/ What does "Classic" mean in alpine terms?
In general UKC speak it means 'near the lift'
In the 1930s it meant 'north face'
In the 1950s it meant 'nice line, shit rock'
Think similar to 3* routes in UK guidebooks (apart from those which only get it because they're E6+).
"In reply to LakesWinter:
IMHO there's only one that can really take the title of a "classic" peak under 4000m and that has to be the Eiger. Whichever route you choose.
All the other are just excellent days out on great summits, but probably not Classic. "
...dunno what that's supposed to mean.
Agreed, especially when, decoded, those words mean "sporting" - which, as everyone knows, is code for "character building".
I think it means something more like 'quite old, but widely regarded as having exceptional qualities that will survive through history, irrespective of changes of fashion'. (Far too many words - sorry).
In situ pitons youre allowed to clip because theyre so old and sketch they may as well be rock, and it wont blow your trad ethics.
That's how I used to take it, but two routes I've done in the last few years have made me reconsider: the N Ridge of the Sirac, and the Corda Molla on Disgrazia.
Each is described as a "classic" routes in the current AC guidebook (the former, is in Rebuffat, too), each follows a good line to a remote and unfrequented peak. However, both have been badly affected by the disappearance of what used to be permanent snow, and have become loose and scary.
We spent 17 hours up and down on the Sirac. When we got back to the hut, tails slightly between our legs, the wonderfully kind and solicitous guardienne told us that the route doesn't get done much nowadays and a French party had got benighted the previous week.
To come back to the OP's question, in a curious way, although I wouldn't recommend anyone to do either route, I look back on them as "classic" days in the hills - definitely character building!
Babika's post was so far off the mark that I think it must have been for effect (just as I was by saying that alpine peaks start at 4000m). Everyone to their own, obviously, but to me the Eiger (by anything other than one of its N face routes) is just about the opposite of what she's saying. How can it possibly be so much more 'classic' than the Meije, Salbitschijen, Bietschhorn, Aiguille Noire de Peuterey, Piz Badile, Monte Viso, and many dozens of others, to discount them from that status? The first thing that caught my eye on my very first visit to Grindelwald wasn't the Eiger at all. It was that fabulous profile of the Wetterhorn!
I'd say 'classic' refers to a route, not a peak. A peak may however be iconic, which is perhaps what Babika meant.
A peak may however be iconic,
Those with Madonnas on!?
Yes that makes more sense, Rob. But still, there's more than one iconic peak in the alps!
(remembering a time that someone soloing past us stood on a friends arm, while he was belaying!)
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