Difficulty levels for snowshoe hikes

Dec 6, 2020
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You are planning to go on a training course, an outing or a snowshoeing trip with a mountain leader, but you don't know how to evaluate your physical or technical level? 

This article has been created to help you evaluate yourself and choose an outing adapted to your level so that it takes place safely and with maximum pleasure.

"First and foremost, it is important to discuss with your mountain leader in an honest way: your mountain experience and your physical fitness. As professionals, we will adapt and propose you an outing that suits you. "

PHYSICAL CONDITION

Your physical fitness is the essential element to take into account. It conditions your performance, the management of the effort and ultimately the pleasure you will have when hiking.

TECHNICAL SKILLS

Technical skills are acquired through practice and experience.

LEVEL SCALE

The scale of levels detailed below takes into account the following criteria:

- Duration of the hike (walking time and number of days, based on an average of 2km/h and 200m/h in ascent speed and 300m/h in descent speed).

- Vertical drop to be overcome (cumulative positive and negative)

- Type of ground (quality of the track, slope, altitude)

Of course in winter snow is an additional parameter to take into account. Good walkers in hard snow will find the schedules overestimated, small walkers in fresh snow will find the schedules clearly underestimated.

Beginner :

Physical condition : I am in good shape. I practice a sport activity occasionally

Height difference : 300m maximum / day

Duration of effort : 3 hours maximum / day

Experience Required : None

Carrying : Lightweight backpack

Technical difficulties : None

Intermediate :

Physical condition : I am in good physical condition. I practice a sport activity regularly (2 to 3 times a month). I like to surpass myself on efforts that are not too long and I need rest between activities.

Height difference : 300m to 600m maximum / day

Duration of effort : 5 hours maximum / day

Experience Required : None

Carrying : Light backpack for one day or backpack for several days in case of roaming.

Technical Difficulties : Varied and hilly itineraries

Confirmed :

Fitness : I am in good physical condition. I practice a sport activity at least once a week. I like to surpass myself on sometimes long efforts but I sometimes need rest between activities.

Height difference : 600m to 900m maximum / day

Duration of effort : 6 hours maximum / day

Required Experience : Snowshoeing experience recommended

Carrying : Light backpack for one day or backpack for several days in case of roaming.

Technical Difficulties : Some passages may take place on steep slopes requiring a certain technical and physical ease.

Expert :

Physical condition : I am in very good physical condition. I practice a sport activity several times a week. I have the desire to surpass myself on long efforts and I can endure fatigue to a certain extent.

Height difference : More than 900m maximum / day

Duration of effort : 8 hours maximum / day

Experience required : Good snowshoeing experience

Carrying: Light backpack for one day or backpack for several days in case of roaming.

Technical Difficulties : Snowshoeing on slopes that are sometimes steep or may present technical difficulties. Ease in all snow conditions and adaptability are necessary.

Author : Lauris Chaumond 

Photos: Lauris Chaumond