‘A Season Of Mountains‘ system for grading of treks. You’ll find each trek graded on 3 distinct parameters in the blog posts- Endurance, Skill and Risk.

1. Endurance

A 6-point scale based on stamina required to complete a trek comfortably.

1Short distance (<5 km) trek with little elevation gain/loss. Sondai fort trek
2Moderate distance (5-10 km) treks with gradual elevation gain/loss.Karnala fort trek
3 Moderate distance (5-10 km) treks with considerable /sharp elevation gain/loss.Chanderi fort trek
4Long distance (10-20 km) treks with considerable elevation gain/loss.Katraj-Sinhagad (K2S) trek
5Very long distance (20-50 km) treksRajgad-Torna-Raigad (R2R) trek
6Ultra long distance (50 km+) treksNaneghat-Bhimashankar (Na-Bhi) trek

Important: A good rule of thumb while shortlisting treks is to choose ones that you would be comfortable covering at least one and a half times over. That is, if you are planning to lead a trek that spans 10 km with 1000m of elevation gain and loss, you should be fit to cover 15 km with 1500m of elevation gain & loss. This is particularly important in emergencies when the Trek lead might be required to run back and forth.

2. Difficulty

A 5-point scale based on the skills required to complete the trek as a participant.

EasyNo specific skill required. Kid-friendly treks.Korlai fort
ModerateElementary knowledge of foot placement will be helpful. Beginners can comfortably attempt these treks.Asherigad trek
Moderate+ Should be familiar with climbing easy rock patches.
Prior experience of Easy-grade treks is preferable.
Gorakhgad top
ToughFamiliarity with negotiating unstable terrain, using ropes and basic knowledge of climbing knots is preferable.
Prior experience of Moderate-grade treks is a must.
Harishchandragad via Nalichi Vaat
TechnicalShould be strictly attempted under the guidance of certified rock climbers.
Industry-standard safety equipment (ropes, harnesses, etc.) are a must.
Alang Madan Kulang (AMK) trek

Note: Trek leads should plan and lead treks that are a level lower than the ones they have completed to ensure safety of their team- if you have completed treks graded as ‘Tough’, then you should ideally lead treks graded no higher than ‘Moderate+’.

3. Risk Factor

A 3-point scale that grades treks based on the natural risk factors (rockfall, exposed traverses, flood-prone, Apex predator sighting, etc) and their history of safety-related incidents.

LowNo dangerous sections on these treks along with no confirmed records of accidents.
Moderate Exposed trail, rock patches and/or rockfall prone area. Records of non-fatal accidents are available in the public domain.
HighTrails & rock patches with considerable exposure. There have been confirmed reports of fatal accidents on these treks. Recommended only for experienced trekkers under the guidance of a competent trek lead.

Seasoned trekkers will find even the most mundane of treks interesting but I would recommend beginners to start with easier treks so as not to get dissuaded from future adventures.

Trust me, Sahyadris has a way with people. A couple of treks and you are hooked for life! 😉

Note: This is a subjective grading of treks arrived at after extensive consultations with experienced trekkers and factoring in data collected from my treks over the years. However, adverse weather conditions can affect the perceived grade of the trek, especially required skills and risks associated with it. Due discretion is therefore, strongly advised.

Last updated: July ’21

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