The Fun Scale quantifies fun. It’s a classification of the human experience in the outdoors.

The concept of fun has long been associated with a sense of liberation and a carefree feeling, and as anyone that has been on a trail can tell you: if you want to feel free, the mountain is where you go.

The Fun Scale measures the fun-to-suffering ratio of any given experience, and categorises them as follows:

  • Fun Type I __ Fun all around. Fun whilst doing it, fun in retrospect.
  • Fun Type II __ Fun in retrospect.
  • Fun Type III __ Not fun in the moment, not fun in retrospect.

Far from scientifically accurate, The Fun Scale is a concept relatable to most of us — probably because it somehow describes what many of us are all about here: Type II kind of fun. The climbs are tough, but the experiences are unforgettable.

Whilst Anna Taylor up on Mount Roraima and Ed Jackson attempting to summit Himlung Himal can probably be classified as Type I and Type II respectively, Leo Houlding crushing the Talus bone in his right ankle during his Cerro Torre ascent would most likely fall into category III.

We all set our expeditions to be Type I and Type II, but if you do have the misfortune of finding yourself having a Type III experience, looking back with over 20 years hindsight, here’s an extract from Leo’s excruciating journey of descending all 3000m after a devastating injury:

Looking back it was probably the best thing that ever happened to me. We learn far more from failure than success. The more spectacular the disaster, the greater the lesson.

How we each reflect and quantify fun, well, that’s truly a personal thing — but the joy of the outdoors is what drove us in the beginning and it’s what drives us today.


Documenting the endless pursuit of staying outside for longer.

Cold Studies is a platform dedicated to cataloguing, studying, and sharing all things to do with outdoor exploration in cold weather conditions.



Writer and expert