Trip and Workshop Ratings

All SMU Outdoor Adventures programs are rated for Degree of Difficulty (DD) and Physical Ability (PA). DD is based on the level of skills necessary to participate in the activity, and PA is a rating of physical demands necessary to accomplish the activity. Of course, this is subjective to the individual and is rated on a continuum based on college-aged, adult capabilities. Ratings take into account terrain, altitude, pack weight, weather, etc.

The ratings are as follows:

Degree of Difficulty (DD)

  • Beginner - No or little skill necessary; environmental/geographical conditions are very manageable.

  • Intermediate - previous experience recommended; some environmental/geographical conditions are manageable but with a degree of challenge.

  • Advanced - proficient in skills and self rescue techniques; increase in risks; environmental conditions are manageable but changing due to terrain, weather, altitude, water levels, etc.

Physical Activity (PA)

  • Easy-some physical activity required; average physical conditioning.

  • Moderate-requires above average physical conditioning; lift loads of 30+ pounds up/down terrain.

  • Strenuous-requires good physical conditioning; lift loads of 50+ lbs for varied length of time and distance; steep ascents/descents; ability to perform under physical/mental challenge.

For any questions please contact the Outdoor Adventures Office at 214-768-9918 or email


Recreational Sports is a department in the Division of Student Affairs.