Hiking levels

Hiking levels

We use the Swiss hiking scale during our hikes – T1 to T6. ‘T’ stands for Tourism. The most difficult part of the hike defines the ultimate level of difficulty. This hiking scale made by the Swiss Alpine Society (SAC) is a good way to judge if you can handle a hike or not. We hike level T1 to T3 with our kids. Level T2 is comfortable for us. Level T3 is doable, but sometimes a bit challenging. Level T4 really is a bit too adventurous for us.

T1 = Hiking. Well developed, signposted and marked paths. Flat or slightly inclined terrain. No danger of falling with appropriate behavior. Yellow marking.

T2 = Mountain hiking. Continuous route and passage marking. Steep in parts. Danger of falling not excluded. Some steady footing Trekking shoes recommended. Basic navigation skills. Red/white marking.

T3 = Demanding mountain hiking. A footpath is usually available. Exposed places mostly secured with ropes or chains. Partially exposed areas with danger of falling, gravel plains, pathless steep terrain. Good trekking shoes, average navigation skills and basic Alpine experience required. Red/white marking.

T4 = Alpine hiking. Path not necessarily available. Sometimes you will need to use hands to keep going. Terrain mostly exposed. Tricky grass heaps, rocky slopes, simple firn fields and snow covered glacier passages. Blue/white marking.

T5 = Demanding alpine hiking. Often without a path. Individual, simple climbing sections. Terrain exposed. Challenging terrain, steep rocky slopes, snow covered glaciers and firn fields with danger of slipping. Blue/white marking.

T6 = Difficult alpine hiking. Mostly without a path and unmarked. Climbing sections up to II. Terrain often very exposed. Tricky rocky slopes, snow covered glaciers with increased danger of slipping. Blue/white marking.

Examples of T3 hiking level (some on the edge of T4):