When you’re out hiking, there are moments when you might need to scramble up a steep section of trail. Scrambling is a cross between hiking and climbing, and it can be a lot of fun! But what exactly is scrambling in hiking?
In general, scrambling is any time you need to use your hands for balance or traction on a steep or otherwise difficult section of trail. This can be anything from a short scramble up a rocky section to a longer climb up a waterfall. There are even some peaks that require scrambling to reach the summit!
Level of difficulty of scrambling
There are four main grades of scrambling, from easiest to most difficult:
Grade 1: Easy. This is more like hiking than climbing, and usually doesn’t require use of your hands.
Grade 2: Moderate. This might involve some easy rock climbing moves, and you’ll definitely need to use your hands for balance and traction.
Grade 3: Difficult. This is where things start to get truly challenging, with more difficult moves and longer stretches of scrambling.
Grade 4: Very Difficult. This is true rock climbing, often on very steep and exposed terrain. Only attempt this grade if you are an experienced climber!
Cautions of scrambling in hiking
If you’re interested in trying scrambling, there are a few things you should keep in mind.
- First, always hike with a partner so that somebody can help if you get into trouble.
- Second, be sure to wear proper footwear with good traction.
- Third, bring along a rope and some basic climbing gear just in case you need it. And finally, always heed any warning signs or closures that are posted in the area.
Tips for How to scramble in hiking safely
Heed the following tips and you’ll be able to scramble with safety and confidence:
- Get a Grip: Use both hands whenever possible to maintain three points of contact with the rock. This could mean holding on with one hand while you search for a foothold with the other, or it could mean using both hands to grip an edge while your feet search for holds below.
- Be Mindful of Your Footing: It’s easy to get focused on your handholds and lose track of where your feet are placed. However, your feet are just as important as your hands when it comes to maintaining contact with the rock. Be sure to place your feet carefully and test them before committing your weight. Also, be aware of any loose rocks that you might kick down on yourself or your partners.
- Don’t Overreach: It can be tempting to stretch for that next handhold, but resist the urge. Not only will this make it more difficult to maintain your balance, but it could also cause you to lose your grip entirely. If you can’t reach the hold you’re aiming for, look for an alternate route.
- Keep Your Cool: Scrambling can be taxing, both mentally and physically. If you start to feel anxious or claustrophobic, take a few deep breaths and focus on your breathing. This will help you stay calm and maintain your focus.
With these tips in mind, you’ll be well on your way to scrambling like a pro! Just remember to take your time and stay safe. Happy scrambling!