When you read a hike description on VegasHikers.org, you might see the term "scrambling" to describe something between hiking and climbing. In general, it means you'll have to negotiate your way around or over obstacles. We rate the scramble difficulty in five levels, to help you decide if a hike is right for you. These ratings are loosely based on the Yosemite Decimal System, the standard for rock climbers.
Scrambing Class 2
Class 2 might use your hands, but just for balance. Imagine climbing on top of a picnic table -- some people will hop right up, others might rest a hand on the table to make the big step. Almost everyone can scramble Class 2, except maybe those with knee/ankle injuries, or vertigo/balance trouble.
Scrambling Class 3
Class 3 starts to feel more like climbing. You'll use hands, feet, knees, butts, or any other body part to get the job done. These sections can be full-body workouts, and a lot of fun to figure out the best route for you ... whether you jump, crawl, crab-walk, or sit-n-scoot. ;-) Most hikers can handle Class 3 without much trouble, but check the "exposure" rating to predict whether a fear of heights may be an issue. Combine these factors with the hike's distance and elevation to determine whether you're fit for the challenge.
Scrambling Class 4
Class 4 requires advanced skills and fitness, like lifting your weight with your upper body, or maneuvering in unusual ways. Examples include wedging yourself in a chimney, or climbing up a vertical wall with plenty of holds for your hands and feet. A rope would be helpful, but isn't required. Again, the "exposure" will make a big difference whether you enjoy this challenge at ground level versus dangling over a cliff.
Scrambling Class 5
Class 5 is full-on rock climbing and requires ropes (*though if the climb is short enough, it could be tackled with the helping hands of your fellow hikers.) The scale continues up from here in the , with grades like 5.1, 5.2, 5.9, 5.10, etc. It's rare, but you might see Class 5 in our hikes with canyoneering, rappelling, or indoor rock climbing gym trips.