In a nutshell that's what grades are 'general'. It is impossible to produce something definitive that will satisfy every group member. A grade gives an idea of what to expect while still leaving something to the imagination wherein of course lies the challenge of the venture. In all Mountainbaggers treks there will be some crossover between grades.
This is the easiest of our grades and for anyone with UK hill walking experience an ideal introduction to multi-day mountain trekking. At this level we are operating in hill and middle mountain areas on reasonable paths and tracks. Maximum walking time is approximately 6 hours with vehicle back up for baggage. Accommodation is usually in simple village hotels & gites. The pace is leisurely and expected fitness levels Moderate.
Definitely a rung or two up the difficulty ladder. Many of the classic Alpine treks come into this category. Here we have high mountains with long ascents to cols and passes often hovering around the 3,000m mark. Consequently walking days are longer, paths can be rough, steep with some exposure. Early in the season expect snow patches at higher altitudes. A good level of fitness and some previous mountain experience are necessary.
Ventures at this grade are 'Tough Treks' on steroids. The biggest difference is usually the addition of greater height and length with all the subsequent ramifications these bring. There is often greater exposure with some technical sections requiring a 'steady head' and occasional use of rope for safeguarding. There is also a greater wilderness feel, isolation and lack of back up. These are genuine expeditions where experience, fitness and a willingness to 'rough it' are essential. Wild camping is often the only practical means of accommodation.
These have an element of exploration about them. Essentially we decide on a mountain area unknown to Mountainbaggers and devise an interesting and challenging 'expedition' the outcome of which can be in doubt throughout. Obviously we hope to fulfil our objectives but realistically can only guarantee start and finish times. If the routes are deemed successful then they become regular ventures in the Mountainbaggers programme. So far not many have achieved this status, but we've certainly had some of our greatest mountain experiences while trying! For this reason we limit such treks to those with a good level of personal experience, an outstanding sense of humour, and high tolerance levels.