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Is A6+ even possible?
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By Marc H
From Lafayette, CO
Sep 1, 2009
The Cathedral Spires in RMNP, left to right: Stile...
"A6+ in the Fisher Towers?"

How?

It's my understanding that an A5 pitch is led entirely on gear that is "body weight only" leaving the potential for a fall twice the length of the pitch if any one piece fails. I also believed that the theoretical grade of A6 would describe a pitch that is led on A5 gear, on an anchor consisting of only A5--"body weight only"--pieces. The reason that it's a theoretical grade being that in order for the rating to be verified, an entire team would need to be ripped from the wall.

So basically, the way I understand it is if a pitch is truly A6, the failure of any single piece of gear means potential death for the team.

So I'm wondering if there's anything I'm missing with these guys throwing the A6+ rating out there? Is there some aspect that I'm not considering? I just don't see what A6+ means or how it can exist. Hopefully someone can enlighten me.

Thanks in advance.

--Marc

P.S. I'm not trying to take anything away from these guys in any way, shape or form. One only has to look at the middle pic in the above link to know that what they pulled off is one impressive feat regardless of whether or not their rating holds up.

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By Darren Mabe
From Flagstaff, AZ
Sep 1, 2009
wham bam hand jam. Wrapping up the final moves of ...
i think its because the belay anchors are sketch too.
they belayed on hooks. yikes!

EDIT: but whatever happened to "its all C1 unless a piece rips", mentality?

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By Evan S
From Erie, CO
Sep 1, 2009
Me, of course
It probably has to do with rock quality and reliability. An A5 placement in granite is a little different that one in emalgamated mud. But I don't really know, I don't aid climb. It could also be that an "inflated" ego allows for "less than body weight" placements, but again, I don't aid climb, so I have no idea...

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By Marc H
From Lafayette, CO
Sep 1, 2009
The Cathedral Spires in RMNP, left to right: Stile...
EVS wrote:
It could also be that an "inflated" ego allows for "less than body weight" placements...


I think you might be onto something there. I've weighted sketch placements (never on an A5, admittedly) with most of my body weight while using a single foothold for a small percentage of my body weight. An A6+ pitch could be an A6 pitch using this technique? Either way, failure is not an option...

I'm not sure where the "inflated ego" comes into play...? :)

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

WiledHorse wrote:
EDIT: but whatever happened to "its all C1 unless a piece rips", mentality?


I reckon that's where the idea that even A6 is unverifiable without the tragic death of at least one person.

--Marc

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By John Bradbury
Sep 1, 2009
apollo
This is why A6 doesn't exist.


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By budman
From Moab,UT
Sep 1, 2009
LCC
Only if it is not a closed end system of grading. At which point if it is not you define the requirements of the next level. The only thing in agreement at that point is that someone is going to disagree.

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By Jay Knower
Administrator
From Campton, NH
Sep 1, 2009
Technosurfing, Rumney. Photo by Seth Hamel.
What's with the "+"? Why not just call it A7?

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By Tits McGee
From Boulder, CO
Sep 1, 2009
How I Send
Does A6+ mean two people have to die in order to get the "6" and then the "+?"

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By Buff Johnson
Sep 1, 2009
smiley face
I like this reasoning:

Maybe because your wrong in assuming the A0/A5 scale is based on danger to the climber.

The aid system has more traditionally become associated with "danger of the climb" but you are missing the fact that the aid system is based on the quality of the holds.
And not the chances of injury.
It's not based on "objective hazards"

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By PRRose
From Boulder
Sep 1, 2009
Tits McGee wrote:
Does A6+ mean two people have to die in order to get the "6" and then the "+?"


No, the plus is for killing another party.

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By Buff Johnson
Sep 1, 2009
smiley face
So -- Vertical Limit, get's the plus??
If it almost takes out the lower climbing team, it's just a 6 -- if you only take out one member of the lower team, it's a 6+; if you take out the entire lower climbing team, it's a 7; If you take out all the teams on the wall is that an 8 or a 7+ ??

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By Tits McGee
From Boulder, CO
Sep 1, 2009
How I Send
Buff Johnson wrote:
So If you take out all the teams on the wall is that an 8 or a 7+ ??



No, the 7+ comes into play only if you take out all teams on the wall - The 8 is attained by having to cut the rope and kill your own father.

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By Evan S
From Erie, CO
Sep 1, 2009
Me, of course
What I like best about that movie is they filmed the base camp scenes in New Zealand, in the summer, and a bunch of their shots got ruined by massive swarms of moths.

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By Buff Johnson
Sep 1, 2009
smiley face
So, you can basically start a C0, then blow out all the bolts, in turn you may get the grade of 6 to 8 depending on how you fall??

what if you use half ropes and take out 3 routes simultaneously? I could get a 10!

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By Darren in Vegas
From Las Vegas, NV
Sep 1, 2009
Skiing around.
Assuming this route is in the valley....

A5 - the leader dies in a fall

A6 - the leader and belayer die in a fall

A7 - Everyone watching in El Cap meadow dies

(idea stolen from AG)

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By SAL
From broomdigiddy
Sep 1, 2009
good times.
Yup.
Fully legit.

you will also be seeing hot flashes on WI8+- this winter.
Stay tuned.

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By Phil Lauffen
From The Bubble
Sep 1, 2009
RMNP skiing. Photo by Nodin de Saillan
no no no.

A6= You die.
A6+= You die and are relegated to aiding magma columns in hell.

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By Sam Lightner, Jr.
From Lander, WY
Sep 1, 2009
The Shield
Climb'a please!
No.
No A6. No WI7.
"A6+" did what it was intended to do... get the magazines to notice.

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By Kevin Stricker
From Evergreen, CO
Sep 2, 2009
So you have climbed the test piece routes in the Fischers RickD?

I don't know how hard the route is, but I know I will never climb it. I can guarantee I won't ever belay from that bad of an anchor. It should be noted that Beyer often would TR solo some of his aid pitches to see if they were possible..I think that takes a bit out of the route right there. Are there any other FA's in the Fischers that did not use any expansion bolts?

A6+ is when you fall, you both die, and most of the route falls down on top of you.

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By Sam Lightner, Jr.
From Lander, WY
Sep 2, 2009
The Shield
FYI, my post was based on the fact we have an accepted scale and it is closed at the top. We have already lowered the ratings of old school routes to take into account that new routes are harder... we should continue this and not confuse the whole thing by now opening the upper end up.
It goes from A0 to A5+.

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By R.Rees
Sep 2, 2009
Why shouldn't A6+ be possible? Free climbing has gone up to 5.15 god knows what. By saying its not possible is to narrow minded and if everyone thought this way there would be no 5.15, no WI5, and sure as shit no light and fast alpine climbing. Everyones view of climbing is different and if someone has had enough aid experience with the right mind set why couldn't they put up an A6+ route? To say its impossible is just a bad way to look at things. It can be questioned and tested but nothing is impossible.

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By John Bradbury
Sep 2, 2009
apollo
IMO, pushing grades in other disiplines is valid due to the protection. In Aid, if I come across a section so sketchy that I believe I will die and kill my team if I fall, I'm gonna drill a hole, chip a hold etc.

Why? Becasue the cost of blowing the move/gear means death. Not a big whipper/30 ft highball fall.

If I top rope it first, I'm going to test the peices which means it's not A6..becasue they didn't blow and I used them.

I just dont see anyone actually sacking up and pushing it that far.

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By CJC
Sep 2, 2009
R.Rees wrote:
Why shouldn't A6+ be possible? Free climbing has gone up to 5.15 god knows what. By saying its not possible is to narrow minded and if everyone thought this way there would be no 5.15, no WI5, and sure as shit no light and fast alpine climbing. Everyones view of climbing is different and if someone has had enough aid experience with the right mind set why couldn't they put up an A6+ route? To say its impossible is just a bad way to look at things. It can be questioned and tested but nothing is impossible.


the examples you provided are based on technical difficulty, not consequences.

R/X or S/VS or the euro equivalent would be more appropriate.

A6+ is like saying 'death, plus...'

(btw i can't see everything that's going on in that one belay pic but they are most definitely clipped to something besides hooks)

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By Jeremy Cleaveland
From Lake City, CO
Sep 2, 2009
The aid grading system needs to be opened up, with difficulty as much a factor as danger.

For example, would a pitch still be A5 if the whole pitch was massive, bomber, easy hook placements on good rock? Sure, nothing would hold a fall (unless you taped them on), but a fall would be highly unlikely. Or a pitch with a string of obvious, textbook #0 RP placements, small and weak, yes, but easy enough to place and analyze.

Free soloing for example would have a "A5" rating for danger (consequence - death) whether it is 4th class alpine, 5.5 120 feet, or VI 5.12 (Alex Honnold) The difficulty is dramatically different, and the Likelyhood of taking that A5 fall is varies greatly.

I would support a move towards a rating system that keeps the traditional danger ratings but adds in a difficulty rating that accounts for rock reliability, routefinding, difficulty of body positioning (roofs, etc) those timebomb/cross your fingers pieces etc.

And, this would allow for the occasional bolt to protect the leader from certain death, thus allowing higher difficulty to be achieved. That way a climber can actually work a world class aid "project" First Ascent without imminent fear of death, but still have the hardest most insecure aid line in the world to brag about.

For me, I'll stick to A2, thank you very much.

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By R.Rees
Sep 2, 2009
Aid ratings should be opened up and if people have enough skill and stoke to climb hard aid let'em have at it. Its like ice climbing. There is a direct correlation between difficulty and steepness of the ice and what the protection is like combining to make the WI difficulty level. There is no sense putting a cap on a rating system just because the majority won't and don't want to climb routes of that nature. Climbing has evolved a tramendous amount since it began, might as well let the evolution, revolution continue on.

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By broppler
From Oakland
Sep 2, 2009
dinner ledge
Perhaps this is the most difficult aid climb ever, but it is not A6+. Why? There is no A6+. The system is capped because it is based on the the number of continuous body weight placements. Since most believe that there has never been an actual A6 climb, it doesnt make any sense to skip a grade. Props to these guys for putting up what looks to be a very hard route in the fishers, but IMO their claim takes away slightly from what should be a celebrated accomplishment.

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