How hard is class 3

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kansashiker69
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How hard is class 3

Post by kansashiker69 » Mon Jun 04, 2018 11:15 am

How hard is a class 3 hike? I don't have a ton of experience hiking difficult peaks, but I've hiked a couple of moderate ones. I am only going to get to take a short trip to Colorado, and so I will only get to hike a single 14er. I was hoping that it would be enjoyable without being dangerous. Is a 3 out of the question? If so, is there a class two that is on the more difficult end? I am 23, and in good shape.
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AlexeyD
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Re: How hard is class 3

Post by AlexeyD » Mon Jun 04, 2018 11:37 am

https://www.14ers.com/difficultyratings.php

Of course this is only a general guideline. Actual routes vary quite a bit in terms of things like exposure, difficulty of route finding, rock quality, etc.

As for being safe, no - unfortunately most class 3 routes can’t be considered “safe” in the same way as class 1 and 2 usually are. Especially if you venture off the intended route.

For harder class 2 routes with elements of scrambling, the standard routes on Blanca and Uncompaghre come to mind.
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Re: How hard is class 3

Post by Cruiser » Mon Jun 04, 2018 11:53 am

That's a good link to give you some ideas about your options. There's no reason you couldn't go and hike a class 3 route though. You may have to pay special attention to route finding on some of those routes and you may have some exposure to contend with as well. If neither of those things bother you then you shouldn't have any trouble.

Spend some time searching the forum too because there are a couple of very informative threads that shed some light on which class 3 routes people prefer for beginners.
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Scott P
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Re: How hard is class 3

Post by Scott P » Mon Jun 04, 2018 12:45 pm

How hard is class 3?
Climb it and you will know.
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MtnHub
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Re: How hard is class 3

Post by MtnHub » Mon Jun 04, 2018 2:05 pm

Scott P wrote:
How hard is class 3?
Climb it and you will know.
This is true, but if you can find someone to partner with, it can make all the difference in the world. My confidence greatly increases when I have someone with me even if they don't actually do anything to 'help' me. Just having someone along with you to bounce ideas or suggestions off of, plus an extra pair of eyes for route-finding is always nice.

Put out a post a week or two before you go out asking for someone interested in climbing the peak you have in mind. Chances are pretty good someone would be interested in joining you. Good luck! :-D
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Re: How hard is class 3

Post by Mtnman200 » Mon Jun 04, 2018 2:08 pm

Mt. Lindsey is a harder class 2 peak and is a good climb to get you ready to transition to class 3.
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Re: How hard is class 3

Post by thurs » Mon Jun 04, 2018 2:20 pm

Mtnman200 wrote:Mt. Lindsey is a harder class 2 peak and is a good climb to get you ready to transition to class 3.
Mt. Lindsey has actually been reclassified as Class 3 on this site for its standard route as of a few months ago.

For OP, I wouldn't sweat Class 3 very much at all. If you spend too long psyching it up you'll be disappointed when you realize "oh, I just have to put my hands on the rocks from time to time to get myself up this." Just wear a helmet!
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Re: How hard is class 3

Post by mtree » Mon Jun 04, 2018 2:38 pm

Castle Peak, Blanca, and Ellingwood are difficult class 2. If you want some easy class 3, I'd say Challenger and Kit Carson, but they're not suitable for the inexperienced.

Another option is Lindsey. Instead of taking the gully, climb to the right of it on fairly stable class 3 rock. And believe it or not, you can turn the final summit pitch of Bierstadt into a class 3 scramble without the exposure. Just climb to the far left of the summit trails and blaze your own path to the summit. If you find yourself on steep, exposed rock you've gone too far.

I'd add Sneffels standard route, but there's only ONE class 3 move and it has exposure. Its only class 3 if you're under 6'3" or so. Otherwise its a difficult class 2. Enjoy!
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kansashiker69
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Re: How hard is class 3

Post by kansashiker69 » Mon Jun 04, 2018 2:46 pm

Wow I definitely wasn't expecting to get this much helpful info so fast. Thanks a lot
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Re: How hard is class 3

Post by Dan_Suitor » Mon Jun 04, 2018 4:17 pm

Class 3 is where a hike becomes a climb. I find some of my most enjoyable climbs were class 3. You use your hands and holds are typically good. Class of difficulty is only part of the picture, exposure is the other part. Lindsey, Sneffels, and Kit Carson Peaks are class 3, but their exposure is only a 3. I’d suggest starting with these peaks first if you are concerned about the class of difficult. Bump the exposure up to 4 and things get a bit more intimidating. I really enjoyed Wilson Peak’s final push which is a good class 3 with decent exposure.
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AlexeyD
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Re: How hard is class 3

Post by AlexeyD » Mon Jun 04, 2018 4:30 pm

Dan_Suitor wrote:Class of difficulty is only part of the picture, exposure is the other part.
Yep, and also route finding and rock quality. Think of it this way: class 3 is usually when the terrain becomes complex enough that class 4 or 5 is often lurking nearby, and steep enough that any loose rock that’s dislodged will accelerate rapidly.
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Re: How hard is class 3

Post by strayster2 » Mon Jun 04, 2018 5:30 pm

I feel like I looked for an answer to this question all last summer and never found one. It's a bit hard to describe.

The closest thing I came to a real, specific answer was "Want to know how difficult Class 3 is? Go climb the Keyhole route on Longs". So I spent the summer preparing for Longs and making sure I was in shape and experienced enough in the mountains that I would be able to handle it, and when I got to Longs it was only about the 2nd or 3rd most difficult hike of the summer (though almost everything else was Class 1 or 2).

In retrospect, I think the Kelso Ridge on Torreys lived much more up to the hype of what I thought Class 3 would be in terms of steepness, exposure, route-finding, and actual climbing difficulty. If you're looking for a taste of some Class 3, I'd recommend that.
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