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Trip Grading

Trips are graded with a letter and a number to indicate the standards of fitness and technical competence required. The grades indicated are subjective by nature. An easy trip for one person may be arduous for another.

Degree of Strenuousness

A Easy - Less than 4 hours travel on any one day
B Moderate - 4 to 8 hours travel on any one day
C Strenuous - 8-12 hours travel on any one day
D Extreme - More than 12 hours travel on any one day

Technical Difficulty - Hiking and Climbing Trips

Class 1 Groomed hiking trails
Class 2 Hiking - Some scrambling off trail; occasional use of hands
Class 3 Scrambling - Beginners may use rope if exposed.
Class 4 Easy climbing - Continual belaying required for average parties.
Class 5 Climbing - Climbing hardware required for protection.
Class 6 Aid Climbing - Climbing hardware required for direct assistance.
Exposure will increase the apparent difficulty for inexperienced people.

Technical Difficulty - Ski and SnowshoeTrips

1 Gentle slopes (skiing: up to 10 degrees).  Not demanding - a casual stroll.
2 Moderate slopes (skiing: up to 20 degrees). Intermediate difficulty.
3 Steep terrain (skiing: up to 35 degrees) and/or difficult glacier travel. Advanced difficulty.
4 Very steep, rugged terrain (skiing: up to 50 degrees).  Possible use of ropes and/or ice axe.  Advanced difficulty.
5 High angle and/or high exposure.  Extreme!

Additional Ski Grading Information

- by Peter Gumplinger and Michael Feller

Prompted by a wide range of ratings given by different people for the same trip, and the realization that if we graded ski trips like climbing trips (according to the most difficult section) then most of our ski trips would be class 3, some modifications were made to the grading system.  These modifications are reflected in the table below.


  • Trips used as benchmarks for their rating are marked with an asterisk.
  • When an area rather than a specific mountain is given, the standard rating can vary depending on precisely what is skied.
  • Non standard ski routes can have quite different ratings to those given for the standard routes.

Two major modifications to the basic rating system are as:

When a trip consists primarily of one degree of difficulty with a small amount of the next degree of difficulty skiing, this is indicated by separating the two levels by a slash, putting the dominant one first.  Thus 2/3 indicates a trip primarily of difficulty 2 with a small amount of 3.

Sometimes the final climb to the summit is more difficult than the ski up to it.  In this case the final climb rating (for an ascent on foot) is given in brackets after the ski rating.  Thus 3(4) indicates a ski trip of difficulty 3 with a final summit climb rated 4 (easy climbing with belaying required for average parties).

Table of Example Trips with Ratings

Destination Rating

Day Trips

Alice (Cheekye) Ridge B2
Mt. Baker Area / Herman's Saddle / Table Mtn. A2-B2
Brandywine Mtn. C2/3
Mt. Brew B2/3
Brohm Ridge B2
Cheam Peak B3
Cloudburst Mtn. C3
Cypress Peak C3
Diamond Head Area A1-B2
Fat Dog Creek / Cambie Creek A1-B2
Heliotrope Ridge B2
Hollyburn Mtn. A2
Mt. Jimmy Jimmy* C3
Mt. Laughington B2
Magnesia Meadows B2
Metal Dome B2
Needle Peak B2/3(4)
Needle Peak Area* B2/3
Panorama Ridge B3
Poland Lake Area A1
Mt. Price C3
Rainbow Lake Area B2
Rainbow Mtn.* C3
Mt. Rohr C2/3
Ruth Mtn. B3
Mt. Seymour (Brockton Point) A2
Sigurd Lake C3
Silverdaisy Mtn. B2
Singing Pass Area B2
Mt. Sproatt B2/3
Three Brothers Mtn. B-C2
Tomyhoi Peak C3
Tricouni Meadows B2
Tricouni Peak C3(4)
Windy Joe Mtn. A1/2
Mt. Webb C3
Zoa Peak* A2

Weekend Trips

Aspen Peak (Mt. Marriot) Area B3
Aspen Peak C3
Mt. Athelstan C3(4)
Mt. Baker (Coleman Glacier) B-C3
Mt. Baker (south side) B-C3
Black Tusk Area / Taylor Meadows B3
Brandywine Mtn. B3
Mt. Breakenridge B3
Mt. Brew B2/3
Mt. Callaghan B3
Capricorn Mtn.* C3
Mt. Carr B3
Caspar Peak / Caspar Creek Area B3
Cayoosh Mtn.* B3
Cerise Creek Area B2
Cloudraker Mtn. C3
Cypress Peak B3
Diamond Head / Elfin Lakes A1-B2
Mt. Duke B3
Fat Dog Creek / Cambie Creek B2
Frosty Mtn. (via Windy Joe Mtn.) B2
Garibaldi Lake (near area) B2/3
Mt. Garibaldi (Brohm Ridge) B3(4)
Mt. Garibaldi (Diamond Head) C-D3(4)
Garibaldi Névé Traverse C3
International Peak (Mt. Rahm) B3/4
Ipsoot Mtn.* C3
Mt. Jimmy Jimmy B3
Mamquam Mtn. C3
Mt. Matier B3(4)
Mt. Outram B3
Place Glacier Area B-C3
Mt. Price B3
Railroad Pass Area / Face Mtn. B3
Rainbow Mtn. B2
Rhododendron Mtn. C3
Ring Mtn. B2/3
Mt. Rohr* B2/3
Saxifrage Mtn. / Cassiope Mtn. B3
Mt. Sedgwick C3
Mt. Shuksan (Sulfide Glacier) B3(4)
Silver Star Mtn. B3(4)
Singing Pass B2
Snowspider Mtn. C3
Mt. Sproatt / Gin & Tonic Lakes B2
The Sphinx C3
Tetrahedron Plateau A1-B3
Three Brothers Area/Crossover B2
Wedgemount Lake Area/Peaks C3/4

Long-Weekend Trips

Mt. Adams / Mt. St. Helens C3
Lizzie Lake Area B3
North Creek Cabin* B3
Overseer Mtn. C3
Place Glacier Area B3
Powdercap Traverse B2/3
Spearhead Traverse* C3

Rating Trips

Individuals are expected to assess their own abilities in consultation with the trip organizer. The safety of the individual and the party depend on this. New members should begin on A or B rated trips depending upon their fitness level. C rated trips are strenuous even for experienced people and should not be attempted until one is comfortable with B trips. B rated trips can exhibit the characteristics of a C trip if the conditions become difficult. It is necessary to have a margin of safety; therefore, those improperly equipped and/or lacking the necessary skills or experience should not attempt trips rated too difficult for them.

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