It is worth noting that the ratings for theses traverses are not very comparable to ratings of traditional rock climbs. A tough traverse is usually rated (5.9 VI), but this does not mean you will find 5.9 climbing necessarily; rather, it is a relative grade compared to other traverses. A (5.7 IV) traverse is on the easier end of the scale. With only a few exceptions, most of these traverses rely heavily on routefinding, and while the guidebook author may have found a 5.9 crux, other parties may find a 4th class variation (and vice-versa). In general, a "5.9" rating means that the party should be comfortable soloing mid-5th class, and "5.7" rating means the party should be comfortable soloing hard 4th class.
It makes me wonder what the "actual" ratings would be for various traverses, i.e. the hardest moves required to do them with careful route-finding, but without major deviations, with and without rappels. For example:
- Matthes Crest (II 5.7) is actually 5.7 -- you can't get to the north summit without going up a short 5.7 pitch.
- Thunderbolt to Sill (IV 5.8?) is 5.8 with the summit blocks, and maybe 5.0-5.2 besides that (descending the cracks off Starlight). With rappels, it's 4th class.
- Little Bear to Blanca is 4th class, since you need to get off Little Bear.
- The Minaret traverse (VI 5.9) is apparently 5.6-5.7 thanks to Dyer Minaret.
- Mount Kaweah to Black Kaweah (VI 5.9) is actually about 5.4, thanks to the ridge south of Koontz Pinnacle.