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Is A6+ even possible?
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By bigwallrog
From the farside
Sep 2, 2009

OK OK but what does anyone consider an A-6 placement and how many of them in a row to get the coveted A-6 ????

0 RP or HB NOPE..
tipped out beaks NOPE.
0 copperheads NOPE.
a copperhead time bomb NOPE, just a smart assed joker..
three threads of a rivet in a hole NOPE, just a smart ass joker ...
A pointed leeper on an ant turd sized crystal NOPE.
somthing pounded into the mud or a calcite seam NOPE..
counter opposed hooks or sm wires NOPE..
Expando NOPE..


SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO untill someone can explain to me an A-6
placement .

Ill stick with the original aid ratings of A-1 - A-5 or
the std NBD,PDH,RHU. It works ,it fits , and it's fine the way it is.

and leave the rest to the posers.....


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By Pat McGinn
Sep 2, 2009
Me on the belay of last unicorn pitch two.

If A5 really exists, shouldn't someone have to die for it to be A5? So shouldn't both of them have had to die for it to be A6+?


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By JLP
From The Internet
Sep 2, 2009

Danger is an aside to aid ratings. Beyond that, it's pretty simple. A2 is 2-3 body weight, A3 is 3-5, A4 is long sections, A5 is the whole pitch. "Body weight" generally means beaks, smaller heads, hooks - the stuff a competent climber has to thoroughly test. Generally a + means the fall is bad or there is some awkward feature to get through. A6 is generally taken to mean A5 and the belay is bad, but since that's contrived, it's considered stupid by most and has just been limited to a couple Beyer routes. That's pretty much that.

The thing is, nature has yet to create a solid, consensus A5 pitch. Think about it. You need a long ass string of features that are good enough hold body weight after being beaten by a hammer and not falling off - but not good enough to definitely hold a fall. Good luck with that. It hasn't been found yet in Yosemite, that I'm aware of. A few have been created by linking features with artificially bad gear - ie, thin wire on a rivet, trenched heads, shallow dowels and bathook holes, etc - ie, Sheep Ranch and any mudpile in the Fishers done by Beyer. I've done about a dozen "A5" rated pitches from the 70's to late 80's - they would actually get A2+ to A4ish on today's scale. The hardest pitch on El Cap is likely pitch 2 of Nightmare on California St - A4+ because a rivet or two was needed to link features.

These Euro guys based their A6+ rating on having done something they felt was harder than a Beyer A6 route - however, his routes that have been way criticized for their contrived danger and difficulties and downgraded by subsequent ascents - after more drilling - ie, once you pull out that drill, how many times do you smack it - and do subsequent ascents get to drill too after the tiny fragile enhanced features fall off? Many feel every drilled hole should be filled with a bolt, but that makes A2 out of a lot of supposedly hard routes. It's a pretty stupid little mess that happens to also repressent the upper limit to aid climbing. Chris is spot on in his video in suggesting that it doesn't take a ton of talent and hard work to hit that limit, compared to hard free climbing. Most get bored with it and move on.

Basically, the "New Wave" rating system in Middendorf's Big Walls book has pretty much stood the last decade since it was written.


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By John McNamee
Administrator
From Littleton, CO
Sep 2, 2009
Artist Tears P3

Good post JLP! Rock solid analysis if you ask me.


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By scottydo
From ventura, ca
Sep 3, 2009
chalking up at a rest

to quote someone else on another site, 'A6+ means that the rock sodomizes you before you die...'


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By Larry
From SoAZ
Sep 3, 2009

I have no business talking about hard aid.

But it seems to me that, at the upper end, danger is integral to the rating.

The only way to make it harder is to make it more dangerous.

Get rid of the rope altogether, Mitrovich-style. Free solo style. The only piece between you and the ground is your last one.


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By Kevin Stricker
From Evergreen, CO
Sep 3, 2009

Problem is then even a A3 could be called A5.

Basically aid is dead people, let's quit pretending and move on. Once enough grumpies climb it most aid routes go free anyways. So let's project into the future what we want to see today and just start chiseling and top roping it now.

I'm guessing it is going to be A2 by the time Rickd and SamL get done with it anyways.


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By Jason Kaplan
From Glenwood ,Co
Sep 3, 2009
avitar pic <br />

So if aid is dead does that mean everything is free climbable? Go send artist tears and confirm that for me(and I'm not refering to the bolt ladder stuff but the slightly overhanging awkward pods on a sheer face). There are still pleanty of lines that are un-freeable, and some will probably stay that way forever without serious changes in the nature of the routes (retro bolted, chipped, not sticking to the original line). I'd like to see someone try to free climb a RURP seam or a thin head seam on vertical stone and still say Aid is dead.

So we should all stop climbing lines that are aesthetic or otherwise enjoyable just because maybe 1 superhuman mutant can free climb it?
Your logic is flawed,IMHO.

Who cares about the grade, it is still cool to hear about what they did. It's no use speculating, just wait for someone to repeat it.


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By Darren Mabe
From Flagstaff, AZ
Sep 3, 2009
wham bam hand jam. Wrapping up the final moves of Twist of Fate, Oak Creek Canyon. <br /> <br />photo: Blake McCord

maybe it would take a parachute-tactic similar to Potter's "freebasing" to push the grade into A6+ and higher. in other words, when the leader falls and rips the whole pitch including the belay and belayer, they both open their chutes. (thus proving that none of it would hold)

then, the aid rating would get higher, the closer they are to the ground when they open thier chutes.

we'll call it A-Basing.

no one has to die


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By Darren Mabe
From Flagstaff, AZ
Sep 3, 2009
wham bam hand jam. Wrapping up the final moves of Twist of Fate, Oak Creek Canyon. <br /> <br />photo: Blake McCord

lets think about this 4th dimensionally.
everyone is so tied up in this A6+ idea.

perhaps we cant get their unless its C6, C6+, etc...


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By Phil Lauffen
From The Bubble
Sep 3, 2009
RMNP skiing. Photo by Nodin de Saillan

They should test whether a pitch really is A6 by dropping a full pig onto the belay and seeing if it holds...


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By Chris Plesko
From Westminster, CO
Sep 3, 2009
OMG, I winz!!!

Phil Lauffen wrote:
They should test whether a pitch really is A6 by dropping a full pig onto the belay and seeing if it holds...


and video tape it on an iPhone to post directly to uTube. Instant consensus!


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By bigwallrog
From the farside
Sep 3, 2009

Yea right on Jlp
I agree w the analysis so by there logic
if I do a full pitch of A-5 and than belay
of two equalized 0 copper heads I can call it
A-6 think I'll pass


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By Sam Lightner, Jr.
From Lander, WY
Sep 3, 2009
The Shield

Kevin Stricker wrote:
I'm guessing it is going to be A2 by the time Rickd and SamL get done with it anyways.


Kevin, whats that mean?


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By Buff Johnson
Sep 3, 2009
smiley face

If it is graded by how you fall and not climbed, can it be graded?


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By JLP
From The Internet
Sep 3, 2009

Since by definition you will fall further on A5 than A1, "danger" is built in. A + is generally added if there is something to hit, the placements are particularly hard, etc.

The other thing that confuses people is the difficulty of a particular placement getting factored in. The thing is, the diciest most difficult placements are inherently fragile and are soon destroyed, then get replaced by a rivet or some drilled enhancement - ala Beyer routes in the Fishers by the second ascent. All the hard trade routes from the 70's and 80's on El Cap are generally A3+ max today because of this. There are only a few A4s left and they will soon be beaten out.

If the placement is robust, such as a natural #1 or #2 head seem (rare), then a climber who doesn't mind spending 16 hours on a pitch can load up each placement with perhaps a dozen equalized heads, then put a screamer on it - pretty much an A1 placement.

Aid climbers love to sound all bad ass and brave by talking only of the fall potentials and bad gear. But the reality is different.

IMO, if you can climb an A3+ on a variety of gear - you've graduated - you've done it - time to take your show to Patagonia and do it in the snow, or move on to something else that's actually hard.


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By Shawn Mitchell
From Broomfield
Sep 3, 2009
Splitter Jams on the Israel/Palestine Security Wall.

Nice, Jared. Even better insight than your post of last night.


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By Sam Lightner, Jr.
From Lander, WY
Sep 3, 2009
The Shield

Don[t get me wrong, fella's. I think the aid scale is as silly as, well, aid. Its based on fear and length of fall and there really is no way to test that without taking said fall. As the SAG (super aid guy) said, "There is no A5 cus no one has ever died on an A5 pitch." It simply hasn't been proven to exist. Plus, what Jared said about how the placements change, as well as how technology has changed the game, is not considered.

However, the fact remains that the current scale, the "A" scale, is based on the length of fall and not on the technical difficult. We had a simliar thing up too the mid 80's with the "B" scale for bouldeirng, only it was based on how many tries for one particular climber. Verm came along and instead of opening said scale, he created his own with an open end. Maybe we should do that. What we should not do is call something A6+ when we already have the ultimate in A5... unless of course the route not only kills you, but hunts your family down later.

PS, as per the ripping the belay, i thought that was what Bridwell suggested with t he A5+ rating.


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By Darren Mabe
From Flagstaff, AZ
Sep 3, 2009
wham bam hand jam. Wrapping up the final moves of Twist of Fate, Oak Creek Canyon. <br /> <br />photo: Blake McCord

Sam Lightner, Jr. wrote:
PS, as per the ripping the belay, i thought that was what Bridwell suggested with t he A5+ rating.

huh. didnt know that. what do i know, i am the slowest aid climber bc i want all my placements to be C1! OCD !
;)

EDIT: however middendorf says that for A6: www.bigwalls.net/climb/Ratings.html


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By JLP
From The Internet
Sep 3, 2009

Sam Lightner, Jr. wrote:
However, the fact remains that the current scale, the "A" scale, is based on the length of fall and not on the technical difficult.


Not sure why so many are confused here. Length of fall = # of body weight placements = technical difficulty = chance of getting hurt. It's all the same thing and simply the result of how many "bad" placements are stacked up. What constitutes "bad" is the only place for consensus and some experience.

Middendorf's take, linked above, is and has been the standard for ~15-20 years. It's fine, still valid and used today in Yosemite, and is based on a ton of collective experience.

Basically, find an A5 pitch before you talk A6. The fact is, in reality, A5 is the ceiling. A5 has not even been found yet - definitely not one that stays together enough for 2-3 ascents. A6 simply means "wanker" - ie, WTF did they do with their haul bag, and more importantly - why?


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By Luis Cisneros
From Tucson
Sep 3, 2009
On Square Top Dome

According to the interview in Desnivel, with the "+" he is referring to a higher technical level, not lesser safety... so he is calling it an "A6+" because he thought it was TECHNICALLY harder to climb than the previous A6 he did (which actually is now called A4+/A5)... The problem is that, in principle, the 'A' grading considers only how bad a potential mess up will be, but some climbers find this insufficient, and feel that the technical difficulty should also be included. Alas, there is no upper limit to how hard a climb can be but there is a clear upper limit to how bad it can get if you fuck up: you die, end of the story...
This is an interesting point and is somewhat inverse to what happens in traditional free climbing, where usually only the technical difficulty is accounted for (except for the english 'E' grading). And yes, before someone ask 'how hard can it be to pull on gear?', I will have to say, is not the actual pulling on the gear. It can be really hard to do the placements, assuming good style of course... doing a really hard (technical) aid climb takes not only balls but lots of imagination, strategy, creativity, strength and mental and physical stamina... just like what you need to for a free on-sight. How do we decide something is 'harder'... ahhh, yes... there are no scientifically well defined objective references for sport climbing or bouldering neither, but they work just fine.

My question is, do we need to create a new rating system? or maybe to expand the existent one? or just talk about how dead you will be? can you be more dead than dead? say dead-dead? maybe dead and scared? dead and surprised? dead and tired?


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By host2
From malden,ma
Sep 3, 2009
diggin into some wide in harvard sq. cambridge , ma

i don't seem to get along here well , but i think the 6+ is pushing it a bit. seems like that would bracket back the other grades seeing that A5+ is potential ground fall material. i've never climbed hard aid routes, so i'll shut up now.


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By tom selleck
Sep 3, 2009

Shawn Mitchell wrote:
Nice, Jared. Even better insight than your post of last night.


That dude's name ain't Jared, or JLP for that matter


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By Shawn Mitchell
From Broomfield
Sep 3, 2009
Splitter Jams on the Israel/Palestine Security Wall.

Yeah, I think it's Jed actually, but I wasn't too worried about getting an anonymous avatar right. Anyway, I wanted to shout out a for a post he wasn't blowing snot on people!


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By tom selleck
Sep 3, 2009

Shawn Mitchell wrote:
Yeah, I think it's Jed actually, but I wasn't too worried about getting an anonymous avatar right. Anyway, I wanted to shout out a for a post he wasn't blowing snot on people!


he does do that


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