Grading

Before signing up for a mountaineering, climbing, or ski course, ensure you match the required fitness & skill level.

You are always welcome to mail or call for advice.

Please follow the links below.



Group courses will always have a minimum requirement for needed fitness and technical level needed. We aim to build strong and cohesive teams with realistic ambitions., so everyone can reach their potential.

Private bookings can be tailored to accommodate individuals and groups of varying fitness levels, experience, and technical abilities. These bookings are typically composed of individuals, couples, close friends, or larger families who want their personalized trips. By booking together, everyone assumes responsibility for the group’s composition and will be more understanding if an itinerary is changed to fit the group’s fitness or technical level.


Mountaineering & Glacier Trekking

The “Overall level” is described roughly as “introduction,” “Intermediate,” etc., to categorize the level of experience needed easily. The actual level of a course will more accurately be noted on the course page or single activity. It will be based on the more specified “Technical difficulty” and “Fitness requirements” listed below.

Rock climbs, ice fall climbing, and mountaineering routes all have individual gradings. Below, we have included these.

Make note that all our courses and trips require the participants to be in good health, with no problems such as “obesity,” “heart condition,” “joint disorders,” etc.

Overall Level

Introduction You are fit and strong but haven’t necessarily done any climbing or alpinism before.
IntermediateYou have done quite a bit of hill walking or trekking. You are used to long days and walking in uneven terrain with a backpack. You have done some rock climbing and/or easy mountaineering. You hope to learn more basic techniques for climbing peaks.
You train regularly and are in good shape.
AdvancedYou already have much experience from summer trekking, climbing, and mountaineering. You hire a guide to climb more technical climbs, learn advanced techniques, or climb harder alpine classic routes (AD/D routes) or grade 4-6 rock climbs.
ExpertYou are a good rock climber and maybe an alpinist doing routes in your spare time with regular partners. You need a partner and are willing to hire a guide for your summer climbing or your more ambitious projects.
You will find more specific descriptions in the Technical and Fitness section below. An overall fitness and technical grading are explained on each activity or course.

Technical Difficulty

1Easy :

You have done a few treks or back-packing in uneven terrain. You have good balance and mobility. You don’t necessarily have previous experience with climbing and mountaineering or have only scratched the surface of these sports.
2Quite difficult:

It is not your first time climbing on rocks or in the mountains. You have some knowledge of basic skills like belaying and rappelling. You can climb easy routes of up to 3/4 grade.

You have tried using crampons and ice axes on easier terrain but haven’t necessarily done any alpine summits yet.

Note – even if you don’t feel quite ready for the challenge yet, we can help you along:

1. Check our “Intro Mountaineering course.”
2. You could also book a guide, e.g. 1-2 days before the requested trip.
+2Quite difficult – technical training:

This is the minimum required level to join our alpine course. On top of the “2” description, you must have some rock-climbing experience. A good reference would be doing an introduction rock-climbing course with instructions on belaying, establishing an anchor, abseiling, etc.
3 Advanced Level

We will be climbing routes of difficulty PD/AD grade.
You are trained in using crampons and ice axes and have climbed on rock, snow and ice.
You are in excellent physical shape.
4Very difficult:

Technically difficult routes of grade AD/D.
A ratio of one guide to one client is necessary when the technical difficulty is high or the terrain is complicated and exposed.
The participant must have previous experience with alpine climbing from other trips and be able to present a log of various climbs..
5 Extremely difficult:
The most difficult alpine routes. Mountain guides guide these routes with clients, but only after they have done much climbing together.

Fitness Requirement

AIn Shape:
You train regularly in cardio sports like running, biking, etc. At least 1 or 2 times per week.

Day trips with stages of 5-7 hours with 6-8 kg backpacks.
BFeeling pretty Fit:

You train 2-3 times per week with cardio sports. You can do 4-5 hours of walking, 2-3 hours MTB, or up to 70km of biking without being too tired.

Single or consecutive days with 8-10h stages with 6-10kg backpacks.
C1/2 Marathon:
You train 2-4 times a week with cardio-sports. You can manage trekking for 7-8 hours, run steadily for 2 hours, and go on mountain bike tours for 4-5 hours. You should be able to do these activities at a moderate pace without overexerting yourself.
You should be in the category if you recently have done a half-marathon or something similar.

We can be on days from 8-12 hours carrying an 8-10kg backpack.
DMarathon:

You love training and train most days running or doing some exercise. You can run a marathon at about 3h30mn or quicker and will not be afraid of going for long-distance bike rides or long walks in the mountains. You have tried doing sports where you were active for 8h-10h non-stop (E.g. ultra-runs).

You can “dig deep” when needed.

We could potentially do very long mountain trips with 10-14 hours of exercise, with 8-10kg backpacks.
EUltra-marathon:

You are in the top 1-2%. Super fit, endurance athlete and ready for any long-distance challenge.
Grading examples from courses and various known routes
Technical LevelFitness GradeRoute Examples
1ANormal non-technical trekking routes around Chamonix, easy Via Ferrata, Via Corda, single-pitch rock climbing (top-roping)
1BTravers of the Vallée Blanche, Intro mountaineering course, Aiguille du Toule, Col des Entreves
2ATravers of Marbrés, Cosmique ridge
2BAiguille du Tour, Travers of the Chrochues, grade 4 multi-pitch rock climbs
2+BAlpin introduction course
2CHaute Route Glacier trek, Berner Oberland Glacier trek, Grand Paradiso 4063m
3BChapelle de la Gliere, Travers of the Perrons, Aiguille du Peigne, Aiguille de l’M, Travers of the Entreves, grade 5b rock climbs
3CSaas 4000m, Berner Oberland 4000m
3DMont Blanc 4810m
4CArete Fleche Rousse, Dent du Geant, Aiguille du Chardonnet by Forbes arete, Arete des Rochefort, Aiguille du Chardonnet Migot, grade 6a rock climbs
4DMatterhorn Hörnli Rigde, Eiger Mittellegi Ridge
5DAiguille Verte, Kuffner ridge
The suggested grades above are given for routes in their best condition. A 2C level will sometimes become a 3C if the route is icy, rocks are covered in snow, etc. This is particularly the case with high mountain routes but less of a problem with pure rock routes in lower altitudes.

Alpine Grade – Mountain Routes

The alpine grade is often followed by a + or -. This will indicate if a grade is inbetween or approaching a lower or higher grade. This was introduced as the jump from one grade to another often is quite significant.

F: Facile (easy) Straightforward routes with easy rock-scrambling. These sections can mostly be climbed without using the rope. They usually present manageable glaciated sections where you are travelling roped up.
PD: Peu difficile (slightly difficult)Routes may be longer at altitude, with snow and ice slopes up to 45 degrees. Glaciers are more complex, scrambling is harder, climbing may require some belaying, and descent may involve rappelling—more objective hazards.
AD: Assez difficile (fairly difficult)Physically demanding routes for more experienced climbers presenting snow and ice sections at an angle of 45–65 degrees, rock climbing in big boots up to UIAA grade III-IV—Many shorter sections need belaying, but you also find longer sections on the easy rock where you can be moving together—you can have some objective hazards present.
D: Difficile (difficult)This is a hard and more serious route presenting difficulties on rock (grade IV and V), snow,z and ice slopes at 50–70 degrees. Routes may be extended, sustained, or harder but shorter—serious objective hazards.
TD: Très difficile (very difficult)Hard, more serious with rock climbing at IV-VI, snow and ice slopes at 50–70 degrees. Routes may be extended, sustained, or harder but shorter—serious objective hazards.
ED1/2/3/4: Extrèmement difficile (extremely difficult)Extremely hard, exceptional objective danger, vertical ice slopes, and rock climbing up to VI to VIII, with possible aid pitches.
Source: Wikipedia

Off-piste & Ski Touring

The “Overall level” is described roughly as “introduction,” “Intermediate,” etc., to categorize the level of experience needed easily. The actual level of a course will more accurately be noted on the course page or single activity. It will be based on the more specified “Technical difficulty” and “Fitness requirements” listed below.

Make note that all our courses and trips require the participants to be in good health, with no problems such as “obesity”, “heart condition”, “joint disorders” etc.

Overall Level

Introduction You are fit and reasonably strong. You are a good piste skier and can handle any marked ski run within the resort without any problems. You haven’t got that much experience skiing off-piste, but will always practise just outside the piste after a snowfall. You might have done a few off-piste descents with mountain guides., but would still consider yourself a beginner.

You have most likely not started ski touring yet or just tried it on a few occasions.
IntermediateYou are an excellent off-piste skier and can handle most snow conditions. Depending on the snow, you are comfortable on steeper slopes of 35-40 degrees. You can make a controlled side-slipe when needed.

You have done single-day ski tours and maybe tried a hut trip with one or more nights. You know the basic technics of ski touring and are familiar with the equipment.
AdvancedYou are a good off-piste skier and can handle most snow conditions. Depending on the snow, you are comfortable on steeper slopes of 35-40 degrees. You can make a controlled side-slipe when needed.

You have done single-day ski tours and maybe tried a hut trip with one or more nights. You know the basic technics of ski touring and are familiar with the equipment.
ExpertYou are very fit, strong, healthy, and have a high stamina. You can tackle even the steepest slopes with good control and easily adjust your turns and speed to the terrain.

Ski touring and climbing up couloirs are your thing; you are good and swift in transitions. You have your own gear, refined toward your ski/touring/climbing profile. You have some general climbing/abseiling knowledge.
You will find more specific descriptions in the Technical and Fitness section below. Overall fitness and technical grading is explained for each activity or course.

Technical Ski Difficulty

S1Quite difficult :

You are a good piste skier and are comfortable skiing any of the marked runs in a ski resort.
After a snowfall, you ski off-piste near the marked runs and might even have done a few days of off-piste skiing with mountain guides.

You have good control when the snow in the off-piste isn’t too changeable. You are capable of doing turns in 35-degree steep terrain. You wish to get more mileage in the off-piste and improve techniques.

We are in classic off-piste terrains, like open forest runs, powder bowls, easy couloirs, and glaciated terrain without much exposure. We can try short, steep sections but will generally not look for any exposure.

You wish to learn more about the use of avalanche beacons and route choice in avalanche terrain.
S2Difficult :

You are a good off-piste skier with lots of experience. You have already been skiing off-piste with mountain guides.

You should be able to make controlled turns in 40-degree steep terrain or side-slip controlled down if the snow is difficult or you are not “feeling it”.

We are in all off-piste terrain: Forest, open slopes, couloirs, and often on glaciated runs. We access straight from the lifts, hike, or use ski touring equipment. We can encounter steep sections with hard snow, where you need absolute control.

You most likely have your own avalanche beacon, shovel, and probe and have trained in the use of it. You have knowledge of skiing in avalanche terrain and can help in an avalanche situation.
S3 Quite difficult :

You are a very good piste skier and have had ski instruction to perfect your style and technique. You can do the most difficult piste runs and get down any mogul run.
You have already done a fair bit of off-piste skiing and have most likely done a few guided off-piste tours already.

You have good control when the snow in the off-piste isn’t too changeable. You are capable of doing turns in 35-degree steep terrain. You wish to get more mileage in the off-piste and improve techniques.

We are in classic off-piste terrains, like open forest runs, powder bowls, easy couloirs, and glaciated terrain without much exposure. We can try short, steep sections but will generally not look for any exposure.

You wish to learn more about the use of avalanche beacons and route choice in avalanche terrain.
S4Very Difficult :

You are an expert off-piste skier without much space for ski improvement. You have a large repertoire of turns and are as good at doing fast, long turns in powder as executing short, controlled, and precise turns in steep terrain. You can keep an edge and side slip controlled in tricky steep sections.

You recognize when an exposed section demands extra attention. You can quickly adjust your speed and technic to cater to a change in snow conditions.

You have your own avalanche beacon, shovel, and probe and have trained in the use of it. You have knowledge of skiing in avalanche terrain and can help in an avalanche situation.

Technical Ski Touring Difficulty

T1Easy :

It can be your first ski touring experience or a refresher.
T2Quite difficult :

You have tried ski touring before on single-day trips. You have some knowledge of the different technics (kick-turns, gear handling, etc.). You still have plenty of room to improve. If you don’t already have your own touring setup, you are looking for advice to figure out what you need.
T3Difficult :

You have done several single-day tours and at least 1 hut-to-hut trip.

You most likely have your own ski touring equipment, which is built with an emphasis on being lightweight (tech/pin binding setup) for use on longer day tours and hut-to-hut trips.

You are used to handling skins, ski crampons, ice-axe, and crampons. You can do kick-turns on slopes of 30-35 degrees.

You are ok with climbing in steeper terrain with your skis on the back-pack using crampons and an ice-axe for progression.
T4Very Difficult :

You are very skilled in using your equipment and are efficient and quick during transitions from skis to crampons.

Your skinning technic is very good, which enables you to save energy on long days and keep the safety high when doing kick-turns on steep ground or skinning on a difficult track.

You have done several tours using the alpine gear (harness, crampons, ropes, and ice-axe).

You have knowledge of glacier skiing, crevasse rescue, self-arrest, and avalanche training.

Fitness Requirement

Grading examples from courses and various known routes
Ski GradeTouring GradeFitness GradeRoute Examples
S1AVallée Blanche, Private off-piste guiding, Private ski touring guiding
S1BChamonix Offpiste Course
S2T1AChamonix ski touring skills course
S2T1BArgentiere ski touring, Heli skiing, Various shorter ski tours
S2T2BChamonix ski touring course
S3T2B Ski tours such as “Col du Passon”, “Col du Beaugeant”, “Pt. Ronde”
S3T3CHaute Route – Chamonix-Zermatt
S3T3CMont Blanc ski from the summit (Ski touring the North Ridge of Dome de Gouter). Patrouille des Glacier (Zermatt – Verbier)
S3T3DPatrouille de Glacier (Zermatt – Verbier)
S4T2CCouloir Marbrés, Couloir Cosmiques, Glacier Ronde, Couloir Poubelle
S4T3CChamonix – Zermatt Group Ski Tour, Mont Blanc ski from the summit (w. helicopter lift to Piton des Italienne).
S4T4DMont Blanc ski from the summit (Ski touring up the North Ridge of Dome de Gouter). Patrouille des Glacier (Zermatt – Verbier)
S4T4DAdvanced ski touring. E.g. Couloir Capucin, Aiguille d’Argentiere (Milleu glacier), Couloir Hannibal
SXT4EMont Blanc ski from the summit (Ski touring the North Ridge of Dome de Gouter). Patrouille des Glacier (Zermatt – Verbier)
The suggested grades above are given for routes in their best condition. Difficult snow & glacier conditions can make a route considerably harder.