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Distinguishing between protection ratings R and X
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By Buff Johnson
May 6, 2010
smiley face

Should a natural line be left in the manner that it was established?

Or, because the route has some higher seriousness to it, notwithstanding the technical free-grade, be brought into being safer?


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By Darren Mabe
From Flagstaff, AZ
May 6, 2010
wham bam hand jam. Wrapping up the final moves of Twist of Fate, Oak Creek Canyon. <br /> <br />photo: Blake McCord

Mark Nelson wrote:
Should a natural line be left in the manner that it was established? Or, because the route has some higher seriousness to it, notwithstanding the technical free-grade, be brought into being safer?

any examples?

i would say a natural line should be left in the manner that it was established. if the FA team deems it necessary to protect a runout with a bolt or fixed piece, then i am ok with that.


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By Fat Dad
From Los Angeles, CA
May 6, 2010

WiledHorse wrote:
any examples? i would say a natural line should be left in the manner that it was established. if the FA team deems it necessary to protect a runout with a bolt or fixed piece, then i am ok with that.


Agreed, if others, even if limited in number, can climb the route without incident, then what would be the argument for retrobolting? Ratings shouldn't be the only factor a party considers when approaching a route. Competency should be as well.


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By Crag Dweller
From New York, NY
May 6, 2010
My navigator keeps me from getting lost

Mark Kauz wrote:
My question stems from a instance that was similar. A friend read the guidebook and said F: "oh, lets warm up on this 5.8. Its a nice easy sport route. Do you want to rope gun and set up a toprope?" Me: "Sure. How many bolts." F: "I see two, but it doesn't look like its in the guide book. They're probably up over that bulge." Me: "Okay... I'm sure I'll see them when I get up higher." Two bolts in the first 20 feet, then another 30 to the anchors after not finding more bolts, and I didn't want to back down so I finished it. I was in doubt, so I ran it out. Looking back, I wouldn't ever really want to do that again, because I was thinking the entire I was being lowered, "Wow I could have gotten messed up, that was a bad idea". I guess I just need to get a better head for sketchy things. Climb more trad. But since then, I've wondered how people make the distinction between the sketchy things they've done.


Was the climbing above the first two bolts significantly easier than the climbing before? I've been on a lot of routes with serious run outs through easier terrain. They didn't have an R-rating. And, in those cases, I didn't think one was warranted.


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By Darren Mabe
From Flagstaff, AZ
May 6, 2010
wham bam hand jam. Wrapping up the final moves of Twist of Fate, Oak Creek Canyon. <br /> <br />photo: Blake McCord

Fat Dad wrote:
what would be the argument for retrobolting?

Ego


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By Brian in SLC
May 6, 2010
Climbing in Smuggler's Notch

Nick Rhoads wrote:
"X" isn't the only rating that means death, you can and people have died on easy "PG" 5.6 routes (See Goran Kropp).


Not PG or 5.6.

Air Guitar at Frenchman's Coulee.

Sure, folks have blown their pro (etc.) on "easy" routes and routes not rated X or R, but, that's not due to the route, per se. Any route you f' up on can maim or kill you. Doesn't mean the route should be rated any differently.


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By chuck claude
From Flagstaff, Az
May 19, 2010
First climb after knee surgery <br />

In practice in areas I've climbed at

R: protection difficult and widely place gear where there is the potential of a long fall LIKELY resulting in injury or serious injury

X: protection that is either nonexistant or in places whereas the potential of a long fall which will result in serious injury or death.


A route which will result in a 20ft fall onto gear is pretty PG and fairly normal.


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By Adam Paashaus
From North Carolina
May 28, 2010
After you get done climbing be sure to head up to the summit for sunset. Its only a 10 minute walk from the main wall. Don't forget your headlamp.

Just curious what you guys think. What about this blank face just right of the vertical crack. The whole lower face(crux) is sustained at about 10c. What if you were to lead it. after the crux you get good gear at the horizontal. A fall would be serious and could end in serious injury on the slab below or with a crash pad and good spot you could walk away unharmed. R? X? or R/X? --- Invalid image id: 106751348 ---


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By Pete Spri
May 28, 2010

So many questions about what counts as R, if the R isn't on the highest graded pitch of the climb, etc.


From my experience, if a route has an R in it, be ready for that R on the easy pitches, or on/at the crux. I've seen many routes graded as Rs that just have the simple pitches runout, and I've seen others that the crux pitches are runout. You should be prepared for either if the route has an R tacked on to the rating... the runout can be anywhere on the route.

An X route in my mind is a nasty fall that will physically hurt you to a serious degree.


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By Kevin Stricker
From Evergreen, CO
May 28, 2010

jmac wrote:
I realize it does not bother most climbers but there is nothing I hate more than finishing a sport climb at my limit with safe bolt spacing to find a 30ft run out on easier ground to the anchor.



Well this just goes to show that one mans hell is another's heaven. The above describes my perfect climb. As for distinguishing R/X I think the
that it has been covered quite well above.

As for the mini-face above, the difference between R and X is determined by how many times you TR it before the lead.


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By Glenn Schuler
From Monument, Co.
May 28, 2010
A grey fox skull wedged in a crack 100' up on a FA I was working on - don't see that every day...

I like to keep these things simple -

R = fall in the wrong spot and you're going get fu*ked up probably.

X = don't even think about falling, free solo mindset just dragging the rope behind you for your second.

I always liked Rossiter's descriptions from the old Eldo guides.
X - possible ground fall an demise.....


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