As @osmuser63783 mentioned above, there’s a more detailed draft above. (RFC: hiking_technique key (or a better name!) to describe movement on paths by hikers - #68 by erutan).
Bringing in the wording for impeded_walking (which isn’t perfect, but is the best two word solution we’ve come across), I’ve updated the proposal in the previous thread with some of the discussions since.
Note that this includes a top grade of
not_walkable - I’m not sold that it’s a necessary thing, but at some point those grades need a place to live. Just keeping T4 to T6 in sac_scale isn’t a great global solution IMO.
Shoving them all in a “here there be dragons but not quite technical climbing” made sense to me at the time. It could be used to describe the general scope of a scramble tag that then let’s people choose localized systems or some other solution.
Value 0: unverified walking
This value would exist for data ported over from the existing
sac_scale T1, as the trail could be either casual walking or attentive walking and that would need to be done manually later.
Value 1: casual walking
Falls under: Class 1 YDS, ~NFS Class 4-5, SAC T1 / Yellow, Austria Blue, CAI T, AWTGS Grades 1, PWS W1 & W2
Obstacles: The ground may not be entirely smooth and have some irregularities, but it has few obstacles and they tend to be smaller or have a large amount of space around them. It isn’t uncommon for these trails to use imported materials for their surfaces, but can also be on compacted or naturally even ground.
- Casual walking paths that are wheelchair accessible should be tagged with wheelchair=yes. In general people anyone that can walk but have minor mobility issues, need to use a walking aid, the very young and elderly, etc can safely traverse this terrain.
- Almost all casual footwear will be adequate.
- Little to no focus needed, people can walk and talk and not pay much attention to the path surface.
Value 2: attentive walking
Falls under: Class 1 YDS, ~NFS Class 2-3, SAC T1 / Yellow, Austria Blue, CAI T, AWTGS Grades 2, PWS W1 & W2
The trail has some ankle to knee high obstacles like roots or rocks, but these can almost always be walked around and it’s possible to walk on an even or nearly even surface. Anyone that can walk in a coordinated manner and avoid obstacles should be able to handle this terrain.
- People that need to use aids when walking, or have some kind of issue that impacts their mobility can have problems in sections.
- Sneakers or other casual footwear should be fine.
- Focus occasionally needed, people can walk and talk at times but will need to look at their feet.
Value 3: surefooted walking
Falls under: Class 1 YDS, NFS Class 1-3, SAC T2 / White-Red-White, Austria Red, CAI E, AWTGS Grade 3?, PWS T1-T2
Obstacles: The path has around ankle to knee high obstacles (roots, rocks, etc) that need to be stepped on / passed through to proceed forward. It’s common to have long stretches of trail that are on uneven surfaces, where people need to be surefooted and be able to walk with balance, coordination, and sure-footedness.
- Footwear is more consequential. Lightweight but outdoorsy shoes like trail runners or approach shoes would be helpful, but sneakers should still work though more care might need to be taken at times. People with bad ankles or that lack experience may want traditional mid or high top boots.
- Attention will need to paid to footing for long stretches in places to avoid loss of traction or falling.
- This can be very challenging to inexperienced hikers, but will be straightforward for mountaineers.
Value 4: impeded walking
Falls under: Class 2 YDS, NFS Class 1-2, SAC T3 / White-Red-White, UAII 1, Austria Black, SWW White-red-white, CAI EE, AWTGS 3-4?, PWS T3-T4?, BMC Grade 0.5?
Obstacles: This ground that is uneven or steep enough that it’d be reasonable to expect people to occasionally use their hands or trekking poles for balance while hiking. If talus isn’t so large you need to climb over it, but it’s larger than in
surefooted_walking and you need to put a hand on a piece here or there to support yourself it falls into this category. You might be occasionally be pushing off or lightly pulling on obstacles, but you aren’t actually using them to scramble or climb.
Slope note: Even flat terrain can have obstacles on it that require use of hands to surmount. Additionally once terrain gets close to or over 30° hands (or trekking poles) are generally used for support and balance as the slope itself becomes an obstacle. Nearly all highly developed trails are explicitly designed to avoid such steep angles, but there are exceptions.
- You need a stronger sense of balance and coordination than on
surefooted_walking terrain. Being able to control your body’s momentum and be aware of your weight and how it is moving over obstacles is important.
- Footwear with grippy soles meant for hiking is highly recommended (boots, approach shoes, etc). These can still be very lightweight for experiened individuals.
- The ability to think a few steps ahead and a little bit of confidence when focusing on the path are very helpful.
Value 5: scrambling
Falls under: Class 3-4 YDS, Bouldering VB, NFS Class 1, SAC T4-6, UAII 2, Austria “Alpine Route”, CAI EE, AWTGS 4-6?, PWS T3-R?, BMC Grade 1-3
Obstacles: High angle obstacles that need to be “climbed” for significant lengths of time finding handholds and footholds and pulling oneself up, but are simpler than technical climbing which use of a rope and harness are expected (see grading systems above). Feet are off the ground for more than a few moves, or there are repeated sections of short climbing. This is going to be a slim minority of paths in many regions.
- You need to be able to pull up a decent portion your body weight with upper body strength.
- Approach shoes, “high route shoes”, cross trainers, or boots are recommended. You’ll generally want either more traditional boots with “structure” or a lightweight shoe that conforms to the foot for better feel and independent use of foot muscles for control.
- While not considered “technical climbing” significant risk can be involved. Previous climbing or mountaineering experience is highly recommended.