Climbing Rating System
m5
m1
AM
A climbing rating system is

 

Physical Exertion Scale

I

If you are afraid of heights or intimidated by the idea of climbing a mountain, but still want to give mountaineering a try, then this category is for you. Routes in this category have little-to-no exposure (the sensation that you will fall) but might involve some glacier travel over crevassed terrain. Moderate slopes (up to 40 degrees) can be expected.

II

These routes can feature sections of steep slopes of frozen snow or ice (South Side route on Mt. Hood, Dead Dog Couloir on Torreys Peak) that potentially require the use of anchors and protection, depending on the conditions of the route. Less technical, but long routes, often over glaciated terrain, can also be expected among the routes in this category (e.g., Mazama Glacier on Mt. Adams).

III

Expect steep, glaciated or icy slopes above 45 degrees, sometimes requiring two ice tools and/or protection. These routes often feature significant exposure, and the potential for numerous navigation challenges. An example includes the Mazama Glacier Headwall on Mt. Adams.

 

Technical Difficulty Scale

I

While all routes require good physical conditioning, these routes require shorter days and are good choices for those who might not be in perfect shape. Most of the routes in this category require four or fewer hours of climbing each day, a lighter pack (30 pounds or less) and are perfect for people with limited or no previous climbing experience.

II

These routes can require between four and eight hours of sustained climbing carrying a 35-40 pound pack, or can be shorter, but steeper, and therefore more physically demanding. Many inexperienced climbers can handle these routes, as long as they are in good physical condition.

III

These routes are physically and mentally taxing, but the payoff is amazing. Level III climbs require a high level of endurance and will provide a challenge to even experienced, fit climbers. Expect sustained climbing for as many as twelve hours carrying a 35-40 pound pack.