I'm working on a brochure describing many hiking trails in my region (that is northern Lake Garda, Italy). I'm trying to find a good translation for the Italian word "dislivello", meaning the difference in height between a lower and an upper point of a route. As possible solutions I've found "difference in height", "elevation difference", "altitude gap", "difference in level" and many others, so that now I don't really know which is the most suitable in my case. Could you help me? Thank you so much!
The difference between the lowest and highest altitude along the trail can be called "Elevation difference"
A frequently used term is "elevation gain" however this is an addition of all the ascents within the trail without taking into consideration descents.
If for instance the trail starts at 0m altitude, proceeds uphill to 200m, then downhill 50m and uphill again by 100m, the elevation difference would be 200-50+100=250m, while the elevation gain would be 200+100=300m
I've seen simply rise and fall, used as nouns. This website of the Adirondack Mountain Club, for instance, has:
After about a mile of traverse and a rise of around 500 feet, the trail turns distinctly more up hill ...
Just a couple of sentences later it also uses ascent:
Near the top the trail becomes much gentler for the last sever hundred yards and the last couple of hundred feet of ascent.
You can also use the verb forms: the trail rises/ascends and falls/descends.
If you're going to use the word as a tag, in a table, I'd use rise/fall rather than ascent/descent, since ascent and descent usually mean the act of going up or down, what the hiker does. You could use just rise with a positive or negative number:
Elevation gain might be the expression that fits best for your needs.
To describe the Challenging level in hiking
- someone in good hiking condition
- trails are generally in good condition
- increased mileage
- significant elevation gain
In running, cycling, and mountaineering, cumulative elevation gain refers to the sum of every gain in elevation throughout an entire trip. It is sometimes also known as cumulative gain or elevation gain, or often in the context of mountain travel, simply gain.
If you are talking about hiking, instead of skiing, the same terms can be used, as in this article:
From the Yosemite Gazette:
The famous steel cable “handrails” have been up since 1919 but were replaced in 1933 and 1983. Today, over 50,000 people manage the 16-mile round trip to the top each summer. It is classed as an “extremely strenuous” hike due to the 4,800 foot vertical rise and the final 425 foot, 45-degrees ascent on the rock itself.
and from an Okemo Valley Hiking and Walking Article: (in three places)
* 5.8 miles R/T
* Hiking Time: 4.5 Hours
* Vertical Rise: 2250 ft.
* Rating: Strenuous
From the east: exit 8 off I-91: drive 3.3 miles to a right turn (North) onto Cascade Falls Road.
A description of hiking in the Grand Canyon, which covers general statistics as well as questions about hiking, says this:
At the South Rim, near Grand Canyon Village, it's a vertical mile (about 5,000 feet / 1524 m) from rim to river (7 miles / 11.3 km by trail, if you're walking). At its deepest, it is 6000 vertical feet / 1829 m from rim to river. The width of the canyon at Grand Canyon Village is 10 miles / 16 km (rim to rim), though in places it is as much as 18 miles / 29 km wide.
For the answer to this, I defer to specialists in hiking and climbing.
This hiking time calculator uses the term
This glossary of hiking terms uses
which I also like:
[Latin: "forward projection"] 1. The quality of rising above or projecting beyond one's neighbors. 2. A peak or outcrop. 3. A measure of how far a peak rises above its neighbors: the minimum vertical distance one must descend in order to travel (on the ground) from a peak to any higher peak.
I'd propose the word "denivelation" http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/denivelation
While my answer might not be timely, I have immediately thought of a fitting word upon having read your question. The word is relief, which is a geographical term defined by geography.about.com as following:
Definition: The difference between the highest and lowest elevations in an area. A relief map shows the topography of the area.