Blog posts usually begin with detailed information about how to reach, route and approximate expenses for the trek followed by an account of my experience there.
Treks are graded for Endurance, Difficulty & Risk factor as follows:
• Endurance (Stamina required to complete the trek in a reasonably good condition): A 5-point scale divided as follows-
1: No climbing, more of a hike. eg- Sea forts & Simple descents.
2: Short Climbs with scope for breaks. eg- Karnala Fort trek.
3: Prolonged climbing with scope for breaks. eg- Vikatgad fort trek.
4: Considerable elevation gain on a continuous basis/ Long distance treks with some climbing. eg- Visapur Via Bhaje caves with Lohgad in a single day.
5: Range treks. eg- Alang- Kulang- Madan.
• Difficulty (Level of skill required to complete the trek safely): A 6 point scale divided as follows-
Easiest: No specific skill required. Kids can be taken along for these. eg- Sea forts.
Easy: Simple climbing. eg- Matheran (Sunset point) via Dodhani.
Medium: Rock patches & exposed paths. eg- Matheran via Garbett point (ascent from Bhivpuri road).
Tough: Exposed Rock patches and scree slopes. Some Rock climbing skill preferable. Ropes could be taken for safety. eg- Harishchandragad Via Junnar Darwaza.
Very Tough: Extremely Exposed Patches and Rock climbing skill prerequisite. eg- Alang-Madan-Kulang Trek.
Technical: Pinnacle climbing. eg- Lingana Pinnacle.
• Risk Factor (an indicator of exposed patches and places where the natural formation poses a risk to safety of the climber unless dealt with care): A three point scale divided as follows-
Low: Negligible chance of injury/ No known fatal incident.
Medium: Exposed paths/ Rock patches/Scree slopes. Trek with utmost care.
High: Treks where fatal incidents have been documented in the past. Recommended only for experienced trekkers.
Seasoned Trekkers no doubt find a different high even in the most mundane of treks but newbies and/ or beginners are recommended to stick to easier treks so as not to get dissuaded from future adventures. Trust me, Sahyadri has a way with people. A couple of treks and You are hooked for life!
Please bear in mind that this is a subjective evaluation and varying weather conditions along with the physical fitness of the Trekker can have a bearing on how difficult a trek feels like.