It is challenging to quantify the difficulty rating for various events, but in keeping with our mandate of being a variety club, and not a hard-core single-activity club, our rating system/guidelines are described in detail below. Notes:

 

Hike Canoe Inline Skate
Scramble River Raft Ice Skate
Snow Shoe Road Bike Cross-Country Ski
Urban Hike Mountain Bike Downhill Ski
Backpack



Hikes

Hikes are rated according to distance traveled, the amount of elevation gained, seasonal conditions, and if applicable, special considerations for the route, pace, etc.
Difficulty (D) # Name Specs
2 Easy to Moderate Less than 8km distance and negligible elevation gain
3 Moderate Approx 8-16km with gentle elevation gain (for example, 100m-150m gain to 1km distance)
4 Moderate to Difficult Greater distance (over 16km) and more challenging elevation gain (200m gain to 1km distance).
5 Difficult Greater distance (over 25km), challenging elevation gain (over 1000m), and/or seasonal conditions or special considerations.



Scrambles

Scrambles are rated according to technical difficulty, degree of exposure, and length of route. For all scrambles, there will be significant elevation gain (usually at least 1000m, but more commonly around 1500m, and occasionally upwards of 2000m). Routes that are not in optimal condition (dry and free of snow) will be rated more difficult than the same route under ideal conditions. Specs below are from Alan Kane's "Scrambles in the Canadian Rockies".
Difficulty (D) # Name Specs Notes
4 Moderate to Difficult Mostly hiking, much hands in the pockets stuff, little exposure, no maintained trail A scramble that is rated "Easy" in Kane's book. For example, Ha Ling Peak, or the south peak of Mount Indefatigable
5 Difficult Frequent use of handholds required, possible exposure but not usually enough to be a fatal. Some routefinding involved A scramble that is rated "Moderate" in Kane's book. For example Eiffel Peak or Mt. Temple
6 Advanced Much use of handholds required, sections may be steep, loose and exposed, or rock could be smooth and downward sloping. Fall distance may be significant enough to be fatal. Route finding skills are generally necessary to determine the most practical and feasible route for specific sections. Anyone with vertigo or a fear of heights should avoid these scrambles. A scramble that is rated "Difficult" in Kane's book. For example Mount Whtye or Mt. Stephen



Snow shoeing

Snow shoe trips are rated similarly to hikes, but because of the additional challenge of snow conditions and equipment, they are rated one level higher than hikes according to distance traveled, the amount of elevation gained, seasonal conditions, and if applicable, special considerations for the route, pace, etc.
Difficulty (D) # Name Specs
2 Easy to Moderate Less than 5km distance and negligible elevation gain
3 Moderate Approx 5-10km with gentle elevation gain (for example, 100m-150m gain over 1km distance)
4 Moderate to Difficult Greater distance (over 10km) and more challenging elevation gain (for example, 200m gain over 1km distance)
5 Difficult Greater distance, challenging elevation gain and seasonal conditions or special considerations.



Urban Hikes

Urban hikes (walks) are rated easier than mountain hikes because of the extra considerations introduced by any activity in the mountains.
Difficulty (D) # Name Specs
1 Easy Less than 8km distance and negligible elevation gain
2 Easy to Moderate Approx 8-16km with gentle elevation gain (for example, 100m-150m gain to 1km distance)



Backpacking

Backpack trips are rated according to distance covered per day as well as elevation gain. Backpack trips which involve packing in and out with lighter-pack day hikes on the in-between days are rated according to the hike rating system, but one notch higher. Trips that involve packing every single day will be bumped up a level to account for the additional weight required to carry each day.
Difficulty (D) # Name Specs
3 Moderate Pack in and out only: Less than 8km distance and negligible elevation gain per day
4 Moderate to Difficult Pack in and out only: Approx 8-16km with gentle elevation gain (for example, 100m-150m gain over 1km distance) per day
Pack every day: Less than 8km distance and negligible elevation gain per day
5 Difficult Pack in and out only: Greater distance (over 16km), more challenging elevation gain (for example, 200m gain over 1km distance) per day
Pack every day: Approx 8-16km with gentle elevation gain (for example, 100m-150m gain over 1km distance) per day
6 Advanced Pack every day: Greater distance (over 16km), more challenging elevation gain (for example, 200m gain over 1km distance) per day, challenging terrain



Canoeing

Canoe trips are rated according to distance, hazards and technical difficulty. Our ratings for canoe trips are Difficulty Descriptions are based on the International Scale of River Difficulty
Difficulty (D) # Name Specs
2 Easy to Moderate Short/easy trips on stationary or slow-moving water
3 Moderate Rivers with at most Class I rapids: Fast moving water with riffles and small waves. Few obstructions, all obvious and easily missed with little training. Risk to swimmers is slight; self-rescue is easy
4 Moderate to Difficult Rivers with at most Class II rapids: Straightforward rapids with wide, clear channels which are evident without scouting. Occasional maneuvering may be required, but rocks and medium-sized waves are easily missed by trained paddlers. Swimmers are seldom injured and group assistance, while helpful, is seldom needed



River Rafting

River rafting trips are rated according to distance, hazards and technical difficulty. Generally, a river rafting trip is rated one level easier than the canoe rating. Trips rated higher than Moderate must be organized by a certified river rafting company.
Difficulty (D) # Name Specs
2 Easy to Moderate Rivers with at most Class I rapids: Fast moving water with riffles and small waves. Few obstructions, all obvious and easily missed with little training. Risk to swimmers is slight; self-rescue is easy
3 Moderate Rivers with at most Class II rapids: Straightforward rapids with wide, clear channels which are evident without scouting. Occasional maneuvering may be required, but rocks and medium-sized waves are easily missed by trained paddlers. Swimmers are seldom injured and group assistance, while helpful, is seldom needed
4 Moderate to Difficult Rivers with at most Class III rapids: Rapids with moderate, irregular waves which may be difficult to avoid and which can swamp an open canoe. Complex maneuvers in fast current and good boat control in tight passages or around ledges are often required; large waves or strainers may be present but are easily avoided. Strong eddies and powerful current effects can be found, particularly on large-volume rivers. Scouting is advisable for inexperienced parties. Injuries while swimming are rare; self-rescue is usually easy but group assistance may be required to avoid long swims
5 Difficult Rivers with at most Class IV rapids: Intense, powerful but predictable rapids requiring precise boat handling in turbulent water. Depending on the character of the river, it may feature large, unavoidable waves and holes or constricted passages demanding fast maneuvers under pressure. A fast, reliable eddy turn may be needed to initiate maneuvers, scout rapids, or rest. Rapids may require “must” moves above dangerous hazards. Scouting may be necessary the first time down. Risk of injury to swimmers is moderate to high, and water conditions may make self-rescue difficult. Group assistance for rescue is often essential but requires practiced skills



Road Biking

Road biking is rated according to distance, pace, hills and hazards (ie. traffic)
Difficulty (D) # Name Specs
2 Easy to Moderate An urban bike ride on city trails, less than 30k.
3 Moderate Urban or highway ride, 30k-50k
4 Moderate to Difficult Highway ride, often in the mountains, 50k-100k
5 Difficult Highway ride, often in the mountains, 100+ km



Mountain Biking

Mountain biking is rated according to pace, terrain and technical difficulty
Difficulty (D) # Name Specs
3 Moderate Easy terrain, slow pace, easy hills, hard packed trail.  Beginners are often welcome.
4 Moderate to Difficult Moderate pace, some steep hills, tree roots, muddy sections, loose surface, narrow trail.
5 Difficult Technically challenging.  Moderate/fast pace, steep hills, mud, roots, rocks/scree, loose surface, narrow trail.
6 Advanced Very technically challenging.  Moderate/fast pace, steep hills, mud, roots, rocks/scree, loose surface, narrow trail.



Inline Skating

Inline Skating is rated according to trail conditions, hills, traffic exposure, intended distance covered and intended pace.
Difficulty (D) # Name Specs
1 Easy Intended for beginners. Short distance, smooth flat trail with little or no hills/traffic.
2 Easy to Moderate Not intended for beginners. Greater distance, some experience required for dodging debris, children, traffic, some hills.
3 Moderate Experienced skaters only. Greater distance, faster pace. Debris, children, traffic and some hills.
4 Moderate to Difficult Experienced skaters only. Greater distance, fast pace. Debris, children, traffic and significant hills.



Ice Skating

The degree of difficulty for ice skating generally is affected by conditions only - each participant can, of course decide how fast/hard they want to skate. Beginners are always welcome on ice skating events.
Difficulty (D) # Name Specs
1 Easy Groomed ice
2 Easy to Moderate Outdoor ice



Cross-Country Skiing

Cross-Country Skiing is rated according to terrain, trail conditions, distance, amount and type of hills, and expected pace.
Difficulty (D) # Name Specs
2 Easy to Moderate Intended for beginners. Groomed trails, green (easy) trails only.
3 Moderate Not intended for beginners. Generally on groomed trails, green and blue trails, expectation for pace and distance posted.
4 Moderate to Difficult Experienced skiers only. Often trails are ungroomed, significant distance is covered and hills are present.
5 Difficult Experienced skiers only. Often trails are ungroomed, significant distance is covered and hills are present. Greater distance and elevation gain.



Downhill Skiing

When downhill skiing, it is generally up to the individual how difficult the day will be. They choose which runs to take and how many of them.
Difficulty (D) # Name Specs
3 Moderate A ski day with no specific expectations posted OR a ski day posted for green/blue runs
5 Difficult A ski day posted for those who wish to ski exclusively black/double black runs

 
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