Hiking difficulty scale

The symbols below indicate levels of hiking difficulty, and accompany the descriptions of all our tours, for two purposes:

  1. To make it easier for our guests to select and book tours that are in accordance with their skills and level of fitness.
  2. To increase the quality and safety of our tours. Guests who have realistic expectations about the difficulty of their upcoming adventure are more likely to have an enjoyable experience.

The scale below is developed by Outdoorlife Norway, but is loosely based on scales, symbols, and descriptions widely used by international hiking, biking, and skiing associations/communities.

Disclaimer: This scale, symbols and descriptions as shown below are under constant development, based on our guides experiences and guests’ feedback. Although we do our very best in providing our guests with the best information possible, the hiking difficulty scale has a purely indicational function. Outdoorlife Norway does not accept any liability for using our hiking difficulty scale. For all our tours, our general conditions of contract apply. 

Suitable for: people of all ages, including children and seniors, who are in fair condition.

Trail conditions: facilitated and wide, with hardened smooth surfaces. Excellent/extensive signage and trail markings.

Type of terrain: flat, typically in parks and forests, along lakes and beaches.

Distance, duration and elevation: Very short, with no increase in elevation.

Guide role: facilitator, logistics, interpretation, and hostmanship.

 

 

Suitable for: people of most ages – excluding young* children – who are in general good condition, with some (basic) hiking experience.

Trail conditions: mostly facilitated and wide, with mostly firm and stable surfaces. Decent signage and trail markings.

Type of terrain: flat/hilly.

Distance, duration and elevation: 2-3 km, 2-3 hours per day, with little/some increase in elevation.

Guide role: facilitator, logistics, interpretation, and hostmanship plus some assistance in navigation, technical skills, and safety.

*The minimum age to participate is specific to each hike. Please click on individual hikes for more information.

Suitable for: people of most ages – excluding young* children – who are in general good condition, and have previous hiking experience.

Trail conditions: at times facilitated (ie. wooden/stone staircases, bridges, railings). Narrower and more technical, although mostly firm and stable surfaces. Rocks and other obstacles are present. Some signage, good trail-markings.

Type of terrain: Hilly, with some steeper, rocky sections where good eye/hand/feet coordination is required.

Distance, duration and elevation: 3-8 km, 3-5 hours per day, with quite a lot of elevation gain.

Guide role: facilitator, logistics, interpretation, and hostmanship, plus additional assistance in navigation, technical skills, and safety.

*The minimum age to participate is specific to each hike. Please click on individual hikes for more information.

Suitable for: people of most ages – excluding young* children – who are in very good condition, and have previous hiking experience.

Trail conditions: at times facilitated with simple technical equipment (ie chains, ropes). Narrow/non existent trails, mostly marked with simple signs/cairns. At times more technical “off-the-beaten-track” hiking.

Type of terrain: Mountainous. Steeper sections with rocky surfaces requiring good eye/hand/feet coordination. Unsteady surfaces and a variety of obstacles (ie creeks, swamps, bushes, boulders) occur.

Distance, duration and elevation: 8-12 km, 5-7 hours per day, with significant gain in elevation.

Guide role: the guide behaves mostly as a mentor, focusing on navigation, technical skills, and safety. Logistics are planned well in advance. Interpretation and hostmanship are executed whenever possible.

*The minimum age to participate is specific to each hike. Please click on individual hikes for more information.

Suitable for: people in their physical prime – excluding people under 18 yrs. – who are in extremely good condition, and have extensive hiking experience.

Trail conditions: rarely facilitated with very simple technical equipment (ie chains, ropes). Mostly non-existent, unmarked trails. Mainly technical “off-the-beaten-track” hiking and scrambling.

Type of terrain: Mountainous. Mainly unsteady surfaces and a wide variety of obstacles (ie creeks, rivers, swamps, bushes, boulders, and steep rock surfaces).

Distance, duration and elevation: At least 12 km, and more than 7 hours, with at least 1500 meters gain in elevation per day.

Guide role: expedition leader with great focus on navigation, technical skills, and safety. Logistics are highly tailored and planned well in advanced. Interpretation and hostmanship are executed when possible.

This symbol indicates that the organized tour might include snow/ice conditions. In such cases, your guide will provide you with all required equipment – typically hiking poles, spikes and/or snowshoes – which are also included in the tour’s price. Bringing along good wind/water-proof hiking clothes, suitable for winter conditions, is necessary.

This symbol does not necessarily indicate a skiing activity (actually most of our snow activities are hikes): if the tour involves a skiing trip, it is clearly stated as such in the tour title and description.

Snow activities can include all levels of difficulty. To indicate the level of difficulty and the fact that snow/ice conditions might occur, we have simply added a snow flake to the relevant difficulty symbol, like this:
Easiest_snow  - Hiking difficulty scale - Easiest snowEasy_snow  - Hiking difficulty scale - Easy snowModerate_snow  - Hiking difficulty scale - Moderate snowMore difficult_snow  - Hiking difficulty scale - More difficult snow 1Very difficult_snow  - Hiking difficulty scale - Very difficult snow

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