SOME INTERESTING FACTS ABOUT ASCENT
- The average staircase has 3 metres of ascent per flight.
- Lofty height doesn’t always guarantee big ascent figures. Snowdon, when approached from the Pen y Pass car park, requires between 700 and 800m of uphill walking to reach the 1085m summit. The reason for this is the car park is located at 360m above sea level, which strips out a considerable amount of ascent. To maximize ascent, look for start points that are as close to sea level as possible: for Snowdon, Bethania is the lowest start point.
- Similarly, smaller hills can rack up ascent with long walk ins and lots of up and down, meaning you have a lot of re-ascent to clock up. And you don’t need mountains for big ascents, either. Sections of the South West Coast Path, for instance, a single long day on the South West Coast Path between Bude to Hartland Quay yields 1,245m of ascent – despite never exceeding an altitude of 156m.
- Ben Nevis is the mountain with the greatest direct ascent in Britain, thanks to its combination of being located next to the sea and – at 1345m above sea level – its status as Britain’s highest mountain.
- Ben Macdui is Britain’s second highest mountain at 1309m. But as it is commonly ascended from the Coire Cas ski centre car park, many are able to bag its summit in as little as 728m of ascent.
- One way of clocking up big ascent figures in a relatively short space of time would be to walk a long distance path. The 255-mile Pennine Way clocks up 11,300 metres along its length, the mercifully short Welsh 3000ers banks 3,318m, whereas the West Highland Way clocks up a comparatively measly 3,946 metres. The grand-daddy of them all is the South West Coast path, with 33,990 metres of ascent... though it takes 613 miles to earn it!
- Steep ascents have the advantage of clocking up vertical metres over a short distance – but you’ll need the knees to deal with it. Kirk Fell in the Lake District clocks up 700 metres of ascent in 1.8km – the equivalent of a vertical metre climbed for every 2.5m of forward progress. Much steeper than this would be close to impossible for average walkers to ascend.