Informative

The Rating Scale of Bikat Adventures

Kanishka S

Last updated: 22-09-2019

If you have landed on this page then it is likely you wanted to learn more about the difficulty rating of the trek you were going to book.

You are probably wondering what the difference between a trek rated 1 and a trek rated 2 is.  Wouldn’t it be easier, for instance, to categorise them as easy, moderate and difficult?

Considering the extensive work that went into building the rating scale, classifying them as easy, moderate and difficult would have definitely been the easier option for us, yes. But it would have also been a very rudimentary option.

The problem with categorising treks in this manner is that it gets very subjective.

What is easy for me may be hard for you. What feels moderate for one may be a cakewalk for someone else.

We have unsuspecting beginners on one end booking treks marked easy only to be caught unawares after starting the hike. They would return and tell us that we should have marked it moderate or probably even difficult.

On the other hand, we have ambitious trekkers booking harder treks with us even though they have had no prior trekking experience required to complete the hike/trek safely.

Taking both ends of the spectrum into account, we realised there was a need to add some structure and objectivity to the entire process.

 

This seemingly complex rating scale did the job for us.

It took care of the safety aspect. And it ensured that beginners starting their journey with us only felt a nudge and not a push or a shove when it came to taking that first step out of their comfort zone.

We arrived at the numbers on the scale using a combination of factors that we felt influenced the difficulty level of a trek. In case, the geek in you is wondering about these factors, we have listed them below.

Please do keep in mind that the numbers are relative and are in no way an absolute estimation of the difficulty of a trek.

 

  1. Geographical Features:

            a. Total duration of the trek

            b. Highest altitude to be gained

            c. Gradient of incline & decline on trails

            d. Availability/Non availability of vital resources like water, vegetation, etc.

            e. Technical Mountain Features like hard snow patches, ice sections, etc.

Disclaimer- Remote mountain regions are prone to incidents that impact the geographical features of a trail. The Rating Scale does not take into these incidents which in turn may affect the rating of the trek.

 

  1. Climatic Conditions:

            a. Temperatures encountered

            b. Rainfall probability

            c. Snowfall probability

            d. Average Wind speed encountered (if high wind areas are part of the trail)

Disclaimer - The rating scale has considered typical climatic conditions prevalent during a typical trekking season. Since the weather and climate in the high altitude regions are volatile, drastic changes in the parameters listed above can affect a trek’s rating.

 

How to read the Rating Table

Contrary to its appearance, the rating table is in fact quite easy to read.

The rules are simple.

If you are a beginner who is unsure of your fitness level and don’t know what to expect on a trek, please try out any of our treks rated one. It is only natural to have inhibitions. We understand that and will try and support you in every which way we can. If you have any queries, feel free to reach out to us. We are only a whatsapp text away :)

If you liked your very first trekking experience and are looking to test your limits next, the treks rated 2 will do the job for you.

A beginner who is sure of their fitness level on the other hand is welcome to skip the first two levels and directly start with one of the treks rated 3.

From 4 onwards, the rules change a little. It is mandatory to have trekking experience of the previous level to participate in the next level.

For instance, to embark on a trek rated 4, it is mandatory for you to have completed a trek rated 3.

Similarly to participate in a trek rated 5, we require you to have prior experience of any of our treks rated 4.

 

Activity Name No.of Days Typical Season Max. Altitude(M) Grade Grade Classification
Nag Tibba Trek 3 Dec – Apr 3000 1 Easy
Bali Pass Trek 8 May,Sept,Oct 4950 5 Difficult
Friendship Peak Expedition 8 May, Jun, Sep 5289 6 Difficult
Beas Kund Trek 3 May, Aug-Sept 3700 2 Easy
Tirthan Valley Trek 3 May,June,Sept,Oct 3100 2 Easy
Khauli Pass Trek 3 Aug, Sep, Oct, Nov 3750 4 Moderate
Chandrakhani Pass Trek 3 Apr-June 3540 2 Easy
Panwali Kantha Trek 4 March-Mid April 3500 3 Easy
Bhrigu Lake Trek 3 May, Aug-Sept 4260 2 Easy
Kuari Pass Trek 4 Dec, Jan, Feb, Mar 3876 3 Easy
Dayara Bugyal Trek 4 Apr, Aug, Sep 3000 1 Easy
Dodital & Darwa Top Trek 4 May, Jun, Sep, Oct, Nov, Dec 4150 3 Easy
Deoriatal Chandrashila Trek 4 Jan, Feb, Mar, Apr 4000 2 Easy
Hampta Pass Trek 5 June, Aug, Sep, Oct 4300 4 Moderate
Har ki Dun Trek 5 Feb - Nov 3500 4 Moderate
Roopkund Trek 5 May, Jun, Aug, Sep 4785 4 Moderate
Valley of Flowers Trek 5 June,July,Aug 4390 3 Easy
Kedarkantha Trek 5 Dec,Jan,Feb 3810 2 Easy
Pangarchulla Peak Trek 6 Apr, May, Jun 4510 5 Difficult
Deo Tibba Base Camp Trek 6 June, Aug, Sep, Oct 4480 4 Moderate
Vasuki Tal Meru Glacier Trek 7 Sep, Oct 4800 5 Difficult
Rupin Pass Trek 8 May – Jun, Sep – Oct 4650 4 Moderate
Kashmir Great Lakes Trek 8 July, Aug 4200 4 Moderate
Markha Valley Trek 8 Jun, July, Aug 5200 5 Difficult
Stok kangri Trek 9 Jun, July, Aug 6152 6 Difficult
Goecha la Trek 9 Mar – Dec 4950 5 Difficult
Pin Parwati Pass Trek 10 July –Sep 5320 6 Difficult
Gangotri III Exploratory Expedition 16 May, Sep 6577 8 Pro
Manali Chandratal Cycle Expedition 5 July – Sep 4300 5 Difficult
Manali Leh Cycle Expedition 11 July – Sep 5360 6 Difficult
Ladakh Multi Activity Adventure 6 Jun, July, Aug 4971 5 Difficult
Brahmatal Trek 6 May,June,Sept-Dec 3810 3 Easy
Chadar Trek 9 Jan,Feb 3415 5 Difficult
Ruinsara Taal Trek 6 Feb - Nov 3500 4 Moderate
Sandakphu Trek 7 Mar – Dec 3636 4 Moderate
Nanda Devi Base Camp Trek 10 May,June,Sept,Oct 3900 4 Moderate
Auden's Col Trek 14 June 5400 6 Difficult
Borasu Pass Trek 9 May,Sept,Oct 5250 5 Difficult
Dharansi Pass Trek 8 May,Sept,Oct 4190 4 Moderate

 

Progressing from Trekking to Mountaineering with Bikat Adventures:

Over the years, more and more people have been moving out of their comfort zones and exploring destinations in novel ways.

When we first explored Hampta Pass in 2012, we hardly encountered anybody on the route except for a couple of tents scattered across the landscape. This changed dramatically over time.

When we opened bookings in 2013, we had very few participants take it up. Currently however, our batches almost always run full.

We have also been encountering more runners on different trails embarking on 222 and 555 races.

The thirst for new experiences is evident. And our exploratory teams have been working overtime to match up to these demands.

We now have a range of activities spread across the landscapes of India. We have treks running along coastlines right next to the sea, strenuous cycling expeditions up the slopes of canvas like mountain settings and beautiful hikes spread across the south, north and north-eastern parts of India.

But it is not just about variety, is it?

It is also about progression.

We are not keen on offering ten fun but disjoint offbeat experiences to our community. We want to offer you a journey, challenging your limits with every expedition you book with us leaving you asking “So, what next?!”

The same concept applies to us as an organisation as well.

Currently, we are perfecting our expeditions falling under level 8 and exploring options under level 9. We haven’t looked into level 10 (yet). It would probably involve an expedition to the K2!

 

Why is it necessary to have experience in the previous levels starting from Level 4?

We have often received enthusiastic requests from participants wanting to directly embark on treks rated 7 or 8 because they believe they are fit enough to undertake such expeditions. They get disappointed when they are turned down.

The treks in this level are mountaineering expeditions. An exceptional fitness level alone is not enough. The right attitude, mountaineering skills, knowledge and mental fitness play a huge role too.

And there are certain rules and regulations set in place by the IMF when composing a team for such mountaineering expeditions.  According to these rules, out of 12 seats per batch,

-6 seats are reserved for aspirants with a certificate in Advanced Mountaineering Course (AMC)

-4 seats are reserved for aspirants with a certificate in Basic Mountaineering Course (BMC)

-2 seats are reserved for aspirants with previous trekking experience of expeditions above 6000 metres.

Note: These guidelines do not apply to Foreign Nationals.  If you are looking to book an expedition with us, kindly reach out to our team by mail or call for further information.

While it makes us very happy to see many of our participants aim for such heights, it is also our job to ensure they are equipped with the knowledge and skills needed to complete the expedition safely.  

 

This is why learning modules were introduced to each level of our Rating Scale.

Starting off with basics like how to pitch a tent and how to use a sleeping bag, these learning modules progress into equipping a trekker with ascending and descending techniques, balancing your centre of mass in steep sections etc.

At higher levels, the modules dive into the technical sections of a climb: how to use an ice axe, how to arrest your fall while on a slippery slope, how to build stretchers out of what is available in your surroundings and so on and so forth.

From level 4, the skills and knowledge taught hands on during treks are necessary to build an independent trekker with the right attitude, trekking practices and outlook towards the mountains. They are aspects that only grow with time and experience.

We remember two trekkers who were having an intense discussion on AMS and its consequences while on one of our trails. We were impressed by the depth of knowledge they displayed. Yet, much to our amusement the very same trekkers were munching on a packet of potato chips through these discussions.

People were aware of AMS and its consequences but were oblivious to the need to avoid processed, packaged food in the mountains. And this is just one such instance of the many we have encountered. Some place some where there is a miscommunication happening.

And we are hoping to bridge this gap with our learning modules to ensure each of our members grow into independent, well informed trekkers who head into the mountains equipped enough to take care of their safeties first.

That is all we have on our Rating Scale.

In case, you have any queries or need help deciding on a suitable trek for you, feel free to reach out to us by mail or call :)

Kanishka S

Kanishka is a Content Writer at Bikat Adventures. She holds a Masters in Development Studies from II Read more

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