View Full Version : Class 3+

05-05-2009, 03:41 PM
OK so I'm fairly new to the NH area but I'm definitely addicted to the beauty of the mountains up there... Now that I've done a few of the mountains I am trying to challenge myself a little (not looking to go vertical but just a little more challenging). I did a Mt Wash winter climb a while back and found it not so bad with the exception of a little challenge there on Lion?s head when you hit tree line. I recently did the Class 3 Flume slide and liked the challenge.

So now I am curious to ask what is the next "step up" climb that you might recomend (so I can start dreaming for next winter). I would love to find some other Class 3+ climb in the area... Is there maybe an alternate route up Washington that is steeper and challenging that Lion's head? Or is there another hidden one out there like Flume that looks rather unsuspecting due to low altitude or whatnot, but is a really good climb.

I've done tons of digging online and found tons of information about lengths of trails and such, but I can't seem to find anything that lists them in terms of Class ( when I read it always seems to be very generic such as "it is a steady climb" or "slightly challenging")

Any advice would be greatly appreciated


05-05-2009, 04:15 PM
Just out of curiosity, what classification system are you using.

05-05-2009, 04:59 PM
As far as general rating in the Yosemite system is concerned, the only trail in the Whites that really comes close to Class 3 is Huntington Ravine. Then there are bits and pieces on the Great Gully trail, the Great Gulf trail, Madison Gulf trail, the Six Husbands trail, the King Ravine trail, and maybe a few other spots. I'm talking about general all-season ratings, not anything specific to winter. When you say you went up Flume slide, I take it you mean you went up the slide itself and not the Flume Slide trail. I've actually done that too, and it was fun, and the top part was Class 3. The Lincoln slide on the other side of Franconia Ridge is Class 2+, I'd say. You can find routes of any rating you want off trail if you study the USGS maps. But most people in the northeast either do roped climbing of Class 5+ or bushwhacking for peakbagging purposes and nothing in between, which has always seemed odd to me. I used to do a lot of off-trail hiking in the Smokies for its own sake and not for peakbagging. Some of it was Class 3.

Bill O
05-05-2009, 05:12 PM
I've been on Class III in CO and Huntington Ravine comes close. As does the Knife Edge on Katahdin.

05-06-2009, 10:42 AM
Just out of curiosity, what classification system are you using.

There seems to be a lot of variety in the details, but what seems standard is that: Class 1 -2 basics hike with little/minor climbs; Class 3 getting a little tough but still don't need ropes; then 4-5 real hardcore needing ropes/ vertical.

Here is what I found listed in a few places and it seems to be origianlly from sierra club and refered to as YDS or Yosemite decimal system

Class 1: Walking with a low chance of injury.

Class 2: Simple scrambling, with the possibility of occasional use of the hands. Little potential danger is encountered.

Class 3: Scrambling with increased exposure. A rope can be carried but is usually not required. Falls are not always fatal.

Class 4: Simple climbing, with exposure. A rope is often used. Natural protection can be easily found. Falls may well be fatal.

Class 5: Technical free climbing involving rope, belaying, and other protection hardware for safety. Un-roped falls can result in severe injury or death

05-06-2009, 10:55 AM
Nice post thanks I'll look into the ones you listed there! Also the Katahdin that Bill O listed sounds intresting as I've never been upto Maine.

When you say you went up Flume slide, I take it you mean you went up the slide itself and not the Flume Slide trail. I've actually done that too, and it was fun, and the top part was Class 3.

Yeah, I started on the trail at the bottom form liberty springs where you cross one hundred streams. Then when I reached the bottom of the actual slide I basically lost the trail and just went straight up not seeing any trail markers for a good mile plus. Somehow I managed to eventually find a blue paint marker on a rock and it turned out to be a few hundred feet before the junction with Franconia ridge trail .... definitely a fun day!

rockin rex
05-07-2009, 04:06 PM
I have never done this unmaintained trail but from what I hear it is one of the more difficult trails in the Whites. It leaves the Buttress Trail just up from the six Husbands split and heads straight up Adams on the Mount Adams slide. From what I hear this is an amazing non maintained trail. All the trails here up Adams out of the Great Gulf are very steep and rugged. Anyone who has done the Adams slide could give you more details on it. This would most likely be listed as a level 3 climb. As Bill O said I would consider Huntington Ravine a level 3 hike hands down. Believe me if you fall above the fan you will not be doing very well at all. The other level 3 would be Six Husbands. There are parts on Six Husbands where falls will be fatal. The overhang above the ladder is one of those spots. The reason I enjoy Mount Washington so much is due to the fact you can always find a challenging trail or unmarked trail.

05-07-2009, 04:36 PM
I know someone who went up Adams Slide. It's really a bushwhack now below treeline--kind of an extreme bushwhack. It took my friend a couple of hours to go less than a mile. The USGS map shows that the steep parts (and they are VERY steep) are well below treeline. So it probably wouldn't be a good place to go if you want to be out in the open on steep rock. The scrub practically ate my friend alive.;)

05-09-2009, 11:31 AM
Hey All,

I would like to offer my two cents, though my expirience in hiking is somewhat limited. I was under the impression that the Huntington Ravine Trail, (which I have gone up), is the most technically demanding trail in the White Mountains. I have been rock climbing for a few years, and from what I have climbed I would have to say that the HRT is a solid 4th class trail. There are a few parts that I feel border on 5th class. The only other steep hiking I've done in the Whites are Tucks & the approch to Lincoln's Throat (which at the top should be a WI-1 snow climb). I have not hiked these trails that you all have been talking about, so I don't have a comparison.

I'd like to find the Adams Slide Trail after I heal. It sounds like a good time.

As far as the Flume slide; I don't know what it looked like when you were up there. As I understand it, in winter conditions it is a WI-2/3 (water ice rating system 1-7+) ice & snow climb.


Bill O
05-09-2009, 03:33 PM
I think you'd actually have to go on a Class IV climb before making that judgment. Sure, it may be the most demanding trail in the White Mountains (arguable), but compared to the rest of the world it isn't that extreme.

A big factor is exposure, and the only place east of the Miss that has it is Mount Katahdin. Climb a few peaks in CO and you'll learn what exposure really means.

If you follow correct trail up HRT it's a fairly safe climb. Sure, it feels exposed, but the majority of falls would result in sliding and quickly stopping.

05-12-2009, 12:59 PM
I thank you for your posts with good info, it is much appreachiated :) I defintley see I've got a few new hikes to look into next time my work brings me to your beautiful area ( Ok so I usaully end up in a confernce hotel down boston, but it's a easy drive up 93)

Also, I think what Bill O said it very true... in order to truley make the judgment of these trails it is best to have some exposure to diffrent areas. I'm very happy to be planning a 5th anniversary trip to Washington state this Summer with my wife, and we hope to climb Raineer & Baxter. I may also be lucky later in the year and end up near Grand Teton??? I'll defintley post pics off all this and thanks again to all of you for post/info

Best, Tim