# Verts

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When you place a cache that has an elevation change, how do you calculate the vertical gain?

I suppose you could take a waypoint at the bottom and another at the top, but that's about as good as knowing the "straight line" distance to a cache. The trail rarely heads straight for a cache, just like the trail will rarely take you directly uphill to the cache. You usually end up going up and down several hills on your way.

What works best for you?

I've never used it, but I'm pretty sure my MapSend Topo program has a "cumulative elevation" (or something like that) which would do what you want.

Not sure if the Garmin equivalent has this feature.

Jamie

If you take a waypoint at the bottom and one at the top you would be able to subtract the smaller elevation from the larger one. That would give you the elevation change. Here at work I am at about 950 feet above sea level. A cache in the hills of Tenn. may be at 3000 feet. Elevation change of 2050 feet. I would have to go a long way with lots of ups and downs to get there but that is the elevation difference.

The GPS isn't real accurate (as I understand it) with elevation numbers unless you have the internal barometric altimeter.

I know with my GPSMap 60CS (got that there barrometric altimeter in it), it does have a cummulative elevation in it. Right now, my total ascent is 39035m my Maximum Elevation is 2216m. Odometer reading is 3757.86km. Current elevation 1085m.

I have a Garmin, and when I cached with the smurf, my GPS said that he was three apples tall.

I am sure there's a menu option to convert that to inches or centimeters but I cannot seem to find it.

If you take a waypoint at the bottom and one at the top you would be able to subtract the smaller elevation from the larger one. That would give you the elevation change. Here at work I am at about 950 feet above sea level. A cache in the hills of Tenn. may be at 3000 feet. Elevation change of 2050 feet. I would have to go a long way with lots of ups and downs to get there but that is the elevation difference.

The GPS isn't real accurate (as I understand it) with elevation numbers unless you have the internal barometric altimeter.

That's just it though, do you only count the gain from the lowest to the highest point, or do you count each ascent and add them together?

Mark the trailhead, significant points in between, then the cache location. I do the same on the way out, do the math for each, adjust the change. I may add some if there are a lot of minor bumps along the way.

Then add 1000' so folks think it's tougher, or subtract 500', depends on my mood.

So, Sax, are you bored or what?

So, Sax, are you bored or what?

What, a guy can't ask an honest question?

Ok, I drew a route on NG Topo! and had it build an elevation profile. It came up with +52' -612' = -560'

So ideally, this would be an elevation gain of 0' on a round trip hike (out and back on the same trail). Should I state that the elevation gain is only 560' because that's the difference between the starting and ending points?

Then again, would this be considered a 52' gain on the way to the cache, then a 612' gain on the way back for a total of 664'?

The Nepali definition of flat is if you start and stop your hike at the same elevation. So, if you started your day at 11,500 feet and ended your day at 11,500 feet, you were hiking flat (this is a one-way trip idea, not a round trip idea). It doesn't matter if you hiked down 3,000 feet and then back up 3,000 feet, your day was still flat. I have experienced this first hand and was most disappointed when I learned about this definition (imagine, looking acroos a canyon directly at where you started that day six hours prior knowing that if you had just taken a bridge straight across it would've taken you...oh....a half an hour or so).

That said, all elevation gain info that I usually see is just the difference betwen bottom and top. I think that I just know that there is going to be some up and down along the way

The Nepali definition of flat is if you start and stop your hike at the same elevation. So, if you started your day at 11,500 feet and ended your day at 11,500 feet, you were hiking flat (this is a one-way trip idea, not a round trip idea). It doesn't matter if you hiked down 3,000 feet and then back up 3,000 feet, your day was still flat. I have experienced this first hand and was most disappointed when I learned about this definition (imagine, looking acroos a canyon directly at where you started that day six hours prior knowing that if you had just taken a bridge straight across it would've taken you...oh....a half an hour or so).

That said, all elevation gain info that I usually see is just the difference betwen bottom and top. I think that I just know that there is going to be some up and down along the way

I don't think I like their definition

One way of tracking your elevation climbed is to use your gps to create a track, I use the garmin etrex. Then download the track as draw file to Delorme topo map and In that program you can use the profile function to show the elevation climbed during your outing. I like to use it for xskiing.

Am I supposed to be paying attention to the elevation when i'm caching?

The Nepali definition of flat is if you start and stop your hike at the same elevation.  So, if you started your day at 11,500 feet and ended your day at 11,500 feet, you were hiking flat (this is a one-way trip idea, not a round trip idea).  It doesn't matter if you hiked down 3,000 feet and then back up 3,000 feet, your day was still flat.  I have experienced this first hand and was most disappointed when I learned about this definition (imagine, looking acroos a canyon directly at where you started that day six hours prior knowing that if you had just taken a bridge straight across it would've taken you...oh....a half an hour or so).

That said, all elevation gain info that I usually see is just the difference betwen bottom and top.  I think that I just know that there is going to be some up and down along the way

I don't think I like their definition

No, I very much didn't like it either...especially after finding out about it after being told that the day was going to be flat, very flat. But, that said, I did live.

Topographic maps, anyone?

Topographic maps, anyone?

Well yes, K-9, I did use a topographic map to get the numbers in my earlier post. The question is how do you calculate the elevation gain when you are going up and down hills?

What you are looking for is TEG Total Elevation Gain. Where your positives (uphills) and negatives (downhills) are combined to give you your TEG.

On one of my Caches its 3002 - 309 = +2693.

Here is another example.

A hike that gained 200', dropped 500' and then gained another 1000', would have a cumulative gain of 1200' and a cumulative loss of 500' on that leg. If you did that hike in only one direction, the TEG would be +700. If you then returned the same way, the total elevation gain must of course equal the total elevation loss, so the return TEG would be just -700'.

+200 -500 +1000 = +700

-1000 +500 - 200 = - 700

I know this doesn't make a lot of sense but that is the way its figured out.

To me if its 5000 ft. at the trail head and 8002 at the summit I climbed 3002 ft.

The hell with all the little dips in the trails

Thanks Tahosha. That's the most complete answer yet.

...and for those that think I was just trying to stir the pot with this thread, I need to find the answer to this cache so my next cache is accurate.

Thanks Tahosha. That's the most complete answer yet.

...and for those that think I was just trying to stir the pot with this thread, I need to find the answer to this cache so my next cache is accurate.

Just a little hazing Sax, it was a very valid question.

Of course, the true answer would be with what the real question was.

TEG seems to be net yield. Net yield (as in counting profits, etc)

+200 -500 +1000 = +700

-1000 +500 - 200 = - 700

Now if the question was "how much uphill is there?" (which is what most of us really want to know), then it's only the plus parts:

+200 -500 +1000 = +1200 going

-1000 +500 - 200 = +500 returning

So which is it then? The total uphill, or the difference between highest and lowest points?

Well, since you asked "vertical gain", so I would believe Tahosha gave the best answer for that question. I wouldn't pretend to be an expert.

If your cache page said "parking at 14,100 ft, cache at 14,000" I would be a bit upset if I arrived on Mt Evans and realized that the cache was on Mt Bierstadt. Oh, that would be a net loss of 100 ft, and I would be neglectful of my research.

Edited by Moose Mob
I need to find the answer to this cache so my next cache is accurate.

Coordinates should be accurate enough.

Playing with elevations could be misleading. Say a cacher was looking for a cache based on your elevation requirements, well lets say he doesn't have an altiimeter, or if the does, it was not calibrated. Then they could be off. And even if they were calibrated, a sudden storm from with a rapid change in barometric pressure can change your altimeter reading.

I would just stick with coordinates, and change the format or do some projections and they should be close enough.

So which is it then? The total uphill, or the difference between highest and lowest points?

The most meaningful figure is the cumulative elevation gain which is the total amount of climbing done - which can end up being much more than the elevation difference if there are lots of ups and downs along the way. That's the figure that correlates best with the difficulty of the hike.

Just reporting the net elevation difference could be very misleading if you start at 500', have to climb up and over a hill that tops out at 4000', and then drop down to the destination at 600'. If the description for that cache indicated an elevation gain of 100' I'd expect you to get lots of complaints from weary cachers who trusted the description and thought it would be an easy stroll for their kids. And they'd be equally upset if the trail always stayed between 500' and 600' but climbed those 100' dozens of times along the way.

I've seen many descriptions of loop hikes and bike rides that list a total elevation gain figure. Since it's a loop this would automatically be equal to 0 if they were reporting the net elevation gain. But what's listed is cumulative gain or the sum of all the uphills along the way.

I use a Garmin eMap, which does not have a barometric sensor and doesn't directly display the elevation gain. But if I load the tracklog into the GARTrip program, that does give cumulative elevation gain. There are various other programs, like OziExplorer, that will do this as well. I've also tried loading the tracklog into topo programs, like DeLorme's Topo!USA, but found that it tended to exagerate the numbers - even when I knew the trail had been monotonically climbing, the Topo!USA profile showed lots of little dips that added considerably to the reported cumulative totals.

Typically in climbing circle, foregoing the nalaleese, it is elevation change so if you start at 9000 feet go to 11500 and then back down to 9000 it is a total change of 2500ft. It basically comes down to how much up you have to do. Down is a freebie. So if you go from 9000 feet to 10000feet then to 9500 and back up to 11000 feet then down to 9000 feet and back up to 11500 feet you have 1000+1500+2000=4500 feet of elevation gain although you have only changed elvation from begining to end of 2500 feet. The folks that did the 8 highest peaks in Ca had something like 25000feet of elevation gain in their 24 hour jaunt.

To find this out just import track or waypoints into you mapping software and do a elevation profile. My Sunto watch will track my elevation profile. My Sunto watch will track this but if you want to find out before hand do an elevation profile.

.

cheers

Just to throw another factor into the mix consider rate of change.

A 500 foot gain over a couple of miles of horizontal travelisn't the same as a 500 foot gain over a quarter mile of horizontal travel.

Also consider steep descent might actually be tougher than a gradual ascent.

And to think I came to this thread looking for dead horses!

Typically in climbing circle, foregoing the nalaleese, it is elevation change so if you start at 9000 feet go to 11500 and then back down to 9000 it is a total change of 2500ft. It basically comes down to how much up you have to do. Down is a freebie. So if you go from 9000 feet to 10000feet then to 9500 and back up to 11000 feet then down to 9000 feet and back up to 11500 feet you have 1000+1500+2000=4500 feet of elevation gain although you have only changed elvation from begining to end of 2500 feet. The folks that did the 8 highest peaks in Ca had something like 25000feet of elevation gain in their 24 hour jaunt.

To find this out just import track or waypoints into you mapping software and do a elevation profile. My Sunto watch will track my elevation profile. My Sunto watch will track this but if you want to find out before hand do an elevation profile.

.

cheers

This is what I'm looking for. If I have to subtract the downhill portions, I won't be accurate in saying my cache has a "5000 foot elevation gain" or whatever.

Tahosha, no I don't plan on using the GPS elevation figure to substitute for coordinates...unless this cache is placed halfway up a cliff

I would report:

• The highest elevation change on the trip
• The fact that multiple elevation changes will be encountered
• Place the vertical change(s) on a graph on the web page - should be all the info anybody needs.

or....

simply Say ----------- tough trail to cache.

Sax maybe when you do the cache just put some of these profiles embedded in the Cache description

• Leg 1: 1628 - 57 = 1571
• Leg 2: 899 - 1 = 898
• Leg 3: 824 - 0 = 824

Leg 1 of the Dessert:

Leg 2 of the Dessert:

Final Leg to the CACHE

Give me some CHEETOS, I want to put a VIRTUAL up here.

Verts??? I thought you said Virts, oh well, never mind.

/Emily Latella

Sax maybe when you do the cache just put some of these profiles embedded in the Cache description
• Leg 1: 1628 - 57 = 1571
• Leg 2: 899 - 1 = 898
• Leg 3: 824 - 0 = 824

Leg 1 of the Dessert:

<snip>

Leg 2 of the Dessert:

<snip>

Final Leg to the CACHE

<snip>

Give me some CHEETOS, I want to put a VIRTUAL up here.

Sorry, a VIEW is not a virtual cache, no matter how great the VERTICAL challenge is

Anyway, I did notice a few dips in the elevation change on your graphs. Those particular hikes didn't have any significant drops, but would you count them anyway?

Anyway, I did notice a few dips in the elevation change on your graphs. Those particular hikes didn't have any significant drops, but would you count them anyway?

I just let the software do the ups and downs, and don't pay much more attention to it. By time they hike , up one hill, back down, up another hill and back down for a total of over 11 miles with a vertical gain of 4,571 ft. they will probably be finished for the day.

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