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#22948 - 04/17/12 01:44 AM EXPOSURE & OTHER DIFFICULTY COMPARED
Whitney Fan Offline


Registered: 12/02/09
Posts: 213
Loc: Las Vegas
In another thread, at least two posters opined that the exposure of Angel's Landing was more bothersome to them than the exposure of Half Dome (the cables).

I am curious about both exposure and other difficulty on the final 400 of the Mountaineer's Route as compared to other places.

For those of you who have experience with the applicable places, how would you compare the exposure of the Mountaineer's Route with Angel's Landing?

And how would you compare the difficulty (independent of the exposure) between those two places?

I would also be interested to hear from anyone who has climbed both the Mountaineer's Route and the Summit Trail of Camelback Mountain in Phoenix. (The Summit Trail starts from the west and goes up 1,200 feet in 1.2 miles.) I was surprised at the arm and leg workout I got and am curious as to if that isn't similar to the Mountaineer's Route.

(Absent the exposure, aren't all 3 places mentioned basically Class 2, and more or less the same in difficulty in that respect?)

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#22949 - 04/17/12 03:41 AM Re: EXPOSURE & OTHER DIFFICULTY COMPARED [Re: Whitney Fan]
Harvey Lankford Offline


Registered: 11/10/09
Posts: 1007
Loc: Richmond, Virginia
my two cents:

Angels Landing (and Half Dome) - all you have to do is stay on the trail and not get bumped off the two foot wide sections where there are tourists. There are cables and/or chains on both in spots. Yes there is deadly exposure one step away, but so is there climbing a tall ladder in your backyard. The difference is 10 feet versus thousands, so the fear factor and vertigo are important.

Mountaineer's Route Final 400 - No trail. A rock scramble. A few spots of class 3 in there, using all 4 hands and feet. Not as much of a "straight down" feeling, but the combination of factors might make the MR seem harder. Going up of course is easy. Coming down feels dicey. Glad I was with someone who knew one of the many routes.

If someone had never had experience with any of these, I would rate them, in terms of novices and in what order one should do them, as this:
do Angels Landing and/or Half Dome first to have some exposure before doing the MR. And don't forget, the Ledges probably offer as much pucker factor as the Final 400.

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#22952 - 04/17/12 07:12 AM Re: EXPOSURE & OTHER DIFFICULTY COMPARED [Re: Whitney Fan]
wbtravis Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 1251
Loc: Corner of Jack Benny and Roche...
I have never completed the MR. However, I do up 1,000'/mi. pretty regularly and up 1,800' and 2,400'/mi. all winter long and frequently during the summer. The former is no problem but the latter makes my Achilles sit up and take notice. The shoulder strain is an issue during the winter but that has more to do with heavier pack weights. Everything depends on what you do regularly...1,000'/mi use to be daunting, now it's ho-hum.

I plan to do the MR this summer for the first time. If I go with a bunch of other MR noobs, the plan will be to return via the trail.

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#22962 - 04/17/12 10:02 AM Re: EXPOSURE & OTHER DIFFICULTY COMPARED [Re: wbtravis]
quillansculpture Offline


Registered: 11/13/09
Posts: 558
Loc: Murrieta, CA
Originally Posted By: wbtravis

I plan to do the MR this summer for the first time. If I go with a bunch of other MR noobs, the plan will be to return via the trail.


I'm "hoping" to be a noob in early July, then possibly a sophomore later in July. Same plan: up the MR, down the trail. When are you going?
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#22966 - 04/17/12 11:02 AM Re: EXPOSURE & OTHER DIFFICULTY COMPARED [Re: Whitney Fan]
2600fromatari Offline


Registered: 10/18/10
Posts: 452
Loc: San Diego
Difficulty for me ranked in order from the hardest to easiest:
1) MR
2) Angel's Landing
3) HD Cables

I'm a little curious as to why people say the final 400 on Whitney is class 3 and not 4. I can't see how you'd get up there without using your hands. I used hands the entire way up, only for support, not to pull myself, but I used them nonetheless. Any fall up there would be fatal I think. If hitting the rock doesn't get you, the time it takes for SAR to come probably will...but that's just my amateurish opinion.

No, none of them are class 2, I can say that for sure.


Edited by 2600fromatari (04/17/12 11:13 AM)

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#22967 - 04/17/12 11:31 AM Re: EXPOSURE & OTHER DIFFICULTY COMPARED [Re: 2600fromatari]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7524
Loc: Fresno, CA
I thought hiking where using your hands is necessary was class 3, and 4th class is where ropes and technical gear is pretty much necessary for most climbers.

...but I may be wrong.

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#22972 - 04/17/12 12:28 PM Re: EXPOSURE & OTHER DIFFICULTY COMPARED [Re: Steve C]
2600fromatari Offline


Registered: 10/18/10
Posts: 452
Loc: San Diego
Originally Posted By: Steve C
I thought hiking where using your hands is necessary was class 3, and 4th class is where ropes and technical gear is pretty much necessary for most climbers.

...but I may be wrong.


Steve,
Maybe I'm wrong, but I always looked at it like anything that requires a rope and is technical to be class 5. Falls on a class 4 is likely fatal and you have to turn in to go down. Falls on a class 3 would be serious injury.

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#22976 - 04/17/12 02:00 PM Re: EXPOSURE & OTHER DIFFICULTY COMPARED [Re: 2600fromatari]
CaT Offline


Registered: 09/24/09
Posts: 694
Loc: Blacklick, OH (formerly SoCal)
From www.14ers.com:

Quote:
Hiking:

Class 1 - Easy hiking - usually on a good trail.

Class 2 - More difficult hiking that may be off-trail. You may also have to put your hands down occasionally to keep your balance. May include easy snow climbs or hiking on talus/scree.

Climbing:

Class 3 - Scrambling or un-roped climbing. You must use your hands most of the time to hold the terrain or find your route. This may be caused by a combination of steepness and extreme terrain (large rocks or steep snow). Some Class 3 routes are better done with rope.

Class 4 - Climbing. Rope is often used on Class 4 routes because falls can be fatal. The terrain is often steep and dangerous. Some routes can be done without rope because the terrain is stable.

Class 5 - Technical climbing. The climbing involves the use of rope and belaying. Rock climbing is Class 5. Note: In the 1950s, the Class 5 portion of this ranking system was expanded to include a decimal at the end of the ranking to further define the difficulties of rock climbing. This is called the Yosemite Decimal System (YDS). The decimal notations range from 5.1 (easiest) to 5.14 (most difficult). Recently, the rankings of 5.10 through 5.14 were expanded to include an "a", "b", "c" or "d" after the decimal (Example: 5.12a) to provide further details of the ranking. None of the routes described on 14ers.com are Class 5, so I will not go into detail of the expanded decimal system.

Keep in mind that Class 1 through Class 4 rankings are not very descriptive and do not have any further breakdowns like Class 5. Class 2 is very general and includes a wide range of hiking. At time, Class 2 routes may include dangerous terrain (exposure, loose rock, steep scree, etc.). Just because a route is ranked Class 2, does not mean it is safe or easy. The key to Class 3 is that you are almost always using your hands to move up through the steep terrain (snow or rock). In some cases, I may describe a route as "Difficult Class 2" or "Easy Class 3" to provide more detail.


From Wikipedia's entry for "Yosemite Decimal System":

Quote:
Class 1: Walking with a low chance of injury.

Class 2: Simple scrambling, with the possibility of occasional use of the hands. Little potential danger is encountered.

Class 3: Scrambling with increased exposure. A rope can be carried but is usually not required. Falls are not always fatal.

Class 4: Simple climbing, with exposure. A rope is often used. Natural protection can be easily found. Falls may well be fatal.

Class 5: Technical free climbing involving rope, belaying, and other protection hardware for safety. Un-roped falls can result in severe injury or death.


Also, notwithstanding the above standards, keep in mind that each person's experience and/or comfort level with exposure may vary widely and thus may play a role in how they perceive the assumed class of a particular route (whether or not that perception is accurate). Over the years, I've read descriptions of the Final 400 on both boards that range from "difficult Class 2 with a little Class 3 thrown in" up to "Class 4" (as far as I can remember, I don't think anyone has called it Class 5). These variations have almost always resulted from the widely varying experience (or lack thereof) of the persons involved. Also, the perceived (if not actual) difficulty levels sometimes vary by geographic region, depnding on what people in each region are used to as it relates to the available level of difficulty in each respective region.

CaT
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#22980 - 04/17/12 02:30 PM Re: EXPOSURE & OTHER DIFFICULTY COMPARED [Re: CaT]
MooseTracks Offline


Registered: 11/02/09
Posts: 582
Loc: Bishop, CA, United States
Angel's Landing:



Half Dome:



Final 400 (various conditions):



 
 


Essentially, safety measure can be employed more easily on AL and HD, using a via ferrata system or the like.

Cheers,
L
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#22981 - 04/17/12 02:51 PM Re: EXPOSURE & OTHER DIFFICULTY COMPARED [Re: MooseTracks]
2600fromatari Offline


Registered: 10/18/10
Posts: 452
Loc: San Diego
Hey, that's Ellen.

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#22984 - 04/17/12 04:58 PM Re: EXPOSURE & OTHER DIFFICULTY COMPARED [Re: quillansculpture]
wbtravis Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 1251
Loc: Corner of Jack Benny and Roche...
Joe,

When I'm in shape. I'm about 6 weeks from being in reasonable shape...for me. Hopefully, life, illness and injury don't get in the away for a while.

Personally, I like mid to late September because it is cooler and there are fewer peeps.

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#22985 - 04/17/12 05:00 PM Re: EXPOSURE & OTHER DIFFICULTY COMPARED [Re: 2600fromatari]
wbtravis Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 1251
Loc: Corner of Jack Benny and Roche...
Originally Posted By: 2600fromatari
Hey, that's Ellen.


Hey, I was going to say the same thing.

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#22986 - 04/17/12 05:05 PM Re: EXPOSURE & OTHER DIFFICULTY COMPARED [Re: MooseTracks]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7524
Loc: Fresno, CA
Wow, Laura, what a great set of pictures for a perfect comparison!

This post will make a great point of reference.

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#23009 - 04/18/12 03:15 AM Re: EXPOSURE & OTHER DIFFICULTY COMPARED [Re: Steve C]
Bullet777 Offline


Registered: 12/26/10
Posts: 18
Loc: Sydney, Australia
So when guys like Ueli Steck, Alex Honnold et al. climb the faces of El Capitan and Half Dome without rope, does that make them Class 4 ?

I was thinking of trying the Angels Landing hike this July, thinking it would be less scary than Half Dome. Now I am a little worried I might freak. Can anyone reassure me that its not that bad, considering I survived Half Dome with only a few bad dreams? Or should I look for another hike in Zion with less fear factor ?

Would a failure to reach the top of Angels Landing mean don't bother with the Whitney MR ?

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#23010 - 04/18/12 04:18 AM Re: EXPOSURE & OTHER DIFFICULTY COMPARED [Re: Bullet777]
CaT Offline


Registered: 09/24/09
Posts: 694
Loc: Blacklick, OH (formerly SoCal)
The only way to overcome your fear factor is to do it.

Upon arriving at the the HD cables the first time, my response was "no way!". I tried it anyway after watching others for a couple of minutes, and was glad I did. Now my fear factor for HD cables has converted into a highly-focused awareness of my surroundings. Whenever I do something like this for the first time, and just push through it, it then becomes easier to do the next time.

"Failure" on one trail does not means not trying another. You try each trail on its own merits, go as far as you can, and perhaps you will end up on the summit. But even if you don't, the experience getting there will be worth it, and your next goal will be to go back and go a little further up the next time. You keep trying until you make it.

I assume your "Class 4" question about Honnold, et al. was tongue-in-cheek. ;)

CaT
_________________________
If future generations are to remember us with gratitude rather than contempt, we must leave them more than the miracle of technology. We must leave them a glimpse of the world as it was in the beginning, not just after we got through with it.
- Lyndon Johnson, on signing the Wilderness Act into law (1964)

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#23012 - 04/18/12 05:54 AM Re: EXPOSURE & OTHER DIFFICULTY COMPARED [Re: Bullet777]
MooseTracks Offline


Registered: 11/02/09
Posts: 582
Loc: Bishop, CA, United States
Originally Posted By: Bullet777
So when guys like Ueli Steck, Alex Honnold et al. climb the faces of El Capitan and Half Dome without rope, does that make them Class 4 ?

I was thinking of trying the Angels Landing hike this July, thinking it would be less scary than Half Dome. Now I am a little worried I might freak. Can anyone reassure me that its not that bad, considering I survived Half Dome with only a few bad dreams? Or should I look for another hike in Zion with less fear factor ?

Would a failure to reach the top of Angels Landing mean don't bother with the Whitney MR ?


Nah, it just makes them "hikers" and not "climbers"... wink

When I hiked up to AL and HD, I was pretty terrified of exposure (and still get that way sometimes!). I held onto those chains and cables with a death grip, but i went for it, forcing myself to breathe and concentrate on what I was doing. It was really hard to keep the fear at bay, but I did, and I was glad I did it. For me, it also helped that I was essentially solo on both hikes. That way, the only pressure I felt was from myself.

I think the exposure of AL feels entirely different than the MR, so I would say no to your final question, but that's from my own perspective. You may react completely differently once up there yourself.

-L
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#23023 - 04/18/12 12:40 PM Re: EXPOSURE & OTHER DIFFICULTY COMPARED [Re: Bullet777]
2600fromatari Offline


Registered: 10/18/10
Posts: 452
Loc: San Diego
Originally Posted By: Bullet777


I was thinking of trying the Angels Landing hike this July, thinking it would be less scary than Half Dome. Now I am a little worried I might freak. Can anyone reassure me that its not that bad, considering I survived Half Dome with only a few bad dreams? Or should I look for another hike in Zion with less fear factor ?

Would a failure to reach the top of Angels Landing mean don't bother with the Whitney MR ?


It's not that bad. Looks worse than it is. Any place with scary exposure will have a chain. I only say it's harder than HD because the terrain has a lot of loose dirt, aka, more chances for you to slip versus the rough granite at HD or Whitney.

IMO, if you freak out at AL, you should not attempt the MR as there are no ropes or chains to help you out.

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#23031 - 04/18/12 03:40 PM Re: EXPOSURE & OTHER DIFFICULTY COMPARED [Re: 2600fromatari]
Harvey Lankford Offline


Registered: 11/10/09
Posts: 1007
Loc: Richmond, Virginia
Originally Posted By: 2600fromatari
I only say it's harder than HD because the terrain has a lot of loose dirt, aka, more chances for you to slip versus the rough granite at HD or Whitney.

I would not consider the HD route rough granite. All that polished granite is slick from people usage. I have seen people turn around part way up the cables on HD not from fear, but from difficulty with their feet slipping. Their too-smooth, grip-less tennis shoes (or flip flops!) were not good enough. Lug soles are better.

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#23032 - 04/18/12 03:51 PM Re: EXPOSURE & OTHER DIFFICULTY COMPARED [Re: 2600fromatari]
Whitney Fan Offline


Registered: 12/02/09
Posts: 213
Loc: Las Vegas
All interesting posts thus far . . . I'm hoping to see more comment specifically on the exposure comparison between the Mountaineer's Route (which might be sub-divided between the final 400 and Ebersbacher Ledges), Angel's Landing, and Half Dome. AND the difficulty comparison between those three as well as Camelback Mountain (I wouldn't say exposure is an issue with Camelback).

Laura, you've apparently experienced those first three. I think you are looking at the MR with the most pucker factor, but it wasn't clear. How would you rate the three in comparison with each other? Or -- maybe they're all essentially equal in your mind?

And -- others -- same thing for you if you've been on all three.

Now, clarifying "difficulty" -- throwing out exposure AND length of hike/climb -- I'm still curious as to how all 4 places compare (considering only the final 400 on the Mountaineer's Route). I've done Angels Landing and Camelback, and based on those visits and what I've read and seen about the other two, I'm postulating that they are all essentially equal in difficulty. Laura -- and others -- what say you about that? (To me, they all appear to be about the same in using both your hands and feet to the max, giving you a strenuous time, and keeping your mind busy finding your route.)

(This is what you call long term sneaky research in anticipation of a possible Mountaineer's Route visit in 3 years at age 70!)

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#23033 - 04/18/12 04:34 PM Re: EXPOSURE & OTHER DIFFICULTY COMPARED [Re: Harvey Lankford]
2600fromatari Offline


Registered: 10/18/10
Posts: 452
Loc: San Diego
Originally Posted By: Harvey Lankford
Originally Posted By: 2600fromatari
I only say it's harder than HD because the terrain has a lot of loose dirt, aka, more chances for you to slip versus the rough granite at HD or Whitney.

I would not consider the HD route rough granite. All that polished granite is slick from people usage. I have seen people turn around part way up the cables on HD not from fear, but from difficulty with their feet slipping. Their too-smooth, grip-less tennis shoes (or flip flops!) were not good enough. Lug soles are better.


I had no problems with cheap Big 5 trail runners. If they're going up there in Addidas tennis shoes and slippers...well, that's just asking for it. I stand by my original assertion.

Originally Posted By: Whitney Fan
All interesting posts thus far . . . I'm hoping to see more comment specifically on the exposure comparison between the Mountaineer's Route (which might be sub-divided between the final 400 and Ebersbacher Ledges), Angel's Landing, and Half Dome. AND the difficulty comparison between those three as well as Camelback Mountain (I wouldn't say exposure is an issue with Camelback).

Laura, you've apparently experienced those first three. I think you are looking at the MR with the most pucker factor, but it wasn't clear. How would you rate the three in comparison with each other? Or -- maybe they're all essentially equal in your mind?

And -- others -- same thing for you if you've been on all three.

Now, clarifying "difficulty" -- throwing out exposure AND length of hike/climb -- I'm still curious as to how all 4 places compare (considering only the final 400 on the Mountaineer's Route). I've done Angels Landing and Camelback, and based on those visits and what I've read and seen about the other two, I'm postulating that they are all essentially equal in difficulty. Laura -- and others -- what say you about that? (To me, they all appear to be about the same in using both your hands and feet to the max, giving you a strenuous time, and keeping your mind busy finding your route.)

(This is what you call long term sneaky research in anticipation of a possible Mountaineer's Route visit in 3 years at age 70!)


See my previous posts, I've been on all three. They all have big drops. What makes HD and AL easier is that it gives a person "peace of mind" through the cables and chains if required. It looks a lot scarier in pictures. I didn't even have to use the chains on AL. If you're comfortable on AL, I think you'll be comfortable on the MR.

Physically for me the MR was over before it started. HD was the most difficult simply because of the fatigue from standing there waiting forever for people to move.

EDIT: and I salute you sir for planning this at 70. Hope I can still do all these things at that age. Congrats!

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