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"Chucky"? Local boys do good :)


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I have a friend who did a trip to Helmcken and said it's hands down the most wild and exciting place he's ever been. He described doing drop knees and other more rock climbing specific moves, all on ice, in a incredible setting. I think it's more of just a really cool place with wild climbing, and the grades are kind of borderlines. I would be kinda pissed if a new rating system came out, we have plenty already. Just go climb rad shit and give you're best shot at the difficulty.


I like the old school aid ratings. Piss easy, pretty damn hard, don't fuck up. Go out and have a cool experience. the chasing numbers aspect of sport climbing is what turns me off to it, same with bouldering. Having said that I'm usually stoked to go run around boulder fields without a guidebook (bouldering guides? what the fuck?) and trying stuff that looks fun. Granted I'm a punter and max out around V4 (more like V2 with all the ice I've been climbing).


That was a long winded stream of consciousness spew, hopefully it makes a semblance of sense.

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"the FA of Sea of Vapours WI7+ (which sounds more like WI6+R/X to me)"


Had this conversation recently. Anyone ever repeated SoV in similar thin conditions? Steck maybe..but the climb has soem fixed gear nwo as well.


This stuff is so condition dependant. Ratings should be a warning of what you are getting into not chest beating. I'd take this one as a warning :) YMMV, 'cuz I aint gonna get on it!


A lot, as in a lot more ice, between Curtian Call or Nemisis in hard, thin conditons compared to this thing from the pictures of Chucky shared and having been on the others (two of the three).

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(Note for potential second ascentionists; climb the bottom section, throw a bail biner on the #2 pecker, then lower off while cleaning the lower two fixed pins, pull the rope, then pound em in on lead). Lol. I would have cleaned the whole route on rappell, but I was 20 ft out from the wall due to the overhanging nature of the climb. Plus we were in a hurry because it was a little warmer and didn't want the route to fall off and crush us like bugs.



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By definition, I believe WI6+X IS WI7.


If that were the case then we should be able to extend the grades up and down using the same metric. But WI5X is not WI6; WI2X isn't WI3 either.


As far as physical demanding ice, I have climbed TONS of 5+ ice that was more physically demanding than a fair amount of WI6's. When u step up from 5+, I believe the grades reflect more danger rather than acrobatics.


I have climbed my fair share of 5's and 6's too (all of my WI climbing has been in Canada so I don't have any other areas to compare with), but I can't think that the grades reflect the objective dangerousness of a climb above other factors. As Dane pointed out before, Curtain Call is a standard-for-the-grade WI6 in the Canadian Rockies, it can be climbed placing bomber screws pretty much at your leisure though, the grade doesn't really make any sense if danger is somehow determinative of the rating. The pitches are still long (P1 ~50m, P2 ~50m), there's usually some overhanging ice at some point, but the climbing is relatively safe otherwise.


This stuff is so condition dependant. Ratings should be a warning of what you are getting into not chest beating. I'd take this one as a warning :) YMMV, 'cuz I aint gonna get on it!


Of course this is true. I don't think I am out of line for wanting to know why the FA team graded something a certain way though. I am not trying to beat my chest nor am I accusing the guys of beating theirs. It's just an appropriate venue to have the annual CC.com WI grades thread.



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Come on Grant you know me better than that. I didn't think you were out of line or I would have said so. I think the discussion is good, interesting as well.


And as I said, I had the same discussion with Craig before I published his TR.


Likely the hardest thing I have climbed is HFA in Hyalite. Not because it was "hard" like CC (it isn't) but because there wasn't a lot of ice on the first bit when I was there. But at least when I was on it, the bottom was ice climbing. Fat maybe by comparison. This while clipping bolts on that lower bit. Once on the solid ice higher up the climbing was casual by comparison. So I was judging only by Jess and Scott's pictures of Chucky. Arm chair QB for sure. And knowing just how bad the ice conditions down here can be in comparison to Canada. Our shite has a nasty habit of falling down!


The real reason I was a bit awe struck about this climb (which doesn't happen often) was a short video Craig sent me. May be he can post it here. I can't figure out how to do it. I think it is worth watching for a better perspective of this climb.


I do agree that 5+ is not 6 ice. But what I might think is 6 you might call 5+. -/+ seems a petty arguement. Ice can and does change literally over night in Canada. Here what was up in the morning may be gone by the late afternoon same day. Easily. Most importantly IMO anyway, pro never adds anything to the grade, just the game. Trad takes a lot more effort mentally and physically than clipping a bolt and adds to the climb. But not the grade generally. Bit of fudge factor there though on the effort required to place the gear and how it effects the rest of the climb.


I'll offer this..on trad lines a strong head and run out might actually be easier physically and technically (moving around on shitty stances to palce gear) than a weaker head placing more pro in similar circumstances.


At least in my circles not that many guys climbing anywhere near this hard. Some strong guys out there. But being physically strong and having the head to run out .11+ trad lines with bad pro (whitness Jess ripping the pin attempting a 2nd) makes the climbers with both head and heart) few and very far between. Even fewer in crampons. I never have and am never likely to. So this is really just all speculation on my part as to how hard all this is.


Craig can you whip up that video of Jess on rappel?

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Spray On Top involves several pitches of mixed climbing in addition to the pure spray ice sections. The grade given for its pitches is WI 10, WI 9, M6+,M8, M7, M9+, M6, M6.


This is exactly what M-grades were intended to cover.


First of all, I don't think either Will Gadd or Tim Emmett need to beef up their resumes at this point to get media attention. I mean, if Wolverine were graded M11 with the exact same video, it would get just as much attention. I'd say the audiences at Reel Rock Tour for the Spray On film were more in awe of the climbing and location than the grade.


You do realize that both make money off climbing via self promotion right? Both get paid to come and speak to audiences about climbing, both have sponsors which pay them to self promote. Any and all press is good press. Will has an absolute gift for self promotion, he always has. I don't fault him for it at all, in fact I think he's one of the most "successful" people to come out of my hometown. I am stoked that he's found a way to make a living from his passions. Will also has a knack for stirring up shit, which is what the name Spray On and the grade were intended to do. He profits (either directly or indirectly) from how much press his climbs get, he has a vested interest in creating buzz and "WORLD'S FIRST W10 CLIMBED BY WILL GADD!!!" certainly goes a long way.


And despite Raphael being one of my climbing heroes, I don't see how his view is worth any more (or less) than those of the other climbers who have put up big new routes at Helmcken.


That's your prerogative. I trust Raphael's judgement on grades simply because he has absolutely nothing to gain from hyper inflating WI grades. His silence on the matter speaks volumes to me. He's one of the most prolific climbers in the Rockies and has very strong views on grades.


Whether you call it Spray Ice 11 or Water Ice 11, the implication of the grade is pretty clear.


The implication is that it's M11 climbing.


Since when does the protection determine what medium is being climbed? Rock climbing = rock, mixed climbing = rock and ice or even just pure rock with ice tools, ice climbing = ice.


I can't think of another ice climb that is entirely bolt protected, can you? Climbing ice, but protecting it with rock gear -- sounds like an M-climb to me.


I think Will dealt with that aspect pretty clearly when he was asked about the grade of Spray On (the original 1 pitch version) and he made it pretty clear that he considered the physical difficulty of the climbing more relevant to the grade than the quality of protection.


The physical difficulty was equated to M10, it stands to reason that if the climb felt as hard as an M10 climb it probably is.


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There...thx, dude...pretty much boils down to a few dork climbers on the wildest line they'd seen to date. The rappell was one of the freakiest parts...stepping out over space, and looking at what I had just done was sobering...lol


As far as the grade is concerned -


It was wilder and harder than any 6+ I've ever seen or climbed, so I rated it 7. The mixed climbing was a lot easier to grade when compared to .11+/.12 rock...

All three gents who climbed this route had a lot of fun, and the second time I led it took no less "mental fortitude" and strength of body.

It was a kick in the pants, and I've learned a lot from this rating discussion. I believe the rating of an ice route especially doesn't do much more than make a climber aware of what they are about to get themselves into if they can't decipher that from any pictures available.


...now to hunt out what's next...

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That looks like a suuuuper cool route. Please explain what makes it a WI7 versus a WI6+ or WI6X though, I have never really understood how people make those decisions. Will Gadd excluded, because everyone knows his WI10 route at Helmecken Falls is crock of crap. It's an M-climb and everyone knows it.

I have done my share of steep ice, and pretty much no such thing as WI7. Maybe in Quebec I climb on a shale cliff over a snapped pillar, where you had to do two consecutive figure 4's, through horizontal ice roof. People tend to mix technical difficulties with mental challenge of the route.

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Naw, no such thing Keen. Except, except for may be that one time in Kenya, where I was wrestling Ubangi warriors, and did a few one arm pull ups with three guys hanging off my swami...likely the only WI8* in exsistance. WI7 is casual with only one extra guy hanging on.

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