Star System

The IOC uses a Star Ratings System to indicate the potential level of difficulty of events.  Updated 01/April/2014.

 

Hiking and Cycling guide

All events are voluntarily organized by the club members themselves, none of whom are professional guides or leaders.


Participation is at your own risk and every participant is responsible for their own behavior and safety at all times. If you have any questions on the level of difficulty for an IOC event contact the organizer directly.

A hike is rated such that if it satisfies any main criterion (bulleted) completely, it receives that corresponding star rating. Note that only one criterion must be satisfied. The organizer may subjectively add or subtract 1/2 star.

 

Please note: This rating system is for ideal weather conditions only. The organizer must adjust accordingly, to account for expected weather.

 

Ratings

Zero star |
• No danger
• Non-technical
Hiking boots not necessary. Path can accommodate automobiles.
• Negligible slope
• Total map time less than 4 hours in one day

 

One star | *
• Negligible danger
With adequate care by any person, a fall is highly improbable, and serious injury is almost impossible.
• Non-technical
Hiking boots not necessary, but recommended.
• Less than 750 meters climb in one day.
• Total map time greater than 4 hours in one day.

 

Two stars | **
• Slightly dangerous
With adequate care by any person, a fall is highly improbable, but serious injury is still possible.
• Slightly technical
Hiking boots strongly recommended.
Some rock scrambling, but hands are not required other than for balance.
• Greater than 750 meters climb in one day.
• Total map time greater than 7 hours in one day.

 

Three stars | ***
• Fairly dangerous
Lack of attention can easily lead to a fall.  If a fall occurs, serious injury is probable.
• Fairly technical
Hiking boots necessary.  Mostly rock scrambling.
Necessary use of hands other than for maintaining balance or holding chains or ladders (climbing on natural rock formations).
• Greater than 1500 meters climb in one day
• Total map time greater than 10 hours in one day
• Requires a Leader and Co-Leader who each have map and compass (names must be provided to Activity Coordinator)
• Event Leader will provide a list of names of all participants to the Activity Coordinator
• Event leader will promulgate an equipment list for that activity
• Event leader to have participated on a 3 Star event before being allowed to lead a 3 star event.

 

Four stars | ****
• Very dangerous
Special care required. A fall is almost always possible, even with normal care. The trail narrows to body width or less with fatal exposure on both sides.
•Very technical
Rock climbing and/or mountaineering experience becomes beneficial at this level.
Mostly climbing observing the “three points of contact” rule at all times.
• Requires a Leader and Co-Leader who each have map and compass (names must be provided to Activity Coordinator)
• Event Leader will provide a list of names of all participants to the Activity Coordinator
• Event leader will promulgate an equipment list for that activity
• Event leader to have participated on a 3 Star (or above) event before being allowed to lead a 3 star (or above) event.

 

Five stars | *****

• Extremely dangerous
Presents real danger to even the most experienced hiker.
Rock climbing and/or mountaineering experience is an absolute must.The trail narrows to where one cannot freely stand where protection (man-made holds) is absent, with fatal exposure.
Foot and handholds are unstable (very small holds or crumbling rock) where protection is absent, with fatal exposure.
• Requires a Leader and Co-Leader who each have map and compass (names must be provided to Activity Coordinator)
• Event Leader will provide a list of names of all participants to the Activity Coordinator
• Event leader will promulgate an equipment list for that activity
• Event leader to have participated on a 3 Star (or above) event before being allowed to lead a 3 star (or above) event.

 

Examples of Hike Ratings

ROKKO-SAN (*)
Most of the trails on Mt. Rokko are not dangerous . The hiking does not require scrambling. Since Mt. Rokko is about 1000m, if the hike begins from sea level, then it would get 2 stars because of elevation gain; otherwise, if the elevation gain is less than 750m and map time is less than 7 hours, it is a one-star hike.
ODAIGAHARA (**+1/2)
This is at least a two-star hike because there is  a 1200m elevation gain on the second day and there is some scrambling involved. There is some danger, but with normal care, a serious fall is highly improbable. Subjectively a 1/2 star would probably be added  because of the strenuous climb on the second day, making it a **+1/2 hike.

HAKKENZAN (***+1/2)
This is at least a three-star because there are a few tricky places where a serious fall could occur. In the recent past the condition of the trail has varied greatly. If the protection is dependable, then it is three-stars.  If the protection is rusting and/or the trail is not marked well, 1/2 star would subjectively be added. If the protection is completely unreliable, then special care will be required and it gets 4 stars. Before rating this or any other questionable hike, get as much information a possible about the condition of the trail.

TSURUGI-DAKE (****)
The ascent of this mountain crosses the line between hiking and climbing. For most of the trail, it is necessary to have at least 3 simultaneous holds on the rock (3 points of contact). There is constant fatal exposure and serious accidents can occur here.
This is a four-star hike.

GENDARME (*****)
There are many narrow ridges on this route. One, in particular, narrows to a knife-edge, hence one cannot stand on it, but must traverse the side using the top of the ridge for handholds. The footholds are often not much more than toe-holds. There are many places without protection, where the rock is extremely unstable, so holds must be chosen carefully. The exposure is fatal along almost the entire route. Many experienced mountaineers have had serious accidents here. This is a 5-star hike.

 

Rock Climbing Ratings (U.S. SYSTEM)
1    Hiking
2    Hiking using some hands.
3    Requires three-point stabilization.
May be scary for beginners.
4    In principle it requires protection. For experienced climbers, not necessary.
5    Climbs requiring protection. Severe penalties for ground fall (injury/ death).
5.6    Beginner’s level rock climbing.
5.7    Advanced beginner
5.8, 5.9 Intermediate.
5.10, 5.11 Advanced
5.12, 5.13  Expert
5.14  Non-human

Route difficulties including and over 5.10 include a,b,c,d suffixes - additional subcategories of difficulty. e.g. 5.10d is more difficult than 5.10a.
Note: Japanese tend to overestimate the ratings of the routes, so a 5.10 rated in Japan, is probably considered a 5.8 to 5.9 in the U.S.A.

 

CYCLING STAR RATINGS:

The following criteria are specifically  for off-road mountain biking. For road cycling, multiply  distances by 1.6.

 

One star | * -  Beginner / Novice

•    Almost entirely flat
•    Distance of up to 35 km (road 50 km).
•    Focus: Sightseeing

 

Two stars | ** -  Novice

•    Mostly flat. Some hills to 300 m. Climbs to 5%.
•    Distance of up to 50 km (road 80 km).
•    Focus: Sightseeing / touring.

 

Three stars | *** -  Novice / Intermediate

•    Rolling hills to 700 m. Climbs 8 - 9%.
•    Distance of up to 75 km (road 120 km).
•    Focus: Touring / exercise

 

Four stars | **** -  Intermediate / Advanced

•    Rugged hills to 1000 m. Climbs 10 - 12%.
•    Distance of up to 100 km (road 160 km).
•    Focus: Long touring.

 

Five stars | ***** -  Advanced / Expert

•   Mountains  of over 1000 m.
Climbs 12 - 20%. Downhills to 35%.
•   Lots of portaging. Demanding single track.
All day riding. Self-sufficient.
•   Distance of up to 90 - 120 km (road 160 km+).
•   Focus: Training / Racing.

 

 

Note : Members should always confirm with the event organizer or alternatively with the activities coordinator, that a certain event is suitable for their level of fitness and ability. "But it was only rated two stars" is no excuse !!

20110611-IOC-01.jpg