Trip Grading - Abbey Travel, Ireland

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Trip Grading - A Reality Check

 

Exodus walking and trekking trips are designed to be accessible to all who are in good health and enjoy the outdoors, but fitness levels are important and you should consider carefully which trip is right for you. The Exodus grading system is there to help you choose a trip appropriate to your ability and requirements. For harder trips the correct preparation can vastly enhance your enjoyment; stamina building aerobic activities such as regular cycling, swimming, jogging and walking beforehand will make a noticeable difference.

There is no need to worry about not walking fast enough or holding back the group. All you need to focus on is your ability to complete the route. Everyone has his or her own comfortable pace and we always strive to accommodate this. All Walking & Trekking holidays present physical demands, so expect to feel some tiredness even after a ‘leisurely’, grade 1, day’s walking. Grades are only a guide, and we advise reading the Trip Notes for more information.

Know your grade?

 

             

How Exodus grade their Walking & Trekking holidays

When grading a trip the following factors are considered:

  • Length of trek and walking day
  • Trail conditions underfoot
  • Level of porterage and support
  • Maximum altitude and average
  • Elevation gain/loss per day
  • Likely prevailing weather conditions
  • Temperature range
  • Remoteness of local services and general level of comfort

 

Leisurely (Grade 1)

Experience is not necessary; anyone fit and healthy enough to complete a weekend walk can manage a Leisurely, grade 1 departure. 

LENGTH OF
WALKING DAY

CONDITIONS
UNDERFOOT

ALTITUDE

ELEVATION GAIN

OTHER

Short, often optional walks of between four and five hours duration

Good, well maintained paths or tracks

Low altitude, with little daily variation

Daily ascents will likely be around 300m to 500m, perhaps with the odd day ascending around 600m. 

Generally good weather and easy access to local amenities

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Moderate (Grade 2)

Again, no experience is necessary; those who take weekend hill walks in areas like the Peak District or Cotswold’s at home should manage a grade 2 trek; good health and reasonable fitness are important. These Moderately graded departures are either fairly easy medium-duration walks or harder, shorter walks. 

 

LENGTH OF
WALKING DAY

CONDITIONS
UNDERFOOT

ALTITUDE

ELEVATION GAIN

OTHER

Occasional longer/harder days – average five to seven hours duration

Generally good paths, but some rocky terrain

Some trips will go to moderately high altitudes but no extremes.

Daily ascents will likely be around 500m to 800m, perhaps with the odd day ascending around 900m to 1000m. 

No real extremes of weather and generally good access to local facilities

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Challenging (Grade 3)

Fitness is important and you may have to improve yours before departure. Most treks at this grade compare to extended walking in mountainous terrain such as the Lakes or Snowdonia, but usually at significantly higher altitudes; climate and remoteness can also play a part. Previous trekking experience is desirable, but not vital if you are confident of your physical condition. 

LENGTH OF
WALKING DAY

CONDITIONS
UNDERFOOT

ALTITUDE

ELEVATION GAIN

OTHER

Six to eight hours with occasional longer days on peaks or passes

Expect some difficult terrain underfoot, including loose scree

Some trips may reach high altitudes

Daily ascents will likely be around 900m to 1000m, perhaps with the odd day ascending around 1100m to 1200m. 

Some extremes of hot/cold likely and possibly remote areas with basic facilities on some nights

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Tough (Grade 4)

Those experienced in trekking for a number of consecutive days in the Scottish Highlands, will understand how tough treks at this grade can be – stamina is essential, as walking days are long. We recommend previous trekking experience, preferably at altitude; you need complete confidence in your physical condition and the ability to trek for many days over difficult terrain. 

LENGTH OF
WALKING DAY

CONDITIONS
UNDERFOOT

ALTITUDE

ELEVATION GAIN

OTHER

Long, hard days of around seven or eight hours (or longer) duration

Difficult terrain including snow or scrambling sections – you may need ice axe and crampons

Expect extremes of altitude, sometimes for extended times.

Daily ascents will likely be around 1000m to 1200m, perhaps with the odd day ascending around 1300m to 1400m.

Remote, wild environments with extreme weather at times. Few facilities, perhaps for extended periods- be prepared to rough it!

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Tough + (Grade 5)

A grade 5 tour combines all the elements of our grade 4, tough itineraries, but includes climbing a glaciated mountain peak. Specialist equipment, like ice axes and crampons will be needed and you should have experience of them. Please check the Trip Notes carefully to ensure that your experience and equipment meets the demands of an E Grade trip.

LENGTH OF
WALKING DAY

CONDITIONS
UNDERFOOT

ALTITUDE

ELEVATION GAIN

OTHER

Numerous long hard days with early starts

Technical terrain – ice, snow or rock

Our biggest and most technical trips – sometimes reaching over 6000m!

Daily ascents will likely be around 1000m to 1200m, perhaps with the odd day ascending around 1300m to 1400m.

Remote, wild environments with extreme weather at times. Few facilities, perhaps for extended periods- be prepared to rough it!

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Split and Optional Grades

In order to provide a more accurate grading system, where a trip falls between two grades we use an intermediate or split grade, for example 1/2. Occasionally, there are optional ascents available en route, in this case the optional grade is indicated in brackets, for example Grade 3 (climb 5).

Clearly, conditions may differ from region-to-region or month-to-month and as such the information given on these pages is designed to act as a guide only. In all cases you should refer to the respective holiday's Trip Notes for further details.

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