Hiking Speed Management

“To suffer the penalty of too much haste, which is too little speed.”

~~Plato, 360 BC

Hiking is a mechanism used by human beings to convert food, water, and oxygen into distance and elevation gains (plus a bit of heat and CO2).  Our goals atop the high peaks always require some amount of hiking.  Safe and successful hiking atop the high peaks requires us to set a pace of exertion that we can sustain and to schedule enough time to safely complete the hike.  Failing to set a sustainable pace means the chance of exhaustion or other problems that prematurely end our adventure.  And failing to provide enough time means increasing weather risks that can tempt us to abandon our principles of safety.  Hiking speed is a primary influence over which adventures we can do; it also determines when we need to start hiking and when we must turnaround to get safe.  Since it is critical, we need to manage our hiking speed and the underlying pace of exertion in all three possible timeframes:  (1) plan ahead of the hike and (2) manage our pace during the hike to avoid problems, and (3) deal quickly and effectively with hiking problems that may arise on the hike.  

There are three essays on this topic, which are listed below in order:

  1. Hiking Physiology
  2. Planning Ahead
  3. Working the Trail

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