Fear ridges that are depicted as flat lines on a profile map.
The day had been a piece of cake until I got to the climb up Quimby Mountain. It was time to pay the piper, and oh he was not gonna be cheap. The temps had warmed and it was the hottest part of the day. I was briefly back to having sweat drip off my elbows. The mosquitoes even made a return. Oh joy.
Fear ridges that are depicted as flat lines on a profile map.
I remember Quimby, although I didn't know the name of the mountain I was climbing. It was the first day of my first backpacking trip in 15 years (Sept. 2000). My journal notes that I did pretty well on the 1,250-foot, mile-long climb; pausing for 5 minutes at a nice rock only once. It was a warm-ish Fall day I recall. I still think that SOBO Kinsman was a great deal harder.
GA←↕→ME: 1973 to 2014
The next day I woke up starving, much more than normal, so I went back to the resturant and it was the first day my I felt that Hiker Appetite feeling; I ate a very large breakfast, including pancakes, eggs, bacon...and tons of coffee. And then I just shot up the trail, not one issue with all that stuff in my gut, normally I would have been suffering massive bouts of heartburn.
Before that day I was still struggling with my depressed appetite and although I could feel myself getting stronger by the day, the increases were incremental at best. That day was a massive jump in my energy and appetite.
Here's all the packs outside of that resturant at NOC.
There's a couple spots on Katahdin that are on par with the steepest you'll see anywhere, there's a spot I believe still in GA or maybe NC that was hand over hand climbing with a fire tower at the top, I'll have to go back to look up the name of the mountain. In terms of steepest grade before you get to basically bouldering, I still believe parts of the Katahdin switchbacks were right up there with anything else on the AT.
There's no reward at the end for the most miserable thru-hiker.
After gear you can do a thru for $2,000.
No training is a substitute for just going and hiking the AT. You'll get in shape.
Wildcat, Albert Mountain, Twin Peaks, Garfield, Jacobs Ladder, Stratton, Madison, Webster all kicked my butt.
Memory lane question: I am wondering if any of the climbs in northern GA and/or the Nantahalas would have made the list years ago? I haven't hiked there since the 1970's but man were there some steep climbs straight up and over the ridges. I've been told that a lot of switchbacks were added in some sections and there was trail rerouting/regrading done as well (partly due to erosion I've heard). Then again, it could also partly be the starting out issue - not being in trail shape and those areas are pretty rugged and still kick people's asses just starting out.
One thing's for sure - SOBO's are definitely hardcore hitting all that in the first 400 miles
The Wildcats - in fact the whole section from Pinkham Notch to Gorham, NH. Actually, add the up and over and that horrible descent from Madison!
Everywhere is within walking distance if you have the time -- Steven Wright
First of all, I'm going to need to write a more involved algorithm for sorting climbs, since right now it's just taking the steepest half mile section of trail, comparing to the second steepest half mile, and so on. But how do you compare a climb of 1000 feet in 0.8 miles to a climb of 1500 feet in 1.0 miles? Hard to say. Also, Bly Gap and Albert Mountain's steepest sections are pretty short, so even though they're wicked steep, they didn't show up in these calculations.
As for the findings so far, Maine and NH still have all of the top 20, with Pinkham Notch to Wildcat as the steepest half mile (1020 feet in 0.5 miles... not really a surprise there!). The first climb outside of New England to make the list is going into Port Clinton (#27). After that, there are a few representatives from PA, NY, VA, and TN.
I'll post the full results later this evening
The climb out of Lehigh Gap is pretty steep and the first time you get to a "white mountain" type scramble up a cliff. It is a short climb though, maybe 1/4 mile?
Guthook, if you calculated grade, divide elevation by distance, you would find the steepest climbs.
The AT - It has it's ups and downs...
The problem is deciding what length of trail segment is worth measuring. For instance, a single stair might have an infinitely high grade if it rises vertically, but it's only six inches high so not significant. More realistically, there will be many trail segments that gain 100' in 0.1 mile. But consider the difference between one of those segments, and another segment that gains steadily 450 feet over 0.5 miles. The 0.1 mile segment is technically steeper, but that 0.1 mile segment might have flat segments on either side of it.
Yeah at some point you have to limit the number of data points used. Plus shorter climbs are no where near as taxing, at least to me, even if they are multiple ones. There is a definite difference in terms of how long steep climbs tire you out, especially this aging hiker. Given the same amount of trail hiked in a day, I recover much better from say four 500 foot climbs spread out over the course of say a 10 mile day, than from having to do a 2000+ foot climb all in 2 to 3 of those miles. Franconia to Liberty Springs section starts kicking my ass about half way up even though it isn't difficult trail - just steep and constantly up. Wildcat also kicks my butt - steep and tougher trail as well. Add that it freaks me out a bit - I have to remind myself not to look around or down too much.
south kinsman, toughest & steepest yet for me. . .seemed to go on and on, steeper and steeper. . .and then the summit--it's flat!
oops, hope i didn't ruin anyone's hike. . .lol.
Which of those Climbs is in MA?? I did the entire state this year and nothing stood as particularly challenging
Never mind - I found it
12 - 1585.6 to 1586.6, 1230': Mt Prospect to stream at base of Greylock (1450' in 1.4m)
Thanks for doing the calculations...interesting stuff!
My vote goes to the Wildcat climb, which I did as a day-hike AFTER completing most of Maine!