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Chockstone Forum - Crag & Route Beta

Crag & Route Beta

 Page 1 of 2. Messages 1 to 20 | 21 to 34
Area Location Sub Location Crag Links
VIC Buffalo Gorge North Side North Wall [ Gorge Guide ] 

Defender of the Faith & Aid Grades
9:41:30 PM
just a quick query (directed to M8 I guess). What is your opinion of the aid grade of Defender? The guide says M5... is this A2+?? Might seem like a funny question, but is it really that hard? I thought A2 was bordering on dangerous/scary (in terms of fall potential etc). Or do I have it all wrong?
10:10:06 PM
Hey James, you crossing over to the dark side of aid climbing?

Let me know if you want any beta on this route.

12:49:16 PM
G'day James, ... could you do me a favour and edit your initial post title to 'Defender of the Faith & Aid Grades' (so I can easily access this info again when required; thanks) ...

James said:
>I thought A2 was bordering on dangerous/scary (in terms of fall potential etc).


Climbing Big Walls (Strassman) says;~
A1 = A perfect crack that was neither strenuous nor reachy and awkward.
A2 = A good crack but awkward and strenuous.
A3 = Would require more difficult placements that couldn't be counted on to sustain the impact of a fall.
A4 = One to three aid placements which would hold bodyweight only.
A5 = More of A4 in a row; 2 placements equally weighted necessary to hold bodyweight. Around 1974 this was amended to include a potential 60' (approx 18m) fall potential.

Big Walls (Long / Middendorf) says;~
A1 = Placement normally easy to set, solid and capable of holding a good-sized fall. A straightforward and secure piece of work.
Tricky A1 = Bombproof placements are obtainable but you need experience and ingenuity to secure them.
A2 =Creaky non-optimal placements requiring some savvy and tinkering to set. Generally solid though not ideal, and probably adequate to arrest moderate falls.
A3 = 'Real' climbing / advanced work. Flaky incipient cracks, micro pitons, hooks, copperheads, ... the whole panoply of aid gimmicks, pushed close to their limits. Good enough for bodyweight but little more. Will not arrest a fall and marginal going at best.
A4 = So marginal may pop when tested. Can never hold a fall. Stretches of placements that would unzipper in a fall.
A5 = Danger. If one placement goes, they all go and physical harm is assured.


Post 1980 'New Wave' Ratings;
A0 = Pulling on gear but nil ettriers required (ie "french-free").
A1 = Easy placements, straightforward, solid and no risk of pulling out. Aiders (etts) generally required. Fast and simple for 'clean aid' but 'clean' usually requires more time and savvy.
A2 = Moderate placements generally solid, but possibly awkward and strenuous. Maybe a tenuous placement or two above good pro with no danger involved in a fall .
A2+ = Several tenuous placements above good pro with 30' (10m) fall potential and minimal danger of hitting anything. Route-finding abilities may be required.
A3 = Hard aid. Testing methods required. Many tenuous placements in a row. Generally solid placements which could hold a fall can be found within the pitch. Long fall potential (50' / 18m ie 6 to 8 placements ripping), but generally safe from serious peril. Several hours required for leading the pitch due to complexity of placements.
A3+ = Dangerous fall potential. Potential to get hurt if good judgement is not exercised. Tenuous placements after long stretches of bodyweight only placements. Time required to lead a pitch generally exceeds 3 hours for experienced aid climbers.
A4 = Serious. Lots of jeopardy. 60'-100' (20m-30m) fall potential common with uncertain landings far below.
A4+ = More serious than A4 with leads taking many hours to complete requiring leader to suffer long periods of uncertainty and fear. Requires ballet-like efficiency of movement in order to not upset tenuous integrity of marginal placements.
A5 = Extreme. Nothing trustworthy of catching a fall for the entire pitch. No bolts or enhancement holes. Dangerous leading with death fall potential.
A6 = (Theoretical grade) A5 climbing with marginal belays that will not hold a fall, such that if the leader pings, its into the beyond for the whole team.

Clean aid = 'A' grades but 'A' is replaced by 'C', (eg C1, C2 etc).

Comment / Discussion:

Historically A5 = the most difficult thing going / cutting edge aid; ... and to add A6 etc renders this grading system useless (paraphrased Long/Middendorf).

I have noticed A6 and A7 'mountaineerig walls' more recently written up.

Australia uses the M1 to M8 system (for historically equating to A1 to A5).

In my opinion A5/A5+ = M8 which equates with the historical perspective.
... on that basis A6 would be = to M9 and presumably A7 = M10, though its quirky fitting the +/- USA nuances into our 'straight' system.
The A6 / A7 stuff appears to be reserved for remote expedition style walling, and since we don't have any of that in Australia (Antarctic perhaps?), we may not see these grades till something revolutionary happens, or Australians put up hard new routes on Baffin or Patagonia, Pakistan etc. If Aussies wave that flag, its likely that they will simply give the grade as A6, A7 etc being overseas and all ...

>What is your opinion of the aid grade of Defender? The guide says M5... is this A2+??

IMO Yes, in the 'old' scale, and probably* also in the present system.

*I have not led this climb (yet) as its still on my 'to do' list. I have abseiled / jumared it though, and it looks relatively straightforward to me.
To stir the pot I'd call it C5 !!

Edit: Thanks for the title edit !
7:13:16 PM
I'm there Ant - Ben & I did Defender on the weekend. Although we cheated a bit & jugged the last 2 pitches (left a fixed rope on the 1st rap).

Thanks for the detailed reply M8 - I have read all those sources in the past, but until now I hadn't had any 'real world' experience. For what its worth, going by 'New Wave', I would say A2. But I'm tall, so someone shorter might find the crux (moving out of the corner & then moving left again to the next crack) on the 1st pitch harder, although no more dangerous. Without the (very manky) fixed placements, the route would be a bit trickier (or more gear intensive), but there were only about 5 or 6 of these in 3 pitches.

PS: the p2 belay still needs urgent replacement!!
1:26:16 PM
>I'm there Ant - Ben & I did Defender on the weekend.
Good stuff lads

>PS: the p2 belay still needs urgent replacement!!
Yeah. Totally dodgy

How was the vegetation / gunge on the 1st pitch?
9:21:54 PM
not so much vegetation on p1 (well, just a wee bit), but there was heaps of grunge & the initial chimney was wet & dripping. The rock was also pretty dirty on the start of p2 (until over the roof). Obviously doesn't get much traffic.

p 2 & 3 would be well wicked free pitches - awesome bomber jambing up the exposed wall.

9:52:58 PM
how hard is it free (individual pitch grades if you have em ?
6:15:49 PM
from memory... 23, 22, 22, 15, 13. The 4th & 5th pitches go up an easy ramp & corner, but they were wet & slimy (hence us jugging out).

2:44:00 PM
I have been giving the Aid Grade conversions some thought and have come up with the following if anyone is interested.

USA Australian
A0 = M1
A1 = M1
A2 = M2
A2+ = M3
A3 = M4
A3+ = M5
A4 = M6
A4+ = M7
A5 = M8
A6 = M9 (theoretical)

Feedback (pro or con) welcome.
Post edit. You are right shaggy, so I have amended it!

3:05:49 PM
I would have to disagree with the first line "USA=Australlian"

Hopefully we're not quite there yet, and there is some small difference between Americans and Australians.
Lets all pray that that equation is never appropriate.

3:13:30 PM
Apart from the fact that the US is ruled by a complete imbecile and our PM is as cunning as shithouse rat, we aren't in a very good position to feel superior to Americans.

If we are going to follow the US in counterproductive military adventures, undermining the Kyoto Protocol etc, USA = Australian makes perfect sense
3:26:01 PM
Isn't that a bit harsh on shithouse rats

3:35:25 PM
Sorry Kieran you are quite right.

Mungo Macallum in "Run Johnny Run" reveals that he is also known as "the stonefish" and - my favourite - "the unflushable turd"

4:19:43 PM
I think if A5 is essentially the top end of a closed system, then A6 and A7 grades are crap. Although I can see how A6 could mean A5 with a crap belay, where a fall could mean the whole team flies.

Are you sure you don't mean the grades denoting the length of a climb?

I The shortest routes
II Short ’crag’ routes
III Half a day
IV A full day
V A long day for fast parties, two or more for most parties
VI Long big wall routes which may take a week to climb
VII Multi-day big walls in the greater ranges

4:34:58 PM
Shit! Sorry, I accidentally replied to the wrong thread.

Damn you Rod and your crafty hyperlinks!

I feel like a time traveller.

Help me, I'm stuck in 2005. Help me!
4:41:02 PM
Aid climbing, stuck in the past where it belongs ;-)

3, 2, 1, queue IdratherbeclimbingM9...

10:05:39 PM
Heh, heh, heh.


ww wrote;
>Are you sure you don't mean the grades denoting the length of a climb?

Yes, and by length I assume you mean 'time'.
I think I have seen written up certain aid climbs that used the A prefix before a '6' instead of the roman numerals, however from memory it was for Baffin Island (possibly Polar Sun Spire climb?), ie an 'alpine' environment of sorts. I strongly got the impression the grade was for difficulty due the setting/climate/altitude? and it was a 'given' that it was going to take many days anyway, so that element was already incorporated.
Fair while ago now; ... I'm probably still confused!, ... so I will leave it open ended until I can verify it. Must look up grade of Grand Voyage by Middendorf/Bongard on Great Trango Tower while I am at it.

11:28:34 PM
On 6/02/2008 IdratherbeclimbingM9 wrote:
>Must look up grade of Grande Voyage
> by Middendorf/Bongard on Great Trango Tower while I am at it.

"The Grand Voyage"
VII, A4+, WI3

.Article by Deuce here

10:12:08 AM
Thanks ww.
It was good to re-read it.
(Also good links contained within that article).

3:12:03 PM
BTW the first ever solo of a Grade VII climb was recently completed, there is a really good trip report on forums from Dave Turner (who did it).

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There are 34 messages in this topic.


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