Trip Difficulty Categories

Updated March 31, 2021

These categories were developed to help assist trip coordinators apply the appropriate level of difficulty to their event, as well as provide guidance to trip participants.


  • Most Club trips fall into Beginner and Intermediate categories.

  • Screening is not limited to Intermediate & Difficult trips. Waitlisting and screening can occur for all levels.

These categories reflect the relative difficulty of the activity. Difficulty between activities can vary widely. (i.e. A ‘Beginner’ mountaineering trip can still involve >1500m of elevation gain and requires decent fitness, which clearly does not translate into an ‘Beginner’ day hiking trip. A ‘Try’ type of trip, still requires reasonable fitness.)

Beginner:

Is for someone who is not very familiar or experienced in a particular activity or for someone who has recently started an activity.

Trips in this category can comfortably be done in a day with a margin of time to spare. Appropriate for beginners, those recovering from injury, those unsure of their abilities, or for those who wish to transition to a new activity (i.e. I have gone hiking and now want to try scrambling; I climb indoors and want to try outdoor climbing). It is also a good trip for someone who is just starting out, as there can be focus on teaching and providing exposure to the activity.

  • Can be “Try” type trips

  • Each day’s objective or route can be completed with time to spare.

  • Climbing trips are typically at a crag. Participants must have completed a climbing course or equivalent experience and must be able to safely belay.

  • Backcountry winter trips typically would be yo-yo-ing or tours with escape options.

  • Beginner trips typically don’t enter into avalanche terrain, but if required, certified training would be required (AST1).

Intermediate:

Is for someone who has a developed solid base skill set.

Longer days, rougher terrain, more elevation gain, more technical skills required. Expect to be screened for these trips.

  • Possible route finding challenges.

  • More remote destinations.

  • Multi-pitch climbing routes.

  • Multiple technical disciplines required (e.g., scrambling + glacier approach followed by technical climbing).

  • Trips should still be able to be completed in a day by a competent party or in the days planned, in the case of overnight trips.

  • Must have any applicable prerequisite training (i.e. AST1)

  • Mountaineering trips involving glacier travel require certified training or equivalent experience.

Difficult:

Is for someone who has been participating in the activity for many years and has developed a strong skill set.

These are the most challenging trips. Long days, route finding challenges, serious avalanche and/or glaciated terrain, remote objectives and/or multiple hazards (all of the above). Expect to be screened with increased scrutiny by the trip coordinator for skills, fitness, and personality fit within the group. This is the type of trip that you can expect to be put on a waitlist first and then be screened prior to being allowed on the trip.