UKC

Water ice grading

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 Whitters 04 Jun 2021

Hi all, 

Currently trying to work out a grade for a pitch of water ice that I climbed up the other day (am in the southern hemisphere so in the depths of winter here!).

I've been looking at the grade explanations on the alpinist website and the pitch doesn't quite fit in to a category neatly, so I thought I would consult the UKC collective.

So the pitch is about 60° of ice that has frozen onto a buttress with some steeper bulges. It is thick enough to take an axe and crampons but not a screw. Bits of the ice are poorly bonded and came away with a gentle tap. It then tops out into some frozen vegetation.

Looking at the description for grades the angle would suggest a WI2 but there is a lack of protection, would that be sufficient to know it up to a 3?

Appreciate that is probably quite vague and the proof of the pudding is in the eating (or climbing in this case) but it is more for my own education than anything else (doubt there will be a massive rush to climb an obscure route in the Falkland Islands) 

TIA

 Route Adjuster 04 Jun 2021
In reply to Whitters:

Sounds like 3 or 4 by that description.  How long was it, could you get protection in the surrounding rock?  Sometimes mixed routes get two grades, one for the climbing and the other for the technicality, so it could be III,4 or IV,4 or IV,3 for example.

 George Ormerod 04 Jun 2021
In reply to Whitters:

Sounds like a WI3 R.  Stuff always feels steeper when you're on it.

 George Ormerod 04 Jun 2021
In reply to Route Adjuster:

Strangely in the Rockies they give mixed routes a YDS grade up to about 5.10, then switch to M4 up from that.  So the route above if it required some mixed moves (not just thin ice) might be WI3R 5.6

 Toby_W 04 Jun 2021
In reply to Whitters:

A careful 2😀

Toby

 freeheel47 11 Jul 2021
In reply to Whitters:

I can'y see it being higher than 3 and probably 2 / 2+ if there is such thing as a 2+.  60 degrees is not remotely steep, even if the ice is thin. If the bulges were longer than a couple of meters and much steeper then possibly 3. 

In reply to Whitters:

Sounds like 2+ maybe 3. The thickness of ice will depend on the year, (as would the steepness to some degree - pardon the pun). In Italy where I mostly climb ice they don't use the R designation so you don't really know what you're going to get in that sense and it's really only a grade for steepness and therefore technicality. Of course if it becomes stepped out it gets much easier but still has the same grade!

In reply to Route Adjuster:

Are you talking about Scottish grades rather than WI? The technical grade is approx 1 full grade different, thus a Scottisg V,5 would probably be similarish to a WI4 in difficulty, although obviously different in style...


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