I talked a little about pace count in the last orienteering post and I’d like to expand on that in this article.
Pace count is the way you keep track of distance when you’re using a map and compass to navigate over land. The more accurate your pace count the better you’ll be able to know where you are on a map.
As noted earlier the best way to get your pace count is to find a track and walk 100 meters on it carefully counting each time your left foot strikes the deck. Do this a number of times and take the average. Most people fall in between 62 to 66 paces. My pace count is 63 steps for 100 meters.
However, what happens when you’re walking through the forest, or up a hill, or through a swamp? That will absolutely affect your pace count. If I count 63 steps and I’ve had to walk around trees, step over streams, and so forth chances are slim that 63 steps will actually equal 100 meters.
Here’s a list of averages I found on the internet and it looks pretty close to how I was trained. If I could remember where I found it I would link to it, but it’s one of those things I wrote down and moved on before thinking I might actually post it some day. If you’re the originator of this information please contact me and I’ll post a link here.
Here are the averages:
Flat easy terrain 100 meters 65 paces
with some slope 100 meters 75 paces
Steep hill terrain 100 meters 95 paces
This is some very good information to have in your arsenal. I always keep a small notebook with me and I suggest you do the same. This is exactly the kind of stuff I write in that book.
Another good way is to find an area in the woods that’s about 500 meters long and walk through it time and again keeping track of your pace count as you go. Average it out and that will give you a good realistic idea of what your pace count is for that distance in that terrain.
Next post: how to apply pace count to map reading.
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