Class 2 vs Difficult Class 2

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hikebikeboardrocks
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Class 2 vs Difficult Class 2

Post by hikebikeboardrocks » Mon Jul 30, 2018 11:45 am

What do people consider the differences between Class 2 and Difficult Class 2, or similarly Class 3 vs Easy Class 3? Is it mostly about a certain aspect like distance, exposure, etc? Or is it just that they're too hard to be called Class 2, but too easy to be Class 3?

I ask because I just did my first Easy Class 3 (Sneffels) and I found it easier than most of the Class 2 mountains I've done in the Sawatch range, just more dangerous / exposed / technical.
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Re: Class 2 vs Difficult Class 2

Post by AlexeyD » Mon Jul 30, 2018 11:52 am

hikebikeboardrocks wrote:What do people consider the differences between Class 2 and Difficult Class 2, or similarly Class 3 vs Easy Class 3? Is it mostly about a certain aspect like distance, exposure, etc? Or is it just that they're too hard to be called Class 2, but too easy to be Class 3?

I ask because I just did my first Easy Class 3 (Sneffels) and I found it easier than most of the Class 2 mountains I've done in the Sawatch range, just more dangerous / exposed / technical.
Distance has nothing to do with it. You said it yourself:
hikebikeboardrocks wrote:just more dangerous / exposed / technical.
"Difficult" needs to be understood in the proper context, i.e. what exactly the class rating is measuring. Most people would probably find it more difficult in a general sense to run 100 miles on Class 1, than to do a 5-mile route with some class 3 on it. But this has nothing to do with the definition of Class 3 vs. class 2, etc.

As for what "Difficult Class 2" means in practical terms, it's pretty much what it sounds like: class 2 that perhaps approaches class 3 at times, with some elements like loose rock, occasional scrambling, exposure, etc. that are more typical of class 3 than class 2 terrain.
Last edited by AlexeyD on Mon Jul 30, 2018 12:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Class 2 vs Difficult Class 2

Post by highpilgrim » Mon Jul 30, 2018 11:53 am

Difficult class 2 is kinda silly.

It's all just walking on rocks. Maybe you use a hand for balance once in a while, but still.
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Re: Class 2 vs Difficult Class 2

Post by Jon Frohlich » Mon Jul 30, 2018 12:03 pm

I agree that it is kind of silly but the definition of Class 2 is fairly broad and can include a rather wide variety of terrain.

Believe me some Class 2 routes are far more difficult than others.

Distance and exposure have nothing to do with it.
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Re: Class 2 vs Difficult Class 2

Post by TravelingMatt » Mon Jul 30, 2018 12:27 pm

Sneffels is Class 2. Easy 3 would be something like Wetterhorn. Moderate 3 would be Wilson Peak, and then Mount Wilson, Pyramid, the Crestones and Eolus are in the stiff 3 category.

I understand the original intention of YDS was for all the class levels to have decimal precision the way Class 5 does. Imagine all the long, pointless debates we could have over whether Crestone Needle is 3.6 or 3.7. I guess the pavement up to Evans goes 1.1.
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Re: Class 2 vs Difficult Class 2

Post by AlexeyD » Mon Jul 30, 2018 12:41 pm

TravelingMatt wrote:Sneffels is Class 2.
This may be true when the standard route is melted out, I don't know because I haven't done it when it is, but when the V-notch is blocked by snow, it's most definitely class 3. Short enough to be called "easy", I agree, but 3 nonetheless.
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Re: Class 2 vs Difficult Class 2

Post by Wish I lived in CO » Mon Jul 30, 2018 12:56 pm

AlexeyD wrote:
TravelingMatt wrote:Sneffels is Class 2.
This may be true when the standard route is melted out, I don't know because I haven't done it when it is, but when the V-notch is blocked by snow, it's most definitely class 3. Short enough to be called "easy", I agree, but 3 nonetheless.
The single move at the v-notch is class 3 (dry). I'm presuming that because it is only one move the route as a whole is class 2 or 2+
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Re: Class 2 vs Difficult Class 2

Post by AlexeyD » Mon Jul 30, 2018 1:04 pm

Wish I lived in CO wrote:The single move at the v-notch is class 3 (dry). I'm presuming that because it is only one move the route as a whole is class 2 or 2+
Gotcha. I realize I was a little unclear in how I phrased my previous statement; what I meant to say was the when the V-notch is blocked by snow, the bypass (a couple dozen feet up and right) required to exit the Lavender couloir is decidedly Class 3. About 40' of it or so, if memory serves me right. So it sounds like the route is class 3 either way, just that when dry the Class 3 section is very short.
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Re: Class 2 vs Difficult Class 2

Post by Chicago Transplant » Mon Jul 30, 2018 1:10 pm

It is a bit subjective, but I will generally use the term "difficult class 2" or "2+" in two cases:

1) Really steep and loose (generally in a gully) that doesn't require hands, but feels like you are going to slide down at any moment. You may want to hug the cliffs on either side of such a gully, using your hands on the edges of the cliff to help ease your mind regarding the lack of purchase for your feet. So class 2 in the technical sense, but where you want something extra for balance. Maybe going up above Lavender Col on Sneffels would qualify? I haven't been up the route for years so not sure how much of a trail is in it these days.

2) Big boulder hopping. Not just walking on talus, but I mean boulders that are as large or larger than most kitchen appliances. Hopping from stove to stove with a refrigerator mixed in. It might not require hands or any real scrambling, but its not just simply walking on rocks either. I used it in this context on the Halo Route for this site. Sometimes mountain spiders force you into harder moves ;)

So in either case you don't really need hands or scrambling to move through the terrain, but the terrain is awkward enough that you may feel the need for some balance assistance with hands. At least that is how I use it.
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Re: Class 2 vs Difficult Class 2

Post by AlexeyD » Mon Jul 30, 2018 1:14 pm

Chicago Transplant wrote:2) Big boulder hopping. Not just walking on talus, but I mean boulders that are as large or larger than most kitchen appliances. Hopping from stove to stove with a refrigerator mixed in.
Yeah, I was thinking about that too. Something like the route around Chasm Lake comes to mind in particular. Honestly I think that type of stuff deserves its own rating...maybe "M" for moraine? The High Sierra is chock full of it...avoid if possible!
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Re: Class 2 vs Difficult Class 2

Post by Hershel » Mon Jul 30, 2018 1:18 pm

hikebikeboardrocks wrote:What do people consider the differences between Class 2 and Difficult Class 2, or similarly Class 3 vs Easy Class 3? Is it mostly about a certain aspect like distance, exposure, etc? Or is it just that they're too hard to be called Class 2, but too easy to be Class 3?

I ask because I just did my first Easy Class 3 (Sneffels) and I found it easier than most of the Class 2 mountains I've done in the Sawatch range, just more dangerous / exposed / technical.
Challenger Point is ranked Difficult Class 2, and I'd certainly call it the most difficult class 2 I've attempted. It's very steep at parts, and has lots of loose rock. While steep, I'd say not really exposed if you stick to the route. It also has a nice rock rib with super solid rock to hold onto during a part of the steeper section. We did have a few issues with the hiker above us kicking rocks down on top of us. Despite this, I don't think that's a typical experience. Definitely more exposure and difficulty then most class 2, but I wouldn't call it class 3 territory. I never felt like I needed a helmet (we waited in a safe spot for the dude kicking rocks), and we had helmets for Kit Carson.

I haven't done Sneffels. Just wondering what Sawatch you found more difficult?
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Re: Class 2 vs Difficult Class 2

Post by Monster5 » Mon Jul 30, 2018 1:30 pm

Dusting off my high school SAT memories.
Class 2 : hiking :: 5.9 : climbing.
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