Cool Trick to Climb Steps on the Inca Trail
Last year a friend and I hiked the last day of the famed Inca Trail. I don’t know about the earlier part of the trail, but from KM104 to Machu Picchu we climbed staircase after staircase of Gringo-killer steps. I thought the Incas were short people. You’d never know it by the size of some of these steps.
We didn’t have lunch that day, as we counted on eating at the restaurant near the last campsite. Unfortunately, it was closed! So, I was feeling pretty lightheaded and my energy was definitely lagging. This is when my friend finally took pity on me and taught me a nifty little trick to climb stairs without running out of breath. It’s called rest stepping because you literally take a micro rest as you mount each step.
Here’s the technique.
1) Place a foot on the step above. Make sure your weight is on your back leg (bottom foot). Then, completely straighten your back leg. Rest.
2) Push off your bottom foot and place that foot on the next step. Make sure your weight is on your new back leg (new bottom foot). Then, completely straighten your back leg. Rest.
3) Continue in this manner until you reach the top of the stairs.
The amount of time you rest between steps is up to you. I didn’t rest much as we worried about making it to Machu Picchu in time to catch the last bus to Aguas Calientes. (I didn’t want to hike all the way to town with my stomach growling.) I definitely noticed a big difference, though, when I tried rest stepping. I was able to make it up 60 plus very big, very steep steps without huffing and puffing. I was delighted.
Try it out and let me know what you think.