The Crooked Canes 

~ How Difficult Our Outings Are... ~
...or aren't.  It's all relative. 
Crooked Canes outings are more difficult than the Couch Potato Club's. They are a LOT less challenging than those offered by the Alpine Club Of Himalaya.  In our three different types of outing schedules you'll see general differences, such as length, vertical ascent and distance from "home" as you read through them.

The National Ski Areas Association's guide to alpine ski trail difficulty, shown below, adapts well for rating Crooked Cane outings.  NSAA's difficulty ratings are relative to individual ski resort trails, e.g. an "Easier" rating (Green Circle) at a large northeastern resort might be considered "Most Difficult" (Black Diamond) at the one ski resort in Alabama.  Outing descriptions on our A-TEAM!, Current (aka "Regular") and Bonus schedules and archive pages provide a reasonable, relative, portrayal of what the Canes of various age and ability enjoy and where the group fits among outing groups in our geographic area.

Ratings are relative to individuals within the Crooked Canes just as they are to various groups.  What may be a Green Circle Crooked Cane outing for a young, active veteran of the Appalachian Trail, the Pacific Crest Trail and the Alpine Club of Himalaya is likely to be a Double Black Diamond for others. Weather and conditions also affect the difficulty of an outing: a lovely Green Circle summer stroll can be a Double Black Diamond with three feet of snow, sub-zero temperature and a howling wind.

Ultimately, one can only determine a good personal fit by asking questions of others in the group and themselves, then by participating in outings that appear to fit their own personal interest, physical condition and ability.
All Crooked Canes outing ratings  (this includes A-TEAM!, Regular (Current Schedule) and Bonus outings) assume that outings such as Moxham, Prospect Mountain, Haystack and Lake Abenakee are in the center of the Blue Square. Everything else is rated relative to those outings.

NSAA's Difficulty Ratings:
Green Circle = Easier
Blue Square  =  More Difficult
Black Diamond  =  Most Difficult

The NSAA Scale Applied to Crooked Canes Outings
Remember, As Einstein may have said, "It's all relative."
A-TEAM! Outings Are "Easier"
These are generally the easiest. Distance is generally less than for those in our Current (aka "Regular" schedule), 3 - 4 miles or less. On hikes there is not a lot of vertical ascent, 200 - 400 feet or less.  Travel time to trail heads or paddling put-ins is from a few minutes to less than an hour from CTL.

To Most
Current (aka "Regular") Outings Are From "Easier" to "Most Difficult"
These are generally more difficult than A-TEAM! Outings, spanning a range between "Easier" and "Most Difficult." A distance of five or six miles is common with up to eight occasionally and on hikes vertical ascent is generally under 2,500 feet, with some rough and/or steeper sections. Bushwhacking may be involved. Travel time may be from a few minutes to two hours from CTL.

To Most

Use Extra
Bonus Outings Are From "Easier" to "Most Difficult, Use Extra Caution"
Some are among the very easiest and some are so difficult you'll wish you never went along, spanning a range of "Easier" to "Most Difficult, Use Extra Caution."  Outing leaders, in their outing descriptions, try to portray their outings objectively with information on distance to the starting point, road conditions if not on "main" roads, vertical ascent, length, bushwhacking, bad trail conditions, etc.

Easier to More Difficult

More Difficult to Most Difficult

Most Difficult To Most Difficult, Use Extra Caution

More Difficult To Most Difficult, Use Extra Caution
Rating Refinements
Establishing the relative difficulty of outings is judgemental and often on the easy side of a more difficult rating or the other way around. In an outing rating, when an outing is judged to be somewhere between ratings, it will be shown on our schedules similar in fashion to the examples shown to the left.  Wondering about that bottom set of ratings?  Think of Second Pond on a nice early October day. Think about it in February with three feet of unbroken snow and the road to the trail head being slick bottom to top and a half lane wide with a 30 mph wind and it's starting to ice. Conditions can grossly affect a rating!

Outing leaders are experienced, knowlegeable and happy to address questions or concerns regarding the outings they and others lead. Please feel free to call them.  Names and phone numbers are on the top line of every outing description.