The key to having a fun and safe experience hiking is to choose a hike that meets and challenges your level of experience and physical fitness without taxing either. Hike leaders try to provide information with each hike to help you in making that determination.
Hike Ratings: The Club uses its own rating system. The system should not be confused with rating systems of other hiking clubs or climbing organizations, eg. the Yosemite Decimal System. The system is based on the expected average pace of the hike and the expected elevation gain.
Hike Distance: This is round trip distance. Distance should be considered in light of other factors in the hike description. A short off-trail hike can seem longer and take more time than a longer on-trail hike.
Elevation Gain: Generally the elevation gain listed in a hike is the difference between the lowest point on the hike and the highest point. In actuality it could be more when the route taken goes up and down over hilly or cliffy terrain.
Hike Leader: Hike leaders are volunteers and their hiking styles are quite varied. One may stop frequently for photos, water breaks and such while another has their sights on a goal and stops only when made aware of a need. All other aspects of a hike being equal, try hikes with several different hike leaders to find a style compatible with your own preferences.
Description: The description provides more information about what you can expect on a hike. It will tell you if there will be stream crossings, deadfall (fallen logs), postholing (trudging through deep snow), scrambling (climbing up rocks), or exposure (a situation in which you are walking along a steep slope or cliff). It will tell you if a hike is on-trail or off-trail. The description may also include information about the leader’s style of hiking.
If you have questions about a hike after considering all the information provided for it, do not hesitate to contact the leader for further information.