Climbing Grouse Mountain In North Vancouver: The Grouse Grind

My legs were like jelly, I had sweated away half of my body weight and my heart was pounding so hard that it felt like it could pop out of my chest.

I was only ten minutes into the famously hard, and very aptly named, Grouse Grind and I was completely shattered

For those who have never heard about the Grouse Grind, let me explain…

It is a 1.8 mile hike up Grouse Mountain in North Vancouver. This may seem like a small distance, but the trail was relentless for a number of reasons.

It was not one of those slowly winding paths you get up some mountains. It was very, very steep.

More than 4,000 feet in fact.

The steps were craggy and uneven.

Believe me, completing the Grouse Grind is not an easy feat.

But it was one of those challenges that needed to be taken on.

I had met people who had already completed it and had said it was hard. So it was not like I was completely unprepared for a difficult hike.

There was even a warning sign at the beginning of the trail, which read:

“The hiking trails on Grouse Mountain are located on steep and challenging wilderness terrain. Hikers using these trails assume all risk of personal injury or death…”

Before beginning our ascent up the mountain, I did a few quick stretches.

Andy, however, took his stretching much more seriously…

And then it began.

On average it takes around an hour and a half to complete this hike.

The record is something like half an hour.

Just to compare, it took us around three hours.

Some people are racing against the clock to beat their personal bests, or maybe even have a good go at breaking the ridiculously fast record.

We on the other hand paced ourselves…a lot.

Why were we such slow coaches?

After a while we were literally stopping at the top of each section of steps, to have a rest and hydrate slightly with a few gulps of water.

We were slow because we did not push through the pain, we just stopped and rested.

It was kind of like delaying the agony for as long as possible, or rather suffering through it in small bursts.

“You have to grind through the pain, that’s why it’s called the Grouse Grind,” I heard somebody say to their friend in encouragement as they raced past us.

Another woman could be heard saying: “Why did I decide to put myself through this?”

I have to be honest, I was thinking along the same lines.

Some relief was felt at reaching the half-way mark.

It felt like forever getting to the quarter-way mark, let alone the half-way one.

Finally, we reached the top and were greeted by an extremely appreciated shower of glacial water, followed by pizza and nice views.

Afterwards,  I felt great and happy to have completed something that was so challenging.

Will I ever do it again? Hell no.

Did we hike back down? No, this is not allowed.

Annoyingly, it costs $10 each to get back down in an overcrowded gondola.

Although we spotted quite a few people ignoring this rule and turning back before the end of the trail.

Have you ever taken on the Grouse Grind?




    • September 12, 2012 / 14:31

      Yep the cable car is there for the way up, but you’ve got to do it just for the experience! Just take a change of clothes with you for the top :-)

  1. September 12, 2012 / 00:58

    Interesting post. Glad you guys got through this. Sounds grueling but I imagine you felt great with yourselves after completing.
    Fernando Quintero recently posted..On the Lam(b)My Profile

    • September 12, 2012 / 14:29

      Afterwards was a great feeling! During it was not ;-)

  2. September 29, 2012 / 04:53

    I literally live spitting distance to the Grouse Grind trail head, and I’ve done it a grand total of… once. I hate that trail, it’s a grind, and not in a good, coffee grind kind of way. I’m a hiker too, but I like to walk an enjoyable trail, not one tat is riddled with people and competitors trying to out do each other… There are so many fabulous hiking opportunities in Vancouver, but in my opinion, the Grind isn’t one of them.Congrats for doing it though, it IS tough!
    Andrea recently posted..The street art of Christiania, DenmarkMy Profile

    • October 1, 2012 / 02:12

      Ha ha, I definitely won’t be doing it again ;-) I know what you mean about competitiveness. There were people really going for it. I didn’t enjoy it, but felt good afterwards. I like challenging trails, but this was way too hard.