All our course and expeditions are graded for ability and fitness levels. When choosing a trip pay close attention to both ratings and this will help you to choose one that is best for you. Having climbers/skiers of a similar ability and fitness level on the same trip helps us make sure that everyone has a great time and gets what they want out of it!
Of course these are guidelines and if you are not sure, feel free to contact us to discuss which trip is best for you!
SKI ABILITY LEVELS
I have skied off piste at least several times and may have had some off piste instruction. I dream of effortlessly cruising fluffy powder away from the crowds, but at the moment, I’m not quite there! I struggle to link more than a few turns at a time and often have to traverse to avoid losing control or falling. I have limited control over where I turn and I’m afraid of picking up too much speed. I fall or stop frequently. I am looking forward to an intensive week improving my off piste technique!
I am an off piste skier with varying success and have skied at least 1-2 weeks predominantly off piste. I can link, without traversing, at least 5 – 10 turns together with reasonable control, style and speed, down the fall line, in most snow types. Deep/heavy snow and crust are still a problem. I usually don’t fall unless the snow is very heavy/deep or crusty. I may not like icy slopes but can ski them in control.
I can link, without traversing, at least 10-15 short or long radius turns off piste in any kind of snow. I have good control and choose where to turn most of the time. The thought of fresh powder excites me and I enjoy the challenge of difficult snow. I can sideslip forwards and backwards, sidestep up and down, and can ski 35-40 degree slopes. I ski off piste whenever I can and enjoy skiing far from the lifts/pistes.
I often ski couloirs and steep slopes, where jump turning is required. Powder skiing is my dream and 35 degree slopes are a cruise. My friends call me a ‘Jedi’.
SKI FITNESS LEVELS
I can ski all day from first lift, only taking short breaks every so often. I can ski about 4000+m per day. I could hike up to an hour most days at a slow pace. I exercise once or twice a week for an hour or so, either a brisk walk or gentle run or something similar.
I can ski all day with only short breaks and can hike up to 2 hours a day (600m of uphill) at a reasonable pace. I exercise at least twice a week if not more for minimum one hour. I will run, cycle, swim and enjoy regular cardio. I am happy to suffer for a little while, so that i can enjoy a few well earned beers after!
I can ski all day with only short breaks and can hike/skin for 3-4 hours most days (600-1000m) at a reasonable pace. My fitness is an important part of my weekly timetable, i exercise 3-4 times a week. I may exercise for up to 3 hours, either long hike, bike rides or something of the sort.
I can ski all day and hike/skin for 4-5 hours every day (1000-1400m). I exercise regularly and am constantly looking to improve my fitness. I will occasionally spend full days hiking, biking or something similar.
I can ski all day and hike/skin for 5-6 hours every day (1200-1500m). I can live in a full expedition environment. My body is a temple. I have kept my level of fitness at a high level for a long period of time, exercise regularly and often spend full days hiking/ climbing/ biking.
CLIMB ABILITY LEVELS
This is appropriate for all levels of ability
You have climbed indoors (toproping or leading) to F5+. You have little or no experience leading outdoors.
You can toprope F6a+ and can lead on bolted climbs. You are keen to push your grade, learn multi-pitch or trad skills.
straight forward footpaths or jeeptracks with 4-6 hours walking per day. Snow would be unusual as you are trekking under 2500m
Rough, rocky footpaths in more remote areas. You may encounter snow or straight forward glacier crossings and you may be above 3000m for days at a time. 5-8 hours hiking per day.
No alpine experience is required but previous hill walking, trekking or easy mountaineering is a bonus. You will be using crampons and be roped up on glaciers.
ALPINE LEVEL 2
Previous rock, ice or easy alpine climbing experience is required to get the most from this trip. You will either be starting to venture onto more technical terrain or in a more remote/harsh environment.
ALPINE LEVEL 3
Previous experience climbing alpine PD or harder is required. Sustained scrambling and some pitched climbing on rock and ice can be expected.
ALPINE LEVEL 4
Technical climbing proficiency and previous experience at climbing alpine AD routes as well as a knowledge of ropework and glacier travel is required.
CLIMB FITNESS LEVELS
Good hill walking fitness/cardiovascular fitness and endurance greatly increase your enjoyment and help prevent injuries.
Good cardiovascular fitness and upper-body strength are very helpful, but not crucial. Frozen waterfalls are steep, and approaches can be several hours in deep snow.
General fitness, good power to weight ratio and rock climbing specific fitness will help, but are not crucial due to the venues we visit.
Good cardiovascular and hill walking fitness is a must. Endurance is key to successful mountaineering several days in a row. Typical days require 5-6 hours of climbing, and summit days can be upto 10-15 hours!
These climbs are strenuous with back to back days of climbing 6 hours, probably at altitude for an extended trip.
higher altitude (6000m+) or harsh conditions and the long trip duration require excellent cardiovascular and endurance fitness. You must be able to live for days/weeks on end in expedition conditions.
Extreme altitude (8000m+) and living in an expedition environment for 6 weeks or more require the highest possible levels of fitness and resilience. Lots of training and experience are a must for these trips.