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Route choice in mountain navigation: Naismith's rule, and the equivalence of distance and climb

Scarf, PA 2007, 'Route choice in mountain navigation: Naismith's rule, and the equivalence of distance and climb' , Journal of Sports Sciences, 25 (6) , pp. 719-726.

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In this paper, I consider decision making about routes in mountain navigation. In particular, I discuss Naismith's rule, a method of calculating journey times in mountainous terrain, and its use for route choice. The rule is essentially concerned with the equivalence, in terms of time duration, between climb or ascent and distance travelled. Naismith himself described a rule that is purported to be based on trigonometry and simple assumptions about rate of ascent; his rule with regard to hill-walking implies that 1 m of ascent is equivalent to 7.92 m of horizontal travel (1:7.92). The analysis of data on fell running records presented here supports Naismith's rule and it is recommended that male runners and walkers use a 1:8 equivalence ratio and females a 1:10 ratio. The present findings are contrasted with those based on the analysis of data relating to treadmill running experiments (1:3.3), and with those based on the analysis of times for a mountain road-relay (1:4.4). Analysis of cycling data suggests a similar rule (1:8.2) for cycling on mountainous roads and tracks.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Naismith's rule, regression analysis, extreme values
Themes: Health and Wellbeing
Schools: Schools > College of Business & Law > Salford Business School > Business and Management Research Centre
Journal or Publication Title: Journal of Sports Sciences
Publisher: Taylor & Francis
Refereed: Yes
ISSN: 0264-0414
Depositing User: Dr Philip Scarf
Date Deposited: 06 Oct 2011 10:31
Last Modified: 29 Oct 2015 00:49

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