For physical difficulty

Class Difficulty Description
A Easy Up to 5 hours of travel per day
B Moderate 5 to 8 hours of travel per day
C Hard 8 to 12 hours of travel per day, heavy loads, etc
D Extreme More than 12 hours of travel per day, heavy loads, rough terrain, etc.

For technical difficulty

note: a technical hike 3 is not equivalent to a level 3 ski or canoe. (actually a level 3 ‘hike’ is more of an easy climb, most of our hikes are level 1 and comparatively, a level 3 canoe is quite hard canoe, most of ours are level 1 or 2)

Class Hiking/Climbing Skiing Canoeing
1 on-trail hiking trail skiing and only gentle slopes Easy – moving water with the odd disturbances in the shape of small, regular waves and slight meanders.
2 off trail hiking, rock scrambling. Extremely rugged (north shore) hiking trails may be included here. skiing moderate slopes Moderate – the water is faster and rapids are more frequent; rocks, waves and small stoppers are found but always with an obvious channel
3 easy climbing (usually not roped, but pulling on handholds required), glacier travel in broken terrain skiing sustained steep slopes (30 degrees) with sections that can be very steep (40 degrees) Harder – the pace quickens with fairly big waves, and stoppers which are quite capable of holding a boat firmly. Rapids are much more continuous and, although the route is fairly obvious, it is necessary to be able to maneuver the kayak well
4 moderate climbing, usually with a rope and placing occaisional protection. Difficult high mountain skiing. Sustained steep slopes combined with crevasse hazards, terrain traps, etc. Extremely difficult – longer rapids, large drops with very big waves, dangerous stoppers and rocks to negotiate. This is a challenge to any canoeist. Although never absent in the lower grades, in grade V, substantial danger is always a possibility. Continual inspection and/or protection is often necessary
5 technical rock climbing. Difficulty is graded using the YDS system or other rating systems extreme skiing, may involve rappels over cornices or cliffs Limit of navigation – a line down exists – just. Luck may often play a part. There is always a real risk to life. Very favorable water conditions and protection may make rapids of this grade feasible. Very skillful paddling and the ability to pick the ideal days are also involved. Most of the time, however, they are too dangerous to canoe
6 aid climbing