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Martin Classification of Difficulty for U.S. State Highpoint

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Martin Classification of Difficulty for U.S. State Highpoint

Postby LesterLong » Mon Jun 17, 2013 2:47 am

What do you all think of this system?

http://www4.wittenberg.edu/academics/hf ... ticle.html
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Re: Martin Classification of Difficulty for U.S. State Highp

Postby Catamount » Mon Jun 17, 2013 2:52 am

Too many words, not enough nudity.
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Re: Martin Classification of Difficulty for U.S. State Highp

Postby ExcitableBoy » Mon Jun 17, 2013 3:00 am

I think it is unfortunate that he used the term "class" to describe the difficulty, seems a little confusing as there is already the YDS which already defines classes. Other than that it seems like it would be useful to a high pointer who is not familiar technical climbing but is interested in the relative difficulty of the various peaks.
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Re: Martin Classification of Difficulty for U.S. State Highp

Postby LesterLong » Mon Jun 17, 2013 3:11 am

Thank you all for the incredibly quick turnaround. SP lacks a chat, and therefore can feel a little cold, but it's nice to have quick responses. :)

I have only climbed Mt. Washington, Mt. Mitchell, Mt. Elbert, Katadhin, and Humphreys Peak from that list, but so far it's been pretty accurate. It's easier to understand than the Class/Grade/YDS system for me at least.

I'm now planning out a trip to climb Mt. Montgomery,Boundary Peak, and Wheeler Peak, as they are the next hardest ones for me.
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Re: Martin Classification of Difficulty for U.S. State Highp

Postby sm0421 » Mon Jun 17, 2013 4:25 am

pretty accurate.

The only HPs in the 48s I failed on first attempt are from the class 8-9s, so from this standpoint it is accurate. (difficult, weather)

I'd say to max your summit chance, REALLY be prepared for the tough ones before you commit.
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Re: Martin Classification of Difficulty for U.S. State Highp

Postby Catamount » Mon Jun 17, 2013 7:03 am

Catamount wrote:Too many words, not enough nudity.


While I stand by initial assessment, I will also add that the Martin Classification System has been around a long time and is frequently referenced in the highpointing community.

Personally, I would put Boundary in the same category as Borah. While Borah may have steeper terrain, Boundary is more remote and requires some route-finding skills. Other than that, this system is right on. Interesting to see he has kept it current ... been awhile since I looked at it.

When we did the State Highpoints page for SP a few years back, SawtoothSean did a nice "Difficulty Essay" as one of the sections. The Martin Classification System is discussed in his text.

http://www.summitpost.org/view_object.php?object_id=171191&confirm_post=7
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Re: Martin Classification of Difficulty for U.S. State Highp

Postby Andinistaloco » Mon Jun 17, 2013 7:12 am

It seems to somewhat complicate the system (for which the standard is currently the YDS) without resolving the fundamental problem - namely, that definitions like 3rd class, 5.4, etc., are never definite. Making more categories doesn't solve this... it just does the same thing that spreading 5.10 into 5.10a, 5.10b, 5.10c, 5.10d did. They're always going to be somewhat ambiguous. Now there are just more of them.

Still, it's not a bad system for grading, any more than the YDS is. But the thing is that - for example - a listed 5.4 with 900 feet of air beneath it is always going to feel like a 5.6 to some and a 5.3 to others. Ditto a 2nd class walk over lava rocks in a snowstorm... people will always attach their own very different levels of difficulty to such things.

Weirdly enough I once did Borah and Boundary too. I'd agree with Cat - the former had some steeper and trickier moves, while the latter was longer and had a bit harder routefinding (at the start, I think). But, then again, I did the former in June when there was snow on a section or two... see, that's exactly why it's always going to be so damned ambiguous.
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Re: Martin Classification of Difficulty for U.S. State Highp

Postby LesterLong » Mon Jun 17, 2013 3:51 pm

I find it easier to 'rate' mountains through triangulation than through any system. Meaning, knowing that Boundary Peak and Wheeler Peak is akin to Mt. Elbert and Humphreys Peak is far more useful to me at least.

One person's Denali is another person's Sunflower.
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Re: Martin Classification of Difficulty for U.S. State Highp

Postby Bark Eater » Tue Jun 18, 2013 4:22 pm

I felt Borah was significantly more challenging than Boundary. Boundary has a bunch of loose scree but none of it is very steep. Borah (COR) has significant exposure in a number of places and scrambling that non-technical climbers would find fun but challenging. My arms were pretty darn tired when I got done Borah - note to self - have since started doing some upper body work! Time spent on both mountains was similar for me, despite the shorter route on Borah.
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Re: Martin Classification of Difficulty for U.S. State Highp

Postby Fletch » Tue Jun 18, 2013 5:52 pm

I think glaciated peaks should be in a class all themselves... Whitney as a 7, Hood as an 8, Rainier as a 9 and Denali as a 10? Doesn't seem mathmatically correct. I get what the system is trying to do, but you can't climb Elbert twice and exert the same effort/risk/time/etc as a trip up Denali. I'd classify it more like Whitney a 7, Hood a 6, Rainier a 15, and Denali a 35...
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Re: Martin Classification of Difficulty for U.S. State Highp

Postby Buz Groshong » Tue Jun 18, 2013 6:32 pm

Fletch wrote:I think glaciated peaks should be in a class all themselves... Whitney as a 7, Hood as an 8, Rainier as a 9 and Denali as a 10? Doesn't seem mathmatically correct. I get what the system is trying to do, but you can't climb Elbert twice and exert the same effort/risk/time/etc as a trip up Denali. I'd classify it more like Whitney a 7, Hood a 6, Rainier a 15, and Denali a 35...


This system is obviously intended just for the high points; it is based on ordering them. It just sort of tells which ones are more difficult than others, not how much more difficult. It also doesn't account for mountains that are not state high points and don't really fit into its system.
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Re: Martin Classification of Difficulty for U.S. State Highp

Postby Fletch » Tue Jun 18, 2013 7:09 pm

Buz Groshong wrote:
Fletch wrote:I think glaciated peaks should be in a class all themselves... Whitney as a 7, Hood as an 8, Rainier as a 9 and Denali as a 10? Doesn't seem mathmatically correct. I get what the system is trying to do, but you can't climb Elbert twice and exert the same effort/risk/time/etc as a trip up Denali. I'd classify it more like Whitney a 7, Hood a 6, Rainier a 15, and Denali a 35...


This system is obviously intended just for the high points; it is based on ordering them. It just sort of tells which ones are more difficult than others, not how much more difficult. It also doesn't account for mountains that are not state high points and don't really fit into its system.


Buz - I get all that. All i'm saying is that the numerical values given to the "scale" should be recoded to something like colors... Whitney is a red, Hood a blue, Denali a black, etc... saying something is a 1 or a 10 would imply some relationship between the values...

Plus, Rainier and Denali are really in a different league than the rest of the HP's. Having to safely navigate glaciers isn't exactly a tool utilized by most peakbaggers (and this is coming from an admitted peakbagger! :lol:)
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Re: Martin Classification of Difficulty for U.S. State Highp

Postby reboyles » Tue Jun 18, 2013 8:17 pm

It should be noted that this classification only works for what is considered the "standard", or easiest way up the state highpoints. It doesn't work once you start considering other routes that exist on a given peak. For instance, the East Face of Whitney or Liberty Ridge on Rainier would have to be a 20 something on this scale.
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Re: Martin Classification of Difficulty for U.S. State Highp

Postby LesterLong » Wed Jun 19, 2013 3:42 am

Agreed. Also, that 'easiest way" could be a drive up. Hence, Washington, Mitchell, etc.
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