Route Grading

Words & Photography: Scott Norris (@radventuresofficial) // summer 2018

Hollie Scrambles over the knife-edge ridge of Crib Goch

The system of grading Radventures uses is based on the type of the terrain encountered on the route.It takes into account things like scrambling (based on the hardest move), steepness gradient and exposure (how open you feel to the drops below/around).

A route will be considered a 'Walk' if it has no scrambling and a 'Hike' if it has even a little. It's useful to acknowledge the mileage, ascent and rough duration of the walk when planning your adventure.

If you're unsure of your ability, simply pick an easier tier of route until you gain some confidence. The mountains will wait for you. With time and experience, anyone with a reasonable degree of fitness and in good health can tackle a knife edge 'Arête'. So get hiking! If you'd like to learn more about how you can prepare for a hike click here.


Short, leisurely rambles of a few hours. There's nothing at all to worry about here: no difficult obstacles, steep inclines or hands-and-knees scrambles.


Essentially a longer stroll of several hours, likely with steeper inclines and a possible sprinkling of scree.


For the most part a simple walk. Slight scrambles are a welcome attribute of the 'Hike', meaning the track may not be obvious at all times. There may be awkward footing or a need to lower yourself down/hoik yourself up on steeper terrain (nothing hair-raising!).


This is where it gets exciting. A good amount of fitness and stamina is required as longer, steeper, more exposed sections of hands-and-knees scrambles are possible. This usually means great views and a real sense of adventure as you pull, heave and clamber your way up the route. 'Scrambles' will begin to test the metal of the inexperienced hiker, although most will happily take it in their stride.


The ultimate conquest for any hiker. A knife-edge ridge (see Crib Goch, pictured above) awaits! A head for heights definitely helps here and as such 'Arêtes' are mentally and physically demanding. Reccomended for fit and confident hikers only. 'Arêtes' are likely to be treachourous in high wind, winter conditions or even rain. Please pay special attention to the weather when attempting an 'Arête'


A '+' indicates the route is at the upper end of the scale. For example in a 'Walk+' route, you might expect the trail to be particularly long, or have an area of very steep ascent. A 'Scramble+' trail might have an ordinary scramble where the exposure is greater than normal.


Scrambling Grading

'Scrambles' and 'Arêtes' are further categorised into a techincal difficulty.


Unchallenging scrambles where you'll need to keep your hands out of your pockets, but ultimately very safe so long as you take your time.


You'll find yourself using your hands here, but it's not rock climbing in the traditional sense as you'll be able to climb safely without the use of any specialist equipment. Exposure may be a factor.


Here, confidence is required. Know your abilities, become completely competant in grade 1 scrambles and (if unsure) consider taking a scrambling course before progressing to grade 2. It's sometimes reccomended to use a rope for protection in this territory as exposure is significant and these routes often possess more techinal options. Once on the ridge, retreat often becomes difficult without completing the route.


A rope is advised in places as steep, exposed sections or moderate rock climbing moves are likely. This is often technically classed as the easiest of climbing grades and should not be undertaken without the relevant skill, knowledge and experience in multiple grade 2 scrambles. Exposure is a definite factor and it may be necessary to abseil in order to retreat.