Universal Color Coding for Trail Difficulty Levels- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Universal Color Coding for Trail Difficulty Levels

    Hey there,

    We are not allowed to nail any trail markers to trees for a new MTB trail system we have planned.

    We decided to use color coded paint for trail blazes.

    We are going to have Green Circle Trails, Blue Square Trails, Black Diamond Trails and maybe, Double Black Diamond Trails.

    Is there already a universal color coding system to rate trail difficulty levels?

    The kiosk will explain the color coding system.

    Here's what we came up with:

    Green blazes = Green circle trails (easy)
    Blue blazes = Blue square trails (more difficult)
    Yellow blazes = Black diamond trails (most difficult)
    Red blazes = Double black diamond trails (expert only)

    What do you think?

    Thanks,

    Michael Vitti
    http://www.climbonline.org

  2. #2
    featherweight clydesdale
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    Quote Originally Posted by sick4surf
    Hey there,

    We are not allowed to nail any trail markers to trees for a new MTB trail system we have planned.

    We decided to use color coded paint for trail blazes.

    We are going to have Green Circle Trails, Blue Square Trails, Black Diamond Trails and maybe, Double Black Diamond Trails.

    Is there already a universal color coding system to rate trail difficulty levels?

    The kiosk will explain the color coding system.

    Here's what we came up with:

    Green blazes = Green circle trails (easy)
    Blue blazes = Blue square trails (more difficult)
    Yellow blazes = Black diamond trails (most difficult)
    Red blazes = Double black diamond trails (expert only)

    What do you think?

    Thanks,

    Michael Vitti
    http://www.climbonline.org
    Use the same universally accepted colors and shapes that ski resorts use and IMBA adopted.

    White Circle = easiest
    green circle = easy
    blue square = more difficult
    black diamond = very difficult
    dbl black diamond = most difficult

    Paint the actual shapes instead of blazes. Use brushes...perhaps highlight the black diamonds with a red border or something to make them stand out.

    Second thought, why not bring in your own poles and use plastic circles/diamonds.

  3. #3
    JmZ
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    What IMBA's got to say is right here..

    JmZ


    Quote Originally Posted by sick4surf
    Hey there,

    We are not allowed to nail any trail markers to trees for a new MTB trail system we have planned.

    We decided to use color coded paint for trail blazes.

    We are going to have Green Circle Trails, Blue Square Trails, Black Diamond Trails and maybe, Double Black Diamond Trails.

    Is there already a universal color coding system to rate trail difficulty levels?

    The kiosk will explain the color coding system.

    Here's what we came up with:

    Green blazes = Green circle trails (easy)
    Blue blazes = Blue square trails (more difficult)
    Yellow blazes = Black diamond trails (most difficult)
    Red blazes = Double black diamond trails (expert only)

    What do you think?

    Thanks,

    Michael Vitti
    http://www.climbonline.org
    JmZ

    From one flat land to another.

    Advocate as if your ride depends on it...

  4. #4
    Wiseass in real life too!
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    What the Whistler Manual has to say.

    LEVEL 1
    NAME: Beginner
    SYMBOL: White circle
    GENERAL
    • Fairly flat, wide and paved. Suitable for all firsttime
    riders
    DETAILED
    • Maximum grade: 6° (11%)
    • Preferred average grade: no more than 3° (5%)
    • Maintain a minimum 2.5m curve radius
    EXPECTED TECHNICAL TRAIL FEATURES
    Technical Trail Features(TTFs) are not appropriate
    for level 1


    LEVEL 2
    NAME: Easier
    SYMBOL: Green Circle
    GENERAL
    • Gentle climbs and easily avoidable obstacles such as
    rocks, roots and pot-holes. You couldn’t ride it in your
    sleep, but most beginners will still enjoy these rides.
    DETAILED
    • Maximum grade: 9° (16%)
    • Maximum sustained grade: 5° (9%)
    • Curve radius: 2.4m
    EXPECTED TECHNICAL TRAIL FEATURES
    GENERAL
    • Small roots & logs to cross
    • Embedded rocks to avoid
    • Wide bridges
    DETAILED
    • Embedded trail obstacles: up to 10cm high
    • Logs and roots perpendicular to direction of travel
    (±15°)
    • Bridge minimum 90cm wide, handrail required if
    height of bridge above surface exceeds 60cm
    • No drops
    • No jumps


    LEVEL 3
    NAME: More Difficult
    SYMBOL: Blue Square
    GENERAL
    • Challenging riding with steep slopes and/or
    obstacles, possibly on a narrow trail with poor
    traction. Requires riding experience and some
    fitness. Previously graded for intermediate riders.
    DETAILED
    • Maximum grade: 15° (27%)
    • Maximum sustained grade: 6° (11%)
    • Curve radius: 1.8m
    EXPECTED TECHNICAL TRAIL FEATURES
    GENERAL
    • Small bridges (flat, wide, low and rollable from
    section to section)
    • Small rollable drops
    • Small teeter-totters
    • Small jumps
    • Medium sized logs
    DETAILED
    • Embedded trail obstacles: up to 20cm high
    • Elevated bridges: less than 1.8m (6’) high above surface
    4 Width of flat decking is one-half the height above
    surface
    4 For connected sections, the bisecting angle
    between each connected section must be large
    enough to allow the bicycle to complete transition
    without requiring any wheel lifting techniques
    • Teeter-totter: maximum pivot height, less than 60cm
    (2’) high above the surface
    4 Width of flat decking is one-half the height above
    surface at pivot point
    4 Maximum climbing angle 5°
    4 Maximum descending angle 30°
    • Exit ramps less than 30° to a maximum of 1m vertical
    • Rock grades less than 30° to a maximum of 3m
    vertical
    • Drop-offs not exceeding 30cm high with exit cleared
    of all obstacles
    • Jumps
    4 No jumps with consequences for lack of speed,
    for example, coffin jump or gap jumps
    4 Table tops maximum height 1m (3.3’)
    4 Jumps maximum height 45cm (18")


    LEVEL 4
    NAME: Most Difficult
    SYMBOL: Black Diamond
    GENERAL
    • A mixture of long steep climbs, loose trail surfaces,
    numerous difficult obstacles to avoid or jump over,
    drop-offs and sharp corners. Some sections are
    definitely easier to walk. Previously graded for
    experienced riders.10
    DETAILED
    • Maximum grade: 18° (32%)
    • Maximum sustained grade: 9° (16%)
    • Curve radius: 1.2m
    EXPECTED TECHNICAL TRAIL FEATURES
    GENERAL
    • Elevated bridges and teeter-totters with maximum
    deck height
    • Connected bridges
    • Mandatory air
    • Larger jumps
    • Steep descents with sharp transitions
    DETAILED
    • Elevated bridges: less than 3m (10’) 11 high above
    surface
    4 Width of flat decking is equal to one-quarter the
    height above surface
    4 Minimum bisecting angle between connected
    sections is 90°
    • Teeter-totter: maximum pivot height less than 1.2m
    (6’) above surface
    4 Width of flat decking is one-quarter the height
    above surface at pivot point
    • Exit ramps less than 55° to a maximum of 1m
    vertical
    • Mandatory air less than 90cm (3’) vertical
    • Rock faces less than 45° to a maximum of 3m
    vertical
    • Rock faces less than 25° indefinitely
    • Jumps
    4 Table tops, no maximum height
    4 Coffin jumps
    4 No gap jumps or rhythm sections


    LEVEL 5
    NAME: Expert Unlimited
    SYMBOL: Black Diamond
    GENERAL
    • A level of trail not maintained or supported by the
    Municipality due to high risk.
    • Trials skills essential to clear many challenging
    obstacles. High risk level. Only a handful of riders
    will enjoy these rides, apart from bike’n’hike
    enthusiasts.
    DETAILED
    • Similar to Level 4
    EXPECTED TECHNICAL TRAIL FEATURES
    GENERAL
    • Risk exceeds Level 4 due to height, widths and
    exposure
    • Fall zones may not meet acceptable standards
    • The consequences of errors may be severe and
    rescue may be difficult
    DETAILED
    • Exceeding Level 4

  5. #5
    Get out of town!
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    Quote Originally Posted by sick4surf
    Hey there,

    We are not allowed to nail any trail markers to trees for a new MTB trail system we have planned.

    We decided to use color coded paint for trail blazes.

    We are going to have Green Circle Trails, Blue Square Trails, Black Diamond Trails and maybe, Double Black Diamond Trails.

    Is there already a universal color coding system to rate trail difficulty levels?

    The kiosk will explain the color coding system.

    Here's what we came up with:

    Green blazes = Green circle trails (easy)
    Blue blazes = Blue square trails (more difficult)
    Yellow blazes = Black diamond trails (most difficult)
    Red blazes = Double black diamond trails (expert only)

    What do you think?

    Thanks,

    Michael Vitti
    http://www.climbonline.org
    Good luck to you Michael - I read an article about the trails you are building in Dirt Rag. I hope you get the support and funding you need to be rolling soon!

  6. #6
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    Thanks!

    The dificulty level ratings will greatly help in creating part of our risk management plan.

  7. #7
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    Hi,

    It may be worth seeking lower-impact marking techniques other than painting directly on trees or rocks. It would seem to me that painting on a tree is higher impact than nailing to a tree? They make special aluminum nails for nailing signs to trees with minimal effect. How about sign posts? Maybe you've researched these questions already...

    For trail difficulty marking, you can purchase pre-made sign posts, signs and decals from:

    http://www.rockartsigns.com
    http://www.carsonite.com/index.html

    They sell the universal difficulty symbols. Ideally, you'd use these symbols.

    Pete

  8. #8
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    Thanks,

    We are definitly not allowed to nail anything to trees in this particular park. Those flexible fiberglass posts with the decals look good. I sent away for the catalogs.

    I hope they are drunken teenager proof!

  9. #9
    mtbr member
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    Great idea! If the trails are going to be color coded for degree of difficulty, why not make the half of the sign for degree of difficulty and the other half red or green for direction. I would like to see trails marked for direction.

    I like the idea of using the same colors as the ski industry.

    What am I going to do with forty subscriptions to Vibe?

  10. #10
    Builder of Trails
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    The brown and green Carsonite-type signs have some good qualities and benefits. They are vandalism-resistant and pretty much nationally recognized by most trail users. The hold up to weather well, too.

    Using the shapes to compliment the color codes is a great idea b/c it allows people who re color blind to read the ratings, too.

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