General Questions

We do hike in the rain, snow, wind and any other weather conditions that nature decides to throw at us. After all, we’re going on adventures! If the weather is unsafe for any reason, the trip will be changed or postponed. You will be notified the week of your trip if there are changes due to weather.

Wear whatever is comfortable. It is recommended to have a sturdy pair of broken-in trail shoes, boots, or sneakers. It is preferable to dress in layers and wear clothing that will wick away perspiration and keep you dry and comfortable

Not much, remember our trips are all inclusive. We do suggest you bring appropriate clothing to fit the season and a day pack to carry extra snacks and water.

We have trips for every skill level, ranging from introductory to challenging. These guidelines will help you select the level of adventure that’s right for you

(1) Introductory: Adventure travel at its most relaxed pace.

  • Activity: 1-3 hours most days
  • Distances: walk less than 5 km most days
  • Surfaces: Mostly Level terrain
  • Elevation change: little to none
  • Altitude: less than 1,000m

(2)  Beginner: Great for newcomers to active travel.

  • Activity: 4- 5   hours most days
  • Distances: Trekking/hiking up to 10 km a day,
  • Surfaces: frolling terrain with some steep ascents/descents and uneven trails
  • Elevation change: up to 2,000 ft/day
  • Altitude: up to 2,000 m

(3) Moderate: For outdoor novices and above.

  • Activity: 6 hours most days
  • Distances: If Trekking up to 15 km most days,  Climbing Single Pitch routes 6a
  • Surfaces: rolling or mountainous terrain with some steep ascents/descents and uneven trails
  • Elevation change: up to 1,000 m/day
  • Altitude: up to 3,000 m

(4) Advanced: Recommended for fit travelers with basic skills

  • Activity: 5-8 hours most days
  • Distances: Hike up to 20 km a day. Multi-pitch Climbing involved if climbing
  • Surfaces: mountainous, exposed terrain with steep ascents/descents and uneven trails
  • Elevation change: up to 4,000 ft/day
  • Altitude: up to 5,000 ft.
  • Experience and a doctor’s release may be required
  • (5) Challenging Active: Designed for very fit travelers.
  • Activity: 10+ hours/day
  • Distances: Trek 15 or more KM most days, Multi-Pitch Climb 6a+
  • Surfaces: remote, mountainous, exposed terrain with steep ascents/descents, uneven trails with loose features.
  • Elevation change: up to 1,000 m/day
  • Altitude: may well exceed 5,000 m
  • Experience and a doctor’s release are required

Wildfire has adopted a combination of the New Zealand Alpine grading system and International French Adjectival System to grade the technical treks and alpine climbing.

New Zealand Alpine Grading System: An alpine grading system adapted from the grades used in the Aoraki/Mt Cook Region is widely used in New Zealand for alpine routes in the North and South islands. Grades currently go from 1–7. The grading system is open ended; harder climbs are possible. Factors which determine grade are (in descending order of contributing weight): technical difficulty, objective danger, length and access.

Standard grading system for alpine routes in normal conditions

  • New Zealand Grade 1: Easy scramble. Use of rope generally only for glacier travel.
  • New Zealand Grade 2: Steeper trickier sections may need a rope.
  • New Zealand Grade 3: Longer steeper sections generally. Use of technical equipment necessary. Ice climbs may require two tools.
  • New Zealand Grade 4: Technical climbing. Knowledge of how to place ice and rock gear quickly and efficiently a must. Involves a long day.
  • New Zealand Grade 5: Sustained technical climbing. May have vertical sections on ice.
  • New Zealand Grade 6: Multiple crux sections. Vertical ice may not have adequate protection. Good mental attitude and solid technique necessary. May require a bivy on route and be a long way from civilization.
  • New Zealand Grade 7: Vertical ice/rock which may not have adequate protection. Rock grades in the high 20’s (Ewbank). Climb may be in remote area. May require a bivy on route.

International French Adjectival System (IFAS)

The French adjectival alpine system evaluates the overall difficulty of a route, taking into consideration the length, difficulty, exposure and commitment-level of the route (i.e., how hard it may be to retreat). The overall grade combines altitude; length and difficulty of approach and descent; number of difficult pitches and how sustained they are; exposure; and quality of rock, snow and ice. These are, in increasing order:[19]

  • F: facile (easy). Straightforward, possibly a glacial approach, snow and ice will often be at an easy angle.
  • PD: peu difficile (slightly difficult). Routes may be longer at altitude, with snow and ice slopes up to 45 degrees. Glaciers are more complex, scrambling is harder, climbing may require some belaying, descent may involve rappelling. More objective hazards.
  • AD: assez difficile (fairly difficult). Fairly hard, snow and ice at an angle of 45-65 degrees, rock climbing up to UIAA grade III, but not sustained, belayed climbing in addition to a large amount of exposed but easier terrain. Significant objective hazard.
  • D: difficile (difficult). Hard, more serious with rock climbing at IV and V, snow and ice slopes at 50-70 degrees. Routes may be long and sustained or harder but shorter. Serious objective hazards.
  • TD: très difficile (very difficult). Very hard, routes at this grades are serious undertakings with high level of objective danger. Sustained snow and ice at an angle of 65-80 degrees, rock climbing at grade V and VI with possible aid, very long sections of hard climbing.
  • ED1/2/3/4: extrêmement difficile (extremely difficult). Extremely hard, exceptional objective danger, vertical ice slopes and rock climbing up to VI to VIII, with possible aid pitches.
  • ABO: Abominablement difficile (abominable) Difficulty and danger at their limit.

Insurance

 

Knowing you’re covered, no matter what happens, can greatly change your enjoyment of an expedition. As such we partner with World Nomads who’s travel insurance policies are flexible and cover you for virtually any adventure. Get a quote here. Travel Insurance with World Nomads

Payment and Reservation

No, we do not charge any extra fees or fuel surcharges. The listed price is the price you pay. Including tax.

You must call 72 hours ahead of your scheduled tour for a full refund. Within 72 hours you will assess a $35 termination fee. There are no refunds for cancellations within 24 hours of your tour, or if you decide not to show up.

We understand that you may not have a printer handy when you’re traveling so it is not necessary to have a printed copy. However, we require that you show ID matching your reservation and also the Order # that is immediately emailed to you after you make your reservation.

Please contact us to get the latest information on your desired trip.

Yes. Reservations are required for guaranteed spots on all tours. Reservations help us determine the number of guides we need to ensure that our groups remain manageable and enjoyable, and they allow us to notify you of changes to the tour due to weather or anything that could disturb the tours.