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Naismith's rules


#1

I’ve been wondering why my times are often way out compared to what Anquet predicts for the various summits I’ve been activating. Ascent times are sort of OK. Obviously if the terrain is awful (ie Dumfries & Galloway!) then of course the ascent times predicted are often too short but sadly Anquet, and all the other map programmes have height data but not bog/heather/bracken/daft animals data. But the greatest anomaly is with descent times where it often takes me much, much longer than predicted. This is especially so on the more steep descents which seems logical.

I’ve just checked and the reason is obvious as Anquet has Naismith’s rule set up for ascent but no descent factor. I have mine set for 5.0km/h for flat ground and an ascent of 600m adds 1hr to the time. As I’ve said, on OK ground I can meet the ascent times and even though I’m still 20kg more than my doctor would like me to weigh, I can often beat the predictions and that’s with 12-14kg of backpack! A quick google suggests that adding 10m for each 300m descended when the slope is steeper than 12degs. I’ve set that in and looking at the maps for routes I’ve done the increase in time feels ‘ok-ish’. Of course the time factor for more gentle slopes is different. I’d rather have the predicted time be longer than shorter as it gives more flexibility if I’m ahead of schedule.

What I really want to know is what values are other activators using? Or are many of you just bimbling along without too many worries?

Andy
MM0FMF


#2

In reply to MM0FMF:

Hi Andy

As a self-confessed schedule fetishist this subject is close to my heart. Being also a lard-bucket, I find that 4kph + 1min per 10m ascent works very well for me, usually giving a few minutes for self-congratulation when I arrive at the summit fractionally early.

For the descent, I generally find 85% of the ascent time to be fairly close, although I do find a lot more variation in actual times achieved.

73 de Paul G4MD


#3

In reply to MM0FMF:
Nowadays, Andy, I’m a confirmed bimbler!

There is a technique for rapid descending, but I’m not sure I can describe it, I’m years out of practise anyway! You would do better to watch an expert! Suffice it to say that unless the slope is very steep or quite rough the descent should be quite a bit faster than on level ground. It involves a sort of springing action from the knees, landing partially on your toes and moving somewhat sideways landing with your feet across the slope, moving at almost a jogging pace. Can anyone describe it better?

73

Brian G8ADD


#4

In reply to G8ADD:

It involves a sort of springing action from the knees, landing
partially on your toes and moving somewhat sideways landing with your
feet across the slope, moving at almost a jogging pace.

Andy should be familiar with this technique which can of course be mastered by watching the action of the Scottish Tree kangaroo, which is most prevalent on the lower slopes of Scotland’s more remote summits.

You seem to have missed out the bit about the forward roll and rear end slide both of which have been known to knock several minutes of people’s decent times and can even lead to getting a free flight in a helicopter, when done with enough style.

73 Steve GW7AAV


#5

In reply to GW7AAV:
“You seem to have missed out the bit about the forward roll and rear end slide both of which have been known to knock several minutes of people’s decent times and can even lead to getting a free flight in a helicopter, when done with enough style.”

Ah, now you are talking about free-style speed descents!:slight_smile:

No, the technique I’m talking about is much more controlled but needs a careful eye for the terrain. I learned by watching seasoned alpinists but would hesitate to do it today until I’m reasonably fit again.

73

Brian G8ADD


#6

In reply to MM0FMF:

Hi Andy,

I use the 4 kph plus 1 minute for every 10m height gained as per Paul’s suggestion. This works well for me and allows time for checking the route, taking a few photos (if I remember), etc. Ascent times are often dictated how well the legs are working. The first summit of the day, especially after several hours of driving / passenger seat sitting, is generally the worst. The situation improves noticeably as the day progresses.

As for descents, Brian has made a reasonable description of the technique. I have mastered this reasonably successfully and those that have been out with me usually find that they see a lot of my back on a descent… with the exception of Richard G4ERP of course who also has a Masters degree in descending!

73, Gerald

P.S. Have you been out without a backpack of late? - I find it amazing that I can achieve up to 6 - 7km per hour without the encumberance of radio kit.


#7

In reply to MM0FMF:

Hi, Andy.

This is going to sound really sad … but I keep an Excel spreadsheet on which is kept all my ascent and descent times for various summits along with the distance and the gradients involved. This data is plotted on a graph from which I have derived the curve-fitted coefficients that I use to predict timing for future activations. There is still some manual tweaking involved to allow for things like company and the predicted terrain.

I said it was a bit sad.

Of course, overall timing goes out the window when you find that both the M4 and the M3 are closed. (Last Saturday morning …)

73, Richard


#8

In reply to G1ZJQ:

This has been a very interesting thread, I didn’t realise how much some activators put into their planning stages.

I’m lucky, with only attempting pimples, I tend to adopt the Bobby McFerrin approach.

“Don’t worry, be happy”

73

Mike GW0DSP


#9

In reply to MM0FMF:
Andy,

FWIW my Naismith settings are Flat Speed 5Km/Hr, Ascent 600m adds an hour, descent 1200m adds an hour.

When conditions are rough the speed drops to 3Km/Hr (Snow, cross country tussock, shaggy heather) and ascent to 500m adding an hour; when conditions are like Tuesday’s, flat speed increases to 6Km/Hr and ascent to 700m adding an hour (and I still arrived on the summit 45 mins early!)

The 1200m descent leaves me with faff time and usually enough Real Ale time too!!

73

Barry GM4TOE
PS: also carrying too much baggage round the waist!


#10

In reply to GW0DSP:

There’s a lot to be said for bimbling and just appearing on a summit unannounced!

However, when you want to do more than 1 summit the planning gets more and more involved. Apart from 1.5 to 2.5 hours driving there, activating several summits does require some time planning. I’m normally OK on getting to the 1st summit at around the alert time. It’s after that it can all fall apart. You need a few minutes summit appreciation, then setting up time, activating time, packing up time, checking you’ve left no mess time. I normally allow 10 mins to setup and another 10mins to pack up afterwards. Taking some photos can easily swallow 10 minutes. Then there’s eating and drinking. Followed by the descent out and possibly the next ascent.

All those few minutes add up and that’s why I want to get the descent times sorted. It’s the major slop in those times that makes predicting the next summit so hard. In many ways, if there’s propagation and it’s a weekend, then there’ll always be someone listening by the time I set up. That’s not really my worry, although I don’t like to give an alert time and then be massively off. But it’s the overall planning I’d like to get better at. Again less of a problem as it get’s dark so late up here now but in the Winter, you have to be on your toes with the times as it starts getting dark around 3.30pm.

I’ve got some value in the descent field now, so I’ll see how that goes.

Andy
MM0FMF


#11

In reply to GW0DSP:

Hi, Mike.

Well, as Gerald (master of the multiple activation) will confirm, when you’re attempting five in a day from distant parts, timing is everything. Not just to make sure you finish the same day you started, but to give yourself the best possible chance of an audience when you arrive.

73, Richard


#12

In reply to G4ERP:

Hi Richard

I was just making light of the subject as you are probably aware.

I am in awe of the multiple summit activators, especially John YSS and Gerald.

The most I managed in a day was three pimples, Mynydd Rhiw, Great Orme and Hope, that was bad enough and they are all drive ons.

Paul G4MD has done the planning for the 24/24 and again, I’m in awe of his planning work which will be put to the test in a few hours time.

As I said earlier, a very interesting thread.

73
Mike GW0DSP


#13

In reply to GW0DSP:

Yes I knew that, Mike. :slight_smile:

I also find these sorts of thread fascinating - hence chipping-in occasionally. If there was ever talk of another SOTA get-together one thing that would be great would be the opportunity for discussion of all these subjects. Walking kit, radios, operating, planning, safety etc. and the opportunity to learn from the experts.

73, R


#14

In reply to G4ERP:

Well, as Gerald (master of the multiple activation) will confirm, when
you’re attempting five in a day from distant parts, timing is
everything. Not just to make sure you finish the same day you started,
but to give yourself the best possible chance of an audience when you
arrive.

Did I dictate that passage to you Richard… or do you know me better than I know myself?

I recall early days of planning to do 5 summits in the relatively near WB region and failing miserably with just 3 activated, even with only 2m SSB on board. It was upon your suggestion that I started my itinerary planning and from the start it worked a treat… and to those who are critical of such an approach, all I can say is that I still manage to plan in a bit of bunce to allow for a few extra minutes on the summit, chatting to members of the public or stopping to look at the wildlife, flora and fauna. However, I appreciate it isn’t everyone’s cup of tea.

73, Gerald

P.S. My early appearances are normally due to the use of the TomTom to plan the road journeys. At 04:00 the roads are relatively clear so I usually arrive at the first summit parking spot early. Useful if the legs are not co-operating!


#15

In reply to G4OIG:

…and long may you continue to do so Gerald, your timing is a fine example to all, spot on!!

73

Mike GW0DSP


#16

In reply to G4OIG:

Hi, Gerald.

That sounds familiar. I’ve often wondered why it’s taken longer to descend than ascend then I see from the GPS trace how much time I’ve spent explaining why I’m carrying fishing rods on my back!

Tom-Tom. Ditto - and I’m often glad of the slack. Saturday morning with the M4 and M3 closed was one such occasion where it was needed. To finish the day off nicely, ‘Avoid roadblock’ got used between SE-013 and SE-007 thanks to a massive traffic jam.
Someone point me at a nice big quiet Welsh summit, please.

R


#17

In reply to G4ERP:

“Someone point me at a nice big quiet Welsh summit, please.”

On Saturday I saw just 4 people on NW025 Allt Fawr and had a lovely quiet ridge walk - but got no answers on 2m SSB and just six on FM, so you can’t have everything!

73

Brian G8ADD


#18

Jimmy, Liam and I saw no-one at all on Mynydd Nodol and Mwdwl-eithin, and no-one until halfway through the descent on Moel y Dyniewyd. Lovely and quiet! Today was the complete opposite. Arriving before 10am, we managed to get one of the last feasible parking spots in the vicinity of the Station Inn, Ribblehead. We walked in a crowd of hundreds for the entire ascent and most of the descent. There were hundreds in the summit area. I’m not complaining, it was a lovely day.

Ascent times. When Liam was very little (4/5/6 years old), I used to use Naismith (4km per hour plus a minute per every 10 minutes of ascent) - and double it! Now I tend to look at walk descriptions on the 'net, find one that most closely matches the one planned, add an hour for activating, and 50% if Liam is with us.

For instance, today we did a 9 mile circular from the Station Inn, Ribblehead, over Whernside NP-004. This walk is described on the 'net, and the time suggested is four hours. With Liam’s +50% factor, that becomes 6 hours, and 7 hours with the SOTA activation. And 7 hours was exactly what it took!

I must recommend the pork and black pudding pies on the bar at the Station Inn. Very nice after a long day’s walking, with a pint of Black Sheep Bitter.

Tom M1EYP


#19

In reply to G8ADD:

Hi, Brian et al.

Well, I got my wish - surprisingly for a Sunday with excellent WX forecast. I saw only four walkers during my activation of one of the most popular NW summits (Cadair Berwyn). No complaints - but where was everyone? Even the roads were quiet.

Back to the thread (sort of). I followed NW-012 with NW-049 and NW-060. The obvious route between these three is quiet special - but maybe there’s a clue on my route planning map that shows the B-road as single track with passing places. I turned back on what looked like a viable minor road when the grass in the centre of the “road” became indistinct amongst the mud and washed-out gravel.

So, travellers in this part of the world beware! Needless to say, the timing took a bit of a hit.

73, Richard


#20

In reply to G4ERP:
Glad to hear that you had an enjoyable day out.
I also drove along the ‘road’ you described, but being stupid continued to its junction with tarmac’ again. John and I were in my car, which is not entirely suited to such activities!
73
Frank