Trekking in Nepal is usually graded according to several factors including: gain in altitude, terrain conditions, duration of daily activity, and recommended fitness level. These are general guidelines only, but will give you an idea of what to expect on the trek. It’s up to you to judge your own ability, as well as physical and mental stamina. The pace of the trek can vary depending on the fitness and age range of the trekkers.
EASY: (ONE BOOT)
Easy treks may be undertaken by most age groups and fitness levels. These treks are marked by total altitude gains of no more than 3,000 meters (or about 10,000 feet) on mostly flat terrain. Daily activity duration is typically no more than 3 hours, and total trek likely won’t exceed 10 days. There is a very little chance of altitude sickness in an easy trek.
MODERATE: (TWO BOOTS)
Moderate treks are more active, and would require at least an average fitness level to accomplish. Daily activity duration would typically be between 3 and 6 hours, and the total length of the trek may be up to two weeks. Total elevation may reach 4,000 meters (or about 13,000 feet) on moderate, uneven terrain. The chances of experiencing altitude sickness are fairly low in a moderate trek.
STRENUOUS: (THREE BOOTS)
Strenuous treks demand some preparation or training to ensure a comfortable (but challenging) trek. Typical daily activity duration is about 6 to 8 hours, and may include elevations of 5,000 – 5,500 meters (approximately 16,500 – 18,000 feet). The terrain may have some steep ascents/descents, and the trails may be uneven or rocky. Mental stamina is important for strenuous treks. Altitude sickness of varying degrees isn’t unusual in strenuous treks; your guide or trek leader will ensure you take it slow to minimize these affects.
CHALLENGING: (FOUR BOOTS)
Challenging treks typically go “off the beaten path” to remote areas where landscapes are wild and untamed. These treks are physically quite challenging and definitely not for beginners. Daily activity duration will approach 12 hours – often on remote, mountainous, exposed terrain with very steep ascents/descent and uneven trails. Elevation of 5,500 meters (approximately 18,000 feet) isn’t unusual, and climbing and/or mountaineering skills may be required.