Machete Tours - Peruvian Travel Ecotourism - Peru and Latin American Tour Operator

Specialized Peru Tour Operator

Why we are called Machete Tours?

ITB 2015

Contact Offices

  • Sweden+46 76046 1860
  • Denmark+45 2460 2662
  • Peru - Lima+51 1 964150238
  • Peru - Cusco+51 84 224829

Alpine Grading

The Alpine system is popular in the European Alps and increasingly in the greater ranges. As with the Scottish system, routes are given an overall grade to describe the difficulty of the route. In addition to this, the UIAA rock grading system is used to describe any rock pitches on the route. 
The overall grade takes into consideration all of the following factors:

  • the approach route, length and complexity
  • the descent route, method, length and complexity
  • the quality and availability of stances
  • the quality of rock, snow and ice
  • the level of objective danger
  • the location of hardest section on the route
  • the aspect of slope
  • the exposure to weather

It should be noted that as with all grading systems incorporating snow and ice, the alpine grade can be significantly effected by the weather conditions, not only during the climb but in the weeks before.

The following table outlines the different alpine grades used:

Overall Grade
F Facile (Easy)
A straight forward route, possibly describing a glacier approach with simple scrambling. Any snow or ice will be of an easy angle allowing the climber to walk up it.
PD Peu difficile (not very hard)
Harder than routes graded F, with more complex glacier routes, harder scrambling and objective dangers. Routes may also be longer and at altitude.  Snow and ice slopes of up 35-45 degrees may be encountered.
AD Assez difficile (fairly hard)
More significant slopes of snow and ice will be encountered up to 40-55 degrees. Rock climbing up to grade III may also be encountered but are unlikely to be sustained
D Difficile (hard)
A more serious undertaking with possibility of rock climbing at around grade IV & V and snow and ice slopes of up 50-70 degrees.
TD Tres difficile (very hard)
Significant and sustained snow and ice slopes of up 65-80 degrees are likely encountered. Hard rock climbing is also a possibility at grades V - VI with some aid routes also a possibility. Routes at this grade are a serious undertaking with high levels of objective danger.
ED Extremement difficile (extremely hard)
Extremely hard routes with vertical ice slopes likely and rock climbing at VI to VIII. Aid pitches are also possible with exceptional objective danger.
ABO Abominablement difficile (Abominable)
Pretty self explanatory!