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Home » Calendar » Trip Classifications

CMC Event, Trip, and Class Classifications
(Note: The Denver Group has an optional program where hikers and skiers, themselves, are rated. Click here for the form they use.)


Hike Classifications

  • Class A: Up to 8 miles round trip or up to 1200 ft. elevation gain. (Prior hiking experience is usually not necessary.)
  • Class B: Up to 12 miles round trip or up to 2500 ft. elevation gain. (Moderate to strenuous physical activity. Some prior experience is beneficial.)
  • Class C: Up to 15 miles round trip or up to 3500 ft. elevation gain. (Strenuous to very strenuous physical activity. Prior experience and training is beneficial.)
  • Class D: Over 15 miles round trip or over 3500 ft. elevation gain. (Very strenuous physical activity often including exposure or requiring use of technical skills. Knowledge based on prior experience and training is highly beneficial.)
  • Class E: Exposure is involved (i.e., risk of falling) and may require advanced climbing skills

Within each of the above letter classifications, hikes may also be described subjectively as Easy, Moderate, and Difficult in comparison to other trips of the same classification. Thus, a Difficult B hike is harder than an Easy B hike, but easier than a Moderate C hike.


Snowshoe Trip Classifications

Snowshoe trips use the following classifications:

  • Easy: Up to 5 miles round trip and 600 ft. elevation gain.
  • Moderate: Up to 8 miles round trip and 1200 ft. elevation gain.
  • Difficult: Over 8 miles round trip or 1200 ft. elevation gain. 


Ski Tour  Classifications

  • Easy I: 1 to 3 miles round trip on generally flat terrain. Suitable for beginners.
  • ​Easy II: 3 to 6 miles round trip and up to 600 ft. elevation gain.
  • Easy III: 6 to 8 miles round trip or 600 ft. to 800 ft. elevation gain.
  • Moderate I: 800 ft. to 1100 ft. elevation gain.
  • Moderate II: 1100 ft. to 1500 ft. elevation gain.
  • Moderate III: 1500 ft. to 1800 ft. elevation gain.
  • Advanced I: 1800 ft. to 2500 ft. elevation gain.
  • Advanced II: Over 2500 ft. elevation gain.

Advanced ski tours are generally on more difficult terrain and participants have developed efficiency and acquired skills for their safe backcountry ski travels. To go on an Advanced ski trip, you must be able to break trail for a period of time and must have excellent nordic/downhill skiing ability. In addition to the CMC 10 essentials, you should carry a shovel and avalanche beacon and know how to use them, plus any extra items required by the trip leader.

Climbing Classifications

  • Rock climb
    • Trad lead
    • Sport lead
    • Top rope

These difficulty levels are from 5.0 to 5.10, using the conventional Yosemite Decimal Rating system, which is used by the English-speaking climbing community the world over.

  • Ice climb
    • Trad lead
    • Top rope

    • Class II
    • Class III
    • Class IV