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Chockstone Forum - General Discussion

General Climbing Discussion

Topic Date User
Solo Aiding a beginners intro 3-Feb-2007 At 12:37:31 PM IdratherbeclimbingM9
IMO The default definitive guide to Australian M grades is the current 5th edition 2006 Mt Buffalo Guide by Kevin Lindorff and Simon Murray, published by Victorian Climbing Club.
It describes them as follows;

Ranges from ‘resting’ on gear to making progress for short distances on solid straightforward placements.

Easy aid on good gear, perhaps a little longer or steeper than M1

Some thought required with the placements, most of which are pretty good.

Usually more sustained undertakings than M3. Solid placements interspersed with more fiddley and/or tenuous placements inducing a little more anxiety.

Includes a few dubious pieces of gear in sequence, perhaps awkward and/or strenuous to place. Some 5m – 8m clean air-time potential.

Good gear is significantly more spaced. Longer series of suspect placements are guaranteed. 15m clean fall potential – long enough to induce bowel or bladder evacuation but not generally life-threatening.

Scary extended leads requiring astute gear placement and testing as well as finesse in easing carefully onto tenuous gear in order to avoid long falls.

Scary and uncertain undertakings. Requiring clever and careful gear placements to ensure that a tenuous placement doesn’t pull and cause a fall that unzips up to 10 consecutive aids. Such falls are risky affairs – happy endings not guaranteed.

Trouser-fillers! As for M8 but more “fall-off-able” i.e. not just having the potential for long falls with potentially dangerous landings, but greater likelihood of having such falls because gear is more difficult to place and/or the placements available are more marginal/tenuous.

Yet to be established in Australia.

As a side note …
There is also a casual grading clarification that goes along with the above …

M1-M3; Bring your Granny and have a party. Well trafficked trade routes, piece of cake.
M4; No big deal (a bit harder).
M5 / M6; Demanding some respect. A bit tricky, providing a good mental and physical workout.
M6 / M7; What was I thinking?! Seemed like a good idea in the pub but a different proposition face to face. Pretty damn hard and scary.
M8 – M9; Say your prayers. Thin, scary, facing long falls, possibly over sharp objects and ledges. You will know you’re alive – you just won’t be sure for how long!

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IMPORTANT NOTE: Just because a climb has a modest aid grade does not mean that your safety is assured. Human error can lead to injury or death on even the easiest of pitches.

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Having said that, I strongly admonish readers of this thread to adopt CLEAN AID practices wherever possible.
This basically means hammerless aid.

It will generally add a grade or two to your climb*, but will also add an incalculable amount of good for the environment and prestige/joy in your ascent-achievement.
(* eg M4 or M5 with a hammer, will become M6 if done without a hammer etc).

To quote Steve Grossman
>”Clean aid climbing requires diligence and practice, but there is a payoff: the deep reward of having taken nothing away from a route but the grin on your face.”

Sidenote: nm’s post higher in this thread referring to Buffalo Aid Climb grades, are for CLEAN AID grades!
As a generalisation it can be assumed that whenever an aid grade is stated in a guidebook that it refers to Clean Aid unless otherwise specified, ~ or indirectly specified by reference to use of equipment such as pitons, mashies etc., that require the use of a hammer.

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