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Expedition Grading

We have graded each expedition for an overall indication of difficulty by taking into account mountain climbing factors such as the technical difficulty of the ascent, overall steepness, exposure and objective dangers.

However, it’s important to note that grades are simply an opinion and not a science generally assigned by the mountaineers who have already completed the ascent to the particular mountain.

Please also note that our grades give you a general indication or idea about the trip and comparison of difficulty between the expeditions only, the actual climbing largely depends upon the fitness, experience, and skill level of the individual climber.

Purpose of Grading

The purpose of grading the expeditions is to help you choose an expedition that matches your skill and fitness level. Therefore, we strongly suggest you to choose a trip that matches with your skill, experience, and fitness level which would go a long way to maximize the chances of summit. Selecting a trip according to your ability and skill level is very important both for your own safety and for the safety of others in your team.

Himalayan Glacier's Grading System

Grade Range: 1A (Easiest) to 5E (Most Difficult)
Technical Difficulty: 1 to 5 (Easiest Mountain: 1, Most Technical Mountain: 5)
Fitness Required: A to E (Basic Fitness: A, High Degree of Fitness & Skills: E)

Technical Difficulty: Fitness:
1 Low angle climb, equipments usually not required. A Good basic fitness required.
2 Ropes, ice axe, crampon are necessary B Good cardio-vascular fitness required.
3 Steep sections of snow and/or ice. C High level of fitness required
4 Vertical snow and ice slopes and/or low grade rock climbing. D Strenuous Climbing, Previous climbing experience required.
5 Very steep ice and/or rock climbing. E A High Degree of Fitness Required. Previous mountaineering experience at high altitudes essential.

What the Grades Signify

If the trip is graded 1A, it’s an easy climb generally on easy angled snow-slopes, with no objective dangers. The higher the trip grade, the more demanding the trip becomes both in terms of technicality as well as fitness and skill. The trip graded 5E means that it’s the toughest climb with steep snow slopes, exposed ridges and crevassed sections requiring a high level of fitness, previous high mountain experience and a high degree of climbing skill supported by full mountaineering equipments & logistics.


Fitness Level

Although the climbing expeditions do not require you to be an athlete, you must be fit and healthy before embarking on the expedition. To roughly assess your fitness level, see that you can easily walk about 8 km gaining a height of 600m/2,000ft with a 10kg rucksack in about 2-1/2 hours or less. Note that you should be able to follow the regime for several consecutive days.


Note: Information given on these pages is designed to act as a guide only and conditions may differ on the basis of season, region etc. If you need any assistance in selecting a trip, please don’t hesitate to contact us. We are happy to discuss your situation with our experienced mountaineers and guides who would be more than happy to suggest a trip suitable for you.

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