We take great care to ensure that you select an adventure suited to your interests and physical capabilities. The gradings below are a starting point to appreciate what a trip involves and should be consulted in conjunction with our detailed trip notes. We also encourage you to talk with with one of our staff. Please remember, ‘the fitter you are the more you will enjoy your trip!’.
1 - Discovery & Cruising: These are our least demanding trips. These journeys of discovery and cruises involve little or no extended activity and are suitable for people with a basic level of fitness and good health. The itinerary may take place in remote areas (with basic facilities) and may involve long travel days on various types of transport. Sightseeing may be conducted on foot and all participants should be capable of carrying their own luggage from vehicle to hotel rooms. These adventures do not go above 2500m and rarely involve camping.
Suggested preparation: Once or twice a week, we recommend you walk on undulating terrain for an hour, for at least 2 -3 months prior to departure.
2 - Adventure Touring: These adventure tours sometimes involve travel at high altitude (rarely exceeding 4000m, except on certain trips in Tibet, Peru and India) and may visit remote areas of the world where facilities are often basic. Many of these trips sometimes involve some camping or basic lodging. These adventure tours will often involve long journeys and rough roads. Sightseeing and optional day walks are often included and these days may involve up to 5 hours of physical activity. To enjoy these adventures we suggest you are reasonably fit, healthy, have a moderately active lifestyle and have a positive attitude.
Suggested preparation: Two or three times a week, we recommend you walk on undulating terrain for an hour or more, for at least 3 months prior to departure.
3 - Introductory: These trips involve trekking or walking, cycling, rafting or sea kayaking for up to five or six hours a day at a slow but steady pace and should never be misinterpreted to mean they are easy trips. These trips do not spend time at altitudes above 4000m and are usually a week in duration. You will need a reasonable level of fitness and good health.
Suggested preparation: 30 minutes of aerobic type exercise, (either cycling or jogging) three times a week for three months leading up to your trek. For trekking, hill walking with a daypack in variable weather conditions is also recommended. For a cycling adventure, road cycling twice a week for three months prior to departure is recommended.
4 - Introductory to Moderate: These trips involve a combination of what is described in our INTRODUCTORY and MODERATE levels. The emphasis is on introductory activity with several moderate stages
5 - Moderate: These adventures involve trekking, cycling, rafting or sea kayaking for up to 6 or 7 hours a day at a steady pace. You will need a good level of fitness and be in good health. The majority of our moderately graded treks involve the carrying of a day pack only, though some may involve carrying a full pack. Be prepared for potential variable weather conditions.
Suggested preparation; 1 hour of aerobic exercise, three to four times a week and extended periods of exercise during the weekend will accustom you to regular exercise. Hill walking with a pack in variable weather conditions will be beneficial if you are taking part in a trekking adventure, kayaking or road cycling is also recommended depending upon the activity you plan to undertake.
6 - Moderate to Challenging: This trip grading involves a combination of what is described in our MODERATE and CHALLENGING levels. The emphasis is on moderate activity with several challenging stages.
7 - Challenging: These adventures involve trekking, cycling or rafting in remote areas in variable weather conditions for up to 8 to 10 hours a day (possibly more subject to weather conditions and altitude). This may include spending successive days at altitudes not generally exceeding 6000m. These trips may often be over three weeks in duration. You will need an excellent level of fitness, be prepared to carry a daypack weighing up to 8kgs (and in some cases a full pack) and be completely comfortable in adverse weather conditions.
Suggested preparation: One hour of aerobic type exercise, four to five times a week for three to six months prior to departure. Hill walking with a pack in variable weather conditions or on/off road cycling is also recommended.
8 - Entry Level Mountaineering or Exploratory Treks: These adventures are classed as expeditions. They involve either extreme trekking and or basic mountaineering. Expect remote and poorly defined trails in variable weather conditions for up to 12 hours a day (possibly more subject to weather conditions and altitude). This may include a number of demanding high pass crossings and evacuation may be difficult from remote areas. Suitable for first time mountaineers wishing to take the step from trekking into the realm of mountaineering. Prior experience trekking at altitude is preferable but not essential and you should be comfortable in adverse weather conditions. Prior technical mountaineering experience is not necessary. Terrain will involve low angle snow slopes. Ropes may be used during treks for glacier travel and steeper sections of ice and snow. When mountaineering, basic mountaineering instruction is given by our mountaineering guides.
Suggested preparation: For grade 8-10 mountaineering expeditions you will need to be very fit and healthy. A minimum of 1 hour of aerobic exercise per session, four to five times a week is essential. Running and cycling in hilly areas is particularly beneficial as are multi day walks on the weekends. This is the ideal time to try out your boots and other gear to make sure you are prepared and ready for your expedition. If you are considering Intermediate or advanced level trips, you will need to discuss your preparation leading up to the trip with our expert staff.