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Find out about trail grading so you can find a hike to suit your level! The French Hiking Federation has developed a trail grading system based on 3 different criteria: effort required, technical difficult and risk involved.
BEFORE YOU SET OFF ON A HIKE, IT'S IMPORTANT TO KNOW THE LEVEL OF DIFFICULTY SO YOU CAN KIT YOURSELF OUT PROPERLY, ALLOW SUFFICIENT TIME TO COMPLETE THE HIKE AND, MOST IMPORTANTLY, ASSESS WHETHER YOU'RE CAPABLE OF DOING IT.
Hikes are graded on a scale from 1 (easy) to 5 (difficult).~
These 3 criteria are assessed to help you determine whether the hike you have in mind matches your skills and ability level.
Corresponds to the level of physical exertion required for the hike
This relates to the ruggedness of the terrain (are there any obstacles, are they difficult to navigate etc )
This assesses the risk of any kind of fall, with serious or less serious consequences
Remember to read our article:
1 : easy : No physical difficulties. The route, or most of the route, is easy to walk along with no particular, or very few, obstacles. Even, flat walking surface. Minor injuries possible.
2: quite easy : A walk or short hike. Few obstacles and none exceeding ankle height. Low risk of accident resulting in minor injuries.
3: slightly difficult : Some moderate exertion required. At least one obstacle below knee height. Relatively low risk but possible risk along certain sections of the route.
4: fairly difficult : Some sustained physical effort required. Uneven terrain requiring use of poles, obstacle that may be up to hip height. Fairly high risk of injury or serious accident.
5: difficult : Involves sustained physical exertion. Obstacles higher than hip level, you may need to use hands in certain sections, the use of poles may hinder progress. Some sections may be secured. Very rugged terrain. Maximum risk of accident.~~If you want to find out more about the grading system and use it to help organise your hikes, the French Hiking Federation has produced a guide that is available to download.
The French Hiking Association also offers a tool that analyses your saved trails (from GPS data) and allows you to calculate the effort rating of a route using an IBP.
Please note, as stated on the IBP index page:
"The IBP index is a system that automatically analyses the level of difficulty of a mountain or road bike route, hiking or running trail. This index is very useful for comparing the level of difficulty of different trails. It's important not to confuse a route's level of difficulty with the physical effort required: a route with an IBP index of 60 will be very difficult for someone with no experience, pretty normal for someone with moderate training, and very easy for a professional."