The hike grading system is based on Technical Difficulty and Strenuousness.
Technical Difficulty grades indicate the difficulty of the ‘moves’ on the hike, measuring the degree of technical competence required to complete the hike. A hike is awarded the grade of the most technical section which may be short but stop some hikers in their tracks, thus compromising the outing for the Meet Leader and the other participants. 

Technical Difficulty

Grade 0: Walking on good path, suitable for the whole family

Grade 1: Easy hiking: walking on a trail, no use of hands

Grade 2: Easy hiking: walking on or off trail with occasional use of hands

Grade 2+: Easy scrambles: walking on or off path with frequent use of hands required

Grade 3: Scrambling: frequent use of hands to facilitate upward movement and or a fair amount of exposure to steep drop-offs

Grade 4: Serious scrambling and high exposure levels where most would feel more comfortable using a rope

Strenuousness grades relate to the level of exertion or fitness required to complete the hike: they assess the stamina required to withstand increasing levels of exertion imposed by such factors as: hike length, elevation gain, steep slopes, expected time to complete, bushwhacking (fynbos density), soft sand, mud (conditions after rain), number of river crossings, boulder-hopping, lack of on-route water requiring you to carry it in etc. Strenuousness is graded low (L), medium (M) and high (H). Factors contributing towards a strenuousness grading of M and especially H should be briefly explained in the meet write-up to permit prospective participants to decide whether this hike is within their capability.

Some examples of strenuousness factors:

Strenuousness Factor  

Distance (km/day):     5 km -Low,   5 – 15 km – Medium,  >15 km – High
Elevation gain (m):    <250 m – Low,   250 – 1 000 m – Medium, >1 000m – High
Steep slopes, up and/or down:  None – Low,  Some – Medium, Many – High
Expected time to complete (hr):   2 hours – Low,  2 – 5 hours – Medium, >5 hours – High
The ‘going’: (mud, soft sand, snow and or ice, river crossings, boulder hopping, scree slopes, bushwhacking etc.)
None – Low, Some – Medium, Lots – High
Sea tide complications : None – Low, Possible – Medium, Likely – High
Drinkable water on route :  Lots – Low,  Some – Medium,  None – High
Is this a recce?  No – Low,  Some short sections  – Medium,  Yes, all of it – High
Size of back pack :  Day pack – Low,  Day pack + extra water – Medium, Full pack – High

From the above it is obvious that certain grading combinations such as 1H are mutually exclusive. Some grading examples follow:
Noetzie to Sinclair Hut at high tide: 4M (rope required at some sections at high tide)
Seweweekspoortberg, Cradock Peak: 3H (1 500 m ascent, boulder hopping, icy slopes possible)
Harkerville 2-Day Coastal Hike: 3H (lots of boulder hopping, carrying full pack).
Cradock Peak: 3H (18 km, >1 200 m ascent)
Noetzie to Sinclair Hut at low tide: 3M (some boulder hopping and bundu-bashing)
Robberg Peninsula: 2+M (9 km and 4 hours to complete)
Tait’s Kop: 2+M (6 km and about 500 m ascent)
Wolwe and Kaaimans Rivers kloofing: 2+M (some boulder hopping)
Groeneweide Red Route and Silver pools: 2M (16 km, >5 hours)
Drupkelders: 2M (short steep slopes, up and down)
 De Groote Kosyn: 2M (some bush whacking)
Jonkersberg: 2M (some bush whacking, about 400 m ascent)
Circles in a Forest (previously Woodcutters Trail): 2M
Brenton to Buffalo Bay beach walk: 1L
Platbank to Groenvlei: 0L

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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