In the following paragraphs there is some basic information, from the very origins of hiking to the knowledge of the signs or the ‘MIDE’ method that all hikers must keep in mind.
The Data Supply Method for Excursions (MIDE in Spanish) was created 20 years ago as an objective information system with a clear aim to prevent accidents in wilderness, especially in the mountains, by supplying the hikers and excursionists with information about the itinerary as the most important aspect for safe and enjoyable trip.
At the beginning of the 21st century, there was no system for classifying the routes in a way that hikers or climbers can know what to expect. Each information supplier, like tourist information centres, nature parks, travel magazines, route guides, hotels, and so on, used measures which relied on biased or debatable terms, like ‘easy, medium difficult or difficult itineraries’, which were to be found in leaflets, magazines, and webs to name medium or highly complicated routes. This kind of data can easily provoke dangerous situations.
The above method is meant to assess and express the difficulty of excursions and trips based on an objective estimation of the technical level and the required fitness for the routes, so that excursionists could choose the itinerary that adjusts to their physical fitness and motivation.
The lack of evolution of the method and effort to make its use and execution a bit simpler, made its acceptance and expansion more difficult. Additionally, it did not answer to the needs of occasional travellers, who are precisely the group that demand this kind of information most.
Twenty years later, Spanish Mountain Sports and Mountaineering Federation revealed the need for a data supply system for trail difficulty rating which is user-friendly and easy to understand, as well as adapted to different kinds of existing excursions and trips.
Therefore, they presented the Federation’s Data Supply System for Trail Difficulty Rating (SIDIF in Spanish) in 2021. This is a graphic scale, which combines colours, shapes, symbols, and numbers, so it is visual, simple, and user-friendly. This system will be filling up the previous MIDE method during its beginning, and it will finally replace it.
In addition to colour markers, the system uses up to three different important shapes to show the level of difficulty so it could be understood by most people, including persons who experience poor or deficient colour vision or problems in perception of forms, numbers, or symbols.