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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 – Skyrunning is defined as the sport of running on mountain terrain on low, medium and high altitude with a steep incline. Hands and certain equipment may be used to aid progress according to specific rules. Technical sections are inherent to the sport, but the climbing difficulty must not exceed II° grade (UIAA). 

Skyrunning disciplines are listed and defined in detail below. Courses must have a 6% minimum average incline over the total distance and at least 5% of the total distance must have an incline of 30% or more. The climbing difficulty must not exceed II° grade UIAA and the finishing time must be under 16 hours. Asphalt must be less than 15% of the total distance.

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, capacity to be autonomous for long sections and basic mountaineering experience required.

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, exposed ridges, risk of injury, substantial vertical climb, 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 (double or triple VK)
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