常用有兩種系統 --- NEI and Scottish Systems (WI
The most rational rating now is the Canadian/French one. This
system is being used in Canada and the Alps, which account for probably 75% of the known
ice climbs in the world. US climbers like Jeff Lowe tend also to use it to rate their own
climbs. It consists of two numerals, like II-5:
Jeff Lowe 也使用這種分級系統，它包含兩個數字，像是 II-5。
- The first one (written in roman) is the "Seriousness
Grade": it refers to things such as remoteness, length of the climb, difficulty of
descent, objective hazards, sustained character of the route. A "I" climb is a
single pitch by the road, whereas a "VI" climb is a full alpine experience which
will require a bivy except for top climbers.
- The second one (written in Arabic) is the "Technical
Degree": it refers to the technical difficulty of the crux pitch of the route, and
takes into account verticality, ease of protection, average nature of ice, how sustained
is the pitch. A "2" climb requires only one axe. There are only, as far as my
information is up to date, a dozen "7" climbs in the world. It's more or less a
vertical or near vertical pitch with almost no pro, or a massive overhang. Since it is
very similar to the WI American system, the technical degree is also referred to as
"WI". So the WI (Water Ice) system is basically like the technical scale.
WI 美國系統，這個技術分級也表示成”WI”，所以 WI
The system is quite informative, because it distinguishes
between two different types of difficulties. However, the two figures are not totally
independent, ie a technically easy climb is not considered to be very committed (since in
particular you can down climb it).
Albi Sole Seriousness Grade
System (Grade I – Grade VII)
||A short climb close to the road with
bombproof belays and an easy descent.
||A 1- or 2-pitch climb within easy
reach of a vehicle, little objective danger, and easy descent by rappel or down climbing.
||A multipitch route at low elevation,
which may take several hours, or a route with a long approach on foot or ski, demanding
good winter travel skills, or a route subject to occasional winter hazards. Descent
usually by rappelling.
||A multipitch route at higher
elevations or in a remote region requiring mountaineering and winter travel skills. May be
subject to objective hazards such as avalanches or rock-fall. Descent may present
difficulties and usually involves rappelling from bolts.
||A long climb on a high mountain face
requiring a high level of competence and commitment. Subject to hazards of bad weather and
avalanches. May have long approach or difficult descent.
||A long multipitch route on a high
alpine face, which only the best climbers will complete in a day. May include the
logistical problems of winter alpine climbing.
||The biggest and hardest Himalayan
alpine-style climbs (Lowe definition).
Scottish Ice Rating System (Grade 1 – Grade
7) (WI 1- WI 7)
Scottish Ice Rating System also refers to the technical
degree (1 - 7), which grades the single most difficult pitch, taking into account the
sustained nature of the climbing, ice thickness, natural ice features such as chandelier
or mushroom ice and overhanging bulges.
||Walking up ice with only the use of
||A pitch of 60-70 degree ice,
reasonably consistent, with few short, steep steps. Good protection and belays.
||Sustained 70-80 degree ice, usually
thick and solid. May contain short, steep section, but will have good resting places and
offer good protection and belays.
||Sustained 75-85 degree ice, separated
by good belays or a less steep pitch with significant vertical sections. Generally
good-quality ice, offering satisfactory protection.
||A noticeably more strenuous pitch of
good but steep (85-90 degree) ice. May be considered the equivalent of 5.9 rock in terms
of relative technical ability required.
||A very steep, strenuous pitch with few
resting places and often a hanging belay. The ice may not be of top quality and protection
may be dubious. High level of technical skill may be required. May be considered the
equivalent of 5.10 rock.
||A pitch of near vertical ice, which
may be thin, of poor quality, and doubtful adhesion to the rock. Protection difficult or
nonexistent. May be considered the equivalent of 5.12 climbing in terms of technical
interpretation of the technical degree：
- Grade 2: you can climb with one tool
- Grade 3: a second tool helps here, but your weight is on your
- Grade 4: feels steep, but not vertical
- Grade 5: about half of the pitch is vertical
- Grade 6: the pitch is mostly vertical (usually free-standing)
- Grade 7: the pitch is mostly vertical and unprotectable
chandelier ice, sustained thin ice, and other weird formations).
New England Ice Rating System (NEI 1 – MEI
There are several other systems in use. The NEI (New England
Ice) system is very similar, except that the top of the technical scale is 5+, and the
seriousness grade refers only to the amount of time required to complete the climb.
The New England Ice Rating System (NEI) was adapted from the
Scottish system principally by Rick Wilcox and Peter Cole for their New England ice guide,
"Shades of Blue".
Rick Wilcox 和 Peter Cole
|Low-angle water ice of 40-50 degrees,
or long, moderate snow climbing requiring a basic level of technical expertise for safety.
|Low-angle water ice routes with short
bulges up to 60 degrees. Still climbable with ten-point crampons.
|Steeper water ice of 50-60 degrees
with 70-90 degree bulges. Some continuous front-pointing with perhaps the assistance of a
hand tool in conjunction with the ice axe in places. Generally allows protection screws to
be placed from comfortable stances.
|Short, vertical columns, interspersed
with rests, on 50-60 degree ice; fairly sustained climbing. Requires two tools and usually
demands that screws be places while on vertical or near vertical ice.
|Generally multipitch ice climbing with
sustained difficulties and/or strenuous vertical columns, with little rest possible.
|Multipitch routes with a heightened
degree of seriousness, long vertical sections, and extremely sustained difficulties - the
hardest ice climbs in New England to date.
冰雪岩混合部分 (M1 - M8)
They are a generalization of the established system for rating
ice described above. There is no consensus. However in the method which seems somewhat
dominant in Colorado (home of the most desperate mixed climbs, probably due to lack of ice
:-)) and championed by Jeff Lowe, the letter "M" is added to the technical
grade. A "M5" is supposed to be as hard as a "5" in pure ice (the
equivalence is obviously hard to establish) but involves dry-tooling and similar
maneuvers. Sometimes, the grade is detailed into the pure ice part and the mixed part, ie
Octopussy is "M8 WI5" since there are extreme dry-tooling moves to reach the
free hanging stalactite, but once established on it the ice is not that hard. However,
usually the latter part will be omitted since it is not the crux, leaving only
"M8". The global rating could read something like an algebraic formula: "II
M8 WI5 X" (X in my opinion: I think all the free-hanging stuff can easily collapse,
as some climbers have experienced in the early 90's. I would be cautious with the current
fad for this sort of climbing).
M8 WI5 X”（X
Another way to rate the mixed climbs is to give a rock-climbing
rating for the rock moves. This method is preferred by the Canadians, who seem to be
somewhat doubtful about all the M9 climbs :-). The problem here is that you have ice
climbing gear, so usually the rating is not "absolute" but relative to how it
feels with crampons, and therefore easier than a normal rock rating, but again there is no
real consensus on this. (from Quang-Tau Luong)
Comments on the ice rating system (from Quang-Tau Luong)
Although Albi Sole refers as grade 5 as the "5.9 of ice
climbing", don't kid yourself. A grade 5 lead is a quite serious undertaking, more
comparable in my opinion to a 5.10 trad lead. I am once of the only person that I know
(:-)) who has been able to lead grade 6 ice while being only a 5.10- climber. You will see
that grade 5 ice is actually rather difficult to find. For instance a guidebook like the
one for Western Ontario or Western British Columbia has 140 pages, but lists only a
handful of grade 5 climbs. There are no grade 6 at all in well established areas such as
New England, Ontario, British Columbia (well, I must say was, until 1996, when The Theft
was climbed in BC). This is because a grade 5 climb has to have about a half-pitch
vertical, and a grade 6 a full pitch vertical, which brings me to the second point.
Vertical is 90 degrees, not 85 degrees. This seemingly insignificant difference is
actually quite important. When you are on 85 degrees ice you might have the feeling that
it is overhanging, because of your position, but in fact there is not that many formations
which are strictly vertical, except free-standing columns.
雖然 Albi Sole
Ontario or Western British Columbia的guidebook有140頁，但只有一些五級的路線；在開發完全的地方如新英格蘭、安大略或不列顛哥倫比亞是沒有六級的路線。這是因為第五級大概有一半的繩距是垂直的，第六級是整個繩距垂直，會讓我到第二個點。垂直是九十度而非八十五度，這似乎沒什麼的差別實際上是非常重要的，因為你的姿勢的關係，當你在八十五度的冰壁上，你可能會覺得是在懸岩上，的除非是獨立的圓柱。
There are only a handful of grade 7 pure ice climbs in the
world, to the best of my knowledge:
- Riptide, and Gimme Shelter (Canadian Rockies) were the first
established (mid 80s). Gimme Shelter is still unrepeated, because it has never reformed
- La Massue, and La Lyre, both at Fer de Cheval, (Northern Alps),
both established the same day in Dec 1991.
- Sea of Vapors (Canadian Rockies), winter 1993 (7+)
A part from those, there are a handful of one-pitch climbs which
are mixed, and which have received a grade 7. T. Renault in France (L'aventure, c'est
l'aventure next to Glacenost in Northern Alps, France) and J. Lowe in the US (Terriebel
traverse, Seventh Tentacle, Octopussy 8??, in Vail CO) are the authors. While Thierry
climbed "L'aventure, c'est l'aventure", the chunk of ice when he was standing
collapsed, and he had to do a one-arm pull-up that he though he was not capable of. Jeff's
climb are free-hanging stalactites which are reached through a dry traverse. Protected on
the rock and with a preplaced screw from what I have heard. The second ascent party said
that one climb was over-rated. The first grade 6 climbed in the world might have been
Bridaveil Falls, Telluride, in the mid 70s. In the Alps, it was Les Viollins, although the
first ascent, solo, by Chantriaux in 1982 is somewhat controversy.
- Tuan's Mountaineering Page, http://http.cs.berkeley.edu/~qtluong/mountain/
- Mountaineering : The Freedom of the Hills