Trekking is perceived differently by different people. And with every adventure group the definitions of trekking grades vary. The basics however remain the same which help decide which is which grade. Before talking about grade it is essential to know why grades exist in the first place. The reason is straightforward. They form an expectation in the trekker’s mind and also give him an idea of what to prepare for.
The grades are categorized so after considering a number of factors. In most of the cases, on the basis of these factors grading is done. These factors are length of the trek and travel conditions, the average and maximum altitude of the trek, the weather conditions (temperature range, oxygen levels) and the ease of availability of local services.
Below are the grades and the fitness level required for each grade?
Grade 1 & 2
It is also known as Tame Trek or leisure trek. This is generally an easy trek which does not demand much of fitness levels. If you are moderately fit then you are fit for the trek. The trek is generally 6 hours long. The path you take is not strenuous; there are not many steep ascents/descents. The chances of getting tired are tiny. Overall feel of the trek is leisurely.
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Grade 3 & 4
It is also known as Tough trek. Tougher than the Grade 1 and 2 these sorts of treks are generally Alpine treks. High altitudes with passes crossing 3000 m marks are common here. The walks and hikes last longer than 6 hours, the course is rough, rocky and steep very frequently. As you go higher you also encounter snow patches. To do this one, should have prior mountain experience. You should have good adaptability to the weather change and be physically trained.
Grade 5 & 6
These treks falling under this grade are called “Tech Treks”. As the name suggests there is involvement of technical equipments, the knowledge of which you should have or take. Rise in grade signifies rise in average altitude of the trek. So if you are trekking everyday at 2500m on an average it rises to 3500-4000 m. The oxygen levels at this level waver where in your fitness levels come in. As far as the technical instruments go one, you should be able to use ropes at some of the steep climbs. Overall these grades are for the ardent lovers of treks and hikes.
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The fitness levels are decided by a number of factors. Before you set out for a trek you have to get yourself medically checked where your blood pressure, your weight and BMI index is measured. You are asked to fill out medical forms. You are also given first aid lessons which are very handy. Asthmatic people are not allowed on techy treks because thin layer of oxygen can prove hazardous to their health. The can stay within a range of 6000-12000 feet. Other than fitness level the most essential things that experience trekkers carry with them our massive tolerance power, outstanding sense of humor and lots of positivism