Grading

The club uses a grading system (given in brackets after the hike name) to make it easier for club members to know what expect from an outing. An outing’s grade consists of two factors that can be used to establish a outing’s difficulty – a number and a letter (e.g. 1A, 3B, 1C etc.).

The number represents the physical exertion of the outing, i.e. how physically fit you need to be to participate. This is normally a combination of distance covered and height gain (i.e how much elevation you will climb through). A low number means short distances and relatively flat walks, a high number means long walks / runs or outings that involve long and continuous ascents like climbing high peaks.

The letter represents the technical difficulty of the terrain and obstacles, i.e. how capable a scrambler / climber you need to be to participate. “A” grades are easy walks with no scrambling or climbing, all the way through to “D+” grades, which is full blown rock climbing.

If you are not familiar with the grading system use the table below to determine if a specific meet / outing’s difficulty will suite you. If unsure contact the meet convener (meets@paarlwellington.mcsa.org.za) or the leader of the specific meet.


Physical Exertion Table

Exertion FactorDescriptionExamples
1Flat walks like contour paths or jeep tracks. Short distances, i.e. 5 km or less.Olive Glen Blue Route, Kristenbosch, Paarl Arboretum
2Strenuous half-day hike or moderate fullday hike. 5 – 12 km, 100 to 750 height gainIndia Venster, Mobray Ridge, Krom River (to last pool)
3Full day hikes with height gain or flat runs. 12 km to 20 km per day and/or 750 m to 1000 m height gain.Slanghoekpiek from Krom River hut, Hiddingh-Ascension on Table Mountain, Jonkershoek Panorama
4Trail runs / long fast / strenuous hikes. 20+ km per day and/or 1000+ m height gain and lossDu Toitspiek from Du Toitskloof hut, Jonkershoek Traverse, Wemmershoek Traverse, Slanghoek Traverse, Arangieskop, Hex / Waaihoek, etc.


Technical Difficulty Table

Technical FactorDescriptionExamples
AHike – Generally hands are not needed, but ascent / descent may be steep.Jeep tracks, Contour paths, Routes with good paths: Platteklip, Kasteelspoort
BModerate scrambling – Hands and arms frequently used. May be exposed, but generally does not require a rope. A fall likely to result in serious injury.India Venster, Lion’s Head, Mobray Ridge, Krom River (to last pool)
CHard Scrambling – Steep sections of difficult scrambling where the use of a rope is recommended. Un-roped falls could be fatal.Hout Bay Corner, Table Mountain Ledges, Kloof Corner Ridge, Cascades, Jonkershoek Pieke Suidfront
D, E, … JRock climbing – climbing equipment and experience required unless otherwise stated. Contact leader for details.
Note that sport rock climbs could also be graded according to the South African sports climbing grades.
Paarl Rock Climbing Crags, Hellfire Crags, Lakeside Pinnacle, Silvermine Crag,