Passes and Classes | High Sierra Topix  

Passes and Classes

If you've been searching for the best source of information and stimulating discussion related to Spring/Summer/Fall backpacking, hiking and camping in the Sierra Nevada...look no further!
User avatar

Passes and Classes

Postby DoyleWDonehoo » Tue Sep 05, 2006 6:37 pm

Here is an excellent link to a chart with most of the passes of the Sierra:
http://sierrabackpacker.com/sierrapasses-new.htm
I just came back from a trip where my pard and I put together a back-pack mountaineer cross-country (mostly) traverse of the Minarets, going from Fern Lake to 1,000 Island Lake. Once again I was struck by how lame the class ratings are for Class 1 through 3, especially for us who are not normally interested in anything above Class 3. The above link has an excellent explanation of 1-2-3, but I think the rating could go further.
For example, I would do a rating by class, difficulty and exposure. This is needed because, for example, a pass may be easy but very exposed, or very strenuous and somewhat technical but not exposed, and so on. The ratings would be in context of the Class. This is how I would rate things:
1) The Classes would match the explanation in the above link.
2) The Class could be followed by A through D in difficulty, with A being the most difficult/strenuous/technical.
3) The last could be the degree of exposure, 1 through 5, with 5 being the most exposed. A very important consideration.

For example:

A) I just did Nancy Pass, which I would rate as Class 2B1. The pass was not so dangerous (just the usual with loose talus and scree), but it was a pretty strenuous if short in length.
B) Mt. Conness I would rate Class 2D5. Pretty easy to do, but one move puts you over an exposure of about 2000 feet. Don’t slip.
C) Sphinx Pass, Class 2B1. Easy, but you will be very tired when you get there. No exposure.
D) Red Pass, Class 2D1. Very easy, almost Class 1.
E) Black Rock Pass, Class 1A1. A slog but a long hard strenuous slog.
F) Pterodactyl Pass, Class 2D1. Another very easy one.
G) …and so on.

Look for a future issue of Sierra-Trails featuring the Minarets Cross-Country Traverse. And it may also feature this new rating system.
Doyle W. Donehoo
Sierra Trails:
http://www.doylewdonehoo.com" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;



User avatar
DoyleWDonehoo
Founding Member
 
Posts: 480
Joined: Wed Dec 14, 2005 2:06 pm
Location: San Jose, CA
Experience: N/A

User avatar

Postby Snow Nymph » Wed Sep 06, 2006 10:04 pm

Great link, Doyle! I just bookmarked it!
Expose yourself to your deepest fear; after that, fear has no power, and the fear of freedom shrinks and vanishes. You are free . . . . Jim Morrison


http://snownymph.smugmug.com/
User avatar
Snow Nymph
Founding Member
 
Posts: 2041
Joined: Fri Oct 28, 2005 6:43 pm
Location: Santa Barbara & Mammoth Lakes, CA
Experience: N/A

User avatar

Postby TehipiteTom » Fri Sep 08, 2006 1:14 pm

I ran across that page a while back, and I consult it often; it really is great. What's particularly nice about it is that it has some passes Secor doesn't mention (e.g., Glacier Saddle, which I did just last month).

I like your system--the unadorned class ratings are so vague as to be nearly meaningless.
User avatar
TehipiteTom
Founding Member
 
Posts: 814
Joined: Thu Aug 24, 2006 8:42 am
Experience: Level 4 Explorer

User avatar

Case in point

Postby DoyleWDonehoo » Sat Sep 09, 2006 9:41 pm

Case in point: I was reading today in the SJ Merc News that a rabid Sharks fan died just below the summit of Mt. Brewer. Now most books say it is Class 2, which mostly it is, but fails to mention that a slip would be fatal in some spots, and one route (from my experience) requires a Class 3 move over a 2000 foot drop. And a rope would not be a bad idea! The old Class 1-2-3 explanations are just too vague for those who do not venture past Class 3. Those used to Class 4-5+ (like Secor) may think Class 1-2-3 is trivial, but injury and/or death is not. Many people do not have the climbing skills and experience of the upper classes to be comfortable in the lower classes, and need the guidence of a system similar to what I propose.

G) Mt. Brewer: Class 2C5. One route forces you to use your hands over about 2000 feet of air.

(I saw someone injured on the lower slopes of Mt. Brewer, in a class 2 talus section.)
Doyle W. Donehoo
Sierra Trails:
http://www.doylewdonehoo.com" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
User avatar
DoyleWDonehoo
Founding Member
 
Posts: 480
Joined: Wed Dec 14, 2005 2:06 pm
Location: San Jose, CA
Experience: N/A


Return to Backpacking / Hiking / Camping



Who is online

Users browsing this forum: c0ryh, psykokid, Yahoo [Bot] and 2 guests