Trip grading system - a comparative system for alpine treks, courses and ascents, considering all aspects of physical fitness and endurance, agility over terrain and technical skills required for each trip. The ratings are not measured against any specific alpine grading system and are intended for comparing Alpine Recreation trips.

EnduranceTrip Examples
1Basic hiking/trekking fitness - Suitable for people who regularly undertake day hikes. Day pack up 4kg and short duration of activity (2-4 hours). Some prior training is always beneficial.
1.5
2Slightly challenging - A good level of aerobic fitness is expected. Suitable for people who regularly undertake multi-day hiking/trekking/tramping trips. Must be comfortable carrying a light-moderate backpack (5-8 kg) for 4-6 hours. Expect ascents of 500-800 vertical metres.Tekapo Trek
Lake Tekapo Snowshoeing
Great walks (Milford Track, Routeburn Track, Kepler Track)
2.5
3Challenging - A solid level of fitness with aerobic training prior to the trip is expected. Ability to carry moderate to heavy backpacks (8-10kg) for 6-9 hours if required. Expect ascents of 800-1200 vertical meters. Some discomfort expected due to long days and exposure to elements. Prior multi-day hiking/trekking/tramping trips through rough untracked terrain are recommended.Aoraki / Mount Cook Trek
Ball Pass Summit Trek
Mount Cook Snowshoeing
Mount Cook Glaciers Trek
Westland Glaciers Trek
Introductory Mountaineering Course
3.5
4Very challenging - A high level of fitness is expected. Fit people will still need to train prior to undertaking this adventure. Ascents of 1200+ vertical metres are likely. Expect 10-12 hour days or longer, carrying a 10-12kg backpack. Early alpine starts may be required. Expect some discomfort due to long days and exposure to elements. Must be dedicated and used to long days in rough, untracked terrain.Ball Pass Crossing
Brodrick Pass - Landsborough Trek & Raft
FitzGerald/Copland Pass
Intensive Mountaineering Skills Course
4.5
5Extreme - Regular alpine starts with long and sustained days (14+ hours) on difficult or technical terrain. Expect to carry a heavy pack at times (12-16kg) between huts or bivvies. Consecutive days with ascents of 1200+ vertical meters in often steep terrain are expected. Prior experience with bivouac / snow camping is recommended. For hardened mountaineers only.
Agility - Trekking & ScramblingTrip Examples
1Basic hiking/trekking agility - Hiking on unmarked routes in sub-alpine terrain. Able to move efficiently on uneven terrain with steps, rocks, tree roots etc. while carrying a light backpack. No scrambling or technical equipment required. Little or no exposure.Tekapo Trek
Great walks (Milford Track, Routeburn Track, Kepler Track)
1.5
2Basic scrambling agility - Some scrambling, using hands for balance. Some loose scree descents, slippery grass, mud or snow. Crampons/ice axe not expected, but may be used if conditions are icy. Some exposure to heights at times.Lake Tekapo Snowshoeing
2.5
3Moderate scrambling agility - Scrambling over rough ground with hand placement needed. Good foot placement required across a variety of terrain, including steep grass, alpine scrub, scree, boulder-fields and snow. Must be competent and efficient at moving over uneven and untracked terrain carrying a moderate backpack. Sections of steep and/or exposed terrain at times. May involve crossing snow slopes and/or glaciers, requiring the use of crampons and ice axe if conditions are firm.Aoraki / Mount Cook Trek
Ball Pass Summit Trek
Mount Cook Glaciers Trek
Westland Glaciers Trek
Introductory Mountaineering Course
3.5Mount Cook Snowshoeing
4Advanced scrambling agility - Committing and challenging for experienced trekkers. Sustained concentration and focus required for difficult sections. Exposure to heights or large drops likely. Confident footwork and scrambling over rough, loose and steep terrain required. Crampons and ice axes required for crossing moderate snow slopes (≤ 35°), alpine passes and/or glaciated terrain.Ball Pass Crossing
Brodrick Pass - Landsborough Trek & Raft
Intensive Mountaineering Skills Course
4.5FitzGerald/Copland Pass
5Expert scrambling/climbing agility - A high level of commitment required with serious consequences for mistakes. Frequent and sustained exposure to significant heights or large drops. Moderate - steeper (30-50°) slopes common. Concentration and focus required at all times. Recent mountaineering experience required. Solid footwork, cramponing (including front-pointing) and ice axe skills expected.
Technical MountaineeringTrip Examples
1Beginner Mountaineer - No prior rope skills or experience with crampons/ice axe required. Basic 10-point crampon, ice axe, self-arresting and glacier travel skills introduced by guide if applicable.Aoraki / Mount Cook Trek
Ball Pass Summit Trek
Brodrick Pass - Landsborough Trek & Raft
1.5Ball Pass Crossing
Mount Cook Snowshoeing
FitzGerald/Copland Pass
Mount Cook Glaciers Trek
Westland Glaciers Trek
2Introductory Mountaineer - in-depth crampon, ice axe, self-arresting and climbing skills instructed by guide. Basic rope skills, knots, abseiling, anchor placement, belaying skills instructed if applicable. Ability to apply skills with coached practice and demonstrate proficiency required to progress to next grade. Prior rock climbing experience beneficial.Introductory Mountaineering Course
Intensive Mountaineering Skills Course
2.5
3Intermediate Mountaineer - Proficiency with technical rope skills and a basic understanding of rescue systems required. Comfortable crossing moderate-steeper snow slopes (30-50°) with ice axe and crampons. Experience climbing with 1 and 2 ice tools, front-pointing and 10-point cramponing technique in various snow/ice conditions. Competency climbing on rock (AU grade 12-15).
3.5
4Advanced Mountaineer - Efficient anchor management and fast adjustment of gear expected. Solid crampon and ice axe skills expected with ability to move efficiently across a variety of terrain and conditions. Confident climbing on rock (AU grade 16-20).
4.5
5Expert Mountaineer - Difficult long sections of technical climbing (50-70°) common. Must be self sufficient in rope and anchor skills and current in mountaineering technique. Recent alpine experience required - up to 20 days on crampons within the past 2 years. Regular rock climbing grade AU 18 or higher.