Difficulty

This section provides an overview of the climbing difficulty grades for you.

TatraClimb difficulty grading

1 - Easy activity requiring only minimal physical and technical capabilities. Suitable for children and the elderly.

2 - Moderately difficult activity requiring no greater physical fitness and motor skills. It is relatively high loads and lasting several hours and overcoming technically challenging passages in the field

3 - An extremely difficult activity for which necessarily requires high physical and mental fitness. Overcome the long passages of high discomfort, often for several days.

Waterfall ice grading

The waterfall ice rating system as used in the Canadian Rockies.

WI2 - low-angled (60 degree consistent ice), with good technique can be easily climbed with one ice axe Grades beyond this generally require the use of two ice tools.

WI3 - generally sustained in the 60-70 degree range with occasional near-vertical steps up to 4 metres (Cascade Waterfall, Banff; This House of Sky, Ghost River)

WI4 - near-vertical steps of up to 10 metres, generally sustained climbing requiring placing protection screws from strenuous stances (Professor's Falls, Banff; Weeping Wall Left, Icefields Parkway, Banff; Silk Tassle, Yoho; Moonlight & Snowline, Kananskis)

WI4+ - highly technical WI4. (Wicked Wanda, Ghost River)

WI5 - near-vertical or vertical steps of up to 20 metres, sustained climbing requiring placing multiple protection screws from strenuous stances with few good rests (Carlsberg Column, Field; The Sorcerer, Ghost River; Bourgeau Left Hand, Banff)

WI5+ - highly technical WI5 (Oh le Tabernac, Icefield Parkway; Hydrophobia, Ghost River; Sacre Bleu, Banff)

WI6 - vertical climbing for the entire pitch (e.g. 30–60 metres) with no rests. Requires excellent technique and/or a high level of fitness (The Terminator, Banff; Nemesis, Kootenay Park; Whiteman Falls, Kananaskis Country; Riptide, Banff)

WI6+ - vertical or overhanging with no rests, and highly technical WI6 (French Maid, Yoho; French Reality, Kootenay Park)

WI7 - sustained and overhanging with no rests. Extremely rare, near-mythical, and widely accepted testpiece examples of this grade don't exist in the Canadian Rockies(e.g. Sea of Vapours, Banff; Riptide, Icefield Parkway, Banff)

Mixed ice grading

Mixed climbing has its own grading scale that roughly follows the WI rating system with respect to its physical and technical demands. Typically starts at M4. Subgrades of "-" and "+" are commonly used, although the distinctions are typically very subjective. The following table makes a comparison with the WI system and the Yosemite Decimal System. Comparing these is rough, and only gives an idea of the relative difficulty; the reason different systems exist in the first place is because it's difficult to compare grades between climbing media.

M4 - 5.8 - WI4 - slabby to vertical, some technical drytooling

M5 - 5.9 - WI5 - some sections of sustained drytooling

M6 - 5.10 - WI6 - vertical to overhanging with some difficult drytooling

M7 - 5.11 - WI7 - overhanging, powerful and technical drytooling, <10 m of "hard" climbing

M8 - 5.11+ - bouldery or longer cruxes than M7, some horizontal overhangs

M9 - 5.12- - vertical or steeper with sustained marginal or highly technical drytooling; or horizontal and juggy for up to a few body lengths.

M10 - 5.12

M11 - 5.12+

M12 - 5.13-Via ferrata grading
A     easy     Straightforward path, but exposed. Plenty of climbing aids, possible short ladders. Challenging walking rather than climbing. Surefootedness and a good head for heights main requirements.
B     moderately difficult     Some steep terrain, smaller footholds, but climbing aids provided. Longer ladders possible. Essentially protected but exposed scrambling. Some use of arms.
C     difficult     Steep to very steep rock, adequate climbing aids, long ladders possible (or even briefly overhanging). Good fitness and some arm strength required.
D     very difficult     Very steep to vertical, maybe short/well aided overhanging sections, mainly very exposed. Some climbing aids but often wire rope only. Strong arms and hands required.
E     extremely difficult     Vertical to overhanging; consistently exposed; very small footholds or friction climbing, usually no climbing aids other than the wire. Sustained arm strength required. Easier sections may be unprotected.

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