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The Grouse Grind

“Mother Nature’s Stairmaster”

grouse grind trail

The Grouse Grind, located on Vancouver’s Grouse Mountain, is a very popular hiking trail. The trail, nicknamed “Mother Nature’s Stairmaster”, is notoriously grueling due to its steep mountainous terrain. The trail climbs 853 m (2,800 ft) over a distance of 2.9 km (1.8 mi), with an average grade of 17 degrees (or 31%) and short sections of up to 30 degrees.

Due to its intensity many people use the Grouse Grind as a marker for their cardiovascular endurance goals. Hikers’ times will depend on their fitness level. Those who are newer to fitness will generally be able to complete the climb in the 90 to 12o minute range. Completion for intermediate fitness level range is around 60 minutes and top athletes finish in around 30 minutes. Sebastian Selas holds the record at an astounding 23 minutes and 48 seconds in August 2010.

Top Tips for the Grouse Grind

Train before attempting to do the hike. Ensure your personal trainer includes a treadmill hill program, HIIT, along with a leg program that includes squats, split squats and then lunges.

Before you leave for the hike make sure you have dressed appropriately. Layer up and have proper footwear. Take a backpack with you to keep your supplies and a place to put clothes you discard. Make sure you bring a change of clothing for after you are done.

Always take a buddy with you for your first climb. Make sure you have let someone know your plans and when they should expect you to return home.

Proper nutrition and hydration prior to the climb is imperative.  Drink plenty of water and eat a full meal. Take snacks with you that are high in potassium and sodium along with something for low blood sugar.

Start with a pace that you can maintain throughout the hike. Many people start out too quickly and struggle at the steeper elevations. Try to go with someone experienced and let them set the pace. Remember you can go up the Grouse Grind but you can’t go down!

Keep to the right so that more experienced climbers can pass you.

Don’t push yourself too hard. Take breaks when needed on the side of the trail at a safe section so others can pass.

BMO Grouse Grind Mountain Run 2011 

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