This article first appeared in the Uncle Wacko’s column of Wanderlust, our ATC Club magazine, September 2020 edition.Uncle Wacko

A couple of Wanderlusts ago Uncle Andy rabbited on about how to get tramping fit. What he said sure ain’t rocket science – just go tramping. 

Now Uncle Wacko’s going to tell you how to complement those (training) tramps he recommended with a bit of solid effort during the week – how to make the most of an hour or so of regular exercise in your local ‘hood.

Combine this little programme with Uncle Andy’s training tramps and you’ll soon be fitter than the Duracell Bunny and charging up the hills.

Step 1Big King

Pick a volcanic cone within cooey of home – ideally one you can walk or cycle to.

Step 2

Suss out a steep but not precipitous route directly up the side that’ll simulate a good tramping climb.

Step 3

Whip out your GPS and get the altitude at the bottom, climb to the top and get the altitude there. This gives you your vertical gain – typically 30-50m on most of our city “Mounts”, a bit more for the higher ones. The photo is of Big King - a 35m climb x 6 gives a 200m+ vertical gain in 30 minutes of effort.

Step 4

Set your target – say a 200m vertical climb – and work out how many times up and down that’ll need.

Step 5

Do it. And time how long it takes.

Step 6

Head home feeling smug.

And then ...

Knock this out 3-5 days a week and you’ll be amazed how your hill-climbing ability and general fitness will improve – it works a treat.

Then as your fitness improves you can:

  • increase your vertical climb metres
  • pick up the pace – beat your times 
  • carry a (heavier) pack


Of course if you’d rather blob out on the couch and have a coronary on your next decent tramp, you can always do that instead …

Spot ya.

Uncle Wacko