Difficulty ratingsEspecially for rock climbing, there are is least a dozen of different rating systems. I will restrict myself to the UIAA grades that are most common in the Alps, and I will explain the ratings of Swiss Alpine Club on which the ratings in my personal tour list are based.
This is not an "official list", no warranty about exact formulations.
UIAA grades (rock)The UIAA rock grades give information about the most difficult spot that occurs on a route.
The grades tell you only about the difficulty of moving; the exposition of a route does not influence the rating. Therefore, spots of identical grade (difficulty) might be felt more or less "difficult" by an individual, depending on his personal mental constitution.
You can find a comparison of rock ratings in different countries at the "Climbing dictionary".
overall difficulties of a routeIn the SAC (Swiss Alpine Club) guide the overall difficulty of a route is judged. Not only the biggest technical difficulty but also the duration of such difficulty enters into the criteria.
I give the German language ratings here, with the international abbreviations where I know them:
Ski toursFor ski tours I use a different rating system (also from SAC) for the ski-technical difficulties in ascent and descent (the most ski tours would otherwise just be "B" as seen from the terrain, since in summer one could simply walk through the terrain that is touched by the ski tour).
CommentsDifficulty ratings in printed guides normally refer to the conditions that are usually encountered under the best conditions during the year. In bad conditions (e.g. hard ice), the grades can increase by 1 to 2 grades, especially on ice routes.
For expeditions, in my tour list the fixed ropes are already considered if they were already there. Otherwise at Khan Tengri difficulties of IV and at Peak Communism III-IV would have to be expected.
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