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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
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
 

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featherweight clydesdale
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1,383 Posts
sick4surf said:
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.
 

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Premium Member
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3,029 Posts
What IMBA's got to say is right here..

JmZ

sick4surf said:
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
 

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Wiseass in real life too!
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79 Posts
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
 

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Get out of town!
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1,442 Posts
sick4surf said:
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!
 

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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
 

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399 Posts
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.

:)
 

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Builder of Trails
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797 Posts
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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