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A Climber’s Guide to the High Sierra (1954), edited by Hervey H. Voge


Introduction

Classification of Climbs

THE classification system employed in this Guide essentially tells the equipment required for a safe ascent by a competent party. The system does not presume to measure actual physical difficulty. The climbing leader should avail himself of the information conveyed by the class number so that he may more capably judge the ascents he might wish to undertake and what equipment he will need. In the last analysis, however, it is the leader’s judgment that will indicate to him which class a particular lead will be; that is to say, he will decide when to rope up and when to use pitons for protection or direct aid. His decisions will be influenced by weather and other seasonal variations, the capacities of his companions, and, of course, his own climbing skill and experience. It should be noted that greater climbing skill is often required for class 4 and class 5 ascents than for those of the class 6 category. No one should attempt a climb unless properly equipped and prepared by experience to meet the requirements for a safe ascent. The classification system is as follows:

Class 1. Hiking. Any sturdy footgear will do.

Class 2. Proper footgear is necessary, such as rubber lugs, nails, or composition soles.

Class 3. Ropes should be available. There will generally be some exposed climbing requiring use of the hands. Occasional belays are suggested for less experienced climbers.

Class 4. Ropes and careful belays must be used for safety. Pitons are desirable for anchoring belayers.

Class 5. Pitons should be placed above the belayer by the leader as he proceeds.

Class 6. Pitons or bolts must be placed for direct aid.



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