipice climb. I've seen several people freeze on the rung and ladder sections. With encouragement some continued; others retreated. It totally depends on your individual comfort zone. To me, it's not that difficult; you just need to concentate on what you are doing and respect the fact that certain sections are very steep regardless of any existing climbing aids. Having said that, I can still vividly remember many years ago, when my wife and I climbed it for the first time. There is a certain open ledge near the top, that is about 3-4 feet wide and maybe 25-30 feet long. Fixed into the rock face are hand rails; on the other side of the ledge is a sheer drop off. :eek: For those of us hikers who are not of the Indiana Jones type (including myself), a deep breath and moment of composure is needed here. I have named this the "oh sh..!!" ledge, after what I exclaimed when we first came upon it. Even though I have hiked the precipice a number of times since that initial day, I always give pause and reflection whenever I come to that spot. No matter how many times I hike it, it is still a blast!

--M.
09-17-2005, 05:18 PM
I have always had a little vertigo on these types of things. Having a full pack and middle-aged knees totally transforms the situation.

This year, I was having a little difficulty near the top of Garfield (having come from Lil Haystack and it gettin' late & all), but was psyched for challenges by the time we reached Webster Cliff. Going down never got easy (Adams peak's descent was slow), but going up got a lot easier and more fun as we went. By the time we reached the end (Osgood on Madison), I really wanted more upward scrambles.

Hope this isn't too tangential....

Would also like to see the class descriptions, thanks.

--M.

DougPaul
09-17-2005, 07:53 PM
Could someone post the class ratings and descriptions?
This is from memory--my reference books are unavailable:
* Class I: a sidewalk
* Class II: most trails
* Class III: requires the use of hands.
* Class IV: roped, but no fixed belays
* Class V: roped with fixed belays (ie techincal climbing)
* Class VI: requires use of gear for forward progress (ie aid climbing)

(Don't confuse class with grade: grade refers to the time required to complete a route.)

These may not be the "official" definitions, but should be close enough. In practice, assigning a class to a route is highly subjective. People's abilities also vary tremendously--a rope may be advisable for some individuals on easy class III terrain while others can comfortably unroped solo 5.10.

The whole question of "hardest non-technical climb" is ill defined. If I can unroped solo a 5.10 rock climb, then I can claim it is class III by the strict definitions.

BTW, many of the greats die on class III or IV terrain. (End of the trip fatigue, etc.)

Doug

Brownie
09-17-2005, 08:05 PM
Information was gathered and edited for NE east coast reader's interests from book references listed at end of post.

Climbing ratings have been used to better describe the difficulty of a route for the purpose of informing future climbers what to expect.
Any given route is rated by the "most difficult" maneuver or obstacle over the routes entire length.
Often called "the crux”, which may only be a single move, however the entire route is rated accordingly.

There are many complicated climbing rating systems, but these are the basics for the purpose to briefly explain and give examples for our group forum.

In 1937 a modified European climbing rating system was introduced in the US as the Sierra Club System, then modified in 1950 to better describe rock climbing.
Today this system is widely used in the US for mountaineering and rock climbing.

Please note; Ropes are used in many other less demanding climb rating situations for simple safety and not to be considered exclusive to "technical" climbing, which is often a misunderstood point.

Class 1) Hiking on simple flat trails
NE Example: Wilderness Trail

Class 2) Simple scrambling with occasional use of hands.
NE Example: 99 % of all White Mt. summit climbs.

Class 3) Difficult scrambling. Actual handholds and footholds must be found, tested and used.
Steep or large talus boulders can be rated Class 3.
The angle of rock has steepened to the point where a fall might result in injury.
The traveler must use caution while moving across this type of landscape.
Often described as climbing the outside of a tall building on a steep narrow staircase with NO railing.
Scary but easy when compared to the next rating levels.
During remote backcountry mountaineering, a rope should be available to anyone who asks for it.
NE Example: Huntington's Ravine trail, Flume Slide trail, Tri P slide trail.

A steep snow gully or pass climb with crampons and ice axes, but no ropes, would also be considered Class 3.
NE Example: Any of Tuckerman's Ravine gullies.

Class 4) Terrain where handholds have become smaller and the exposure (air below your feet) has increased.
A rope, protection and belay should come into continuous use because a fall will likely result in death or very serious injury.
Loosely compared to climbing a ladder on the side of a tall building.
The footholds and handholds are there, but if you let go, that's the end.
Many backcountry mountaineering routes to summits are Class 4 in regions like the Rockies and Sierras.

Class 5) Steep and difficult "technical" rock climbing which includes the use of rope, fixed belaying and protection to prevent the leader from falling (and often expected.)
Climbers must use advanced climbing holds such as edging, friction smearing, laybacks, mantles, stemming, underclings, hand jams, toe jams, chimneying, finger and fist jams to make upward progress.
Protection consists of chocks, slings, bolts and pitons wedged or fastened to the rock.
At no time during upward progress by lead climber is he/she hanging on protection.
This is still considered "free climbing" ascent.
The Yosemite Decimal System (YDS) subdivides the Class 5 into specific decimal categories from 5.0 to 5.15b and is difficult alone just to explain (in this post)

Class A0-A5, C0-C5) Was Class 6. Technical Aid climbing is where the climber actually hangs off placed protection from move to move.
Often large overhanging cliffs are aided, however the high end of Class 5 is pushing the envelope ratings of overhanging cliff routes into "free climbing" status.

There are other mountaineering ratings which have to do with length of climb considering hours or days required and commitment risks. These are Grades I-VI.
Ice climbing has many rating systems based on region and difficulty.

Brownie
-------------------------------------------------------------------------
Resources:
The High Sierra, peaks passes & trails, by R.J. Secor
Mountaineering-The Freedom of the Hills 7th edition, by The Mountaineers Books
Sierra High Route, by Steve Roper

dom15931
09-17-2005, 09:25 PM
I would say that the hardest climbs/hikes in maine are
-the knife edge on katahdin.
-the cathedral trail up katahdin is pretty difficult as well, very steep.
-the abol slide on katahdin is not scary in any places but it does rise a good 2,000 feet up the slide in about a mile, it'll hurt your lungs more than your mind.
-the precipice trail in acadia is only about a mile to the top, but it is all iron rungs, skirting cliffs, climbing over big rocks. I have done this trail several times and the knife edge several times, and i would say that the knife edge is a little more vertigo inducing but not by a lot. I have a few shots of the precipice in my pics, if you want to take a look.

Wow I have been on all of those, and ya that precipice trail is defanetly an interesting one. Didnt bother me because your holding on to steal bars, but it accually broke a friend of mine of his vertigo problems! He always talks about it.

dom15931
09-17-2005, 09:36 PM
thanks for posting the info on class ratings.

Lawn Sale
09-18-2005, 07:41 AM
The precipice almost got me as well, I thought it was worse than Knife's Edge, it just seemed to play with my mind more. I finally got through it, but was shaking. That piece of the trail Wayward Son mentioned is also sloped away from the face, I have pictures of it. I'm glad I did it, but probably won't in the future, sorta like the Knife's Edge.

una_dogger
09-18-2005, 09:06 AM
Thanks to you both for those great overviews! :)

NYBRAD
09-18-2005, 09:19 AM
[

I thought both the Dike and Eagle are more of a class 3. Class 4 involves a rope and simulclimbing. Class 4 is more of a route like the Case Route on Wallface, and is much more difficult than some of the routes mentioned above.

king tut
09-18-2005, 10:24 AM
The knife edge is a little more scary to me than the precipice b/c there is a much longer drop down to the bottom. I think that the precipice has more difficult sections than the knife edge, but you are never 2,000 feet straight above any points where you could fall. I had a pretty good case of vertigo a few years ago and i froze on both trails. quite terrifying. I was just sitting on the face of the cliffs, not being able to move. I did both these trails this year though, and they didn't bother me too much. i guess i am somewhat cured.

DougPaul
09-18-2005, 11:21 AM
The knife edge is a little more scary to me than the precipice b/c there is a much longer drop down to the bottom. I think that the precipice has more difficult sections than the knife edge, but you are never 2,000 feet straight above any points where you could fall. I had a pretty good case of vertigo a few years ago and i froze on both trails. quite terrifying. I was just sitting on the face of the cliffs, not being able to move. I did both these trails this year though, and they didn't bother me too much. i guess i am somewhat cured.
Technical climbers make a point of separating objective (probable result of an event) hazards and subjective (perceived) hazards. If you are roped and climbing above an overhang with a 1000 ft drop it is scary (high subjective hazard), but actually quite safe (low objective hazard) because if you fall there is nothing to hit (the rope will catch you). On the other hand, if you are climbing 10 ft above a ledge, it feels much safer (low subjective hazard), but is actually much more dangerous (high objective hazard) because if you fall you are going to hit the ledge and likely to injure yourself.

Objective hazard for a particular situation is similar across individuals, but subjective hazard can vary widely depending on an individual's experience, state of mind, etc.

For some people, flying in a commercial airplane has high subjective hazard (but actually has a low objective hazard) while driving a car has low subjective hazard (but actually has a much higher objective hazard for distances that one might consider flying).

And while objective hazard is where the real dangers are, one factors in the probability of the event happening (eg it doesn't matter what the consequences of a fall are if you don't fall...).

Risk is probability of an event times the cost (eg injury) of the event.

In situations of combined subjective and objective hazard, an individual's reaction to the subjective factor can significantly increase the risk: eg freezing on Huntington Tr, Precipice Tr, or the Knife Edge.

Doug

patrickbrusil
09-18-2005, 10:42 PM
Brownie's mention of the Great Gully Trail on his list of hardest climbs in the Whites reminded me of just how "rugged" that trail was. It is very steep and there are a few places where the heart can stop...... the overhanging rock/slab almost made me soil myself.

forestgnome
09-19-2005, 05:52 AM
South Baldface has a section of trail that is quite steep, requires hands.

My wife and I got about half way up Beaver Brook Trail about six years ago, so I've never actualy climbed the whole trail, but I remember it to be quite steep. I hope to return this autumn.

Happy Trails!

MrAmeche
09-19-2005, 07:02 AM
My wife and I got about half way up Beaver Brook Trail about six years ago, so I've never actualy climbed the whole trail, but I remember it to be quite steep. I hope to return this autumn.

I remember being quite surprised at the difficulty of the Beaver Brook Trail. If it were more exposed, I think it would be a lot tougher. The Caps Ridge Trail up to Jefferson wasn't a walk in the park either (well... you know what I mean ;) )

Thanks to DougPaul and Brownie for the useful information!

lumberzac
09-19-2005, 07:10 AM
[

I thought both the Dike and Eagle are more of a class 3. Class 4 involves a rope and simulclimbing. Class 4 is more of a route like the Case Route on Wallface, and is much more difficult than some of the routes mentioned above.

I thought the Case Route is a 5.3. At least that is what most of the websites I've seen list it as.

ADK4Life
09-19-2005, 08:43 AM
Huntington is clearly class 3. I would say it falls into hard class 3 if it was not for the trail being perfectly blazed. As for class 4 there is very little out east that is actually established. Most of the class 3 I ran into out west was super steep scree fields, its very rare to get class 3 slabs as they usually fall into class 4 in the Sierra/Rockies. All of the ledges and slabs I was on were class 4 probably needing a rope for peace of mind with the extended climbing involved, helmet was mandatory.

You will probably need to blaze your own trails to get the class 4 experience you may be looking for out east. I have been eyeballing a cute in Huntington for the last 2 years and would be happy to find someone willing to ascend with me.

Sleeping Giant
09-19-2005, 02:18 PM
Have they finally listened to some of us and improved the blazing at Huntington? When I did it a year ago the blazing was so poor as to cause me to have adventures in dead ends - or at least ends I didn't want to pursue. I'd be interested in what you mean by the trail being "perfectly blazed." To me, that's a gross overstatement.

ADK4Life
09-19-2005, 02:24 PM
In my opinion the trail is very well blazed, I have been up at least once every year for the past 3 years. Considering this is a class 3 climb the trail could not be better laid out. Some may disagree but I have never been off trail on that hike.

giggy
09-19-2005, 02:26 PM
done huntington a couple times and never had route finding issues. in -fact recall the blazes damn good. But - this was 2000 -2002 - not sure about now

ADK4Life
09-19-2005, 02:30 PM
I recall a spot about 50 feet below the exit that was a bit odd. There was a blaze pretty much in a crack and the direction to the actual trail looked like you were going off trail.

wayward son
09-19-2005, 03:07 PM
Lawn sale is right. The ledge does slope a bit. It's also extremely slick when wet. Believe me, I'm very glad those hand rails are there. Call me a big baby, but if I meet someone coming down, they and not me, will be on the open side. :D

hikerbrian
09-19-2005, 06:10 PM
These give me some ideas for when I'm back in NE again...

For what it's worth, if anyone is travelling out West (Sierras or N. Cascades), I think you're going to find that class II and III out West is different from how it has been defined on this thread so far. Most importantly, 99.9% of the summit climbs in the White Mountains are certainly class I, as you would see on summitpost.org. I think another good indicator is, if your dog can climb up it, it is class I. You would be very hard pressed to find a class III in the whites. Certainly, none of the trails described in the White Mountain Guide are class III, and a very few would be considered VERY EASY class II. Let me see if I can dig up some pictures...

Ok, so the first is described as a class II pass, the second is class II+ in one book, and class III in another, and the last is class IV. I hope these are helpful. I'm not looking to split hairs with anyone, just trying to provide some perspective for those that plan to travel.

B

hikerbrian
09-19-2005, 09:18 PM
The class IV is Sahale Peak in N. Cascades (photo by C. H.). The other two are Matterhorn Pass in Sierra Nevadas.

sierra
09-19-2005, 10:41 PM
If I may chime in. Ive done alot of big peaks out west, Flume slide is class 2 at best,imo, Hunningtons is easy class 3, anything else in the Whites is class 2.

prino
09-19-2005, 10:51 PM
Was this the one?...http://www.ambuehler.ch/trip_reports/2004_kanada/2004-08-07/champlain-mountain-trail_07_big.jpg

DougPaul
09-19-2005, 11:44 PM
Was this the one?
Precipice Tr is easy. (Class II or so.) Just exposed.

Doug

WalksWithBlackflies
09-20-2005, 07:11 AM
The nub on the Great Slide on East Dix (Grace) in the Adirondacks (not the area of slide with regular foot traffic), Class III:

anita514
09-20-2005, 08:43 AM
huntington is easy class 3 and only for a bit.
I haven't done the flume slide trail, but a few friends recently descended it while doing the franconia ridge and they didn't say it was hard at all. I guess I will have to see for myself eventually.

ADK4Life
09-20-2005, 09:04 AM
Judging by the safety set on the rocks the Precipice trail appears to fall outside of a specific class as there is no real risk factor involved.

jfb
09-20-2005, 09:23 AM
My dog completed Huntington's, but I had to help her on one short section, so that must make it a Class 1, A-0. :cool:

Klutz
09-20-2005, 01:47 PM
I would say that the hardest climbs/hikes in maine are
-the knife edge on katahdin.
-the cathedral trail up katahdin is pretty difficult as well, very steep.
-the abol slide on katahdin is not scary in any places but it does rise a good 2,000 feet up the slide in about a mile, it'll hurt your lungs more than your mind.
-the precipice trail in acadia is only about a mile to the top, but it is all iron rungs, skirting cliffs, climbing over big rocks. I have done this trail several times and the knife edge several times, and i would say that the knife edge is a little more vertigo inducing but not by a lot. I have a few shots of the precipice in my pics, if you want to take a look.

I have to agree with King tut also, although I can't say too much about the Knife edge on Katahdin, since I refuse to do it. Now I can say I'm been up the Cathedral Trail and will never do that again! Haven't been up the Abol, or the Pecipice so I can't say anything about either of those. Been up the Beehive trial in Acadia, twice, and I thought the second time I'd get over the height thing or really the edge with the height thing, but still have a bit of a hard time with that. A few sections on the Hamlin Ridge are a bit challenging for the edge/height fear.

Klutz
09-20-2005, 01:49 PM
Was this the one?...http://www.ambuehler.ch/trip_reports/2004_kanada/2004-08-07/champlain-mountain-trail_07_big.jpg


OMG, I can definately say I haven't been there and will never be.... :eek:

Mad Townie
09-20-2005, 02:34 PM
Judging by the safety set on the rocks the Precipice trail appears to fall outside of a specific class as there is no real risk factor involved.

Of course there is also some Class 5 climbing at the Precipice, not including anything with rungs.

blacknblue
09-20-2005, 02:57 PM
These give me some ideas for when I'm back in NE again...

For what it's worth, if anyone is travelling out West (Sierras or N. Cascades), I think you're going to find that class II and III out West is different from how it has been defined on this thread so far. Most importantly, 99.9% of the summit climbs in the White Mountains are certainly class I, as you would see on summitpost.org. I think another good indicator is, if your dog can climb up it, it is class I. You would be very hard pressed to find a class III in the whites. Certainly, none of the trails described in the White Mountain Guide are class III, and a very few would be considered VERY EASY class II. Let me see if I can dig up some pictures...

Ok, so the first is described as a class II pass, the second is class II+ in one book, and class III in another, and the last is class IV. I hope these are helpful. I'm not looking to split hairs with anyone, just trying to provide some perspective for those that plan to travel.

B
Then again, I hike/climb extensively in Colorado, and there are some class 4 routes that are not nearly as difficult as the class 4 pictured in your post. In many respects, rating trail difficulty is much like ski areas handing out greens, blues, and blacks--there is often internal consistency, but you really can't compare different areas. Whether it's AMC in the northeast or Gerry Roach in Colorado, there are always debates and inconsistencies around trail ratings. BUT, if you understand a "Gerry Roach class 4" or an "AMC class 4," then you can make your estimations from there.

wayward son
09-20-2005, 02:59 PM
Hey prino! That's it baby! The first time it's a bit scary, after that it's just FUN! :eek: :D

blacknblue
09-20-2005, 03:00 PM
I would have to say that Flume Slide, Huntington, and Great Gully are probably the most difficult--at least based on the crux move. As for overall difficulty, I might throw Beaver Brook and Garfield Ridge in there b/c they wear you down over the course of a few hours.
I really didn't find the Hunt Trail or the Knife Edge on Katahdin to be that difficult, although they were both really really fun!

DougPaul
09-20-2005, 04:16 PM
Of course there is also some Class 5 climbing at the Precipice, not including anything with rungs.
I've done Precipice without using the iron aids. Wasn't hard. Actually the iron aids get in the way if you are trying not to use them. Also have "wandered" off the route. (I used to rock climb.)

There are a number of spots for real climbing at Acadia. There is/used to be a guidebook for those who are seriously interested.

Doug

ADK4Life
09-20-2005, 08:50 PM
In the book, Mountaineering, Freedom of the Hills, is an excellent chart with comparisons between a few world rating systems.
This alone confirms the confusion and controversy between regions.
Like anything else, you need to adjust these in your own mind to your own ability based on your experience.




I tend to base my estimate at class ratings from what I learned in this book. Route finding should be considered part of the class rating above class 1. Its the need of hand/feet to progress and route finding that will determine the non technical class of a climb on rock.

sierra
09-21-2005, 08:49 AM
Some great points, the sytems used are certainally subjective but I do think broad generalations can be made. ONe thing to note espechally to easterners going out west for the first time, is that exposure plays no role in a climbs rating, there are class 3 routes in the Sierras that are imo tougher then some class 4's simply due to the exposure, something about being able to fall off seemes to "up" the ante.

Mad Townie
09-21-2005, 08:49 AM
I've done Precipice without using the iron aids. Wasn't hard. . . .
There are a number of spots for real climbing at Acadia. There is/used to be a guidebook for those who are seriously interested.

Doug, I was talking about the whole Precipice wall, not the trail. There are routes from about 5.5 to about 5.10c, if I remember correctly. Oh, and there's a fairly new guidebook out (2 or 3 years ago, I think) that covers a lot of the new routes as well.

DougPaul
09-21-2005, 10:14 AM
Doug, I was talking about the whole Precipice wall, not the trail. There are routes from about 5.5 to about 5.10c, if I remember correctly. Oh, and there's a fairly new guidebook out (2 or 3 years ago, I think) that covers a lot of the new routes as well.
OK. Might just be semantics--I was referring to the trail and some "variations" on it.

I do remember some climbs on the same side of Champlain a bit (1/2 mi -- 1 mi?) to the south--ranging from about 5.5 to 5.10 or higher. Did one or two of the easier ones myself--but it was a long time ago.

Doug