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Kilimanjaro Challenge - Sylvia Chang Profile

August 31st marked the end of the second challenge in Alpina 4 Summits World Challenge. It was an incredibly exciting finish that saw Sylvia Chang of Fremont, California take home the #3 spot after recording 37,658m of elevation gain during the Kilimanjaro Challenge.

We wanted to learn what drove Sylvia to such great lengths and here is what she had to say:
"Hiking has always been my passion. For the past few years I hiked and backpacked many places in San Francisco bay area, Eastern Sierra, UT Grand Circle, ….etc, and had the opportunities to backpack around the globe in Tanzania and Taiwan. As we gain more experience, we always want to challenge ourselves to go higher, faster, and further, and to experience different and more difficult terrains. I didn’t find out about the challenge until 2 weeks into the Kilimanjaro Challenge. At the time of the challenge it is also when I signed up for a trail running race and started training for it. AllTrails challenge is a great training tool. With the encouragement of my husband, Stanley, we got up early every morning and headed to nearby hills and enjoyed a good workout before work. The challenge helps building a daily exercise routine. Within short time my name showed up on the leadership board, it keeps the excitement and motivation going. Unfortunately I over-trained, and without proper care, I had a serious injury and operation. I had to rest through the Denali Challenge.
As 3rd Place finisher Sylvia received an indispensable tool for her next adventure, the Alpiner Automatic from Alpina Watches:

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Participate in our next challenge here: http://alltrails.com/challenge

Kilimanjaro Challenge - Rudd Gates Profile

August 31st marked the end of the second challenge in Alpina 4 Summits World Challenge. It was an incredibly exciting finish that saw Rudd Gates of Denver, Colorado take home the #2 spot after recording 44,196m of elevation gain during the Kilimanjaro Challenge.

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We wanted to learn what drove Rudd to such great lengths and here is what he had to say:
"Earlier this Spring, I just happened to decide it was time to get outside and start getting some exercise. I love hiking, and I turned to the AllTrails app to discover and keep track of trails that were close enough to home to visit around the edges of a typical work day. I was completely oblivious to the Matterhorn Challenge until almost the end of June, when I read one of the weekend newsletters and unexpectedly (and happily) discovered that I was within reach of the leaderboard! I put in a few vertically-minded walks during that final week and managed to finish in 8th place—and I was totally hooked! I had an absolute ball competing in the Kilimanjaro Challenge through the summer—so much fun to see what others were achieving in other parts of the country and world, while I pushed myself to try longer and steeper hikes as often as I could.
Without a doubt, the biggest challenge of all was finding the time to participate—but I managed to get each of my three teenage kids out for some good walks, and I’ve done my best to wear out my dog every week (but she still goes nuts every time I put on my boots). I think my success was mostly a matter of good luck with the timing and an amazing Front Range to explore here in Colorado. I have to give a big shout out to Alan (who must’ve singlehandedly worn a couple feet off that poor hill in Missouri by now) and Sylvia, Lynda and Xiaoli for keeping me motivated. You guys are awesome hikers!”
As 2nd Place finisher Rudd received an indispensable tool for his next adventure, the Alpiner 4 GMT from Alpina Watches:

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Participate in our next challenge here: http://alltrails.com/challenge

Kilimanjaro Challenge - Stanley Peng Profile

August 31st marked the end of the second challenge in Alpina 4 Summits World Challenge. It was an incredibly exciting finish that saw Stanley Peng of San Jose, California take home the #1 spot after recording 67,620m of elevation gain during the Kilimanjaro Challenge. Wow!
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We wanted to learn what drove Stanley to such great lengths and here is what he had to say:
I have a passion for peak bagging because I just love climbing the summits to see the world and to breath the thin air like a bird. I participated in the challenge because I would love to have a chance to climb Matterhorn, Kilimanjaro, Denali, and perhaps Everest. I started Kilimanjaro Challenge to see where it will take me while training for San Francisco Marathon. Well, things got interesting when I tracked my first AllTrails tracks while topping Mt Tam of Marin Headlands and peaking El Capitan of Yosemite. Both tracks did not complete because my mobile phone ran out of battery. Since then I abandoned my usual morning routine to the gym or open water swimming in lakes. And instead I started hitting trails and hills, running if possible. As a result, my San Francisco Marathon in July was nearly effortless with strong finish. Then in August I finished a challenging 50k ultramarathon in Marin Headlands in under 5 hours, not just setting a new personal record, but also beating out many elite runners by claiming age group 2nd place. AllTrails Challenge worked very well by training me. I have become fitter with a lot more endurance and stamina.

I believe discipline and consistency are keys in staying on top of this challenge, along with top competitors such as Rudd Gates and Sylvia Chang pushing me along. Speaking of Sylvia, my wife, who has insatiable appetite for hiking, has put a catalyst in our adventures that is keeping me discovering new routes in AllTrails. In fact, Sylvia did not enter the challenge until August due to business trips and some reluctance. Despite of her busy lifestyle, she climbed to top of challenge leaderboard with perseverance. Her determination to reach the top, like her will to challenge peaks, had propelled me. Seeing everyone’s tracks has been just as adventurous. To me, everyone is a winner every time he or she is out there. I have adopted AllTrails Challenge as my new routine mantra: never stop. See you again soon in Denali and Everest Challenges!

As 1st Place finisher Stanley received an indispensable tool for his next adventure, the Alpiner 4 Automatic Chronograph from Alpina Watches:
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Participate in our next challenge here: http://alltrails.com/challenge

Matterhorn Challenge - Scott Groeschl Profile

June 30th marked the end of the first challenge in Alpina 4 Summits World Challenge. It was an incredibly exciting finish that saw Scott Groeschl of Littleton, Colorado take home the #3 spot after recording 30,282m of elevation gain during the Matterhorn Challenge.

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We wanted to learn what drove Scott to such great lengths and here is what he had to say:
"This challenge has been a lifestyle changer for me. I just recently move to Colorado, the hiking was not that great where I came from but once in Colorado many things opened up to me. This challenge was a great way to motivate myself to climb more and get active. Since the start of the contest I’ve lost 42lbs and gained the summits of 10 Colorado 14ers and 5 13ers. I believe that I preformed the way I did because of the years of waiting I had to endure win Wisconsin waiting to get out to the mountains. Once here there was nothing stopping me except Charlotte and David :). The constant leader board updates helped too, seeing my name on that list was one of the most incredible feelings.
To me hiking and mountaineering are great ways to challenge myself both mentally and physically. There is nothing better than getting to the top of that mountain that I’ve sat and stared at for years. Looking down at what I climbed and where I started just makes it so much sweeter. To me the harder the climb the more I get from it so I am constantly looking for new routes and ways to get that summit.
In the future I hope to climb a 8000m peak, to me this would be the ultimate goal. The opportunities are endless and I can’t wait to explore and climb more of what this world has to offer! “
As 3rd Place finisher Scott received an indispensable tool for his next adventure, the Alpiner Automatic from Alpina Watches:

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Participate in our next challenge here: http://alltrails.com/challenge

Matterhorn Challenge - Xiaoli Tang Profile

June 30th marked the end of the first challenge in Alpina 4 Summits World Challenge. It was an incredibly exciting finish that saw Xiaoli Tang of Edmonton, Canada take home the #2 spot after recording 30,803m of elevation gain during the Matterhorn Challenge.

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We wanted to learn what drove Xiaoli to such great lengths and here is what she had to say:

"I participated in this competition because I wanted to use it to help me to stick to my training program, part of my effort to try to achive a better work-life balance as I had been quite a workaholic. I consider it more like a competition against myself other than against the other participants. Winning a watch also will help some less previleged school children because I have promised to donate the watch to a Christmas Silent Auction to raise funds for children’s education."
As 2nd Place finisher Xiaoli received an indispensable tool for her next adventure, the Alpiner 4 GMT from Alpina Watches which she’ll be denoting to her favorite charity:
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Participate in our next challenge here: http://alltrails.com/challenge

Matterhorn Challenge - David Goodfellow

June 30th marked the end of the first challenge in Alpina 4 Summits World Challenge. It was an incredibly exciting finish that saw David Goodfellow of Coarsegold, California take home the #1 spot after recording 33,800m of elevation gain during the Matterhorn Challenge.
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We wanted to learn what drove David to such great lengths and here is what he had to say:

"I had just decided to start hiking again after not doing much for a few years, so I went out and bought myself a new pair of boots. Coincidentally, around the same time, I received an email from AllTrails informing me about the challenge. I love hiking and getting out in the wilderness, but the challenge also gave me something to aim for. By the time I’d reached the target elevation for the Matterhorn I found myself in 7th on the top 10 leaderboard which a pleasant surprise. My position went down on the leaderboard but thought nothing of it because I wasn’t thinking of going for a top spot at that point. After my next walk it put me back in 6th and I began to think that maybe I could get in the top 3. To cut a long story short, from that point on I did everything I could to catch up to the top 3. I didn’t catch up until the beginning of the last week of the challenge. By the time I’d caught up I was focused on doing everything I could to get into first place, and hiked to the point where I really didn’t know how much further I could push myself. I think I won because, even though I felt like giving up from time to time thinking it was out of my reach and abilities, I found myself trying to figure out what I could do to give myself a better chance of succeeding. It was really close in the end. Xiaoli and Scott were pushing just as hard and I wasn’t able to get out for a hike on the last day, so spent the whole of that day wondering if they’d knock me out of the top spot. I must say I thoroughly enjoyed the challenge and discovered I had more drive and determination than I imagined."
As 1st Place finisher David received an indispensable tool for his next adventure, the Alpiner 4 Automatic Chronograph from Alpina Watches:
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Participate in our next challenge here: http://alltrails.com/challenge

Trails Illustrated - 5 New Maps Added

We’re excited to announce 5 additional National Geographic Trails Illustrated map titles are now immediately available to AllTrails Pro members. Here are details on the new titles:

#700 Ogden, Monte Cristo Range

Coverage includes Cache and Wasatch national forests, Wellsville Mountain Wilderness, Ogden, Brigham City, Antelope Island State Park, and Bountiful. Pineview Reservoir with its many recreation points of intertest is also part of the map coverage. The trails in the Wasatch Range from Brigham City in the north to Bountiful in the south are all clearly shown. The recreation opportunities within the Monte Cristo Range are also a primary feature of this map.

#713 Logan, Bear River Range

Coverage includes Cache and Caribou-Targhee national forests, Mount Naomi Wilderness, Wellsville Mountain Wilderness, Smithfield, Logan, and Hyrum. Bear Lake is shown completely on the north side of the map. The trails in the Bear River Range from Hyrum in the south to Paris, Idaho in the north are all clearly shown.

#721 Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness West

Coverage includes the northern portion of the wilderness, beginning at the peaks east of the Paradise Valley between Livingtson and Emigrant, and over to Custer National Forest, along with the southern portion of the wilderness, from Dome Mountain Wilderness Management Area to the Blacktail Deer Plateu across the Wyoming state line.

#722 Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness East

Coverage includes the northern portion of the wilderness, beginning at the trails of Gallatin National Forest and following the Sillwater River to Highway 78 in Absarokee, along with the southern portion of the wilderness, which begins at the northeast gateway to Yellowstone National Park. Follow US Highway 212 from its intersection with the Chief Joseph Scenic Highway, where you’ll see numerous lakes en route through portions of Custer National Forest, Shoshone National Forest, over the Beartooth Plateau, and on to Cooke City. Recreation opportunities on both ends of the wilderness abound; trails for cross-country skiing, hiking, horseback riding, and snowmobiling are outlined. Fishing locations and wildlife viewing/photo points are also indicated.

#795 Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge

Coverage include the entire Okefenokee National Wildlfe Refugecreated in conjunction with local land management agencies and is loaded with valuable recreation information.

Access them immediately here: http://alltrails.com/pro

AllTrails Elevates your Service

We’re always working behind the scenes to improve your AllTrails experience. One area that has been long overdue for improvement is the elevation information we provide on our website and through our mobile apps. Today, we’re excited to announce the launch of our own Elevation Service (codename “Everest”) which is rolling out across all our products.

What’s an elevation service?

As you may have noticed with your own recorded tracks, elevation readings provided by mobile phones and GPS devices are notoriously unreliable. Even though a good GPS signal can position you within 20-30 feet of accuracy, the elevation is often 2 or 3 times less precise on a mobile device. Those errors really add-up when you want you to know how many vertical feet you’ve gained or lost during an activity. The best way to overcome this is to use an elevation service to improve the accuracy of recorded GPS tracks by using the “known” (correct) height at each point.

Up until now we had been using the Google Elevation API, but as we’ve grown its limitations have become a serious problem. While generally a good service, Google has strict usage limits, it only provides a small sample of elevations (512 elevation points regardless of route length) and it fails completely for longer routes due to a length limit. We created Everest to eliminate these issues. This was no small undertaking since it required wrangling a large amount of data in order to cover the planet (nearly 1000 gigabytes) while ensuring lookups were lightning fast.

How much better is Everest at providing accurate elevations?

The following profile shows elevations recorded by an iPhone 5 / iOS7. This trail has an even grade that steadily rises from to 50m to 180m so you’d expect an elevation gain of ~130m. Using the elevation readings from the phone we calculate a total gain of 337m and a loss of 213m:

This is the same trail after its data is corrected by the Everest elevation service. Notice how the profile more closely matches the true profile of the trail which results in a much more accurate elevation gain of 128m and a loss of just 11m:

All you hardcore adventurers out there will be excited to know that Everest is built to handle even the most extreme cases. How extreme? Here is the elevation profile for the full 2,180 mile Appalachian Trail (“center line” route) which contains over 312,000 individual GPS points:

You might be wondering how much more accurate the elevation reported by Everest is than the Google Elevation API for the AT.

According to the Appalachian Trail Conservancy, hiking the entire Appalachian Trail is equivalent to scaling Everest (29,029 feet) 16 times (link). The elevation gain from the profile above (generated by Everest) calculates the total gain as 497,375’, while Google’s service only calculates 137,555’, a massive difference.

How soon can you get your hands on it?

Everest is available on AllTrails.com for all users today so you will immediately see more accurate elevation profiles and stats:

Having all this elevation data on tap also means AllTrails Pro members will have the most accurate elevation information available anywhere at their finger tips when planning routes using Map Editor:

While much of this improvement takes place for you behind the scenes, you might have already noticed an increase in speed and reliability for showing the elevation profile for longer tracks in your My Tracks list.

Over the coming weeks we will be reprocessing all recorded tracks so you’ll start to see corrected elevations and statistics being used throughout our mobile apps.

Now that we can harness the power of Everest, we have a ton of ideas of how to leverage this new service to further improve your experience on AllTrails. Do you have an idea you’d like to share? Do you have a service that could benefit from Everest? We’d love to hear from you.

- Marcus, Head of Geodata @ AllTrails

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