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Storming the Grouse Grind

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The Grouse Grind is an iconic hiking trail in the foothills of Grouse Mountain in Vancouver. Most people take the gondola to the famous grouse ski field but if you're feeling energetic the Grouse Grind is well worth the effort.
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Dan surveys the forest treetops

You start the climb at the bottom of the car park just below the gondola and right from the start you hit a pretty steep gradient. The reality is it only gets steeper – so going too hard too early isn’t a great idea. After 5 minutes of zig-zagging track you hit the stairs. At times the steps are so steep that it feels like you’re spending more time climbing on all fours than running. The biggest challenge with the Grouse Grind? It’s relentless. There’s no flat area to catch your breath or get rid of the lactic acid building in your calves. And therein lies the challenge. One thing that surprised me was the amount of people doing the Grind, and these seemed to be people of all ages and walks of life – locals attempting to smash their PB, families walking with young children, and overseas tourists that look totally unprepared.

The Grouse Grind Timer

To give yourself an official time, you can grab an electronic timer from the visitor centre. This is great because you don’t have the added worry of having to time yourself, simply scan it at the bottom and away you go.

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The Grind Grind track hidden amongst the trees

The track is mostly amongst the trees, which provides plenty of shade from the hot summer sun. Markers along the ascent let runners and walkers know exactly how far there is to go, either spurring people on or confirming their need to persist. As you get closer to the top, the heavy forest opens up to spectacular views of Vancouver. It’s difficult to absorb Vancouver in all its glory though, because you’re so focused on finishing and giving your bubbling legs a break.

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Dan takes on the Grind track on a bike

On average, most people conquer the Grouse Grind between 60 and 90 minutes. However, it really depends on how fit you are and how many water breaks you need to take, it could be much quicker or much longer! I pushed pretty hard and was in the hurt box for most of the way up, which is probably why I kept a keen eye on the markers. A combination of relief and energy rushed through me as the finish line came into sight and helped me push through that last little bit.

I managed to get up there in 38 minutes, with enough time and energy left over to grab myself a drink and enjoy the view from the top.