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Run the Alps Trip Rating System

A guide to finding the trip that’s right for you.

Is it for you?

Having route options and not rushing each day are important to you. You can hike up a steep hill (eg. 20% gradient on a treadmill) for a couple of hours. You can run up to 13 km (8 miles) at a slow but steady pace. You already enjoy trail running, or want to get into it, and prefer to take your time and enjoy plenty of stops along the way. You might or might not have done a trail race.

The trip

Most days have 300 – 915 m (1,000 – 3,000 ft) of climbing and descending, and are 6 – 13 km (4 – 8 miles) long.  You can sometimes shorten days, or take one or more days off when you like. The terrain is steep and rocky in places, but there is always a clear trail and very little exposure to an extreme fall.



Is it for you?

You’ve been trail running for a few years, and are looking to build your skills and have try some classic Alps trails. Having route options each day is important to you. You can hike for up to two hours up a steep grade – twice in a day. You can run up to 19 km (12 miles) at 12 min per mile / 8 km per hour pace on level ground, with occasional stops.

The trip

Most days have 915 – 1500 m (3,000 – 5,000 ft) of climbing and descending, and are 11 – 19 km (7-12 miles) long. The terrain may include some technical challenges, such as very rocky trails. Options exist to shorten the day or take days off. There may be short sections that are exposed to the risk of a fall.

Is it for you?

You’re an experienced trail runner with several years of committed trail running under your belt. You can run and fast hike for most of a day, allowing time for breaks. You don’t mind several big climbs and descents of at least 900 m each (3,000 ft). You might have successfully tackled a trail marathon.

The trip

Many days have 1200 – 1800 m (4,000 – 6,000 ft) of climbing and descending, and 19 – 26 km (12 to 16 miles) of trail running. Few options exist to shorten the day. You may experience “big mountain” weather, requiring you to keep moving in rain, wind, and even some snow. There may be some moments of exposure to a fall, and short distances with chains to hold on to at the more exposed sections. Taking a day off is possible, but not easily accomplished.

Is it for you?

You’re confident spending long days in the mountains and like getting into remote places. You’ve run a 50 km (31 miles) or longer trail race or have had a long day in the mountains that ended with headlamps coming out – and you liked it.

The trip

Our most demanding trips, – often more than 15 miles (24 km) with 6,000 ft (1800 m) of climbing and descending per day. You may be “fast-packing”, carrying a heavier load in a larger vest or pack. The terrain will often be steep and technical. There are no options for bailing out. Some days can be skipped, though generally only in the event of an injury, medical condition, or serious fatigue.

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