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  1. #1
    Registered User dragoro's Avatar
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    Default Has anyone ever bothered to figure out the total elevation gain?

    Would be interesting to know how much total you've hiked up and down.

  2. #2
    Registered User dragoro's Avatar
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    Whoops, sorry. Didn't realize there was a specific forum for this kind of topic.

  3. #3

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    I don't want to know - it would be a big number and would scare me.
    The AT - It has it's ups and downs...

  4. #4
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    Never figured it out but probably equates to climbing Everest about 100 times.

  5. #5
    Registered User TheChop's Avatar
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    I told a girl Everest times 40. She seemed sufficiently impressed.


    Sufficiently impressed to get with the buddy I was with.
    No man should go through life without once experiencing healthy even bored solitude in the wilderness, finding himself depending solely on himself and thereby learning his true and hidden strength.

  6. #6

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    91 vertical miles

  7. #7

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    14-17 everest summits

  8. #8
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    NOBO:
    Total Ascent: 629899 ft
    Total Descent: 628623 ft

    SOBO:
    Total Ascent: 628546 ft
    Total Descent: 629832 ft

  9. #9
    AT 9,500 Miler
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    NOBO:
    Total Ascent: 629899 ft
    Total Descent: 628623 ft

    SOBO:
    Total Ascent: 628546 ft
    Total Descent: 629832 ft
    Why isn't the descent for a northbound hike the same as the ascent for a southbound hike? And vice versa?

    What is the source of info for these figures?

  10. #10

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    "515,000: Elevation Change on the AT, In Feet. (Equals Almost 100 Vertical Miles)"....according to the November 2008 Backpacker magazine. 3 year old estimate. From: the bathroom reading archives.

  11. #11
    Registered User johnnyblisters's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Captain Blue View Post
    Why isn't the descent for a northbound hike the same as the ascent for a southbound hike? And vice versa?

    What is the source of info for these figures?

    Agreed, those numbers should be even....
    -milkman

    got soul?

  12. #12
    Registered User Bob McCaw's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by johnnyblisters View Post
    Agreed, those numbers should be even....
    They aren't even because the north end is higher than the south end.

  13. #13
    AT 9,500 Miler
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    They aren't even because the north end is higher than the south end.
    And??? How does this explain why the descent for a northbound hike is not the same as the ascent for a southbound hike?

  14. #14
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    Fair Question: the data comes from USGS Digital Elelvation Model data. NOBO calculated from a NOBO .gpx file. And SOBO calculated from a SOBO .gpx file.

    So... you are correct NOBO descent should equal SOBO ascent and vice versa. You'll notice the numbers are within 100 feet of each other, and the difference reflects...oh we'll call it the tolerance (fudge factor). After all, we can't even agree on how long the damn thing is in miles...

    I admit it's silly to provide this number down to the foot. Better stated:
    NOBO Ascent/ SOBO Descent: approx. 629850 ft
    NOBO Descent/ SOBO Ascent: approx. 628600 ft

  15. #15
    Garlic
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    Quote Originally Posted by chasegru View Post
    Fair Question: the data comes from USGS Digital Elelvation Model data. NOBO calculated from a NOBO .gpx file. And SOBO calculated from a SOBO .gpx file...
    And where do the .gpx files come from? Are they collected from units that made the trip, or from routes drawn on topo software? I don't know a lot about this stuff, so excuse me if this is a dumb question.

    I'm asking because the figure that's over 600,000' is quite a departure from figures I've seen previously of the 500,000' range. And from what little I've seen in the field, GPS units are not all that accurate for elevation, nor is the model of the world's surface on which they work.

    Plus, I wonder if you have a bounce in your step while you carry a GPS, will it show up as elevation gain and loss? If an AT hike is 5,000,000 steps and you rise only a quarter of an inch with each step, that's 100,000 feet! I know it's probably not sensitive enough to register, but wouldn't there be a cumulative effect? And think of all the times you sit down and stand back up with your GPS over a thru hike.
    "Throw a loaf of bread and a pound of tea in an old sack and jump over the back fence." John Muir on expedition planning

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Croft View Post
    Never figured it out but probably equates to climbing Everest about 100 times.
    That estimate was total hiking I've done--not just the AT.

  17. #17
    4eyedbuzzard's Avatar
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    The greater the number of sample points, the greater the elevation change will be. As the number of sample points approaches infinity, so would elevation change. I don't know how many GPS points are used in the elevation calculations, but if 5,000,000 steps is the accepted "norm" for a thru-hike, that would mean a data point every 2.3 feet (28") or so in order to give a reasonable representation.

  18. #18

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    Has anyone ever bothered to figure out the total elevation gain? - yes
    As you have noticed the estimates vary tremendously with many estimates falling in the 88-100 mile or 464,640'-528,000' range. If you are planning to answer that question from others, you might want to pick something easy to remember like ~ about 515,000'.
    Backpacking light, feels so right.

  19. #19
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    Total elevation gain is different from total ascents and descents. Ascents and descents are all those big numbers listed above. Total elevation gain is the difference between the end height and the beginning height. Springer is 3782 ft, Katahdin is 5268 ft. Total gain is 1486 ft if my subtraction is correct.

  20. #20
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    You're quibbling over 1/100th of a percent?
    Pain is a by-product of a good time.

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