North American Rating Systems Rock climbing

Training for Rock Climbing

Training for Rock Climbing

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Free climbing

In 1937, a modified Welzenbach rating system was introduced in America as the Sierra Club System. In the 1950s this system was modified to more accurately describe the technical climbing that was being done at Tahquitz Rock in California by adding a decimal figure to class 5 climbing. This has become known as the Yosemite Decimal System (YDS). This system categorizes terrain according to the techniques and equipment required to travel that terrain.

Class 1: A hiking scramble to a rocky gradient;

generally hands are not needed.

Class 2: Involves some scrambling and likely use of hands; all but the most inexperienced and clumsy will not want a rope.

Class 3: Moderate exposure may be present;

simple climbing or scrambling with frequent use of hands. A rope should be available.

Class 4: Intermediate climbing is involved and most climbers want a rope because of exposure. A

fall could be serious or fatal. Another definition is that it begins when all beginners and most average climbers will want and should have a belay. Usu ally natural protection is easily found. Class 5: Climbing involves use of a rope and natural or artificial protection by the leader to protect against a serious fall.

The extension of fifth-class climbing originally was meant to be a closed-ended scale of 5.0-5.9. The rising standards in the 1970s, however, led to a need for an open-ended scale. Strict decimal protocol was abandoned and 5.10 (pronounced "five ten") was adopted as the next highest class. Classes 5.10-5.14 (as of 1991) have been subdivided into four parts, a-d. (See Table 1.) A ( + ) or (-) is sometimes used as a rougher means to refine a classification. For example, 5.12( + ) equates to 5.12c or 5.12d. It also can be used to indicate a sustained pitch (+) or a pitch of one or two moves of a given rating (-) (e.g. 5.8(-)).

The extension of fifth-class climbing cannot be defined accurately, either quantitatively or qualitatively. The following general guidelines to the extension of fifth-class climbing will aid the climber who is unfamiliar with the YDS descriptions.

5.0-5.4: A physically fit climber can usually climb at this level with little or no rock climbing skills, using only natural ability.

5.4-5.7: Requires use of rock-climbing techniques such as hand jamming and/or strength. 5.7-5.9: Rock-climbing shoes, good skills, and some strength are usually necessary at this level. 5.10 and above: Beyond rock shoes, excellent skills, and strength, this level requires training for climbing techniques and commitment of time to maintain that level.

The YDS rates only the hardest move on a pitch. The YDS gives no indication of overall difficulty, protection opportunity, exposure, runout, or strenuousness. Some guidebooks, however, will rate a pitch harder than the hardest move if it is very sustained at a lower level. A guidebook's introduction should explain any variation of the YDS used. Some guidebooks give routes two ratings, one for the hardest move and one for the overall difficulty of the pitch.

Because the standard use of the YDS defines only the hardest move, a seriousness rating was introduced by James Erickson in 1980 to indicate relative danger of a climb:

PG-13: Protection is considered adequate, and if properly placed, a fall would not likely be long or of consequence.

R: Protection is commonly considered inadequate. The possibility exists of a long fall onto good protection or a shorter fall onto poor protection, which may pull. A falling leader will probably suffer injuries.

X: Protection is commonly considered extremely poor. There exists the possibility of long falls, pulling several pieces of protection and causing serious injury or death.

Quality ratings arc common in many guidebooks. The number of stars indicates the aesthetics of a particular climb. No standard has been set, so each area and guidebook have their own definitions. These star ratings are useful in guiding a climber who is new to the area to the quality routes.

The National Climbing Classification System (NCCS) for rating free climbing proposed in 1963, and using F1-F10, is largely out of use. Many old guidebooks used this system (see Table I).

Aid climbing

Rating aid moves or climbs is different than rating free climbing in that it is not an open-ended system, nor do the ratings change with improved technology. The aid-climbing rating system indicates quality of protection and the difficulty of placing that protection. The scale is AO or C0-A5 or C5, with A referring to the use of pitons and/or chocks, and C referring to clean aid climbing (chocks only), although the use of C has not been universally accepted. This system is used throughout the world except in Australia, which uses M0 (mechanical) to M8, with similar definitions as A0-A5.

AO or CO: Aid points are fixed.

A1 or CI: Aid placements are solid and easily placed.

A2 or C2: Placements are awkward to place and

Fig. App. 2-1. Comparison of rock classification systems

1

1

5.2

I

F4

II

2

5.3

11

II

F5

III

3

5.4

12

III

II

IV

4

5.5

IV

llsup

F6

5.6

13

III

V-

5

V

V

5.7

14

VI

111 sup

F7

v+

15

5.8

Vila

IV

F8

VI

16

VI lb

VI

6a

5.9

17

IVsup

F9

18

VI Ic

VI+

6a+

5.10a

19

V

F10

Vil-

6b

5.10b

20

Villa

Vsup

5.10c

VI

F11

Vil

6b+

5.1 Od

21

VII lb

Vlsup

22

VI lie

V11 +

6c

5.11a

VII

F12

23

IXa

VIII-

6c+

5.11b

7a

5.11c

24

IXb

Vllsup

F13

VIII

7a+

5.11 d

25

VIII

IXc

VIII+

7b

5.12a

F14

7b+

5.12b

26

Xa

Vlllsup

IX-

5.12c

Xb

F15

7c

27

IX

5.12d

7c+

5.13a

28

Xc

F16

IX+

8a

5.13b

29

X-

8a+

5.13c

30

5.13d

31

X

8b

32

8b+

x+

8c

5.14a

33

p J HSjl

holds less.

A3 or C3: Aid placements will hold a short fall. A4 or C4: Aid placements hold only body weight. A5 or C5: Entails enough A4 placements to risk a very substantial fall.

Bouldering

Bouldcring has its own rating system. It is a floating scale that moves upward as the standards rise. B1 is always the hardest YDS classification in existence, and B3 is always a climb that has never been repeated. In 1991, the bouldering ratings could be compared to the YDS as follows:

B2: above 5.14

B3: the climb is unrepeated

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  • swen
    What is the welzenbach climbing system?
    5 months ago

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