Wegweiser an der Alpe Domàs

SAC mountain route classification

Not every hiking trail is the same – and, therefore, not equally suitable for every hiker. Factors such as surface, width, condition and exposure have a significant influence on the suitability of a trail for different groups of people. The Swiss Alpine Club (SAC) divides hiking trails into the following categories.

Classification of hiking trails

  • Hiking (yellow, T1) are wide, easy to walk on and there is no risk of falling. They can usually be walked with sneakers; the orientation is easy. Previous knowledge is not necessary.
  • Mountain hiking (white-red-white, T2) are generally narrow and can be steep. They have no or only a few passages where you are at risk of falling. Hiking boots are recommended as well as maps for orientation.
  • Demanding mountain hiking (white-red-white, T3) are mostly narrow and often steep. They lead partly through trackless terrain, over gravel and rocky ground. Passages, where you are in danger of falling, are possible; however, secured passages predominate. Sturdy shoes and maps for orientation are a must as well as first experiences in alpine terrain.
  • Alpine hiking (white-blue-white, T4) are narrow, steep and in some places, there is a risk of falling. They often lead through trackless terrain, over gravel, rugged terrain, grass heaps and, depending on the season, also firn. Usually, secured walking passages and/or simple climbing sections have to be passed. Surefootedness and a head for heights are absolutely necessary as well as suitable footwear and experience in alpine terrain.
  • Demanding alpine hiking (white-blue-white, T5) pose, in many parts, the risk of falling. They often lead through trackless terrain, over grass heaps and firn fields. Often, secured passages and/or climbing sections have to be passed. Surefootedness and a head for heights are absolutely necessary as well as suitable footwear, a good sense of orientation and experience in alpine terrain. Also, elementary knowledge in handling alpine equipment is essential.
  • Difficult alpine hiking (white-blue-white, T6) are trackless and very exposed. Frequently, secured passages and/or climbing sections up to difficulty degree II have to be passed. Surefootedness and a head for heights are absolutely necessary as well as suitable footwear, an excellent sense of orientation and experience in alpine terrain. Furthermore, you need to know how to handle alpine equipment.

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