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  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.  Of our three different types of outing schedules, you'll see the differences reading through our schedules, accessible from the dropdown menu (click "Menu," above left) or anywhere you see "A-TEAM!," "Current" or "Bonus." Generally, mileage and vertical are mentioned in the outing descriptions.

The National Ski Areas Association's
guide to alpine ski trail difficulty, shown below, adapts well for rating the difficulty of Crooked Cane outings.  NSAA's difficulty ratings are relative to each individual ski resort's trails, e.g. a Blue Square at a large northeastern resort might be considered a Double Black Diamond at the one ski resort in Alabama.  Reading outing descriptions on our A-TEAM!, Current (aka "Regular") and Bonus schedule and archive pages provides a reasonable, relative, portrayal of what the Canes 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
Double Black Diamond  =  Most Difficult, Use Extra Caution

The NSAA Scale Applied to Crooked Canes Outings
Remember, As Einstein may have said, "It's all relative."
    A-TEAM! Outings: 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 Current (aka "Regular") Outings: "Easier" to "Most Difficult"
These are generally more difficult than A-TEAM! Outings, but not always. 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 Bonus Outings: "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. 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.
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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. For simplicity, when an outing seems to be somewhere between ratings, it will be shown on our schedules similar in fashion to the four 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.
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.