5 ways to survive your first Grouse Grind

Jun 25 2019, 11:38 pm

Get ready for OK Times with the Okanagan Spring Summer Pack.


Call it a great workout, unnecessary torture or a rite of passage. Most of us know it as the Grouse Grind. It is a steep 2.9 kilometre trek up Grouse Mountain. Love it or hate it, as a Vancouverite you will one day be faced with the question, “do you want to do the Grind?”

If you think you’re ready for the 2,830 steps that await you, here are some tips that will ensure you make it to the top of “Mother Nature’s Stairmaster” in one piece.

Gear up

Leave the flip flops at home. The Grouse Grind is not a walk in the park, but a test of physical fitness. Workout gear is a must, specifically breathable sweat-wicking apparel and proper running or hiking shoes. According to Grouse Mountain, it takes an average of 1.5 hours to get up, although others take two hours or longer. You’re welcome to bring small snacks and energy gels, but make sure you take your trash with you to keep the trail clean. Don’t forget to bring a bottle of water or electrolyte drink so you can hydrate as you go.

Pace yourself

Photo by Jeannine Avelino

It’s your first time on the Grouse Grind so there’s no pressure to finish fast. After all, it will be an automatic personal best. Maintain a steady pace and remember to breathe. Don’t feel pressured by faster hikers. If you need to slow down or stop, pull over to the right side and allow others to pass you on the left. Take a breather and start again once the coast is clear. There are markers on the Grouse Grind to give you an idea of how far away you are from the top. The first quarter is the longest and least steep so don’t feel discouraged if it takes you a long time to reach it.

Power hike like a boss

Photo by Jeannine Avelino

Power hiking will help you use your energy efficiently. Lean forward to mimic the grade, put your hands on your quads and push. Use your glutes so that the pressure won’t be on your quads or calves. This technique will hopefully keep you going on a steady pace for a longer period of time.

Bring a friend

Crushing goals is more fun with a friend. If you can, make it a day out. Work out first, beers at the top after. Not only is it safer to have someone with you, conversation is also a great distraction from the pain in your legs. Also, stopping for selfies at each quarter is a must! Hiking solo is definitely okay as you can make friends along the way. Just let someone know your hiking plan, just in case.

Every step brings you closer to your goal

Photo by Jeannine Avelino

Forward is a pace. As long as you are putting one foot in front of the other, you are getting closer to finishing. If you’re feeling discouraged, think about how far you’ve hiked up already. Let that motivate you to keep going. Enjoy the experience, say hi to fellow hikers, and don’t forget to smile.

Once you get to the top, take the time to enjoy the view and reflect on the fact that you just climbed a mountain. Enjoy the moment and the gondola ride down. You deserve it!