Technical difficulties

I have assigned a level of difficulty to each kind of excursion: choose the one tailored to you, checking the symbol associated to each itinerary. Be careful! The hiking times I have indicated are deliberately longer than the ones on the signs at the start of the trails, because they include the stops to contemplate the landscape, to observe animals, to rest or just to have a conversation.

When choosing your itinerary, don’t overestimate your fitness level: mountain treks require a higher degree of physical preparation than a simple walk on level ground, due to altitude and elevation gain. If you don’t know if you are able to take part in a specific excursion, don’t hesitate to contact me and have some more information…


You will find below three different levels of difficulties that I have identified for you:

  • Walker

Escursioni in Valle d'Aosta

You have never hiked in the mountains neither in summer nor in winter. You don’t play sports regularly, but you are in good health anyway. Excursions with walking time of 3 to 4 hours and slight changes in altitude (elevation gain not exceeding 200 m). It is an ideal introduction to mountain hiking for people new to this activity.

  • Hiker

Escursioni in Valle d'Aosta

You walk on a regular basis and play sports at least once a week, even if you don’t have previous experience in mountain hiking. Excursion with walking time of 4 to 6 hours on trails with few technical difficulties. Elevation gain of 200 to 600 m.

  • Trekker

Escursioni in Valle d'Aosta

You hike or play sports regularly and you have previous experience in mountain hiking. You are in good physical shape. Excursion with walking time of 6 to 9 hours on trails which may require technical abilities. Elevation gain up to 1.200 m.

Children hiking: only some of our proposals are suitable for children under 10, i.e. half-a-day hikes with an elevation gain of maximum 200-300 m. In the technical sheets describing each excursion, I mention whether children can be part of the tour or not. In any case, contact me for an advice.

Ciaspolate in Valle d'Aosta

C. A.I. classification


In order to better plan a summer trek, it is important to understand the information given on the signs at the start of the trails. You will find below the hike difficulty rating scale of CAI (Italian Alpine Club):



T=tourist: hikes on well-marked narrow roads, mule tracks or comfortable paths, not causing problems of orientation. They usually run under 2.000 m and lead to alpine pasture chalets or to huts. They require a certain knowledge of mountains and to be fit for walking.



E=hiker: hikes most of the times on paths or following previous trails (usually marked) on different kinds of terrain (alpine pastures, debris, stony grounds). They can consist of short flat stretches or moderate slopes with some snow: if you fall, you can stop fast and with no danger. Sometimes they run on open fields without trails but are not problematic and are anyway adequately marked. They can run on steep slopes; the exposed sections are usually protected with barriers or secured with cables. They can include short not exposed rock climbs and not demanding sections equipped with ladders, rungs and cables which do not require specific equipment such as harness, carabiners, etc. You need to have a certain sense of orientation, certain experience and knowledge of mountains, to be fit for walking and have appropriate shoes and clothing.



EE=skilled hiker: usually marked itineraries which imply a good ability to walk on different kinds of terrain. Paths or trails on arduous terrain (steep and slippery slopes of grass and/or rock mixed with grass, or rubble). Different kinds of terrain at relatively high altitudes (stony ground, small and not steep snowfields, open slopes without landmarks, etc.). Rocky sections with light technical difficulties (not difficult equipped trails and via ferrata). They do not include hikes on glaciers, even if flat and/or apparently without crevasses (because in that case you must use ropes and ice picks and know the appropriate belay operations). You need to have good experience and knowledge of mountains; a firm and steady step and a head for heights; appropriate equipment and clothing.



EEA=skilled and equipped hiker: equipped trails or via ferrata requiring self-belaying devices (harness, screamer, carabiners, cords) and self-protection equipment (helmet and gloves).





EEA - F (easy ferrata): equipped trail with few exposed sections and long walking stretches. It is a well-protected and well-marked route: the cable and the chain are the only metallic structures and are fixed to the rock to improve safety.   



EEA - PD (not very difficult ferrata): not too long and with few exposed sections. It includes gullies, chimneys and some vertical sections, facilitated by chains, cables, rungs and metal ladders.



EEA - D (difficult ferrata): quite long and demanding. It requires a good physical shape and a good technique. It is often vertical with long exposed sections and sometimes includes some overhangs; it is equipped with metal ropes and/or chains, rungs and/or metal ladders.

Ciaspolate in Valle d'Aosta



In Italy there is not a univocal difficulty scale for snowshoeing yet, even because the scale itself depends on snow conditions. The Swiss Alpine Club uses its own snowshoeing difficulty scale. In Aosta Valley appropriate signs for snowshoeing have been introduced recently to indicate the difficulties according to a generic and approximate scale:




      F                             Easy


      M                           Intermediate


       I                           Challenging


      D                            Difficult

You will find below some sites using different difficulty rating scales. In our opinion, the most complete one is the scale of C.A.S. (Swiss Alpine Club):



Escursioni in Valle d'Aosta