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How to Assess Your Fitness for Mountain Trekking

So how difficult IS it to climb Mount Kilimanjaro? Or to hike all the way to Machu Picchu?

All of our expeditions are open to adventurers without previous trekking experience. Whether you want a relaxed walking tour or to push your limits with a high-altitude multi-day trek, our activity level scale indicates the expected level of fitness for each expedition.

It’s important to note that various factors that go into assigning a difficulty level to our trips. Those include altitude, whether it’s self supported (carrying your own pack), the difficulty of the terrain, the climate, and the length of time and miles on the trail.

LEVEL 1

  • These expeditions do not have any fitness requirements. No hiking is required.

  • The only Level 1 expedition we offer is the Serengeti Safari where most of your journey is spent in the car (walking discouraged for obvious reasons!)

LEVEL 2

  • These expeditions include walking or a short hike.

  • A great example would be the 5-day Taste of Peru trip. The perfect combination of sightseeing in town, exploring ancient ruins, and short hikes.

LEVEL 3

  • These expeditions require an average level of fitness and the ability to hike over variable terrain. These are great first treks of 3-6 hours duration on a typical day.

  • We offer a number of Level 3 trips, including our Hidden Colombia expedition. This trip requires several river crossings in hot and humid weather and a fair amount of hiking steep trails and stone steps.

LEVEL 4

  • These expeditions require above average physical fitness. Treks may reach high altitudes and require high levels of physical exertion. No technical skills are required, and first-time trekkers are welcome. Typical days require 5-10 hours of trekking, and some expeditions include significant elevation changes.

  • Most of our trips are rated as a Level 4. Our Ultimate Machu Picchu expedition is a great example of longer days with a few tough climbs up and over high mountain passes like Salkantay Pass. While this trek provides porters, the elevation and sections of steep trekking make it a solid 4.

LEVEL 5

  • These expeditions require excellent physical fitness. Treks include longer days, greater elevation gain, and more challenging terrain at higher altitude. Participants should expect high levels of physical exertion at times. Travelers joining these expeditions should be in good physical shape and should expect to hike all day.

  • Our two hardest treks are Everest Base Camp and our Kilimanjaro climbs. These expeditions earned a Level 5 due to the physical and mental challenges. Both require long days at very high altitudes. Despite being supported treks with porters, they both require stamina and the drive to conquer the mountain.

  • You don’t need to be a skilled mountaineer to tackle these trips - just physically fit and mentally prepared for the once in a lifetime challenge head!