Speed in winter conditions

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shelly+
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Speed in winter conditions

Post by shelly+ » Tue Jan 26, 2021 10:21 am

If the typical summer hiker averages 1k/hour, how much do snow and cold and wind usually slow you down? And which factors seem to cause the most interference in adding time to your day?
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Re: Speed in winter conditions

Post by jbealer » Tue Jan 26, 2021 10:31 am

So i average 1k-1,200ft an hr in summer, not fast but not slow, i keep a steady speed. For winter it varies based on how much snow is on the ground, if it is packed i move ok or if i am breaking trail, my speed can drop to a mile an hour some times based on snow, not so much because of cold but the trail conditions. I tend to just add 1-2hrs on to what my summer time might be. If you are breaking trail, it will take much longer then you think. the best advice is pad your time and get out there and start figuring out what your pace is in different trail conditions.
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Re: Speed in winter conditions

Post by Jorts » Tue Jan 26, 2021 10:33 am

This has been previously (essentially) addressed not too long ago.

https://www.14ers.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=59436
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Re: Speed in winter conditions

Post by Jorts » Tue Jan 26, 2021 10:36 am

A firm packed snow trench lying over what is normally loose talus blocks can be considerably faster than it would be in summer.
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Re: Speed in winter conditions

Post by Monster5 » Tue Jan 26, 2021 11:24 am

Anecdotally and in order of importance, I'd say winter pace depends on:
1. Trail breaking. A couple feet of fresh sugar snow can drop the pace by 75%. I'd tie navigation into this. If breaking trail, you're likely navigating and whipping out a map more often.
2. Weight/bulk on the feet. Boots, possibly gaiters, traction, and flotation can drop a pace by 20%.
3. Weight/bulk on the back. Heavier pack can drop the pace by around 10%.
4. Temps and wind. I don't know. Maybe 5%. If it's windy, I move faster and take fewer/shorter breaks.
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Re: Speed in winter conditions

Post by nyker » Tue Jan 26, 2021 11:40 am

shelly+ wrote:
Tue Jan 26, 2021 10:21 am
If the typical summer hiker averages 1k/hour, how much do snow and cold and wind usually slow you down? And which factors seem to cause the most interference in adding time to your day?
It completely depends on the terrain and grade/mileage of the ascent. I've moved as fast as 1800ft/hr and as slow as 200ft/hr around here where terrain is more variable.
Guess its easier to measure consistently on class 1 slopes which gain 4-5k of same type of class 1 terrain in uniform conditions.
Even then often you'll move faster lower down and slower higher up as you're sucking air all things equal.

" And which factors seem to cause the most interference in adding time to your day?"

Factors that could influence your speed:
* your overall health, fitness and energy that morning/ and sleep quality the night or two before
* your motivation
* Have you eaten enough that morning or on the climb? You need to eat more in cold weather all things equal
* Are you dressed properly, head/neck/feet/hands warm? - I find when any of those are cold, I chill faster and don't move as well/fluidly/as quickly.
* starting and ending elevation
* Number of people in your climbing party, beyond 1-2, the more people, the slower generally.
* pack weight
* snow depth
* snowshoes or crampons or just boots, each will react differently depending on snow type
* terrain - class 1 walkup in flat snow? or Class 3-4 trickier rock/ice mixed climbing
* are you breaking trail? or following a nice packed trail to the top, or trench here and there?
* is snow consolidated, firm and packed-enabling a nice crampon ascent or are you postholing in wet snow or deep fresh powder?
* Other hazards to deal with: avalanches, bergschrunds, seracs, crevasses, etc..
* do you have appropriate traction? or are you slipping, (wasting energy among other things)
* Wind speed and wind direction
* temperature (once it gets under 25*F I feel it tires me out a little more) - add in windchill and that is magnified
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Re: Speed in winter conditions

Post by CaptCO » Tue Jan 26, 2021 11:48 am

Depends how many beers/shots the night before
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Re: Speed in winter conditions

Post by blazintoes » Tue Jan 26, 2021 11:51 am

I never regret starting too early especially in winter and it takes a few outings to get into the groove. So far I've had equal success and failures for many reasons. The biggest time waste for me is gear transitions. On and off with spiky things is a big time suck. From micro spikes to snowshoes to crampons and from trekking poles to an ice axe while making sure I secure one tool in order to use another. My biggest suggestion to get more efficient with gear changes is to practice at home with your pack and stay organized. Also get ahead of the cold and the pain. When you stop immediately put on another layer/puffy and keep your hands warm. Cold hands slow down everything. Also, take an ibuprofen/anti inflammatory before you need it.
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Re: Speed in winter conditions

Post by Scott P » Tue Jan 26, 2021 12:15 pm

shelly+ wrote:
Tue Jan 26, 2021 10:21 am
If the typical summer hiker averages 1k/hour, how much do snow and cold and wind usually slow you down? And which factors seem to cause the most interference in adding time to your day?
That's impossible to answer. There's a big difference between breaking trail though waste deep powder and walking on a nicely packed trail in the snow.

I can make 1000 feet an hour on some packed trails. On the other hand it has taken us more than ten hours to break a three to four mile long trail with 1500 feet elevation gain.
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Re: Speed in winter conditions

Post by bergsteigen » Tue Jan 26, 2021 12:28 pm

Breaking trail in hip deep powder with 6 other skiers and split boarders (the slowshoer was worthless).... it took over 12 hours to go 7 miles. We had to turn around before we reached our destination. Someone could have started 7 hours later than the group and caught up to us rapidly on our broken trail.

So yeah. It depends.
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Re: Speed in winter conditions

Post by shelly+ » Tue Jan 26, 2021 12:37 pm

I'm merging some threads, thinking about training for daytripping Chicago Basin in the summer. So if I'm training in snow, I'm trying to gauge how various conditions contribute to slower times on the same terrain, and how I can understand improvement in distance/vertical per hour given the conditions.
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Re: Speed in winter conditions

Post by mtree » Tue Jan 26, 2021 2:25 pm

I agree with Scott P. Winter hiking just has too many variables in play. I think your plan to gauge how various conditions contribute to slower times on the same terrain, and how to understand improvement in distance/vertical per hour given the conditions is a waste of brain cells. You're either over thinking it, bored, or trolling for pages of senseless drivel. Just get in better shape. It'll be summer soon enough.
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