Moderate (?) El Cap questions : LUSENET : Mountaineering : One Thread

A friend and I are going to Yosemite for about 10 days in mid-April and plan on grunting our way up El Cap. My partner has much more aid experience that I, with solos of A3 and some A4 stuff in New Hampshire, and I feel pretty confident I'll be ready (practicing in Vermont in the winter should help). My question relates to the discrepancies of ratings for certain El Cap routes. If anyone can answer these I'd appreciate it:

1) Is Lurking Fear A2 or A3, and do the A3 sections require much, if any pin stacking,etc.? I'm not too concerned about hooking but have no experience stacking and dont want to get in too sticky a situation.

2) We have also looked at doing Triple Direct. A friend tells me its a classic route...what is a reasonable length of time to allow?

3) What is the current rating on Zodiac and The Shield? I have seen a couple different ratings.

4) Are there any all clean routes C2 or C3 other than the Nose?

5) Finally, what exactly does "new wave" mean when related to aid gradings. In Vermont it means someone with more piercings than skin.

Thanks for the info.

-- Roger Murphy (, January 13, 1999


1) A1-2, has gone clean. Shouldn't have to stack at all. 2) It really depends on your speed. Average person would spend, let's say, 5 days. Goes clean. 3) A2, both have gone clean, but it is harder that way. The shield goes at C4. It has only seen two clean ascents that I am aware of at this time. 4) Depends on how daring you are I guess? The Salathe goes clean and is the only way that should be accepted. In addition to the others I have mentioned, Tangerine Trip has gone clean, from what I have heard it would be easier to nail and only has litlle sections of it. Many other walls have gone clean, but I assume you want El Cap. 5) In a nut shell, New Wave is the new aid rating system. Which equals harder. Since routes are getting harder and the aid ratings only go up to A5, they started saying new wave to indicate it was harder than say, the old A5. For example, Sea of Dreams is A5, but Reticent Wall is New Wave A5, much much harder. If the aid rating stayed the same as in the 60's, 70's etc., we would have A14 by now. Hope that helps, it is very condensed. Have Fun in April and beware the weather!

-- Ronnie Miller (, January 16, 1999.

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