Is there anyway to root 4.3 enough without downgrading to back up my TA partition before I unlock the bootloader?
No, at the moment we can't root directly our 4.3. The only way to get a Full Root is with NUT method and you don't have to unlock your bootlader. If you want to unlock you bootlader you must downgrade, root with Vroot or 360, backup TA and then unlock it.
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