Mountain Running

Originally Posted on July 19, 2013


Most Hillsound fans report using their Trail Crampons for winter walking, hiking and trail running. Recently, however, I encountered an individual that was using them for a sport I had never heard of: mountain running.

I was impressed- visions of fleet-footed athletes leaping effortlessly across the peaks came to mind. I was also surprised to find that it is a sport that has been around for years- in fact, the first World Mountain Running Championship took place in Italy in 1985.

In the U.S. the term’mountain running’ seems to be used interchangeably with trail running. Both activities involve running on single or double tracks in mountainous topography. According to the U.S. Mountain Running Team website, the one thing that sets trail running and mountain running apart is that the latter requires a significant gain in elevation. Although races can be almost any distance, the majority fall between 5- 15 miles.

Even though the sport of mountain running takes place in mountainous terrain, it is no longer considered mountain ‘running’ when use of mountaineering equipment is required. At most, mountain runners use lightweight crampons (like the Hillsound Trail Crampons) and an ice axe, but anything else carries the sport over into the mountaineering category.

As is to be expected with a sport based primarily on ascending mountains, mountain running can involve other activities such as rock-hopping, scrambling, walking, wading and climbing. The consensus seems to be that the sport does not involve any technical climbing, however. The aim is continuous forward motion and any terrain that requires technical activity (such as ice or rock climbing or glacier travel) that impedes these goals does not come within the ambit of the sport.

You can find more information on mountain running on the Sage to Summit website and the U.S Mountain Running Team website. If you are interested in trying out mountain running, the Hillsound Trail Crampons offer extra traction when travelling across icy terrain.

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