Guidance on Assessing your Fitness

Please read carefully before deciding your fitness level

How fit do I need to be? If booking a bespoke Mountain Trek with us…as fit as you are. We will plan your Mountain Trekking experience to the level of the least fit member of your party and the kind of Mountain Trekking experience you would like. It also depends what you would like to do. Fast Mountain Trekking over a number of days across mixed terrain of high mountains and plateaux, with repeated descents and ascents in and out of valley systems, will need a very good level of fitness. A more leisurely Single Day Mountain Trek through valley systems would be achievable with a much lower level of fitness. For our Set Mountain Treks, Adventures and Expeditions you will need to have the required fitness to fit the appropriate Grade of walk…usually Moderate or Strenuous or, on occasions, Very Strenuous. Overall, what we really ask is that you are totally honest with us when you fill in our Medical and Fitness questionnaire.

How can I prepare my fitness level prior to a trek? If being active is a new or returning experience for you, we highly recommend that you discuss your fitness and physical well being with your medical practitioner. The best way to prepare for Mountain Trekking is by frequent fast walking whilst carrying a small weighted rucksack, initially building up to 45 minutes and then longer local walks. Hill training can be gradually included in the form of stairs and stepping. Any aerobic exercise will also be of benefit and could include cycling, running, swimming and rowing.

How can I assess my fitness? When self-assessing your fitness, you need to be brutally honest. Kidding yourself that you are fitter than you actually are will only lead to disappointment and could mean not being able to complete a Mountain Trek and being turned back from it. When self-grading your fitness, you need to base it on your current fitness NOT what you intend it to be OR how fit you were a year ago.

Age and Fitness: Age is of of no concern to us unless you are under 18. Our minimum age for Mountain Trekking is 13. We would then discuss fitness with the responsible adult.

Knees: This can be a major fitness concern for many people considering Mountain Trekking with a range of mountain terrains  and steep ascents and descents really testing leg joints and knees in particular. If you have a known knee condition you will be aware of your limitations, especially in relation to the terrain you can tackle and how many days you can manage. We always recommend the use of trekking poles, especially for those who suffer from knee issues. Also, if you use occasional knee supports we recommend that you use these throughout a Trek rather than waiting until you have knee pain.

GRADING FOR FITNESS:

  • Measure yourself realistically using the Grades below…be honest!
  • The Grades, when talking about walking for a full day, relate to carrying a small day pack of around 6 kgs [13lbs] at least.  Stair assessment is without a pack.
  • For Multi Day Mountain Trekking we take into consideration that you will be carrying around a target weight of 10 to 11 kgs [22 to 24lbs]. 
  • The Grades are designed to allow relative novices, as well as more experienced hill and mountain goers, to decide their fitness for Mountain Trekking.
  • We actively encourage novices who are fit enough to be involved on our Mountain Treks, including the more strenuous Treks. Having no mountain/hill going experience does not necessarily exclude you from these BUT you need to be prepared for a range of mountain terrains including rough and steep ascents and descents, boggy land, and some very uneven going with obstacles such as boulder fields. Having a good sense of balance and being surefooted is also important for our Moderate and Strenuous Treks.
  • These grades are only a guideline. Please contact us directly if you would like more help with deciding your fitness level and suitability for one of our Mountain Treks.

Grading for Fitness

 1

Can stroll on flat ground and easy paths [parks, towns etc.] for a number of hours, up to 2 hours, but get out of breath and feel tired. Can slowly walk up and down a flight of stairs but need to rest, feel out of breath and have aching joints. Distance of up to 3 miles [5kms].

 2

Can stroll on flat ground and easy paths [parks/towns etc.] for a number of hours, up to 3 hours, without getting out of breath or feeling tired. Can steadily walk up and down  2 flights of stairs without getting out of breath. Distance of up to 5 miles [8kms].

 3

Can walk briskly on flat ground and easy paths [parks/towns etc.] for a number of hours, up to 4 hours, with stops, without getting out of breath or feeling tired. Can steadily walk up and down a flight of stairs 5 times without needing to rest and without getting out of breath easily. Distance of up to 5 miles [8 kms].

 4

Can walk steadily on undulating ground on good paths [gentle hills] for up to 6 hours, with stops, but need to rest frequently going up moderate slopes. Can steadily walk up and down a flight of stairs 10 times without needing to rest and without getting out of breath easily. Distance of up to 8 miles [13 kms].

If you fall into Grades 1, 2, 3 or 4 you would not have suitable fitness for Single or Multi Day Mountain Trekking and would need to train and up your fitness Level before undertaking one of our Mountain Treks. However, on a bespoke basis we could organise something for you at Low Level or your could join one of our set Low Level Treks.

 5

Can walk steadily on undulating ground on good paths [gentle hills with some steeper sections] for a full day for up to 8 hours, with stops, and don’t need to rest going up moderate slopes. Can steadily walk up and down a flight of stairs 15 times without rest and without getting out of breath easily. Distance of up to 10 miles [15kms].

 6

Can walk briskly on undulating ground with some rough paths  [moderate hills with some steep sections] for a full day for up to 8 hours, with stops, and don’t need to rest going up moderate slopes. Can steadily walk up and down a flight of stairs 20 times without rest and without significantly getting out of breath. Distance of up to 12 miles [20kms].

If you fall into Grades 5 or 6 you would have suitable fitness for Multi Day Mountain Trekking graded as Moderate with some Strenuous elements but would benefit from some pre-training to up your fitness level. With training, in time, you could increase your fitness into our higher Grades.

 7

Can walk steadily for a full day for up to 8 hours, with stops, on rough terrain on and off paths, including some boulders, bogs and up and down steep slopes. Can walk quickly up and down a flight of stairs 30 times without feeling any significant adverse effects. Distance of up to 12 miles [20kms].

 8

Can walk steadily for a full day for up to 8 hours, with stops, on rough terrain on and off paths, including boulders, bogs and up and down steep slopes. Can walk quickly up and down a flight of stairs 40 times without feeling any significant adverse effects. Distance of up to 14 miles [22kms].

 9

Can walk quickly for a full day for up to 9 hours, with stops, on rough terrain on and off paths, including  boulders, bogs and up and down steep slopes. May include some easy scrambling with hands on rock. Can run up and down a flight of stairs 40 times without feeling any significant adverse effects. Distance of up to 16 miles [26 kms]. 

10

Can walk quickly for a full day for up to 10 hours, with stops, on rough terrain on and off paths, including  boulders and up and down steep slopes. May include some easy scrambling with hands on rock. Can run up and down a flight of stairs 50 times without feeling any significant adverse effects. Distance of up to 16 miles [26 kms]. For your safety, this is the minimum level of fitness we expect from our Guides.

If you fall into Grades 7, 8, 9 or 10 you would have suitable fitness for Multi Day Mountain Trekking graded as Strenuous and Very Strenuous.  At the lower end of the scale you might benefit from some pre-training to up your fitness Level.