The SAC Hiking Scale is the standard in all German speaking countries denoting the difficulty of all paths, hiking ways and trails. Developed by the Swiss Alpine Club, it takes surface, gradients, exposure, experience and gear required, and safety precautions into account.
Well cleared trails that present no major challenges or difficulties. Surface is largely compact and gradients are minor. There is no danger of falling.
Well-marked trails that don’t present any major technical challenges. Danger of falling maybe present in some sections and gradients could become challenging.
Trails are normally cleared and chains/ropes are normally offered for security through exposed sections. Trails comprise a compacted surface and can be steep. Danger of falling is higher.
Trails may not be marked and could comprise glaciers, gravel plains or pathless steep terrain. Danger of falling is present during most exposed sections.
Often trails that don’t comprise any specific path. Challenging terrain, steep rocky slopes and snow-covered glaciers are to be expected. Pickaxe/iceaxe and ropes may be required.
Trails are generally unmarked and contain climbing sections rated as grade II by the UIAA. Terrain is steep and rocky and may include long stretches over a glacier. Danger of slipping/falling is much higher, and advanced Alpine climbing equipment is required.