Walking time calculator
Net walking time approx. hours
Actual length of the tour approx. hours
Caution: The times indicated are guide values for paths without special technical or weather-related difficulties! Breaks for changing equipment (e.g. putting on and taking off climbing harnesses or crampons) must also be taken into account.
"The summit comes after the next bend, we're almost there." One of the sentences that can sometimes lead to considerable annoyance when hiking. Because usually "almost there" means another hour or so uphill. But it is good to know how long a tour, an ascent or a descent actually takes to avoid any discrepancies. In the following article, we want to shed more light on what is important for the calculation and how our calculator works.
A realistic assessment of walking times is an important safety criterion, especially for tours in remote and unknown areas. Simply going for it can very quickly lead to you suddenly finding yourself confronted with the fact that at dusk you're not even close to the goal - and where was the head torch again? Admittedly, an extreme example, but one that perhaps everyone has already experienced in their mountaineering life.
Two main calculation bases have now been established. The most used version can also be found in the DIN standard 33466 applied by the German Alpine Association (DAV) and states that a hiker travels 300 m uphill, 500 m downhill and about 4 km of horizontal difference per hour. The smaller value from the calculation of the vertical distances is then halved and added to the other two. The second formula comes from the Swiss Alpine Club (SAC) and assumes 400 m ascent and 800 m descent per hour and also 4 km of horizontal difference. So the Swiss are doing it a bit better. Our calculator is based on the DIN standard and therefore offers a small safety buffer for sporty hikers, which allows about 5 minutes break per hour.
|Fitness||Ascent (cumulative elevation gain)||Descent (cumulative elevation drop)||Route (kilometres)|
|Average (DAV standard)||300||500||4.0|
|Trained (SAC standard)||400||800||4.0|
|Average (ski tours)||300||1200||4.0|
A practical example: our tour has 1200 ascending and descending altitude meters and is 10 km long. According to the DIN formula, the total time for the tour is 7:40 hours, with 4:40 hours for the ascent and 3 hours for the descent.
However, it should be noted that this is of course the pure walking time. All in all, there are no breaks at the cabin or for changing equipment (e.g. climbing harness or crampons) included. Climbing passages are not yet included either.
Nearly every hike, mountain or trekking tour will sooner or later involve breaks. These should of course be taken into account in the total time. Therefore, around 5 to 10 minutes break should be calculated per hour. So based on the example above, that would be another 40 minutes extra to consider. Putting on equipment or roping up can also take considerably longer, especially for inexperienced mountaineers.
Then, of course, there are the incalculable factors such as weather or uncertainty about the route. For a day trip, this should be taken into account again with a time reserve of one hour. This would give us a total time of 9:20 hours for our example tour. Getting up early is a must!
In a time when more and more analogue maps are being replaced by GPS devices and sports watches that adorn the wrists of mountaineers, the walking time can also be estimated a little better. If you record the route, some of the minicomputers show you an average speed while hiking. This of course relates to the horizontal route, which makes it less suitable for high mountain tours.
In areas where things are steep and long ascents or descents, vertical speed can therefore be a good indicator of how long it takes to reach the summit. It displays the altimeter covered per minute or per hour. So if you know what altitude you are at - this is usually also indicated by your watch or GPS device - and know the summit altitude, you can calculate when you will reach the top, for example, provided you continue hiking at the same speed. Unfortunately, this information is only reliable with a barometric altimeter, as GPS sensors in the mountains can deviate significantly.
It should be relatively clear that the times given here are only very rough guidelines and are calculated very conservatively. Trained mountaineers are likely to take much less time. Nevertheless, you shouldn’t overestimate yourself. There are enough factors that can cost time, so a time buffer is a good idea.