Hike Grading System
Please note that all visitors and new members are required to participate in a grade 2 hike before attempting a more challenging hike. The leader may at his/her discretion decide not to permit a visitor or member to join a difficult outing.
Our hike grading system is a guide based on three factors that are used to establish a hike’s difficulty:
The number in the grade represents how tough the hike is physically (i.e. how fit you need to be). The distance and the duration of the hike may play a role but are not the only determining factors.
- 1: Relatively easy hike
- 2: Moderate hike
- 3: Strenuous hike
- 4: Very strenuous hike
The letter represents how exposed hikers are to heights during the hike (persons with a fear of heights should pay particular attention to this aspect).
- A: No exposure to heights
- B: Some exposure to heights
- C: Exposed to heights
- D: Very exposed to heights
The colour represents the technical abilities that may be needed (such as strong arms, agility and good balance).
- Green: Easy walking on an established path with a relatively smooth surface.
- Orange: Walking on a path with occasional use of hands required (easy scrambling). Or walking on a path with a rough surface or on loose sand.
- Red: Walking on or off a path. Frequent use of hands (scrambling) to pull oneself upwards. Or steep downhill sections with loose stones. Or hikes where good balance or strong ankles are required.
- Black: Serious scrambling. Or exploring to find new routes (‘recce’). Or kloofing. Only for adventurous and strong hikers.
When deciding whether or not to join a hike, one must always consider the physical effort, the exposure to heights and also the techical aspects. A particular hike may mostly be an easy stroll, yet may contain a challenging piece of exposed scrambling. Similarly a hike which runs on a flat terrain with no exposure to heights, may be physically tough due to a really rugged surface.
NOTE: The grading assumes a basic level of hiking fitness.
You are personally responsible for ensuring that you are capable of completing a particular hike in a reasonable time, and that you are able to keep up with the group.
What to Bring on a Day Hike
Carry the following:
- A warm jacket, waterproof coat/jacket and sun protection.
- Sufficient water, especially in summer (recommended 1litre per 3hrs).
- A safety whistle to use in an emergency.
- Enough food for a full day, including a high energy snack.
- A fully charged cell phone. Please do not switch off your phone. Rather put it on silent.
- The following should be loaded on your cell phone:
- The Western Cape emergency centre no 021 937 0300 and 10177.
- The leader’s cell number (An sms will often be transmitted where voice connection is not possible).
- The contact details for your next of kin, listed under ICE, so we can contact them in an emergency. Additional emergency information must be carried if any extraordinary condition exists.
- Your own first aid kit and personal medication – include Rehydrate & Cramp Ease (or similar), plasters & bandage, and pain killers.
Wear appropriate clothing:
- Proper hiking boots
- Loose, light clothing with extra layers to put on if necessary.
- Hat/cap and protective sun cream.
Hike Leader Guidelines
Preventing and Treating Heat Exhaustion
Written by Steve Chadwick