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Proposal for Hiking

In preparation


Provide a classification scheme for hiking trails.

  • Especially for mountain trails, it is crucial to know wether a trail can be done in sneakers or wether you need ice axe and climbing irons.
  • Since Google Maps and the like are pretty unusable for hiking (because they denote only very few trails), this is a region where OSM can be of great value soon and for a long time.
  • Many mountaineers already utilize GPSs. It would be great to win as many of them as possible as contributers to OSM.

As far as I know, there is no internationally standardized classification schema. Thus, I propose to incorporate the classification of the Swiss Alpine Club (source in german). Not because I am from Switzerland (I am not), but because in my humble opinion this one is easy to understand and well defined.

SAC Scale Trail Terrain Requirements
T1 "Hiking" Trail well cleared Area flat or slightly sloped, no fall hazard None, orientation unproblematic, no map required
T2 "Mountain Hiking" Trail with continuous line and balanced ascent Terrain partially steep, fall hazard possible
  • Hiking shoes recommended
  • Basic sense of direction
  • Some sure footedness
T3 "Demanding Mountain Hiking" Track mostly visible, exposed sites may be secured with ropes or chains, possible need to use hands for balance Partly exposed sites with fall hazard, scree, pathless jagged rocks
  • Well sure-footed
  • Good hiking shoes
  • Medium sense of direction
  • Basic alpine experience
T4 "Alpine Hiking" Path sometimes invisible, route partly pathless, sometimes need for hand use to get ahead Terrain quite exposed, precarious grassy acclivities, jagged rocks, facile snow-free glaciers
  • Familiarity with exposed terrain
  • Solid trekking boots
  • Some ability for terrain assessment and good orientation
  • Alpine experience
T5 "Demanding alpine hiking" Often pathless, single plainly climbing up to second grade Exposed, demanding terrain, jagged rocks, few dangerous glacier and névé
  • Mountaineering boots
  • Reliable assessment of terrain and very good orientation
  • Profound alpine experience
  • Elementary knowledge of handling with ice axe and rope
T6 "Difficult alpine hiking" Mostly pathless, climbing up to second grade Often very exposed, precarious jagged rocks, glacier with danger to slip and fall
  • Excellent orientation
  • Mature alpine experience
  • Familiarity with the handling of technical alpine equipment

Applies to



<tag k="highway" v="path"/>
<tag k="hiking" v="..."/>


Alternatives for the key

  • current proposal: k="hiking"
  • k="hiking_grade"
  • k="sac_scale"
  • k="hiking_scale"
  • k="hiking_difficulty"

Alternatives for the value

  • current proposal:
    • T1: v="yes" (default for all paths without k="hiking")
    • T2: v="mountain"
    • T3: v="demanding_mountain"
    • T4: v="alpine"
    • T5: v="demanding_alpine"
    • T6: v="difficult_alpine"
  • hiking/mountain_hiking/demanding_mountain_hiking/alpine_hiking/demanding_alpine_hiking/difficult_alpine_hiking
  • T1/T2/T3/T4/T5/T6 (only with k="sac_scale")
  • 1/2/3/4/5/6 (only with k="sac_scale")




Probably same color as present footway, some kind of different patterns

  • T1: ..........
  • T2: ..... ..... .....
  • T3: .... .... .... ....
  • T4: ... ... ... ...
  • T5: .. .. .. ..
  • T6: . . . . . . .


yahou ! I was already planning to do some proposal about hiking, and I am 100% with you on that one.

It should be great to bring people interesting in hiking/mountain bike into finding solution for moutain places.

A comment : for now I am tagging mountain trail as highway=footway, what is the highway=path you are talking about ?

Might be hard, but one day, footways should probably be put out from highway just like cycleways are

Oups, haven't seen the Proposed_features/Hiking proposal

Sletuffe 23:17, 12 March 2008 (UTC)