Tips on Pace for Climbing/Hiking

Tips on Pace for Climbing/Hiking

roger
roger

August 4th, 2001, 4:58 pm #1

Outdoors Magic has some tips on how to actually hike or climb (e.g., the pace).

I am notoriously slow at descends. According to this article perhaps I should more swift. Here's an excerpt.

Faster Can Be Better Watch some walkers and they thud their way down steep paths with wince-inducing impacts on every step - sometimes it's better to go faster, take smaller steps, and let your momentum carry you down, so when your foot hits the ground, instead of braking, you swing through into the next stride,

http://www.outdoorsmagic.com/news/article.asp?UAN=931
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Joined: August 2nd, 2001, 8:13 pm

August 6th, 2001, 10:25 pm #2

Going uphill with a full pack, I figure on 2 mph, plus add a half-hour for every 1,000' of gain. That takes into account a 5 minute break every hour, but doesn't count longer breaks for lunch, etc.

Going downhill is a bit faster, but still figuring 2 mph on average isn't bad.

Those are both for on-trail hiking. Class 2 (off-trail) is another bet, entirely, as is anything that takes you over about 12,000'. (Sorry, folks, I'm metrically-impaired)

The article had several good points, including the comments about descending on loose surfaces. USE that slide on the scree, if you can keep control, and glissade just as you would on snow. The extra 6" or so each pace shortens the trip down.

As an example, with full packs, Nathan and I spent about 5 hours going from Whitney Portal to Trail Camp, which is roughly 6 miles plus 4,000 vertical feet. That doesn't count lunch, nor the time we spent at Outpost Camp waiting for a t-storm to blow over. The next day, with only day packs, it took us the same five hours to go from Trail Camp to the summit of Whitney, about 4.5 miles plus another 2,500 vertical feet, every inch of it above 12,000'. Return from the summit to Trail Camp took about 3 hours, and the return hike from Trail Camp down to Whitney Portal the next day took a similar 3 hours (again with full packs on that stretch).

We're not particularly fast hikers, and I can still outwalk Nathan going uphill (he's 12 and I'm 50), but he matches my pace going downhill. On the way out, nobody passed us between Trail Camp and Whitney Portal, and we passed several other groups.

(By "full packs", I mean about 25% body weight for Nathan and between 25% and 33% body weight for myself. A "day pack" will be between 10% and 15% of body weight, max., and generally gets noticeably lighter since a lot of that weight is water on a dry trail like the upper part of the main Whitney trail.)

Alan Ritter, jar@eng.bausch.com
http://www.mtritter.org
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Stag Beer
Stag Beer

August 7th, 2001, 1:04 am #3

Outdoors Magic has some tips on how to actually hike or climb (e.g., the pace).

I am notoriously slow at descends. According to this article perhaps I should more swift. Here's an excerpt.

Faster Can Be Better Watch some walkers and they thud their way down steep paths with wince-inducing impacts on every step - sometimes it's better to go faster, take smaller steps, and let your momentum carry you down, so when your foot hits the ground, instead of braking, you swing through into the next stride,

http://www.outdoorsmagic.com/news/article.asp?UAN=931
I totally disagree with what the article says about going down faster.

It doesn't take a genius to figure out that going down you are doing negative physical work so it appears easier to your cardio vascular system. But do you think more people have broken legs going up or going down? Sure, taking smaller steps works on your local sledding hill but not when you are barrelling down an uneven boulderfield. However small your steps are you'll still fall on your face if you try to use this technique going down a 35% grade or higher.

Go slow and get down safe.
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Dan
Dan

August 7th, 2001, 2:49 am #4

Going uphill with a full pack, I figure on 2 mph, plus add a half-hour for every 1,000' of gain. That takes into account a 5 minute break every hour, but doesn't count longer breaks for lunch, etc.

Going downhill is a bit faster, but still figuring 2 mph on average isn't bad.

Those are both for on-trail hiking. Class 2 (off-trail) is another bet, entirely, as is anything that takes you over about 12,000'. (Sorry, folks, I'm metrically-impaired)

The article had several good points, including the comments about descending on loose surfaces. USE that slide on the scree, if you can keep control, and glissade just as you would on snow. The extra 6" or so each pace shortens the trip down.

As an example, with full packs, Nathan and I spent about 5 hours going from Whitney Portal to Trail Camp, which is roughly 6 miles plus 4,000 vertical feet. That doesn't count lunch, nor the time we spent at Outpost Camp waiting for a t-storm to blow over. The next day, with only day packs, it took us the same five hours to go from Trail Camp to the summit of Whitney, about 4.5 miles plus another 2,500 vertical feet, every inch of it above 12,000'. Return from the summit to Trail Camp took about 3 hours, and the return hike from Trail Camp down to Whitney Portal the next day took a similar 3 hours (again with full packs on that stretch).

We're not particularly fast hikers, and I can still outwalk Nathan going uphill (he's 12 and I'm 50), but he matches my pace going downhill. On the way out, nobody passed us between Trail Camp and Whitney Portal, and we passed several other groups.

(By "full packs", I mean about 25% body weight for Nathan and between 25% and 33% body weight for myself. A "day pack" will be between 10% and 15% of body weight, max., and generally gets noticeably lighter since a lot of that weight is water on a dry trail like the upper part of the main Whitney trail.)

Alan Ritter, jar@eng.bausch.com
http://www.mtritter.org
2 mph and 30 minutes extra per 1,000 feet??? You must be a flatlander. I don't know your experience, maybe I'm wrong, but I'm guessing you've never hiked any big peaks in the west. Because at that pace, you'd be hiking in the dark or in thunderstorms every trip.

At 240 lbs (nope, I'm not skinny), I usually maintain a 3 mph - 1,500 feet an hour pace. On cross country, I would say I slow to 2 mph. On straight up stuff, the distance part is thrown out and you should just look at the elevation gain. You should be able to gain 1,300 - 1,500 per hour.

My numbers jive with the pace of numerous hiking partners I go with, with the exception of one guy who is a goat and hikes at a pace about 50% faster than mine.

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Dan
Dan

August 7th, 2001, 2:53 am #5

Outdoors Magic has some tips on how to actually hike or climb (e.g., the pace).

I am notoriously slow at descends. According to this article perhaps I should more swift. Here's an excerpt.

Faster Can Be Better Watch some walkers and they thud their way down steep paths with wince-inducing impacts on every step - sometimes it's better to go faster, take smaller steps, and let your momentum carry you down, so when your foot hits the ground, instead of braking, you swing through into the next stride,

http://www.outdoorsmagic.com/news/article.asp?UAN=931
I would definately agree with the article's tips for going down. I'm fast on the way down and have never had any problems. My hiking partner pussy-foots it, is tentative, and spends a lot of time on his butt. I'm constantly telling him to quit fighting the down and to go with it. This is especially important when going down steep, loose talus or scree. If you fight it, you'll twist your body into positions you can't get out of... then fall anyway. Just face down hill and let it rip, if you need to slow, put weight on your heels and lean back.
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Ted W.
Ted W.

August 7th, 2001, 9:45 pm #6

2 mph and 30 minutes extra per 1,000 feet??? You must be a flatlander. I don't know your experience, maybe I'm wrong, but I'm guessing you've never hiked any big peaks in the west. Because at that pace, you'd be hiking in the dark or in thunderstorms every trip.

At 240 lbs (nope, I'm not skinny), I usually maintain a 3 mph - 1,500 feet an hour pace. On cross country, I would say I slow to 2 mph. On straight up stuff, the distance part is thrown out and you should just look at the elevation gain. You should be able to gain 1,300 - 1,500 per hour.

My numbers jive with the pace of numerous hiking partners I go with, with the exception of one guy who is a goat and hikes at a pace about 50% faster than mine.
...but I can't imagine anyone going up the Huntington Ravine Trail in NH Whites at that pace.

But, as in all cases, everybody's different. Going up 500 ft. in a mile in 20 minutes is doable on a good trail--I've done myself it on sections of Whitney. But it comes at the price of really taking in the sights en route (just my opinion, nothing more).
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John G
John G

August 8th, 2001, 1:19 am #7

2 mph and 30 minutes extra per 1,000 feet??? You must be a flatlander. I don't know your experience, maybe I'm wrong, but I'm guessing you've never hiked any big peaks in the west. Because at that pace, you'd be hiking in the dark or in thunderstorms every trip.

At 240 lbs (nope, I'm not skinny), I usually maintain a 3 mph - 1,500 feet an hour pace. On cross country, I would say I slow to 2 mph. On straight up stuff, the distance part is thrown out and you should just look at the elevation gain. You should be able to gain 1,300 - 1,500 per hour.

My numbers jive with the pace of numerous hiking partners I go with, with the exception of one guy who is a goat and hikes at a pace about 50% faster than mine.
I'm so impressed that you hike so fast. Do your pace, but don't knock other people's paces. It ain't a race.

I hike about 2 mph on average, and I add 30 minutes for every 1,000 feet of climb. I've done Wheeler, Humphries, Guadelupe, and a number of other hikes in CO, NM, CA, and AZ.

Last year on Wheeler, I started at 6, was on the summit before noon, and was down by 3:30. My pace worked out exactly - 15 miles = 7.5 hours plus 2 hours extra climbing. It did start thundering on me, but I was safely below timberline.
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Dan
Dan

August 8th, 2001, 3:14 am #8

I wasn't bragging, just stating facts. To tell you the truth, you'll never convince me that hiking that slow doesn't open you up to a higher chance of risk or failure.

And your tone... you could have made your point without taking on that snide attitude. I think we're all old enough in here to have grown up discussions without that kind of crap.


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Ed
Ed

August 8th, 2001, 8:15 am #9

2 mph and 30 minutes extra per 1,000 feet??? You must be a flatlander. I don't know your experience, maybe I'm wrong, but I'm guessing you've never hiked any big peaks in the west. Because at that pace, you'd be hiking in the dark or in thunderstorms every trip.

At 240 lbs (nope, I'm not skinny), I usually maintain a 3 mph - 1,500 feet an hour pace. On cross country, I would say I slow to 2 mph. On straight up stuff, the distance part is thrown out and you should just look at the elevation gain. You should be able to gain 1,300 - 1,500 per hour.

My numbers jive with the pace of numerous hiking partners I go with, with the exception of one guy who is a goat and hikes at a pace about 50% faster than mine.
One mile and 1000 feet per hour is a reasonable pace.
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Ed
Ed

August 8th, 2001, 8:17 am #10

I wasn't bragging, just stating facts. To tell you the truth, you'll never convince me that hiking that slow doesn't open you up to a higher chance of risk or failure.

And your tone... you could have made your point without taking on that snide attitude. I think we're all old enough in here to have grown up discussions without that kind of crap.

I think your the one with the attitude.
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