asmrz wrote:When RJ Secor was writing his first edition to High Sierra we communicated about a new guide to Sierra Ice. I proposed couple things, but RJ was already under pressure from several groups and people and decided not to tackle it.
I proposed: Based on hard ice conditions:
A. Grade just like YDS, I to VI ie length.
B. Steepest pitch and how sustained the climb is, AI or WI rating.
C.Schrund, Yes or No, how steep
D. Rock rating based on YDS.
E. Objective danger, Y or N, what
G. Any pertinent info (bulges, mixed sections, special gear needed)
I still believe it would be an improvement to the present system. Comments?
I really like this rating system, or ones along the lines of Lowe's. One thing I've appreciated in some guides that I wish was in a Sierra guidebook would also be the choice month for an ice climb given a normal season. e.g. climbs of different altitudes and aspects form up at different times and some melt out before they ever become fully ice. The Eastern Sierra ice guide gives some indication of this but it is still pretty vague.
I agree that it is best for the rating to apply for when the route is considered 'in'. e.g the bergschrund may be impassable in later season, but when the ice is fully formed in the couloir, what is the schrund like then? Or just what is the ice rating when the 'schrund is still barely passable? One area that I've found slope steepness helpful (ignoring bulges) is considering how the difficulty eases as the couloir is done earlier in the year and is neve instead of ice, or soft snow instead of neve.
The Waddington Guide has an interesting take on how to display the ice climbing difficulties. For some routes they give a maximum steepness as well as an average/typical steepness with the length of the route being defined as the height over that average/typical steepness which is given (e.g. AI2, 1,200' 50 degrees).