MOUNTAIN & TREK GRADING
Important safety issues
Please read before embarking on a challenge of any kind:
Please be aware that when you decide to undertake a trek or challenge with PJS Challenges there is always a risk of injury or death. Although our primary concern is to keep you safe at all times, you must be aware that there remains a constant chance of accidents happening.
During any challenge, your trek leaders are continuously assessing every situation including weather conditions and the ability of each individual participating. They will use their experience and professionalism to make judgements to minimize risk of injury and danger to you such as avalanches or stone-fall, but whilst on the mountains, in a dangerous environment, these risks cannot always be predicted or even removed.
In addition, please be aware that when mountaineering, you will be trekking at high altitude, which always carries the risk of altitude sickness. PJS Challenges always provides appropriate acclimatization periods on every challenge, but this will not entirely remove the danger of altitude as the symptoms are often unpredictable and each person reacts differently to altitude. Serious cases of altitude sickness will result in immediate descent, and in severe cases death can occur.
To help you decide which challenge is the best for you we have put together difficulty grades for easy understanding.
How technical are the mountain climbs?
Each challenge is graded 1 – 6 according to technical difficulty. These are based upon several factors including length of the route, dangers and height of the peak.
These should be used as a guide only. PJS Challenges will discuss individual challenges with each participant on a case by case basis to ensure full prior knowledge of the technical difficulties for each trip.
1 - These challenges involve easy scrambling, broad scree or low angled snow ridges up to 30°. No rope climbing is usually required
2 - Ice and snow sections at an angle of up to 35°. Snow skills will be used and winter walking experience using crampons will be essential for these treks
3 - Ice and snow sections at an angle of 45°. (Alpine PD+ Scottish Grade 1/2 Rock VD). It will be essential to have experience of ice axe and crampons in a winter mountaineering environment
4 - Ice and snow sections of angles over 45°. May include steep steps and rock climbing. You will need rock climbing experience and be confident in previous alpine climbing and high altitude
5 - Very steep snow and ice angles over 50°. Only suitable for self-sufficient mountaineers with previous alpine experience
6 - Very steep snow with sustained steep ice pitches. Rock sections up to HVS. Essential to have previous high-altitude mountaineering experience
How fit do I need to be?
Your chance of a successful summit and how much you enjoy your challenge is very much dependent upon your level of fitness. PJS Challenges will discuss this with you in detail, but it is vital that you are honest about your level fitness. If it is deemed as inadequate, you may be asked to remain at camp and be unable to continue your climb.
Please use the following as a guide to which challenge is suitable for you. Each trek is marked accordingly next to each one.
A: These treks are for you if you will enjoy walking for several consecutive days for 7 hours each day
B: These challenges require a good level of cardio- vascular fitness involving currently running, cycling or gym work several times a week
C: These challenges will extra cardio-vascular training to attain the level of fitness required. You will need previous experience of hill-walking to participate in these challenges
D: These expeditions are exceptionally strenuous, and a high level of all round fitness will be required for participation
E: These climbs will involve resistance to extreme weather conditions over extended periods of time. You may need to carry heavy loads over multiple days
Which trek am I capable of?
We have graded each trek (marked next to each one) to help you decide which trek is most suitable for you. We have taken into account the distance of the trek, the toughness of the terrain, weather conditions, altitude, location and the level of support required.
These grades can only be an indication due to changing conditions dependent upon time of year etc., and PJS Challenges will discuss the suitability of each trek with individual participants.
T1 – EASY: These are manageable by anyone in good health. They are usually day trips leaving from comfortable accommodation and are ideal for those looking for short walking days on flat terrain at a low altitude
T2 - MODERATE: These treks involve longer walking days and are not usually longer than 7 days in total. A reasonable level of fitness is required as there will be both ascents and descents. Accommodation will be a mixture of camping / motel
T3 - DIFFICULT: These treks involve climbing higher, on rockier terrain and are more physically demanding. They are appropriate for those wanting a physical challenge. Accommodation is tents / basic huts. Backpacking may be required
T4 - CHALLENGING: These treks are more physically demanding and involve climbing at altitude. Appropriate for those that have experience of multi-day trekking and mountain walking. Backpacking may be required
T5 - STRENUOUS: These are our longest treks in length and distance. They will involve multi-day trekking at high altitude and a high level of fitness will be required. Accommodation will be more ‘basic’. Backpacking may be required
T6 - TECHNICAL: These treks are tough and border on mountaineering. You will be trekking for several days in isolated (beautiful) areas at high altitude. You may encounter high, difficult pass crossings, glacier crossing and will require some basic mountaineering skills and equipment. A high level of fitness and previous experience of ice axe, crampons and rope work is essential.
Several of our challenges will involve carrying your own kit. Those that do are marked ‘BP’ (BackPack) next to each one. The load you will be required to carry will obviously vary dependent upon the length and location of each trip and full details can be found under each trek.
Part of our service includes full guidance and support on purchasing the kit you will need together with advice on packing.