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optimal hiking grade

hiking science is back, sort of

How is this off topic? This is extremely pertinent.

Hey, Taco, maybe we should move this to General Discussion?

Cool research. I always chomp at the bit on trails with too gentle a grade like the Forsee Creek trail and a lot of sections of the PCT.

I've always felt that there must be some optimal grade. Too shallow a grade, and you're spending too much time and burning too many calories. Too steep a grade, and you're overtaxing yourself and having to go so slowly that you might do better overall on your hike if you were to take a less steep grade.

I imagine optimum grade would vary by fitness and by weight carried. I suspect that for those less fit or for backpackers carrying a substantial load, the optimal grade would decrease.

I've always thought that the Vivian Creek Trail, for example, was above optimum steepness. That might not be the case for someone who is more fit. On the other hand, the switchbacks on the Sky High Trail aren't too bad, but I would prefer that they be steeper.

I wonder if there's a heuristic method of getting to an answer (survey?)?  Perhaps people have an intuitive feel for what's efficient and if enough people were surveyed...  Anyway, you'd have to get a grant for that.

Excellent idea though of looking at it empirically as you are doing.



And at least for this hiker, 40% grade seems just right.

Freak.  Very Happy

My gut tells me my optimal hiking grade is about 15%. No hard data to support the notion, but one thing I do know is that it isn't 40%!!!  Laughing Forum Index -> The Pub
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