Tuesday, 27 October 2009

Pace counting uphill

Your 100m pace count obviously goes up with increasing gradient, but how do you work out how much it increases by?

Navigating through North Snowdonia as outlined in my last post, I totally messed up getting to my second weird contour because I didn't know how far I had walked. My timing was out as I had kept stopping to look at the map or box round gorse and rocks, so I was relying on my distance being right...and it was wrong...

On my ML training course with Stuart Johnston Mountaineering, Mountain Instructor Derek Bain showed us an ingenious way to work out your 100m pace count for different gradients using a box that you pace out.

First, choose gradient level, say 2x10m contours over 50m. Mark a spot with a stone. Pace 50m up the slope. Turn 90 degrees left and pace 50m along the slope. Turn 90 degrees left again and pace 50m down the slope. Turn 90 degrees left again and pace 50m back along the slope.

If you are now back at your backpack, the slope had no affect on your pacing. If you are now lower down the slope than your backpack then you need to add some more paces on for the uphill section. Count the paces it takes to walk straight up to your backpack and add them on to your uphill count for 50m. Double this for an uphill 100m pace count for your gradient.


  1. Only one thing to remember to be a good navigator. Just put Red Fred in his bed. Everything else is about keeping him there!
    A great way for instant feedback, which is an ideal way to learn, is to carry a small GPS to check your poz. Only use it when you're at the point and you want that bit of feedback to boost your confidence.
    Good luck with the ML!

  2. Thanks Alistair that's a great idea, my ML friend Ian and I used a GPS in Scotland which amongst many things was really useful for getting a feel for your speed. I was surprised at how slow 3km/hour really feels!