Trip Grading Walking and Trekking

Some people dream about climbing Kilimanjaro, and like the physical and mental challenge, that comes with a high altitude climb. Others would like to hike from hut to hut around Mont Blanc, or trek in the company of a Sherpa guide to Everest Base Camp. And some appreciate shorter day trips, good food and a nice bed to sleep in. People are different and it is important that you choose a trip that suits your physical abilities. To help you choose the right active holiday, we have made the following grading scale.

Depending on your fitness level and previous experience, it is of course individual how demanding a hike or trek is perceived. In our grading of a trip, we have included a number of different parameters, such as the number of walking days, the length of the walks, the nature of the paths, altitude, climate, quality of accommodations, luggage transportation, equipment etc.

The better physical shape you are in, the more you will enjoy the trip. Regular exercise such as long walks, running, cycling or swimming will improve your fitness, and working out in a gym will strengthen the muscles and makes life easier in the mountains.

Travelling on foot in mountains and hilly terrain is better measured in hours than in distance, as the steepness of the terrain, the altitude and the quality of the path defines how fast - or slow - you travel. In most walking or trekking programmes it simply does not make sense to mention the distance. That is why we indicate the walking hours. Please note that the walking hours mentioned in our grading system only is indicative. There can be longer walking hours than mentioned, if the terrain is less demanding.

Grade 1
Easy hikes that anyone with good health can do. Short hikes of 2-4 hours a day. The paths are in good conditions and mainly flat, and luggage is transported. Requires no special equipment.

Grade 2
Easier walking at reasonable good paths. The walking time will be 4-6 hours usually in hilly terrain. Every one in good health and a normal physical fitness can participate. Luggage is mostly transported and you only go with a lighter backpack. Requires good footwear such as trekking shoes or hiking boots.

Grade 3
Walking in hilly or mountainous terrain, with longer ascents and descents. You will walk 5-7 hours a day. Requires good fitness and good health, but no technical experience. Requires good footwear such as trekking or hiking boots.

Grade 4
Trekking with daily walks of 6-8 hours, often in difficult terrain and higher altitude. There will be longer ascents and descents. Requires endurance and strong knees and ankles. Requires good hiking boots and "outdoor" clothing. There will be major fluctuations in temperatures.

Grade 5
Longer treks of several weeks, involving sleeping in tents and with daily walks of 6-8 hour in demanding terrain. There can be longer climbs over high passes in altitude around 5.000 meter/17.000 feet. Requires good fitness and endurance ability. Previous trekking experience is recommendable. Requires good hiking boots and regular "outdoor" clothing. There will be major fluctuations in temperatures.

Grade 6
Demanding trekking in difficult terrain. These treks or expeditions often involves crossing glaciers or climbing a peak.  You have to be in great shape, and previous experience in demanding mountain terrain is recommendable. These expeditions will take you to high altitude and there can be passages that require the use of rope and crampons. These treks and climbs challenge your physical limits and the experience of the expeditions can be depending on weather. These demanding treks or expeditions often require equipment like harness, climbing boots and crampons.

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