The Grouse Grind vs Chief vs Manitou Incline

The Grouse Grind has officially opened for the year and hoards of people will tackle it: from locals in racing flats to tourists in high heeled flip flops.

It seems no matter who you are, if you know it, you love it or you hate it.

I’m a lover myself and I’ve always wondered how it matches up to other (in)famous local climbs.


The Grouse Grind

Length: 2.9 kilometres or 1.8 miles.

Elevation Gain: 853 meters or 2,800

Average Grade: 31%

Max Grade: 58%

Number of Stairs: 2,830 (or so)

Average Time to Complete: 90 minutes

Women’s Record: 30:52, Kristin Størmer Steira, September 7th, 2014

Male’s Record: 25:01, Sebastian Salas, September 19th, 2010 (controversial record). (the 23:48 unofficial record in August of the same year is also by Salas… it was timed correctly but was timer to timer and did not include the extensions on either end for the race route)

24 Record: 17 times in 23 hours and 19 minutes in 2014, Sean “Run Bum” Blanton from Atlanta. Because, what else does one do for vacation when they have that middle name? Sean climbed a total of 47,600 feet in one day.

Aptly nicknamed “Mother Nature’s Stair Master”, it was originally carved into the mountain by Don McPherson and Phil Severy in the 80s for a “climbers winter conditioning trail.” At that time it was approved by neither the city of North Vancouver, or the resort itself. It was later embraced whole heartedly and is now in the hands of Metro Vancouver… although all facilities at the top are owned and operated by Grouse Mountain Resort.


The Manitou Incline

Length: 1.6 kilometres or 1 mile.

Elevation Gain: 613 meters or 2,011 feet.manitou

Average Grade: 40%

Max Grade: 68%

Number of Stairs: 2,744 (or so)

Average Time to Complete: 45 minutes

Women’s Record: 20:07, Allie McLaughlin.

Male’s Record: 17:45, Joe Gray, September 25th, 2015. 

24 Record: 22 times in 24 hours by Braden Strapanowich in July of 2014.

This once illegal calf buster just outside of Colorado Springs is now fully open to the public to push themselves to barf-dom (as of February 1st, 2013). Originally built for a funicular (basically a tram car that uses a pulley system and counter weight to pull cars up and down steep sections of track), it is now climbed by human powered engines from all over the world.


The Stawamus Chief

Length: Roughly 1.5 kilometres or 0.9 miles to the first peak.

Elevation Gain: 535 meters or 2,001 feet.chief

Average Grade: 17.8%

Average Time to Complete: 90 minutes (to first peak)

Women’s Record: 27:39, Shannon Penway, May 26th, 2013

Male’s Record: 17:52, Nick Elson, June 9th, 2014.

For easy comparison, and since it’s the most popular route (and what most people consider “hiking the Chief”), I’m using the first peak. However, many people do hike the second (central) and third (North) peaks in the same trek.

The Chief is a very powerful place spiritually speaking for the aboriginal people in the area. It has thus been bestowed with a highly powerful name, the Stawamus Chief.


A crude chart to help you visualize…