# The Amount of Climb Yesterday, I printed off 29 maps. Today, I laminated those maps since there was work to be done and I didn’t want to reprint the maps after flipping through them dozens and dozens of times in preparation for an upcoming hike. Because, little is worse than already tattered and barely readable maps on a hike.

One of the tasks is to determine how much climbing might be required of me. Many, many times clients will ask me, “How steep is the climb?” And, there is often frustration when I respond, “I don’t know, what does the map tell you?”

Now, you don’t have to ask. You can calculate all by yourself.

The Steps

• Determine where you are starting from and where you are ending
• Measure the trail by using the lanyard on your compass following the bends and turns (for example: 1.9-miles)
• Subtract the contour line of your starting point from the contour line of your ending point to get the elevation gain (for example: 620-feet)
The trail rises 620-feet in 1.9-miles
Calculating gain per mile. To calculate the gain per mile, take the rise and divide it by the distance.
620 / 1.9 = 326
This is equal to 326-feet of gain per mile

Calculating rise. To calculate rise, take the distance and multiple that by 5,280-feet (5,280-feet = a statute mile). Divide the statutory result by the elevation gain.
1.9 x 5280 = 10032
10032 / 620 = 16
The trail rises approximately one foot every 16-feet

Calculating grade. To determine grade, take the elevation gain and divide it by the statutory result.
620 / 10032 = .06
This is equal to a 6% grade

Skill Practice – Exercise One – Following Trail. Determine the gain per mile, the rise and the grade.

• Distance: 3 ¼ mile
• Starting Elevation: 9,040-feet
• Ending Elevation: 10,220-feet

Skill Practice – Exercise Two – Off-Trail Scramble. Determine the gain per mile, the rise and the grade.

• Distance: .7 mile
• Contour Interval: 40-feet
• From your start, there are four contour intervals (thin lines) to the first contour index line (heavy line). Then, there are five additional contour index lines. Finally, there is half a contour interval to where you want to end.