I’d mentioned to some people at the Ubuntu Developer Summit in Oakland that I am currently training to climb Mount Saint Helens in Washington and they seemed somewhat interested in my plan hence this post. The climb is actually a non-technical hike to the rim of the crater on the south side of the mountain. I did this hike before in September of 2006, but this time I talked one friend, Kees Cook, and my family to do it with me. We bought our permits for August 24th, 2012 to allow us plenty of time to train and for the snow to melt. While I made it last time I was rather slow and remember being quite sore so this year I thought we’d train more than I did last time. Well that and I like hiking.
I tried searching the internet for training schedules and didn’t find anything right away other than a post on a geocaching forum. They’d suggested climbing points, hills or mountains that increase in elevation change in increments of about 500 feet. That seemed fairly reasonable to me so I scoured hiking books and sites, particularly the great nwhiker.com, to come up with a list of things to hike. Luckily, I live in the Columbia River Gorge which provides a wide variety of prominent peaks which are right next to major highways.
Kees and I came up with the following schedule.
The first column is the tentative date, the second the elevation change, and the third the point or hike’s name. You might notice we didn’t include the distance of the hikes at all, this was a rather large oversight which ended up hurthing my dog the most. I ended up having to carry her up and down stairs in the house! Cooper Spur has a question mark next to it as it is a special hike. That hike is at a similar elevation to Mount Saint Helens and we thought it might be interesting to see if anything is different about hiking at those higher heights. Depending on snow levels the date for that particular hike will change.
We just reached the 2600 level with our hike on the 20th of Indian Point. Every hike we go on I bring my Garmin GPS with us to record a track of where we’ve been. I then import the gpx file into two great pieces of software in Ubuntu.
I use gpsprune for editing the gpx track and removing bad data points for example when the gps is first receiving a signal. It is also handy for those times where I leave the gps on while driving to the hike as I can then split the gpx file into to two separate ones. gpsprune is also good for generating a 3D model of your hike which was helpful confirming that we had hiked a trail on the opposite side of a canyon we thought we’d hiked on but weren’t positive.
And I use pytrainer for keeping a ledger of hikes that we’ve made, the dates that we did them and comparing our hikes.
One interesting thing to note is the difference in elevation changes and ascents. Indian Point is listed as an elevation change of about 2600 feet as that is the difference between the elevation at the start of the hike and the end of the hike. However, pytrainer tells us that we ascended 3600 feet! This is of course due to ups and downs on the trail.
Next up is Dog Mountain but my dog won’t be joining us⸮