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Old 04.07.2010, 19:28
Niranjan
 
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Alpine hiking (Adult content. Parental discretion advised)

In this thread I use the name "Alpine hiking" in a very specific sense; it is different from "hiking in the Alps". Alpine hiking refers to anything between T4 and T6 according to the SAC hiking grade , and a more nuanced description here, Alpine hiking does not have to be in the Alps proper!


Yesterday I did my most serious hike up to now. I have provided a detailed report here ; it should give a better picture of what an alpine hike really is. I am hoping the pics (see them in full resolution) will stimulate at least a few of you to become interested and enter this sport. I will be seeking new English-speaking hiking partners soon. Hopefully this thread will bring some people together.

Contra-indications:
  1. To enjoy this sport safely you need to be seriously fit. As an illustration, a hiking up pace of 800-1000m an hour on steep ground, sustained over 10-12 hours shouldn't sound daunting. If you can't even do half the pace for half the duration, then maybe alpine hike is not the best sport for you.
  2. However fit and competent you are, alpine hiking is inherently dangerous: it is addictive and will render you incapable of doing normal hikes for the rest of your fit life. You have been warned
Happy to post more thoughts in due course. If anyone has any useful tips, happy to hear them. If you have any questions/concerns please ask here. In general I love constructive criticism*.

Happy hiking,
N

*For pedantic behind-the-screen trolling I would recommend an excellent thread called: grosser mythen for kids", troll there. Thanks in advance
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Old 04.07.2010, 21:53
Niranjan
 
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Re: Alpine hiking (Adult content. Parental discretion advised)

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To enjoy this sport safely you need to be seriously fit.
Actually I am not so sure, I was really unsure where to pitch this. My objective is that maybe a few newbies (to alpine hiking) may like to join me one of these days, try a peak or two, and then see how to go further. I would say most people I have met on these alpine hikes are moderately fit at best, many of them well into their 50s, maybe even 60s, and of course quite competent.

I, however, don't want to pitch it too low and then have to defend it when people raise safety concerns

Personally I don't think "anyone" can do it, but many can; the best way to know is to come and try, maybe stop at Klein Mythen pre-summit if it gets too hard.
This month weekends I will be doing a few more routes in the Mythen region and then move on to fresh pastures next month.
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Old 04.07.2010, 22:35
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Re: Alpine hiking (Adult content. Parental discretion advised)

C'mon then pal, post the event to the calendar and I'll race you up the tiny hill called the Mythen, all the way to the top this time though )
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Old 06.07.2010, 00:39
Niranjan
 
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Re: Alpine hiking (Adult content. Parental discretion advised)

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C'mon then pal, post the event to the calendar and I'll race you up the tiny hill called the Mythen, all the way to the top this time though )
Good, now we are speaking the same language

We want to do this on an absolutely perfect weather day, which means the week before the hike has also to be rain-free, ideally. So I'll post it on a suitable weekend at short notice.
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Old 06.07.2010, 09:28
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Re: Alpine hiking (Adult content. Parental discretion advised)

How about next Sunday? July 11 works for me. I can kick the idea around the usual suspects and as they all wimped out from last weekend, their guilt will drive them to attend.
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Old 06.07.2010, 10:06
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Re: Alpine hiking (Adult content. Parental discretion advised)

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As an illustration, a hiking up pace of 800-1000m an hour on steep ground, sustained over 10-12 hours shouldn't sound daunting.
10000m vertical in 12hrs? Not daunting?

I know a few people who can hike up 2000m in 2hrs, but none of them would then run back down and back up again at the same pace... (especially not 3-4 times).

This said, I'd be happy to join you for a couple hours sometime this summer (I'll be busy cycling till mid-August).
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Old 06.07.2010, 10:22
Niranjan
 
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Re: Alpine hiking (Adult content. Parental discretion advised)

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10000m vertical in 12hrs? Not daunting?

I know a few people who can hike up 2000m in 2hrs, but none of them would then run back down and back up again at the same pace... (especially not 3-4 times).

This said, I'd be happy to join you for a couple hours sometime this summer (I'll be busy cycling till mid-August).
Thanks for taking the bait

I did say a more realistic goal is to go at half the pace, for half the duration i.e. overall a fourth of what is stated above?

That said, if you come with me, I can show you places where you can hike up @ 800-1000m an hour and feel you could have sustained it over a whole day. Of course, there is the logistical constraint of getting down, maybe using mechanical transport, it getting dark etc. which will prevent it.

Yeah, I look forward to Aug, need someone to push me
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Old 06.07.2010, 10:25
Niranjan
 
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Re: Alpine hiking (Adult content. Parental discretion advised)

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How about next Sunday? July 11 works for me. I can kick the idea around the usual suspects and as they all wimped out from last weekend, their guilt will drive them to attend.
Subject to weather, yes. Feel free to kick off the idea, but I wouldn't even be reasonably sure until Saturday.
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Old 06.07.2010, 10:29
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Re: Alpine hiking (Adult content. Parental discretion advised)

Hi Niranjan.

Interesting challenge (for me anyway ))

But what exactly is the "Adult content. Parental discretion advised" disclaimer for?
.
..
...
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Old 06.07.2010, 10:38
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Re: Alpine hiking (Adult content. Parental discretion advised)

I think he meant the addiction bit...It's true, though, one gets hooked. I did some 2000m-3000m hikes this year and it is adictive. I am not sure how fit one really must be or maybe I am just fit enough, that part was ok. It is definitely easier to hike up than down for me and keep a fast pace. Long slow dragged out hikes are boring. How thin the air gets suprised me, I wonder if that is trainable. I guess one gets used to that with practice as well...
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Old 06.07.2010, 10:39
Niranjan
 
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Re: Alpine hiking (Adult content. Parental discretion advised)

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Hi Niranjan.

Interesting challenge (for me anyway ))

But what exactly is the "Adult content. Parental discretion advised" disclaimer for?
.
..
...
Actually it is interesting for me too ()

The disclaimer is to keep the kiddie troll out of this. And to bait the adults into this. And it has worked so far.
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Old 06.07.2010, 10:41
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Re: Alpine hiking (Adult content. Parental discretion advised)

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I can show you places where you can hike up @ 800-1000m an hour and feel you could have sustained it over a whole day.
I think these places even have a special name. It starts with a D and ends with REAMS
Seriously, I don't know exactly where my limits are (who does?), but I know they are very far from this.

Quote:
Yeah, I look forward to Aug, need someone to push me
You may have to wait for me, though. I don't know to what extent cycling and hiking skills are transferable (and your figures make me worry a bit...).
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Old 06.07.2010, 11:42
Niranjan
 
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Re: Alpine hiking (Adult content. Parental discretion advised)

I don't think the place is dreams, why talk when we can actually walk it in a few months now? BTW this post summarizes an earlier discussion we had on the subject.

Back to the main subject of this thread, Alpine hiking directly doesn't demand too much aerobic fitness, at least not as much as in cycling or mountain running, for sure it demands surefooted-ness and a head for heights though.

However it is helpful to have lots of endurance in reserve because there is always the risk of losing one's way, having to walk a long detour and such exigencies, plus it is easier to be surefooted when you are not being challenged on endurance.

OK. everyone is welcome to participate in this thread, just make sure you don't engage in juvenile groan-o-mania and blob-o-manias. I do welcome a reasonable debate.
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Old 06.07.2010, 12:01
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Re: Alpine hiking (Adult content. Parental discretion advised)

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I don't think the place is dreams, why talk when we can actually walk it in a few months now? BTW this post summarizes an earlier discussion we had on the subject.
I don't see the connection between this thread (which is about climbing rates while cycling vs hiking) and this particular place of yours where one can climb 800-1000m/h and sustain that during 10-12hrs. Sounds a bit delusional to me (but who knows, maybe I'll be impressed).
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Old 06.07.2010, 12:06
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Re: Alpine hiking (Adult content. Parental discretion advised)

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The disclaimer is to keep the kiddie troll out of this.
You do realise that it usually has the exact opposite effect?

I'd be interested maybe next year, as I'm pretty out of shape for this mainly due to a old snowbaord accident damaged knee which has come back to haunt me this year on steep decents.
Although normal 15 - 25 km mountain hikes are fine for me, I have to take it a bit easier this year.
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Old 06.07.2010, 12:14
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Re: Alpine hiking (Adult content. Parental discretion advised)

Having done the 31.1km Graubunden run last week - it is easy to realise how altitude slows you done. It took 2hr20mins to cover 17.5km and 1200m of climb.

The old "full pack" rule of thumb was 20min per km and 20min per 150m climb.

Personally - anything under 10% is OK to run - short sections to 13% as well - above that is walking or a military style walk x stride, run x strides. Knowing when to walk and when to run is just as important.

I know that at 7% i'll do around 9kmh, 9% is 7kmh - flat around 12-13kmh - and I could do 3 hours at that pace - IE 21-27km and 1900m.
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Old 06.07.2010, 13:14
Niranjan
 
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Re: Alpine hiking (Adult content. Parental discretion advised)

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I don't see the connection between this thread (which is about climbing rates while cycling vs hiking) and this particular place of yours where one can climb 800-1000m/h and sustain that during 10-12hrs. Sounds a bit delusional to me (but who knows, maybe I'll be impressed).
The connection (as I see), was it discussed the relationship between hiking ascend rates and cycling ascend rates, something that you seemed to be worried about. Further, Chrisw was saying he could probably sustain 800m an hour on hikes if he tried, and I believe he is in your range when it comes to cycling, so the figures don't seem so delusional.

I stand corrected on the figures in the OP, in case someone was taking it too seriously. Let's say 600-800m an hour over 8 hours, OK ? Actually I am curious to know my limits; in case someone wants to work out the logistics, find a place that is steep enough and safe enough (as in proximity to bail-off points), I would love to try 6000m ascend in 12 hours. Some ideas have crossed my mind earlier, but i am not nutter enough to do it all alone. The key thing is to find such steep sections, where you don't use up time on flats/descents.

Edit: when I used to be a young dude, 20 years of age, I went up and down a steep 250m hill five times (we didn't have cable cars, and we weren't aware of isostars, we just drank water and fruit juice those days, and we had cycled a long way befor reaching the hill plus had to cycle back home). My friend managed 4 trips. My average ascend pace was 800m an hour. I have learned a lot since then, am better trained now, am not seriously old yet, so hmmm, I don't think I am being delusional, maybe ambitious.

Dodgyken, I'd agree with you, but the difference is, as said in the OP, I am speaking of really steep sections, say around 30-45 degrees or more, where it is easier to achieve this kind of ascent rates than on flatter runs cos there you also have horizontal effort.
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Old 06.07.2010, 13:31
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Re: Alpine hiking (Adult content. Parental discretion advised)

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Dodgyken, I'd agree with you, but the difference is, as said in the OP, I am speaking of really steep sections, say around 30-45 degrees or more, where it is easier to achieve this kind of ascent rates than on flatter runs cos there you also have horizontal effort.
You will be surprised just how steep 20% is as an incline. If you assume steps are the best way up a steep incline - they are seldom going to average out beyond 40% over a long period - and that is the point. Paths generally don't head up very steep sections (>20%) for any length of time - so find a section suitable is more likely to the be the issue.

A few months ago I was working on a slope that was probably around 40% - walking up was very difficult - and I can't see how you would be particularly quick in cover the required height - without steps.

And if you want to give it a go - try the Mountainman at the end of August!

Flat distance might not be the required aim - but there is a limiting factor to just how steep you get before the increased slope exceeds the lateral time required. I would be surprised if that was much beyond 20-25%.

The only way to really tell is to take the same runner/hiker - and on 2 different occasions try a straight climb and zig-zag climb to the same point.
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Old 06.07.2010, 13:32
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Re: Alpine hiking (Adult content. Parental discretion advised)

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The connection (as I see), was it discussed the relationship between hiking ascend rates and cycling ascend rates, something that you seemed to be worried about. Further, Chrisw was saying he could probably sustain 800m an hour on hikes if he tried, and I believe he is in your range when it comes to cycling, so the figures don't seem so delusional. Edit: maybe ambitious.
I was not "worried". But the figures you gave are out of range for most people on this planet. So yes, delusional might be the right word.
I don't think that ChrisW was referring to the ascent rate that he would be able to sustain during 8-10hrs.

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I stand corrected on the figures in the OP, in case someone was taking it too seriously. Let's say 600-800m an hour over 8 hours, OK ? Actually I am curious to know my limits; in case someone wants to work out the logistics, find a place that is steep enough and safe enough (as in proximity to bail-off points), I would love to try 6000m ascend in 12 hours. Some ideas have crossed my mind earlier, but i am not nutter enough to do it all alone. The key thing is to find such steep sections, where you don't use up time on flats/descents.
Do that, and I will add you to the (short) list of insanely fit people I know.

(oh, be careful not to fall down because 45 degree slopes are very steep!)
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Old 06.07.2010, 13:37
Niranjan
 
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Re: Alpine hiking (Adult content. Parental discretion advised)

Okeeey, for now we will say it is delusional. As I said before, one fourth of the figures I cited above, i.e. 400-500m over 4-5 hours is a reasonable level for Alpine hiking.
Agreed, 45 degree is not what's I'll attempt on this kind of experiment, will stay well below 30 degrees in safe conditions
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