Though I’m not really afraid of anything, intimidation can get the best of me from time to time. The Grouse Grind, a firm fixture on my Vancouver bucket list, was one of those things that required a little more encouragement than say, lavender lattes and mini waffles at Café Medina. Just before the hiking season ended (and with some motivation from friends to boot), I braced myself for one of Vancouver’s famous hikes, also known as “Mother Nature’s Stairmaster.”
mapping my hike
I wanted to document my hike so that I could compare my first time with each time after that (side note: about halfway up I was sure that this would be my first and last time). Having this record would not only serve as proof that I did in fact climb the Grind but it would also allow me to track my progress and help me set goals to challenge myself in the future. After looking into a few options, I settled on iMapMyHike since I was already familiar and quite satisfied with other apps from MapMyFitness.
the grouse grind
To put things into perspective for those of you who are unfamiliar with the Grind, imagine 2,830 steps, gaining 2,800ft in elevation, which works out to cover a total distance of 2.9km. On average it takes about an hour and a half to complete, two hours for novice hikers and 23 minutes and 48 seconds if you’re Sebastian Salas, the official record holder.
take it to the top
At the base of the trail my friend Ashley and I each started the app to record our journey (I wanted to test the accuracy of the app to see if our results would differ). Setting it up was fairly easy and with a push of a button we were on our way. It didn’t take long to realize that “Mother Nature’s Stairmaster” is no exaggeration. The first quarter was fun and exciting - the halfway point couldn’t come soon enough. Seeing the three-quarter mark was a dream and really kicked my energy level into high gear. Standing at the top was unbelievable and somehow made me forget how much I disliked getting there.
how the app faired
I have mixed opinions about the app. It was successful in recording the hike as far as time, distance, calories and elevation go (although, I was so excited when I got to the top I forgot to stop the app, so I have to shave about 10 minutes off my ‘official’ time). I loved that I could immediately share my stats on my social channels (climbing the Grind entitles you to some bragging rights, after all) or through email (I chose to share my stats with my coworker, Michael). What I didn’t like was that the app seemed a little glitch-y when it came to saving the workout, in fact, Ashley’s hike got deleted. The app also drained my battery, which, could be dangerous if you’re climbing alone and also means less juice for pictures when you do make it to the top.
Would I climb the grind again? I can’t believe I’m going to say this but yes. As for the app, I didn’t love it enough to use it for my hike up the Chief the following day, although I would have liked having those stats recorded. Any suggestions for other hiking apps that are more dependable and won’t kill my battery?