Trip Classifications

Because the Denver Group is so large, many trip leaders and participants may not know each other and their abilities before a trip. Therefore, the Denver Group has provided trip leaders, and schools, the option of requiring a hiker classification (A, B, C, or D) for participants. Note, however, that although most hiking trips and schools do not require a classification it’s still important for participants to have the requisite skills and ability necessary to safely and effectively participate. If you have any questions or doubts, please contact the trip leader or school director for any undertaking you may not be sure of.

Currently, the Denver Group does have a classification requirement for all participants on ski trips. Those wishing to participate on a ski outing, who don’t already have a rating, should contact the trip leader for permission to participate. It’s customary, although not required, that unrated skiers on a CMC ski trip request an evaluation from the trip leader via the Denver Group’s Classification Change Request Form. Usually, after two favorable evaluations (and other requirements) the participant is awarded a skier rating.

Skier and hiker classifications are valid for five years. If you have not taken trips at or above your level of classification, or if your membership has lapsed for five years, you may be required to demonstrate ability and skill before your classification is reinstated. And, for clarification, although a hike may not require that participants be rated, the outing itself will have an A, B, C, or D rating (and other descriptors) to help everyone understand the trip’s length, elevation gain, technical requirements and other features. Similarly, all ski trips are rated “Easy,” “Moderate,” or “Advanced” (along with other descriptors) to help participants understand and prepare for the outing.

Participants on a backpacking trip are not rated, only the trips are classified as Easy, Moderate, Difficult   Backpacking trips involving multi-day outings have a difficulty rating encompassing elevation and mileage.  Due to carrying the weight of a heavier pack the backpacking elevations and mileage are lower than those for hiking classifications. Backpacking Trip Classifications are assigned a rating for the entire trip based on the most difficult day of the trip:

  • Easy Backpack: <5 miles/1000′ (Easy Hike is <8 miles/1200′)
  • Moderate Backpack: 5-10 miles/1000′-2000′ (Moderate Hike is 8-12 miles/1200′-2500′)
  • Difficult Backpack: >10 miles/2000′ (Difficult Hike is >12 miles/2500’+)

In summary, if you already have the appropriate classification for a ski or hiking trip, you may generally register for the trip on the website, or with the assistance of the CMC Office, without advance leader approval. If you do not have the necessary classification for a trip you may still register for the outing as long as you contact the trip leader for advanced approval.

Please be responsible and realistic in registering for any trip. For example, if you have a D rating but have forgotten skills or are out of shape, please don’t register for a D hike before restoring your abilities. Regardless of your classification, the trip leader or school director always has the final word on whether anyone may go on a trip or not.


Learn More About Trip Classifications:

Hiker, Backpacker, Road Biker and Skier Classifications

How to Change your Classification

How to Bypass a Required School