technical classification guidelines

Define your level

The principal aim of these guidelines is to define skyrunning technical difficulties on three levels with a view to identifying the sport, distinguishing it from others, and to focus on safety, equipment and the environment.

Skyrunning definition (Rules extract)

2.3 SKYRUNNING – The discipline of mountain running (can be up to or exceeding 2,000m) where the minimum average incline is 6% over the total distance and must include sections of 30%. The climbing difficulty must not exceed II° grade (*UIAA). Poles, crampons and hands may be used to aid progress. Technical gloves and other equipment may be compulsory for some races.
2.3.1 SKYRUNNING DISCIPLINES – Where the altitude does not reach 2,000m, the courses should have a minimum average of 6% incline over the total distance (12% uphill) and reach the highest points in the area.

Factors taken into account for technical classification

  • Average altitude
  • Average incline
  • Distance
  • Environment
  • Fixed ropes/via ferrata
  • Max altitude
  • Peak reach
  • Loose rock, scree, ridges
  • Technical climbing sections (up to Grade II, UIAA)
  • Snow, glacier
  • Uphill/downhill sections
  • Vertical climb
  • Exposed drop / overhangs

Skyrunning technical levels

Level 1: Easy terrain, mostly on trail with some scree and sections using hands, below 3,000m altitude.  Course presents no strong risk of injury or risk of getting lost. Knowledge of procedure in case of bad weather, storm, emergency etc required.

Level 2: Technical terrain or altitude above 3,000m, rocks, some sections with fixed ropes, substantial vertical climb with adequate finishing time, no strong risk of injury, capacity to be autonomous for long sections and basic mountaineering experience.

Level 3: Technical terrain over 3,000m altitude with II° grade UIAA climbing sections without fixed ropes, sections with fixed ropes and/or via ferrata, snow or glacier sections, rocks, substantial vertical climb, risk of serious injury or death, high altitude mountaineering experience required.

Factors for Technical Course evaluation

*Average incline > 6% > 20%
*Distance > 20 km – 99 km < < 5 km/10 km/15 km
*Vertical climb > 1,300m+ > 1,000m/2,000m/3,000m
Max altitude > 2,000m > 1,000m
Uphill section < 900/1,000m+ N/D
Peak reach Yes N/D
Average altitude ≥ 2,000m N/D
Technical climbing sections I or II grade (UIAA) I or II grade (UIAA)
Fixed ropes/via ferrata/hand support Yes Yes
Snow, glacier Yes Yes
Loose rock, scree, ridges Yes Yes
Exposed drop Yes Yes
Course marking    
Finish time