In a "sequence" of peaks where two or more are climbed together and usually each is accessed by a connecting ridge, the route to a previous peak in the sequence will become the "approach" for the next summit.
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These are a few of the terms you'll see used in our trip reports. We've defined them here so that you'll know what we're talking about. In general, we have attempted to use the term "climbing" for actual 3rd, 4th or 5th class climbing as opposed to 1st and 2nd class "hiking, walking, strolling, etc." We may not have been entirely consistent in keeping these terms separate but have attempted to do so. The term "scrambling " may be used in the context of Class 2+ hiking where using one or both hands to stabilize and balance may occur; or for 3rd class climbing where the actual act of climbing is intermittent and not sustained.
Some peaks, because of easy vehicle access, may be climbed in less than a half day and you may not even need a lunch.
With a 6:00 - 7:00 AM start time, you should be done by mid-afternoon.
With a 6:00 - 7:00 AM start time, you should be able to finish by later afternoon.
To be safe, take a headlamp. You may not make it back before dark depending on start time. Take some extra food. Dinner could be rather late.
An exceptionally long day beginning before sunrise and finishing at or after dusk. Because of the length, some may want to make an overnight type backpack to reduce single-day mileage.
A multiday backpack is likely required for mere mortals and short half-day climbs to surrounding peaks from a base camp.
A multiday backpack trip is likely required for mere mortals and medium-length day climbs of surrounding peaks from a base camp.
A multiday backpack trip is likely required for mere mortals plus full day climbs of surrounding peaks from a base camp.
Usually 5th class terrain. Risk of injurious and even fatal fall is high.
Easy Class I or Class II hiking over generally manageable terrain. Only low angled scree or talus and not extensive amounts. Still quite a bit of tundra.
Almost all tundra terrain with some embedded rock. Little scree or exposed rock to deal with.
We use this term to describe another form of scree. Consists of smaller diameter rocks mostly that tend to be more flattened and broken into pieces. The breccia of some of the San Juan calderas tend to deteriorate into what we call chiprock. In some places it may be somewhat larger and feels and sounds like you're walking on broken pieces of china.
We will try to use this term consistently to mean generally small pebbles, smaller rocks (under 3-4 inches) and sand/dirt on a moderately pitched slope. Descending scree can often be fairly easy, quick and even fun, but in the wrong place (like where there's some exposure), can become a frightening nuisance.
Dictionary definition: A slope formed by the accumulation of rock debris; rock debris at the base of a cliff. In our terminology, scree may also be accumulated rock debris, but smaller. Talus will apply to small to moderately sized rocks up to around 12" with little sand or scree in between. I read in a geology book years ago that the maximum angle of repose for a talus cone is 36°. However, many factors can alter that.
Embedded rocks can range from scree size to medium boulder size and are found in areas where tundra has grown around the rocks thereby stabilizing them. Slope angle can vary from flat to very steep, in which case, the rocks and tundra tend to create stable ledges.
This is even larger sized talus consisting mostly of boulders more than 12” up to perhaps 36”. This will usually be found in steep couloirs or gullies where they can tend to stack up on each other at times and are quite likely to roll and crush your foot, ankle or lower leg. Beware!
One of the most difficult kinds of terrain to navigate, stacked boulders may range in size from a few feet in diameter to small or even large vehicles. Again, they may be perched precariously upon each other. 3rd class scrambling may be required to navigate through them, some times even a map and compass!
This term reflects the fact that the mountain may, in fact, decide to unleash every rock its comprised of down in your general direction while climbing. A helmet, life insurance policy, and updated will and testimony are recommended before approaching this type of rock.
Crumbly, low-quality rock or
“Rock that is unsuitable for climbing, e.g. because it is too soft, unstable or overgrown.” (per Wiktionary)
In our opinion, this terms seems to be used by some for most any undesirable rock condition, especially loose talus, chiprock, etc. We would prefer the more specific definition which would best be applied to brittle or friable, actual rock.