Aug 29, 2012 at 10:42 am #1293487
How fast to you guys hike? Curious what type of MPH you guys are getting.Aug 29, 2012 at 11:07 am #1907251
3.0-3.5mph depending on terrain. Normally target 3mph with all stops and breaks. Don't always get that if I'm out for multiway and need to do chores such as laundry etc on the trailAug 29, 2012 at 11:07 am #1907252
not a one size fits all question.
speed can vary considerably due to weight carried, distance of hike, terraine including altitude, elevation gain and loss, trail bed type.
also – how fast do you hike ? , and how fast can you hike ? are two different questions.
who you are hiking with, and your motivations for a particular hike come in to play here.Aug 29, 2012 at 11:25 am #1907258
4 mph in dayhike or UL mode. By which I mean 4 *equivilent* miles per hour.
My equivilent miles = horizontal distance plus 10 x vertical distance (up AND down).
eq. miles = miles + twice the vertical feet (in thousands)
eq. km = km + every 100 m vertical
Example: Half Dome this month: 9 miles, 5,000 vertical feet (1 mile) each way.
9 + 9 + 10×1 + 10×1 = 38 equivilent (to flat terrain) miles
38 / 4 = 9.5 which is a touch under what it took (7 year old along), but the Grand Canyon last year (same numbers for the Bright Angel trail) was 9:15 with an 11-year-old.
If on my own and in shape, I do more like 5 eq. mph for shorter dayhikes (less than 25 horizontal / 40 eq. miles). But for a long dayhike (40+ miles), it is usually right around 4 eq.mph. As it is for UL BPing.
With a large group of traditional (non-UL) BPers, I used to figure 1 mph from the start to finish of the day's hike including breaks, water, lunch. 10 miles = 10 hours. It was pretty consistent. And pretty ugly if you planned for any faster.
If you have NOTHING but experienced, conditioned traditional BPers, then a group can do 2 mph averaged over the day.Aug 29, 2012 at 11:31 am #1907260
Wow, that's an incredibly scientific breakdown David.Aug 29, 2012 at 11:45 am #1907263
@bleanLocale: San Jose -- too far from Sierras
The Appies used to suggest a formula of 2 mph + 1/2 hour for every thousand feet of ascent. They used this for traditional groups. I don't know whether or not they still advocate the same formula.
David — I'm surprised at your experience that descent should get counted the same as ascent.Aug 29, 2012 at 11:50 am #1907265
I generally hike with the same group of guys (from 3-6 of us) and it's a little scary, but we can count on almost exactly 2 mph from camp to camp each day. That includes all stops and a break for lunch.
We typically don't push it very hard (none of us get out enough or work out to be in shape). If we hiked 14 miles to get to the next camp I can look at my watch and see that we left the previous camp almost exactly 7 hours earlier.
This is a great number to know for the group with which you're hiking because it allows you to look at available daylight and where your next camp is to tell you when you need to be on the trail in the morning.Aug 29, 2012 at 1:03 pm #1907281
@pkhLocale: Nova Scotia
Depending on terrain of course, but typically 4.5 to 5.5 km per hour.Aug 29, 2012 at 1:05 pm #1907282
"book time" is what Robert said in my White Mountain guide and Long Trail guide. That is moving time only, stops not included. I tend to beat book time even with breaks. depends on the trail by how much and where i'm looking to get to.Aug 29, 2012 at 1:49 pm #1907292
@paulmagsLocale: People's Republic of Boulder
Is there a cooler full of beer waiting for me in my truck and/or nearby brew pubs?
In which case my pace picks up considerably on the last day of a trip vs the first day…..Aug 29, 2012 at 3:01 pm #1907313
@scottbentzLocale: Southern California
In the Sierra, with so much elevation gain and loss, I just figure 2 miles per hour which includes a stop for lunch and a swim, etc. If I am alone, I can bump that up a bit, but not much. When we did the JMT a few years ago it just always came out that way. 20 mile days need 10 hours to complete.Aug 29, 2012 at 3:59 pm #1907341
"David — I'm surprised at your experience that descent should get counted the same as ascent."
Robert: I'll grant that the ENERGY expended going down a mild slope is less than that going up. However, the total SORENESS at the end of day/week depends more on the downhill portion, so I give them equal weight.
For me, the gestalt at the end of the day/week is the sum of tiredness/energy + soreness. It is also that combination which is the limit of what I will wisely plan for (given my conditioning that month) or stupidly regret for days afterwards.
If someone with a gun was chasing me or there was a million dollars for whoever hiked the farthest that day, then I'd calculate equilivent miles as horizontal + 10*vertical up + 5*vertical down, soreness afterwards be damned. Is that what AMC does? I don't know their formula. Even though I'm an AMC coach (American Mathematics Competition, that is).
Editted to add: Oh, I see you gave their formula. I'll try it for a Curry-Half Dome-Curry round trip. 18 horizontal / 2 + 5,000 vertical x 1/2 hour = 9+2.5 = 11.5 hours. That seems like a Sierra Club kind of time (I'm a left-coaster) with an older, inclined-to-birdwatch crowd. But a group that keeps moving and is in decent shape. I think they over-count the ascending vertical feet, but maybe there are descending vertical feet built into that? I consider Half Dome ascent (9 miles + 5,000 up) and they'd calc 4.5+2.5=7 hours whereas I'd (out of kindness) shoot and bury anyone who took 7 hours to summit. Their 4.5 hours to descend is a leisurely walk in the (national) park.Aug 29, 2012 at 4:54 pm #1907368
USA Duane HallParticipant
@hikerduaneLocale: Extreme northern Sierra Nevada
Going by my watch, normally do 2 mph. If jogging downhill, 3.5-4 mph with intermittant walking for slight uphills or photo taking. Seems like it gets harder each year, but basically I'm still cranking out the same mph. Hitting 59 here pretty soon.
DuaneAug 29, 2012 at 6:00 pm #1907391
I am not sure why AMC doesn't count downhills.. the terrain up here slows you down as much on the way down if not more than on the way up just because you can't really increase your speed no matter how fit you are.Aug 29, 2012 at 7:00 pm #1907406
@bleanLocale: San Jose -- too far from Sierras
AMC formula — Younger fit folks in the area consider the Appie formula ("guidebook time") pretty conservative. I guess it has to be since it is used in their published guidebooks, and believed by the general hiking public.
"older, inclined-to-birdwatch crowd" — one interesting thing in the local Sierra Club is that there are two day hiking sections. The one populated mainly by post-retirees does day hikes that are more than twice as long (20+ miles) as those in the other (younger) section (8-10 miles). What struck me most was not the separation into the two groups, but rather that the one that covered the most distance is almost exclusively the older folks. I would have expected fit younger folks there as well.
Equivalent miles — I had not thought of it that way before seeing your post, but I like the concept. For one thing, anyone can use it for their own trips by applying their own base hiking speed.
Soreness — the issue is DOMS, due to the eccentric contractions when going downhill. Suitable gym work can minimize that, if so inclined. Since it is a delayed effect I would not have expected it to affect time/speed that day — just getting started for the next day :)
FWIW: I got to wondering about combining "equivalent miles" (eMiles) with calorie expenditure, based on some bits and pieces from another thread currently in progress on that subject.
*) It has a pointer to a calorie calculator that seems like a pretty good fit with several folks' hiking/backpacking experience, so I thought I would take that as a reference point.
*) Some folks believe that calories per mile gives a good estimate. It seems to me that you have to take elevation change into account, so I wondered whether applying it to eMiles might not work better.
*) The claim is that, other things being equal (terrain, distance, etc) speed does not matter enough to worry about — but time does. I wondered whether using eMiles might not be a good way to extend that thought to varying ups and downs.
I tried it (a little) using three different ways of calculating eMiles:
1) Your way, as presented
2) Your way, but adding for ascent (only) and ignoring descent
3) Equivalent to the AMC way: trail miles + 1 mile for every thousand feet ascent
What I found, based on limited experimenting, was that method #2 came the closest. I do not know what, if any, relationship this has to reality but it was an interesting thought exercise.Aug 29, 2012 at 7:45 pm #1907419
@eugeneiusLocale: Nuevo Mexico
"Fast" enough.Aug 29, 2012 at 9:27 pm #1907460
@m-lLocale: W-Never Eat Soggy (W)affles
It depends on the situation, but having a light pack sure helps I can tell you that.Aug 29, 2012 at 9:49 pm #1907471
I agree with your observation, "mainly by post-retirees does day hikes that are more than twice as long" as, morep pithily, "age and treachery beat youth and beauty everytime."
In my 20's I've had my butt kicked on the ski slopes and the Whitney trail by guys in their 80's. Now in my 50's, I'll sometimes get cocky and see how many 20-somethings I can hike past. Often, the answer is "all of them". For me, that increased ability is strongly governed by conditioning in advance, as you reference. For me, the best "gym work", is simply going up and down actual, real stairs. As little as 10 minutes a day, 4 times a week for a month prior makes a HUGE difference for a steep deathmarch-type hike. Actual hill work is great if you can find it, but I live in a flat area.Aug 29, 2012 at 10:05 pm #1907476
@riemanniaLocale: Northeast Georgia
I always shoot for 3 MPH since that seems to be what most UL-ers report, but I find that I'm unable to maintain that pace for more than about an hour. I've always hypothesized that it's because most UL-ers seem to be on the West coast or in the Rockies and perhaps Appalachian terrain is more inhibitive with all of our famous PUDs, but I dunno. I find 2.5 MPH is the upper bound for what I can maintain; I just hike 10-12 hour days with a few breaks as possible to compensate.Aug 30, 2012 at 7:02 am #1907526
@flriderLocale: The Southeast
riemannia posted: I always shoot for 3 MPH since that seems to be what most UL-ers report, but I find that I'm unable to maintain that pace for more than about an hour. I've always hypothesized that it's because most UL-ers seem to be on the West coast or in the Rockies and perhaps Appalachian terrain is more inhibitive with all of our famous PUDs, but I dunno. I find 2.5 MPH is the upper bound for what I can maintain; I just hike 10-12 hour days with a few breaks as possible to compensate.
Same here. My flat-ground average speed is about 2.5 MPH over the full day after factoring in breaks. I probably break 3 to 3.25 MPH as actual trail speed when I'm trying to make time, but it's not sustainable for longer than ten miles or so.
And David's formula above sounds about right for my speed in the mountains (I've only had two trips there, so my sample group is rather small) unless I'm fastpacking/running (which I had to do on my second mountain trip to get help for my hiking buddy; praise the Foothills Trail for making me aware of my cardio regime's deficiencies beforehand).
Now, with the intensive cardio training I've been suffering through for the last few months, I figure I can probably up that to 3 MPH or so on the flat as an average in another couple of months; I'm shooting to be able to do a full triathlon some time in the fall next year.Aug 30, 2012 at 7:10 am #1907532
@paulmagsLocale: People's Republic of Boulder
I think that phenomenon is partially because the 20s and 30s crowds tend to want to squeeze more in a day than 'just' hiking.
Hiking is only one part of their day. Going on a group hike is more for socialization than anything in many cases when it comes to group activities. 8-10 miles is about right to get back by late-afternoon/early evening, take a shower and go on one of their Match.com dates, dance lessons or happy hours.
I kid you not.
I used to organze hikes for my local outdoor group a few years back. The invariable question was "When do we get back?"..mainly for the above reason. Invariably the the most popular hikes were "Go to a lake five miles in, moderate elevation gain, done by 4 pm".
When I did the 15+ miles hikes (or even 20+), the crew knew this was the day. We'll get back when we get back.Aug 30, 2012 at 7:48 am #1907543
Larry De La BriandaisParticipant
@hitechLocale: SF Bay Area
I find that I can hike easier now. I take a trip to the same place every year for 30 years so I have a good comparison. I did no training when younger, now I fast walk for 30 minutes 5 days a week. I also find this makes a HUGE difference.Aug 30, 2012 at 11:34 am #1907596
@sbhikesLocale: Santa Barbara (Name: Diane)
Ray Jardine had some interesting charts in his PCT Handbook long ago that showed that speed isn't the important variable. Hours are.
Lots of times I'll be out hiking with people and they'll tell me the pace we're doing is 3 or 4mph. But when I hiked the PCT I was consistently at 2.5mph. I could find water sources or other landmarks based on time alone, I was so consistent. This is a fairly slow pace. At this pace I was able to put in 26-31 miles and do it day after day.
Because I was fairly slow, but still could make big miles and travel far, I stopped worrying about pace. I do a comfortable pace for myself and if I want to go farther I just spend more hours walking.Aug 30, 2012 at 12:22 pm #1907611
I find an easier formula is simply to add horizontal miles off the map to the thousands of feet climbed, and divide by whatever speed you think you will make that day. On a straightforward trail like the JMT, then you might make 3 mls/ft per hour, so 4 mls and 2000 ft of ascent will take 4 + 2 = 6 mls ft / 3 = 2 hrs. On rough terrain, snow etc allow a slower pace, if running or just moving fast, put in a higher number. You will soon work out your current pace. This makes micro navigation very easy for me.
For the descents, on a graded trail like the JMT, I find I don't need to add any extra time, but on a steep rocky descent I may only go at 1.25 mph, so in that case make a seperate calculation.
On the JMT, I find I can keep up 3 mlls/ft per hour over 7.5 hrs a day, making the whole trip in 13 days.Aug 30, 2012 at 1:42 pm #1907642
I agree with you about time and when I take notes on one year's trip to the next (time to the spring, summit, trail junction), it is either spot on or off by a constant multipler based on my conditioning or companions that year.
The other way I stress time if for that stupid question you get all the time, "How much further is it?" which is always from a newbie. Even if I know it is 2.8 miles, what does that tell them? But I'll note my own times and tell them "It took me 40 minutes from here, but I hike pretty fast without stops, so maybe 60-70 minutes to go." (having eyeballed their physiques and hiking speed as we approach each other) or "You've done 70% of the vertical since the trailhead, you have 1,500 vertical feet to go." Especially in the Sierra, Whites, Cascades, etc, we can slowly educate other hikers about vertical trumping horizontal by using these more useful perspectives in our conversations with them.
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