Saturday, March 08, 2008

How do you say "up"?

There's a common belief that the Inuit people in northern Canada have something like 30 different words for snow, because it's so much a constant part of their lives. Well, I've discovered something similar in the world of tramping - there seem to be countless ways of expressing an uphill track.

For instance, if you are walking uphill for a several hours, on a constant but not incredibly steep track, it's called a "slog".

If the uphill is short and steep, involving rocky terrain, it becomes a "scramble". But if the terrain is more even and the distance longer, a steep uphill is an "ascent". (This is the term to use if you want to sound very technical, like you might be summiting Everest on your next hike.)

If it's long and steep (and don't they all feel that way anyhow?) the term of choice is a "gut-buster". If it's not quite so steep, you may just get away with saying it's a "grunt".

One daywalk we did in Mt. Cook Village last week was steep, but mostly consisted of wooden steps laid into the hillside. As such, it could only really be called a "climb".

All of this to describe the simple act of walking up a hill, mountain or whatever seems to be in your path! It's something we've been doing a lot of over the past few days as we visited both Mt. Cook National Park and Arthur's Pass National Park in the heart of New Zealand's Southern Alps. Now we're off in the morning to explore the St. James Walkway, a five-day trek off of Lewis Pass. So I'll leave you for now, and hopefully have more tales to tell soon.


Anonymous said...

Yes, there are many many terms for 'exhausting'. LOL :P G

camping girl said...

Lol! I've never heard the word 'grunt' used before - nice!