There are six levels each referred to as "Grade" or "Class" and then a number. The scale is not linear, nor is it fixed. For instance, there can be hard grade two's, easy grade threes, and so on. The grade of a river may change with the level of flow. Often a river or rapid will be given a numerical grade and then a plus (+) or minus (-) to indicate if it is in the higher or lower end of the difficulty level. Also note that while a river section may be given an overall grading, it may contain sections above that grade, often noted as features, or conversely, it may contain sections of lower graded water as well. Details of portages may be given if these pose specific challenges.
Waves small ; passages clear; no serious obstacles.
Rapids of moderate difficulty with passages clear. Requires significant manoeuvring plus suitable outfit and boat.
Waves numerous, high, irregular; rocks; eddies; rapids with passages clear though narrow, requiring expertise in manoeuvring; scouting usually needed. Requires good operator and boat.
Long rapids; waves high, irregular; dangerous rocks; boiling eddies; best passages difficult to scout; scouting mandatory first time; powerful and precise manoeuvring required. Demands expert boatman and excellent boat and good quality equipment.
Exceedingly difficult, long and violent rapids, following each other almost without interruption; riverbed extremely obstructed; big drops; violent current; very steep gradient; close study essential but often difficult. Requires best person, boat, and outfit suited to the situation. All possible safety precautions must be taken.
Formerly classified as unrunnable by any craft. This classification has now been redefined as "unraftable" due to people having recently kayaked multiple Class VI around the world.
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We plan a limited number of uttarakhand trek outings each summer, and multiple Grand outings each spring and fall. We hope you decide to join us.