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Basic Pacing Tips of Mountaineering and Snow Hiking for Beginners

July 7, 2017

 Hiking trails within mountains or on the backcountry area usually consist of rocky road, or slough land, or road on steep slope. Especially after a snow, the slippery road makes the road conditions for hiking more complicated and challenging. Therefore, we should master some hiking and climbing footwork skills in order to make outdoor travel more secure and more relaxed.


Hiking method, pace and rhythm


1, Move the central gravity of you in a line


Mountain trails are ups and downs as well as uneven, and sometimes even come up with rolling stones, pretty hard to go.


Therefore, when you are hiking, the most important thing is the "walking posture" and "pace". I mean, your head, waist, feet should keep in the same gravity line, and keep this line as the axis of the body as you move.


The method: lift the knee of one of foot, the other foot step on the ground and get the balance, shoulders do not rein force at the same time. When the center of gravity is about to move from the back foot to the front foot, move forward the gravity of your head and waist as well, do not extend the knee of your front foot forward, and then step forward the rear foot, re-create a gravity center. So that gravity center  of the head, waist, foot continue to move as you walk is the correct walking posture.


Regardless of the mountain trails leads up or down, the most basic tip is the small pace. So that even if you do not see the immediate situation, you can also move forward at the same pace, in addition to keep your balance easier on mountain trails, but also reduce fatigue.

2, Small step, hike slowly 


Compared with other sports, outdoor sports has a major feature that the movement is of a long time and the process of sports need to bear the personal life essentials and food or other intake products. If walking in a lot of downhill or up hill mountain route for a long time, it's just like having big step and fast pace quickly walking in the city street, which will soon ear you in deep breathe. Recommended novice may wish to walk half the pace as normal, taking small hiking steps, leisurely walking slowly and crawling like wandering around.


Walking is not only movement of the leg, but the kind of whole body movement. You can balance the body through you swing arms, adjusting the pace, controlling the rhythm. Beginners who has been tired during uphill, most of them are only use the power of lower body of the leg muscles only to climb up the mountain pretty hard, while the upper body muscles are stalemate completely not involved in movement and assistance. Relatively, experienced hikers in order will be necessary to disperse the body power in each step to let the wrist, back, abdominal muscles, shoulders and other body muscles distribute the power need to make against gravity up or down. Beginners only need to gracefully swing arms during the process of walking , all the body muscles will participation activities well.


Mistakes that most of the mountaineering beginners generally do is to drag the foot or walk the pace of hanging around streets. Because the body is more difficult to get a balance in this way to hike on mountain routes, it is easy to kick things and fall. In addition, because the body need to achieve a balance as you hike and have to use extra muscles to support, so it's more likely to feel tired. In order to solve this problem, we should really lift the foot, take small steps, step by step pacing forward steadily slowly.


 3, Make each step on the whole foot, step forward steadily


The best hiking speed is to move and keep normal breathing, try to use the individual load of heartbeat pulse number as hiking pace, back up shoulder down a little, full feet touch the ground as every step, step by step and then move the center of gravity in balance, try to keep uniform.Many mountain friends often encounter situations as calf muscles cramps. It's because they do not step the whole foot to the ground, or step the whole foot to the ground but just stepped on the rugged ground that have not steeped on a good point. Such as the foot pedal on a small stone, so that each moving center of gravity will cost extra four times the power to re-balance the body center of gravity and greatly increasing the burden of your feet. Therefore, we mountain hikers should choose a even route and step stability of the place to go as far as possible.


4, Uphill toes outside, downhill toes inward

Encounter sharp slope on your route, the most important thing is the way of your foot to pace forward, that is, toes outward as you make each step forward. If the whole foot step directly on the slope, because the toes is higher than the heel , so the ankle brakes and can not be evenly coordinated and stay stable. On the contrary, if the step with toes outward on the slope, the whole feet nearly step on a cross position, toes and ankles will be almost at the same height, so the ankles will become easier to swing and hold your body against the ground on slope.


Be cautious when downhill, even a gentle slope, people go downhill may also have the risk of falling, so be sure to go down with small steps, step by step. Especially after the rain, the route is particularly slippery, your feet become very easy to slide on these routes, which need to pay more attention to. The pace should be smaller and slower than that of going uphill. If hiking with small steps, even your foot slides and you can get back to restore balance in a moment and prevent the fall.

When hiking down the the mountain, the body will tend to focus on the front foot and your gravity center will tend to move to your forward foot as well, which is very tentative to cause your falling or slippery as you can not get much support from your forward foot when hiking down the mountain. If you focus the weight of the body on the front foot, that is, hiking down with a jumping like posture, this will cause a heavy burden on the front foot, and it is one of the reasons to cause knee pain. And it can easily lead to physical exhaustion and not being able to continue to travel. So please remember to bend your ankle and knee fully the moment your foot step forward on the slope during downhill to provide a buffer to the ground, keep the center of your body gravity on the back foot.


 5, Do not jump from any high platform


Going down platform that is slightly higher than the knees. On the hiking trails, you may sometimes encounter that kid of steep slope or platform that is higher than your knees or the slope is a very high and sharp slope. Going down the slope whose terrain is very high, it is strictly prohibited bouncing down, must be cautious! Hopping or jumping down these sharp slope or platform will not only cause slippery, sprained ankle, there will be the risk of contusion or fracture. The correct approach is to use the the root or branches of the plant and seize them when clenching down, stabilize the center of body gravity and step your feet down to the ground, or sitting on the slope and slide down slowly to the ground.


 6, Set your pace when hiking in the snow


Hiking in the snow, or pacing in the snow for a long time, the most important thing is the pace, make it small and keep a fixed pace according to your own pace rhythm and hike your own hike. If the random speed up, or the pace is too big and lose the rhythm, it will cause fatigue. Walking in the snow should be kind of calm, hike with your own pace is very important.


If the snow only is only deep enough to have your shoes buried, the it can hardly affect the pace, so you can have a more relax pace like walking on the street ( a day's snow accumulated higher than the knee will cost much strength even when you move your foot up and step forward and takes considerable effort when you move on.  If the snow is deep to your waist, you have to use your feet and waist to push the snow out a little bit in front of you, take the step by step approach is the so-called "snow removal method" to minimize fatigue, snow removal and pace forward tactics is to use your own body (especially the upper body) that tend to move forward, relying on their own weight to push the snow forward and move on.


If a number of people hike in line with the snow lower that the knee but high than ankle, the leader can step some footsteps in line for the following fellows to follow up and step on these footprints and move forward, which only make the leader spend much forward effort but the other members in the scout can have easier pace. Much better than hike on your own steps and have your own footprints wandering in the snow ground, that is kind of team work in snow hiking activities. And a pair of snow boot that fits you will help you get easier pace.

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