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How to compare two hikes
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 Robert Blean (blean) - MLife Locale: San Jose -- too far from Sierras How to compare two hikes on 02/07/2009 17:48:32 MST Assuming that the only difference between two hikes is distance, total ascent, and total descent, is there a way to compare how strenuous they are. Assuming all else is the same (load, weather, temperature, altitude, both on trail, etc), which is the more strenuous hike.The answer is presumably obvious if one is bigger in all figures. But if one is longer with less total ascent the answer is less obvious.There was an old guidebook rule of thumb that calculated time to hike a trail at 2 mph + 1/2 hr per 1000' ascent. For the sake of this question, it does not matter whether that time is accurate -- just whether a trail with a longer calculated time will be more strenuous or not.Would that metric work well? Do you have a better way to predict which will be the more strenuous?If there is a good way to do that, then the next obvious question is how to factor in altitude.-- MV Edited by blean on 02/07/2009 17:49:35 MST.
 Tom Kirchner (ouzel) - MLife Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra Re: How to compare two hikes on 02/07/2009 18:11:51 MST Bob,You put your finger on one additional variable, i.e., altitude. Another factor might be how the elevation is gained: steady gradient; steep gain all at once; repeated ups and downs with an upward trend. Another factor might betrail surface: rocky, slick, sandy, roots and stones, overgrown, etc. Exposure needs to be considered, too. Then there's the individual's mental frame of mind. How do you deal with all of the above mentioned variables. Do you relish a steep in-your-face grind? Roots or brush freak you out? How about exposure? I think you get the picture.My \$.02
 Piper S. (sbhikes) - F Locale: Santa Barbara (Name: Diane) Rating hikes on 02/07/2009 18:15:30 MST I lead Sierra Club hikes and in our local area we just assign ratings like strenuous or moderately strenuous. It's so completely arbitrary as to be useless. Call a hike moderate and people will show up who have never exercised and want to follow their doctor's orders to get some moderate exercise!Some of the other groups have better rating systems that will rate a hike based on steepness, how fast people intend to go, how difficult the terrain is and other things.Sometimes being 95 degrees and no shade is enough to make a flat 5 mile hike more strenuous than a 10 mile hike on a comfortable day in the shade.Anyway, my point is it is really hard to create a system that can provide an objective measurement.