The Crooked Canes

~  Our Outing Difficulty Ratings  ~

Keep in mind what Einstein may have said, "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 outings (Regular, A-TEAM! and Bonus) you'll see general differences, all taken into account when determining a difficulty rating.  Factors such as length, vertical ascent, trail conditions, weather and distance from "CTL" (our customary meeting place) are among factors considered.

The National Ski Areas Association's guide to alpine ski trail difficulty, used also by Parcs Canada to rate hiking trail difficulty is shown below and 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 - Use Extra Caution" (Double Black Diamond) at the one ski resort in Alabama.  Outing descriptions on our Current Schedule and archives provide a reasonable, relative, portrayal of what Canes of various ages and ability enjoy and where the group fits among outing groups in our geographic area.
NSAA And Parcs Canada Difficulty Ratings

"Easier" = Green Circle or GC

"More Difficult" = Blue Square or BS***

"Most Difficult" = Black Diamond or BD

"Most Difficult - Use Extra Caution" = Double Black Diamond or DBD
Ratings are all relative to our perceived general Crooked Cane ability level.   What may be a A Double Black Diamond Crooked Cane outing may be a Green Circle for a healthy, young, active, recent veteran of the Appalachian Trail, the Pacific Crest Trail and the Alpine Club of Himalaya. 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.

Relative  Difficulty For A-TEAM, Regular and Bonus Outings
All Crooked Canes outings, including A-TEAM!, Regular and Bonus, assume that Moxham, Prospect Mountain, Haystack and Lake Abenakee are in the center of the Blue Square, done under reasonably good conditions. Everything else is rated relative to those outings.  Conditions can greatly affected by weather events  on or before an outing.  Deep snow, heavy rain, wind or cold are all factors that can turn a Blue Square into a Black Diamond - even after the outing has begun. Someone sustaining an injury can also significantly increase an outings difficulty.

On our Current Schedule, difficulty icons are in the header line of  each outing. On Archive pages, letters, eg. "GC," "BS," etc. replace the graphics used on the Current Schedule.
 A-TEAM! Outings Are Always "Easier"
On our Current Schedule or Archive pages, if there is an "A" after an outing number  it's an A-Team! outing. These outings are generally the easiest. Distance is generally less than our  "Regular" outings, 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 To  
Regular Outings Are From "Easier" To "More Difficult" To "Most Difficult"
On our Current Schedule or Archive pages, If there is no letter after the outing number nor the word "BONUS" at the beginning, it's one of our regular outings.  As you can see from the difficulty icons, Regular outings span a broad difficulty range.  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 To  To
Bonus Outings Are From "Easier" To "Most Difficult - Use Extra Caution"
A Bonus outing may be the easiest or most difficult ever done by the Crooked Canes. Generally, however, Bonus outings are an old favorite scheduled on a non Crooked Canes day or be a little more off our beaten path or be a special opportunity to a not otherwise accessible place or a "test drive" or be something entirely different.

Rating Refinements
  The difficulty rating of many outings falls somewhere between two designations. On outing descriptions they will appear as is most appropriate. For example, the icons just above,indicate an outing is somewhere between "Easier" and "More Difficult.

/ This indicates an outing is somewhere between "More Difficult" and "Most Difficult."

/ This is a fictional rating you will NEVER see except perhaps on April Fools day!

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 and on the Attendee List.