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Ratings
Canyoneering & Mountaineering


Family Fun:

          Adventures in this category can be accomplished by anyone, including small children and senior citizens. These adventures are accessible by car or require only a short walk. These adventures are not considered life threatening or dangerous under normal conditions if common sense is used.

Weekend Warrior:
          Any adult or older supervised child who is in good physical condition can accomplish adventures in this category. There is no significant outdoors or navigation skills required, the routes are well marked and maintained, there is little exposure and mistakes are easily overcome. These adventures are not considered life threatening or dangerous under normal conditions if common sense is used.

Hardcore:
          Adventures in this category can be accomplished by any adult who is experienced in the outdoors, has good common sense and is in good to excellent physical condition. Be honest with yourself, these adventures will not be fun if they are beyond your skills or conditioning level. These adventures usually involve some type of riff-raff such as long hikes, scrambling, route finding, exposure or navigation. A mistake or injury can mean risk of death, mistakes are not easily overcome. These adventures can be dangerous or life threatening.

Technical:
          Adventures in this category require special equipment, skills and training. If you do not possess the equipment and skills required find a different adventure. Mistakes and injuries can prove fatal with adventures in this category. The gravity of a mistake is serious due to the extreme conditions and the difficulty of rescue. Significant experience is necessary.

          Technical Canyoneering adventures on this web site are rated using the Canyoneering Rating System (CRS). Technical Mountaineering adventures on this web site are rated using the Yosemite Decimal System (YDS).

 

Canyoneering Rating System
Canyon Rating System

          Canyons on this web site are rated using the Canyoneering Rating System (CRS). The rating is divided into four parts. The Technical Class indicates the technicality of the terrain and the type of rope work required. The Water Rating indicates the complications due to flowing or still water. The Risk Rating indicates the presence of additional risk factors. The Grade indicates the estimated time required to complete the adventure.

TECHNICAL CLASSIFICATION

1 - Canyon Hiking: Non-technical, no rope required. Hiking mostly on established routes. Involves some scrambling with the occasional use of hands.

2 - Basic Canyoneering: Scrambling, easy vertical or near vertical climbing and/or down-climbing. Rope recommended for hand lines, belays, lowering packs and possible emergency use. Exit and/or retreat possible without ascending fixed ropes. Scrambling requires the use of hands and arms for pulling yourself up.

3 - Intermediate Canyoneering: Technical canyoneering and climbing. Route may involve any combination of the following: Problem-solving. A basic knowledge of technical climbing. Rope and climbing hardware for single-pitch rappels and belays. Basic pothole escape techniques. Obvious natural anchors. Retreat up canyon will require ascending fixed ropes.

4 - Advanced Canyoneering: In addition to intermediate canyoneering skills, you will require one or more of the following skills: Advanced free climbing or high stemming. Difficult and/or exposed down-climbing. Climbing using direct aid. Multi-pitch rappels. Complex rope work. Obscure or indistinct natural anchors. Advanced problem-solving and anchor-building. Advanced pothole escape techniques.

WATER Volume / Current

A - Normally dry or very little water. Dry falls.

B - Normally has water with no current or light current. Still pools. Falls dry or running at a trickle.

C - Normally has water with strong current. Waterfalls.

RISK / SERIOUSNESS

No Rating: Normal risk factors are present on this adventure.

R - Risky: One or more extraordinary risk factors exist that could complicate the descent. Solid technical skills and sound judgment are critical.

X - Extreme: Multiple risk factors exist that will complicate the descent. Errors in technique or judgment will likely result in serious injury or death. Descent should only be attempted by expert canyoneers.

GRADE

I - Short. A couple of hours.

II - Requires about a half day.

III - Requires most of a day.

IV - Expected to take a long day. Get up early, bring a headlamp. Possible bivy.

V - More than one day. Normally done in two days.

VI - Two full days or more.

 

Yosemite Decimal System
Climbing Rating System

          Climbs on this web site are rated using the Yosemite Decimal System (YDS). The rating is divided into three parts. The Technical Class indicates the technicality of the climb. The YDS rates a pitch according to the most difficult move on it. A route may be divided into several pitches of varying degrees of difficulty. The Risk Rating indicates the presence of additional risk factors. The Grade indicates the estimated time required to complete the adventure.

TECHNICAL CLASSIFICATION

Class 1 - Walking and hiking, generally, hands are not needed.

Class 2 - Hiking, mostly on established trails involving some scrambling with occasional use of hands.

Class 3 - Climbing or scrambling with moderate exposure. Angle steep enough that hands are needed for balance.

Class 4 - Intermediate climbing with exposure extreme enough that most mountaineers will want a belay. A fall could be serious or fatal. Intermediate climbing requires the use of your hands and arms for pulling yourself up.

Class 5 - Technical rock climbing is encompassed in Class 5 climbing.  A rope, specialized equipment and training are used by the leader to protect against a fall.

5.0-5.4: A person of reasonable fitness can climb at this level with little or no rock climbing skills.

5.4-5.7: Requires rock climbing skills or strength.

5.7-5.9: Good rock climbing skills and strength are generally needed to climb at this level.

5.10-5.14: Excellent rock climbing skills are required to climb at this level.

Class 6 - Rock so shear and smooth that it is unclimbable, without the use of aid.

RISK / SERIOUSNESS

No Rating - Normal risk factors are present on this climb.

PG-13 - Protection is adequate; if properly placed a fall would not be too serious.

R - Protection is considered inadequate; there is a potential for a long fall, and a falling leader would take a hard wipper, possibly suffering injuries.

X - Inadequate or no protection; a fall would be very serious and perhaps fatal.

GRADE

I - Short. A couple of hours.

II - Requires about a half day.

III - Requires most of a day.

IV - Expected to take a long day. Get up early, bring a headlamp. Possible bivy.

V - More than one day. Normally done in two days.

VI - Two full days or more.


Guides & Schooling:

          Hiring a professional guide to keep you out of danger or teach you the required skill is an option when considering a technical adventure or route beyond your skill level.

          I have used Utah Mountain Adventures and Jackson Hole Mountain Guides for both schooling and guides and found them very knowledgeable. I was impressed with the way that the guides from both companies treated you as a less experienced friend and not like a clueless newbie.

          Desert Highlights in Moab has a superb reputation for guiding Southern Utah canyons. I have never used them professionally, but I have done technical canyons with the founder, Matt Moore, and he is very knowledgeable and proficient. Desert Highlights has an excellent reputation of great interaction with children and beginners.

          Zion Adventure Company teaches canyoneering skills and also guides several Southern Utah canyons. I have never used them professionally, but I have done technical canyons with many of their guides and found them to be very knowledgeable and proficient.


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