Trip Gradings

We take great care to ensure that you select an adventure suited to your interests and physical capabilities. The gradings descriptions are a starting point to appreciate what a trip involves and should be consulted in conjunction with our detailed trip notes. We also encourage you to talk with with one of our adventure travel consultant. Please remember, ‘the fitter you are the more you will enjoy your trip!’.

 

Note:  where trips are graded ‘Introductory to Moderate’ or ‘Moderate to Challenging’, the trip involves a combination of two grades, with some days being tougher than others.

 

1. Discovery and Cruising: These are our least demanding trips. These journeys of discovery and cruises involve little or no extended activity and are suitable for people with a basic level of fitness and good health. The itinerary may take place in remote areas (with basic facilities) and may involve long travel days on various types of transport. Sightseeing may be conducted on foot and all participants should be capable of carrying their own luggage from vehicle to hotel rooms. These adventures rarely involve camping. 

Suggested preparation: Once or twice a week, we recommend you walk on undulating terrain for an hour, for at least 2-3 months prior to departure. 

 

2. Adventure Touring: These adventure tours may visit remote areas where facilities are often basic. Some of these trips involve camping or basic lodging. These adventure tours will sometimes involve long journeys and rough roads. Sightseeing and optional day walks are often included and these days may involve up to 5 hours of physical activity. To enjoy these adventures we suggest you are reasonably fit, healthy, have a moderately active lifestyle and have a positive attitude. 

Suggested preparation: Two or three times a week, we recommend you walk on undulating terrain for an hour or more, for at least 3 months prior to departure.

 

3. Introductory: These trips involve trekking or walking, cycling, or paddling for up to five or six hours a day at a slow but steady pace and should never be misinterpreted to mean they are easy trips. Hikes are mainly on well-defined trails with undulating terrain and cycling is on mostly flat surfaces. You will need a reasonable level of fitness and good health. 

Suggested preparation: 30 minutes of aerobic exercise (either cycling or jogging) three times a week for 3 months leading up to your trip. 

 

4. Introductory to Moderate: These trips involve a combination of what is described in our Introductory and Moderate levels. The emphasis is on introductory activity with some moderate components. Hiking trips typically require carrying a daypack only, but could involve carrying a pack of up to 20 pounds (9kg), depending on personal gear. You will need a good level of fitness and be in good health. 

Suggested preparation: We recommend 45 minutes of aerobic exercise three times a week from a minimum of 3 months leading up to your trip. This can include swimming, jogging, hard walking or cycling. For hiking trips, hill or stair walking with a 15lb daypack is highly recommended at least once per week.

 

5. Moderate: These adventures involve trekking, cycling, or paddling for up to 6 or 7 hours a day at a steady pace. Many moderately graded hiking trips involve the carrying of a daypack only, though some may involve carrying a backpack of up to 30 pounds (14kg), depending on personal gear. Hikers should be prepared for plenty of roots, rocks, significant elevation gain, wilderness camping, and potential variable weather conditions. Cyclists should be prepared for undulating terrain and some steep hills. You will need a good level of fitness and be in good health. 

Suggested preparation: 1 hour of aerobic exercise, three to four times a week and extended periods of exercise during the weekend. This can include swimming, jogging, hard walking or cycling. For hiking trips, hill or stair walking with a full day pack is strongly recommended at least once per week (or a 30lb pack for backpacking trips).

 

6. Moderate to Challenging: These trips involve a combination of what is described in our Moderate and Challenging levels. The emphasis is on moderate activity with some challenging components. Hikers should be prepared for very rugged off-trail hiking, significant elevation gain, wilderness camping, and to carry a pack weighing up 45 pounds (20kg), depending on personal gear. You will need to be completely comfortable in adverse weather conditions, have an excellent level of fitness and be in good health.

Suggested preparation: 1 hour of aerobic exercise, four to five times per week for three to six months leading up to departure. Hill walking with a full pack in variable weather conditions or on/off road cycling is essential. 

 

7. Challenging: These adventures involve trekking, cycling or paddling in remote areas in variable weather conditions for up to 8 to 10 hours a day (possibly more subject to weather conditions and altitude). Hikers should be prepared for very rugged off-trail hiking, significant elevation gain, wilderness camping, and to carry a pack weighing up to 45 pounds (20kg), depending on personal gear. You will need to be completely comfortable in adverse weather conditions, have an excellent level of fitness and be in good health. 

Suggested preparation: 1 hour of aerobic exercise, four to five times per week for three to six months leading up to departure. Hill walking with a full pack in variable weather conditions or on/off road cycling is essential. 

 

8. Entry Level Mountaineering and/or Exploratory Treks: These adventures are classed as expeditions. They involve either extreme trekking and or basic mountaineering. Expect remote and poorly defined trails in variable weather conditions for up to 12 hours a day up to altitudes of 4500m, and a pack weighing up to 45 pounds (20kg). Suitable for first time mountaineers, however prior experience trekking in adverse weather conditions at altitude is desirable. Terrain involves low angle snow slopes and ropes may also be used for glacier travel. Where required basic mountaineering instruction is given by our mountaineering guides. You will need an excellent level of fitness and be in good health.

 

9. Intermediate Mountaineering: These expeditions involve extreme trekking and mountaineering. Expect remote and poorly defined trails in variable weather conditions for up to 12-15 hours a day, up to altitudes of 4500m, and a pack weighing up to 45 pounds (20kg). Prior experience at altitude and on an entry level mountaineering expedition is highly recommended. Participants should be competent and self-sufficient in the outdoors, have an excellent level of fitness, and be in good health.

 

10. Advanced Mountaineering: These are our most challenging expeditions involving extreme trekking and mountaineering. Expect remote and poorly defined trails in variable weather conditions for up to 12-15 hours a day, up to altitudes of 5000m. Prior mountaineering experience is essential as most are participatory expeditions involving load carrying, setting up of camps, cooking and camp craft. Some expeditions involve technical climbing at high altitude. Participants should be competent and self-sufficient in the outdoors, have an excellent level of fitness, and be in good health.