Easy & Easiest (Grades G & H) thoroughly enjoyable and informational. Perfect for grandchildren and grandparents, these walks get you out and about in this amazing place.
Moderate (Grade E & F) – Moderate in their difficulty, these Y-hikes provide spectacular views, points of interest, and serene settings which will keep you busy majority of the day but usually have back with time to spare before dinner. Many of them make for enjoyable nature walks, rambles, or sunrise, moonlight, or dinner hikes. Given the hikemaster’s consent, children often do well on these hikes.
Hard (Grades C & D) – Perfect for conditioning, you will most likely get your heart rate up on these treks.
Most Difficult & Challenging (Grades A & B) – These hikes face greater exposure, greater mileage, more difficult terrain, and higher altitudes, which makes weather a potential danger. Lightning storms may arise, and rain, hail, and snow may make difficult terrain treacherous. Even in the summer we must be prepared to fight off hypothermia and frostbite at high altitudes, and hydration becomes an even higher priority.
THE A, B, Cs OF Y-HIKES
As Hikemasters our utmost concern is your safety. In order to protect the health and well-being of each guest and to increase the chances of all the hikers successfully reaching the destination, we have devised a system of grading prerequisites. “A” is the hardest of hikes, and “H” is our easiest. To meet the prerequisite for A-D hikes, you must have completed without difficulty a YMCA of the Rockies (Hikemaster-lead) hike of no more than two grades lower within two weeks before the hike. This means a C hike is the prerequisite for an A hike*; a D hike is a prerequisite for B hike; an E hike is a prerequisite for a C hike, and an F hike meets the requirements for a D hike. During the summer we offer daily, several prerequisite hikes for D hikes and many others throughout the week which meet the requirements for hikes rated A to C*.
We grade the hikes based on the total mileage, elevation gain, elevation of the destination, and the terrain’s difficulty. Each of these aspects are rated and then averaged together to get the final grade. The term bushwhacking includes boulder hopping, loose scree, downed trees, exposure, river crossing, krummholtz, and even a trail that might be steep, muddy, hot, rocky, or exposed. We require and furnish helmets for hikes with terrain rated A or B, and the hikemaster will determine the point at which you will use it.
Hikes graded A-D must have three guests, and hikes graded E-H must have two guests to go. This means that hikes will cancel if too few sign up – again, it is our policy for safety’s sake. All our hikes are limited to no more than 14 guests, but some are limited to as few as nine guests, depending on the permit issued to us.