How hard is class 3

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xthine
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Re: How hard is class 3

Post by xthine » Mon Jun 04, 2018 5:46 pm

Is Wetterhorn a good start for Class 3? been on my mind for the last 2 years #-o
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Re: How hard is class 3

Post by Mtnman200 » Mon Jun 04, 2018 6:29 pm

xthine wrote:Is Wetterhorn a good start for Class 3? been on my mind for the last 2 years #-o
Yes, although the final summit pitch may make you a little nervous if you’re not used to exposure. It’s fairly short, though.
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Re: How hard is class 3

Post by stephakett » Mon Jun 04, 2018 7:23 pm

I would suggest doing Bierstadt/Sawtooth (and possibly Evans, weather-permitting). there are PLENTY of people up there whose lines you can follow :)
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Re: How hard is class 3

Post by cedica » Mon Jun 04, 2018 9:04 pm

If you have done class 2 before and happen to be with somebody with experience, then class 3 can be fairly cruising in dry summer conditions.
If you are alone though, then your biggest problem will be route finding. On typical class 3 (excluding Longs Keyhole with bull's eye makers) you have to look carefully to find path of least resistance and stay on the correct route.
For comparison, take Sneffels (difficult class 2) and Wetterhorn (class 3) standard routes. If you have route description with you on Sneffels, it is always obvious where you need to go. On Wetterhorn is not, sometimes you have to poke around a bit and exposure could make you nervous. But if you are on the correct route, there is no single move on Wetterhorn that is more difficult than V-notch on Sneffels.
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Re: How hard is class 3

Post by peter303 » Mon Jun 04, 2018 9:46 pm

By definition class 3 includes moves that requires you to move your body using your arms. A class 3 trail will have several of these moves.
Gym work to strengthen your arms helps a lot.
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Re: How hard is class 3

Post by kansashiker69 » Mon Jun 04, 2018 9:56 pm

So we've narrowed it down to Yale and Bierstadt. Does anyone have any advice between these two? Would the time of year make a difference in our decision?
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Re: How hard is class 3

Post by dpage » Mon Jun 04, 2018 10:17 pm

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Re: How hard is class 3

Post by kansashiker69 » Tue Jun 05, 2018 5:59 am

Thank you! We'll be going this weekend so that shouldn't affect us
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Re: How hard is class 3

Post by Dan_Suitor » Tue Jun 05, 2018 8:15 am

kansashiker69 wrote:So we've narrowed it down to Yale and Bierstadt. Does anyone have any advice between these two? Would the time of year make a difference in our decision?
So you are sticking to class 2?

With Bierstadt on a weekend you will experience big crowds when on the standard route. You can optionally take the Sawtooth which is a fun class 3. If you go up the standard route, you get a real good view of the Sawtooth should you be contemplating it. If you do that route, make sure to have gators and expect to get your feet wet in the willows on the return route. After the climb you can grab a bite and beer in Georgetown.

With Yale, you will still encounter people, just not the massive crowds. Yale is the typical hike to the top with some scrambling near the summit. Buena Vista is a great town to visit while in Colorado. To spice things up, you can do some rafting there. The rivers should be running good this time of year. I like to go to the Eddyline Brewery after my Sawatch climbs. The Lariat has live music Friday and Saturday nights should you be staying up there.

Hope this helps. Enjoy and be safe.
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Re: How hard is class 3

Post by kansashiker69 » Tue Jun 05, 2018 10:36 am

Dan_Suitor wrote:
kansashiker69 wrote:So we've narrowed it down to Yale and Bierstadt. Does anyone have any advice between these two? Would the time of year make a difference in our decision?
So you are sticking to class 2?

With Bierstadt on a weekend you will experience big crowds when on the standard route. You can optionally take the Sawtooth which is a fun class 3. If you go up the standard route, you get a real good view of the Sawtooth should you be contemplating it. If you do that route, make sure to have gators and expect to get your feet wet in the willows on the return route. After the climb you can grab a bite and beer in Georgetown.

With Yale, you will still encounter people, just not the massive crowds. Yale is the typical hike to the top with some scrambling near the summit. Buena Vista is a great town to visit while in Colorado. To spice things up, you can do some rafting there. The rivers should be running good this time of year. I like to go to the Eddyline Brewery after my Sawatch climbs. The Lariat has live music Friday and Saturday nights should you be staying up there.

Hope this helps. Enjoy and be safe.
Thanks. And we were thinking we should just start with a class 2. But possibly doing the sawtooth. How difficult would you guess it would be this time of year?
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Re: How hard is class 3

Post by Sean Nunn » Tue Jun 05, 2018 11:08 am

Dan_Suitor wrote: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.
+1. The other issue to consider, besides exposure which is a major concern, is how sustained the class 3 climbing is.
I did Long's Peak Keyhole Route as my first climb ever, but I don't recommend that, not because it has class 3 moves, but because it has sustained class 3 climbing which includes some areas of fairly high exposure. Many people who are fit (like I was) but have never climbed a mountain assume that their fitness will get them through, and it might. But if you make a mistake in a class 3 section that has high exposure, it can be fatal, regardless of your fitness.

So find a class 3 route that isn't extremely long or exposed, research it carefully, take plenty of food and water, and give it a go.
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Re: How hard is class 3

Post by Dan_Suitor » Tue Jun 05, 2018 2:40 pm

kansashiker69 wrote:Thanks. And we were thinking we should just start with a class 2. But possibly doing the sawtooth. How difficult would you guess it would be this time of year?
Based on the latest condition reports, you will probably encounter some snow on portions of the Sawtooth. This certainly ups the difficult, as well as danger. You can see the majority of the route from the summit of Bierstadt so you can make your final decision then.

The two main areas of concern are
1) Just beyond the lowest point of the saddle, climbing onto the gendarme (see photo 5 in the route description). The more challenging route to the left is steeper. If dry, it should be ok. If not, you might consider going right. I have not done the route to the right, so I can’t say how much easier it is.

2) The ledges after going to the west side of the ridge (see photos 11, 12 and 13 in the route description). This is where you will experience the most exposure, and a fall will be fatal. You cannot see the beginning of the ledges from the summit of Bierstadt. You can see it from as you climb Bierstadt, but this is from a distance and it would have to be light out.

The Sawtooth should not be taken lightly. People have died on this route. The fortunate thing is if you attempt it, and decide to abort, you can turn around, re-gain Bierstadt then descend from there.
Century Bound, eventually.
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