ONE North Vancouver mountain biker and skier has totted up just how much he's climbed over three years - and the total comes to a whopping three million feet.
Andy Traslin, a competitive mountain biker who grew up in North Vancouver and now lives at the base of Mount Seymour, uses his altimeter watch to track the ups and downs of each excursion.
He started keeping a record of the number of vertical feet after reading about mountain biker Mark Weir and backcountry skier Ruedi Beglinger, who each climbed one million feet in a calendar year in their respective sports.
"I did it one year, then I thought, oh I'll start the watch again," said Traslin. "I just started getting obsessed."
An altimeter watch works by measuring the change in air pressure. The altimeter keeps track of the vertical fleet climbed and descended. Most models also include a compass and thermometer, making them a handy tool for outdoor sports enthusiasts.
In the summer, Traslin mountain bikes almost every day. In the fall and winter, his focus turns to backcountry skiing. His day job as a first aid attendant allows him the flexibility to bike or ski almost 365 days a year.
"In the winter, starting in the fall I'm pretty much gone five to seven days a week, and similar in the summer," said Traslin.
He often goes out with his brother Mike, who sometimes pokes fun at his altimeter obsession.
"In one way he thinks it's kind of funny, because you can get a little bit obsessed," said Traslin. "You're like, okay I've gotta go here, every day after day after day. Sometimes he gives me a hard time."
While his friends and his brother sometimes give Traslin a hard time for "being on the schedule . . . they respect it too, because I have a goal."
The altimeter has given Traslin a clear idea of just how much he can do in one day. His average day trip is 3,000-5,000 feet of climbing, and he admits that sometimes he'll go just a little farther to rack up a few more feet.
Most of the feet were accumulated on excursions into the Coast Mountains and the Cascades, and Traslin said the tracking tool has given him the motivation to push a little harder and to explore a little farther into the B.C. backcountry. Some of his favourite trips have been into the Spearhead Range between Blackcomb and Whistler, and Mount Baker, Wash., where it's possible to ski all year round.