At any rate, I've gotten a bit of grief from folks for the (extremely subjective) ratings I've given some of the hikes for which I've provided beta on this blog, most particularly my most recent write-up on Griswold Lake. What's "easy" for me may be less so for other folks, and what I might consider something that should earn a "difficult" rating could be a cakewalk for another person.
Fair enough. Let's take the subjectivity out of it.
Back when I lived in Colorado, I was a member of the Colorado Mountain Club. They have tens of thousands of members and needed a workable rating system to make sure that people signed up for the hikes they were interested in and/or qualified for. Their rating system did a pretty good job in letting folks know what they were in for, so (since plagiarism is the highest form of flattery) I'm going to steal it wholesale. Not only that, but as a courtesy I'll go back and update the ratings I've given various hikes on this blog to reflect this rating system.
OK, here it is, straight from the CMC website:
Hikes (including some trips that require rock-climbing skills) are normally classified as A through D:
Class A: Up to 8 miles round trip and 1200 ft. elevation gain. (Prior hiking experience is usually not necessary.)
Class B: Up to 12 miles round trip and 2500 ft. elevation gain. (Moderate to strenuous physical activity. Some prior experience is beneficial.)
Class C: Up to 15 miles round trip and 3500 ft. elevation gain. (Strenuous to very strenuous physical activity. Prior experience and training is beneficial.)
Class D: Over 15 miles round trip or 3500 ft. elevation gain. (Very strenuous physical activity often including exposure or requiring use of technical skills. Knowledge based on prior experience and training is highly beneficial.)
If you also see the letter "E" after the classification (such as C-E or D-E), the trip involves exposure (i.e., risk of falling) and may require advanced climbing skills.
Got it? That should be easy enough. Since a lot of the hikes around here require route-finding skills, I'll add an "R" after the classification to indicate that, too.
I'll put a link to this post at the bottom of my trail beta from here on out. FWIW, I pretty much considered Class A and B hikes to be "easy" hikes back in my CMC days, C hikes to be "moderate" and D hikes to be the ones most worth doing. ;)