Sunday, August 7, 2016

Ascending speed or rate of climb

A few days ago, I was talking to a friend about mountaineering and hiking, when he brought up the concept of doing 280 or 300 meter per hour or something in this order, while ascending a French summit near Chamonix.

Since I didn't know what he was talking about, I asked what he meant by it and he explained the widespread practice of measuring climbing speed, when climbing hills or mountains in the Alps.

After we hung up the phone, I did some quick research and found that the rate of climb, expressed in meters per hour, is the product of one's Critical Power by the VO2max divided by the Energy Cost.

In that formula, the Critical Power is the highest intensity of effort that can be sustained for a long period of time, the VO2max is the maximum flow of oxygen that can be processed by the individual and the Energy Cost is the amount of energy expended.

When I understood the significance of the method of measurement, I looked up at some of my hikes. Back in 2002 my wife and I climbed Mt. Timpanogos at a rate of 400 meters per hour and just last summer, I covered the 4,385' vertical course (1,335 meters), along with my daughter at about 383 meters per hour...

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