Class Terrain Rating System Glossary of Hiking Terms
Class 1,2,3,4,5 Terrain Rating System: a rating system to define hiking, scrambling and climbing terrain levels of difficulty. Separated into 5 levels of difficulty ranging from class 1 to class 5. Class 1 is easy hiking, to class 5 terrain, very difficult terrain requiring ropes.
Class 1 Terrain: is defined as a well established trail with little or no steep sections. Class 1 trails are easy to navigate and you would have difficulty getting lost or encountering problems such as dangerous falls or rock slides. A class 1 trail in Whistler would range from the very easy Lost Lake trails in Whistler Village to the more adventurous Cheakamus Lake trail in Garibaldi Provincial Park. Both trails are easy, relaxing, and pose few potential dangers and challenges. The Garibaldi Lake trail(pictured below) is a good example of class 1 terrain.
Class 2 Terrain: is defined as terrain that may require basic routefinding skills over scree slopes and somewhat steep terrain where you may need your hands for balance or safety. The last couple kilometres to Panorama Ridge in Garibaldi Park(pictured below) is considered class 2 terrain with the occasional short sections of class 3 terrain.
Class 3 Terrain: is defined by steep terrain requiring the use of hand and foot holds, however, not steep enough to require ropes to navigate safely. The final chimney to Black Tusk(pictured below) would be considered a difficult class 3 section, close to class 4 in difficulty. The final section of the Wedgemount Lake trail in Whistler is a characteristic class 3 terrain.
Class 4 Terrain: is defined as very steep terrain which rope belays are recommended. Though experienced climbers will find class 4 terrain relatively easy and safe to navigate, novices to climbing will find class 4 terrain difficult, frightening and dangerous. The Lions in North Vancouver(pictured below) requires climbing a short section of class 4 terrain to reach the summit.
Class 5 Terrain: technical climbing terrain. Rope required by most climbers. If you are looking at a vertical rock wall, you are effectively looking at class 5 terrain. A typical gym climbing wall is replica of a class 5 terrain rock wall. The vertical face of The Chief(pictured below) is an example of a class 5 terrain.
Glossary of Hiking Terms Whistler Hiking Trails