Scandinavian Mountains over 2000m - Introduction

Scandinavian Mountains over 2000 metres - James Baxter

Introduction › Climbing Grades

Throughout this website and the books I have used two types of grades.

Mountain Difficulty

I have graded each mountain in terms of difficulty ranging from 1 to 10. Due to the alpine nature of Hurrungane most of the mountains are towards the top of the scale, whereas in the more rounded Rondane, they are towards the lower end of the scale.

Rating of Ascent Route up Mountain
1 A hand-in-pockets saunter in the summer over easy terrain with a marked path and no glacier crossing. Easy to ski in the winter and spring but markings covered.
2 An easy and relatively short ascent but the terrain may include boulders. The route may be marked. If not navigation skills are necessary.
3 A straightforward ascent with rough and sometimes steep terrain, but no scrambling or glaciers. For a winter/spring ascent an ice axe and crampons are essential.
4 An ascent which is generally straightforward but with some easy scrambling, but no glacier crossing. A rope is usually required for a winter/spring ascent.
5 An intermediate ascent with difficult terrains and some easy scrambles. These ascents may involve glacier crossings. A winter/spring ascent often needs protection.
6 An intermediate and long ascent with some difficult terrain and easy scrambles. These ascents may involve glacier crossings. A winter/spring ascent is quite serious.
7 A demanding ascent with some grade II scrambles where a rope is advised. Can involve glacier crossings. A winter/spring ascent is for experienced mountaineers only.
8 A difficult ascent with grade III climbing sections where rope and protection are essential. Descent often involves abseiling. In winter/spring a serious undertaking.
9 Very difficult ascent with climbing to grade IV. Descent involves abseiling to reach easier terrain.
10 Very difficult and long ascents with climbing to grade IV. They have difficult escape routes should the conditions deteriorate so a good weather forecast is essential.

Rock Climbing Grades

I have also graded the climbs and for this I have been consistent with the UIAA system. A brief description of both the grades I have used is given below, and these should only be used as a guide.

Grade of Rock Climbing Routes (UIAA)
I An easy scramble with little degree of exposure. Rope is desirable but not essential.
II A more demanding scramble sometimes with some exposure. A rope is advised especially in wet conditions. Usually ample placements for protection.
III An easy climb with plenty of good holds. The climb may be airy and a rope is essential. Usually ample placements for protection.
IV A climb with ample holds, but this may include some friction holds requiring balance. Often exposed but usually with ample placement for protection.
V A demanding climb requiring a variety of techniques to utilize the holds. This grade is usually steep and exposed. Protection placement may be difficult.
VI A difficult climb where training is necessary to utilize small holds and natural features. Often involves dynamic moves to attain holds. Protection may be difficult.
VII Very difficult indeed. To climb at this level requires continual training and dedication as well as inherent natural ability.
VIII Extremely difficult. If you are climbing at this level Hurrungane, while having much to offer, is probably not the best playground for you.
IX Climbing at this level is the realm of elite professional climbers with sponsorship deals.
X Only a handful of climbers can climb at this level.

Below is a table showing the major international climbing grades for comparison.

UIAA British Traditional British Technical Norwegian German French USA
I Easy     I 1 5.2
II Moderate     II 2 5.3
III Difficult 3a 2 III 3 5.4
IV Very Difficult 3b/3c 3 IV 4 5.5
V- Mild Severe 4a 3+ V    
V Severe 4b 4 VI   5.6
V+ Hard Severe 4c 5- VIIa 5 5.7
VI- Very Severe 5a 5 VIIb   5.8
VI Hard Very Severe 5b 5+   6a 5.9
VI+ Extreme 1 5c 6- VIIc 6a+ 5.1a/b
VII- Extreme 2   6 VIIIa 6b 5.1c/d
VII     6+ VIIIb 6b+ 5.11a
VII+ Extreme 3 6a 7- VIIIc 6c 5.11b
VIII-     7 IXa 6c+ 5.11c
VIII Extreme 4   7+ IXb 7a/7a+ 5.11d
VIII+   6b 8- IXc 7b 5.12a/b
IX- Extreme 5   8 Xa 7b+/7c 5.12c
IX   6c 8+ Xb 7c+ 5.12d
IX+     9- Xc 8a 5.13a
X- Extreme 6       8a+ 5.13b
X     9   8b 5.13c/d
X+ Extreme 7 7a 9+   8b+ 5.14a