What Is Scrambling In Hiking?

What Is Scrambling In Hiking

Have you ever heard of scrambling in hiking? If you’re an avid hiker or just getting started, it’s essential to know the different types of terrain and activities that you may encounter on the trails.

Scrambling is a term that you may come across as you progress from simple hikes to more challenging routes, so, in this article, we’ll explore what scrambling is and have a look at the gear you need, the techniques you can use, and the safety measures you should take.

So, are you ready to learn more about this exciting activity? Keep reading below to learn more!

What Is Scrambling In Hiking?

What Is Scrambling In Hiking?

Scrambling refers to a hiking activity that involves the use of hands and feet to climb up and down steep and rocky terrains.

Unlike hiking, scrambling involves more technical skills and requires the use of protective gear and climbing equipment.

Another thing that makes scrambling distinct is that it usually takes place on routes that are not marked, and the path is not clear, so it requires careful navigation and route finding.

What’s The Difference Between Hiking And Scrambling?

While both hiking and scrambling involve walking on natural terrain, the primary difference lies in the level of difficulty and technical skills required.

Hiking usually takes place on marked trails, and the path is clear, making it suitable for beginners and people of all fitness levels.

Scrambling In Hiking

On the other hand, scrambling involves climbing steep and rocky terrain, making it a more advanced activity that requires physical fitness, technical skills, and specialized gear.

A further difference between the two is that hiking involves walking on flat terrain, while scrambling requires the use of hands and feet to climb and descend.

Moreover, while hiking can be a leisurely activity, scrambling is more physically demanding and requires careful planning and preparation.

Now that we’ve covered the basics of scrambling let’s talk about the two types of scrambling- technical and non-technical scrambling.

What’s The Difference Between Technical And Non-Technical Scrambling?

What Is Scrambling In Hiking?

Now that we have established the key differences between scrambling and hiking, we should let you know of the differences between the two types of scrambling; technical and non-technical.

Technical Scrambling

Technical scrambling is a more advanced form of scrambling that involves steep and exposed terrain, technical skills, and specialized gear.

This type of scrambling requires more technical skills such as rock climbing, roping up, and rappelling, so it is essential to have prior training and experience to undertake this activity safely.

For that reason, technical scrambling is usually reserved for experienced climbers and hikers who have extensive knowledge of the mountains and the gear required.

Non-Technical Scrambling

Non-technical scrambling, on the other hand, is less advanced and involves hiking over rocks, scree, or other challenging terrains.

This type of scrambling does not require specialized gear or technical skills, making it more accessible to beginner hikers.

It involves using your hands and feet to climb up and down small rock faces and may require basic route-finding and navigation skills.

It’s important to note that while non-technical scrambling may not require technical skills, it’s still a physically demanding activity that requires a certain level of fitness and endurance.

It’s also essential to have the right gear, including proper footwear, protective clothing, and navigation tools, when undertaking any type of scrambling.

Scrambling Techniques

Scrambling Techniques explained

What you will hear every scrambling expert admit is that when it comes to scrambling, using proper techniques can make all the difference in ensuring a safe and successful ascent or descent.

Here are some techniques that you can use to make your scrambling experience more efficient and enjoyable:

Body Positioning

One of the essential techniques for scrambling is proper body positioning.

What you need to make sure of is that you always maintain a stable center of gravity and keep your weight evenly distributed between your hands and feet. Doing this will help you maintain balance and control as you navigate the terrain.

Hand Placement

Hand placement is another critical technique for scrambling. So, what you need to do is look for secure handholds that can support your weight and avoid placing your hands on loose rocks or unstable surfaces.

Then, always use three points of contact (two feet and one hand, or two hands and one foot) to maintain balance and stability.


Route-finding is an important technique for scrambling, especially when navigating unmarked or unfamiliar terrain.

Look for the path of least resistance and try to identify potential hazards or obstacles ahead of time. It’s also a good idea to study maps and guidebooks before setting out to get a better understanding of the terrain.


Last but certainly not least, you need to focus on communication as it is key when scrambling with a partner or group.

Scrambling explained and tips

Use verbal cues to let others know where you are and what you’re doing, and always maintain visual contact with your partner or group.

It’s also essential to establish a plan for communication in case of an emergency or unexpected situation.

Remember that scrambling can be a physically demanding activity, and it’s essential to pace yourself and take breaks as needed.

Using proper techniques and taking the time to plan your route ahead of time can help you make the most of your scrambling experience while keeping yourself and others safe.

The Bottom Line

As you can understand, scrambling can be a thrilling and challenging experience, allowing hikers to explore new heights and take in breathtaking views.

However, regardless of whether you choose technical or non-technical scrambling, remember to always prioritize your safety, plan your route, and bring the necessary gear and equipment to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience!

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