Mountain Ruck Challenge -
Everything You Need To Know


This Challenge, in its simplest form, is rucking on unpaved, mountainous terrain with aggressive ascents and descents. This classic PATHFINDER Challenge has been used from the very beginning to get rosters ready for the most challenging aspects of endurance rucking events.

Challenge Purpose

  • The PATHFINDER Mountain Ruck Challenge is designed to test your body, pacing and equipment on varied terrain.

    Challenge Parameters

    The Mountain Ruck Challenge must be completed on mountain trails.

    • Mountains are classified as a large natural elevation of the earth's surface rising abruptly from the surrounding level. If the area does not appear on a topographical map of mountain ranges, it does not qualify as a mountain.
      • A mountain is generally steeper than a hill, however many lower mountain areas are sufficiently difficult for this Challenge.

        Use unpaved trails for this Challenge.

          • Gravel and worn dirt trails are acceptable.
          • Use only marked (blazed) trails for safety.

          The Challenge should be done all at once.

          • Breaks for water, food, foot care and gear check are allowed and encouraged.
            • Breaks are recommended to be no longer than 15 minutes.

              A weighted ruck will be worn for the entire Challenge. (See Weight Requirements.)

              Challenge Distance Requirements

              • Life: this is not currently a Challenge for Life programming.
                • Forward: required distance to complete the Challenge is 8 miles
                  • Endure: required distance to complete the Challenge is 10 miles
                    • Advanced: required distance is to complete the Challenge is 10 miles at the prescribed weight (see below)
                    • Advanced: OCALA This is not a currently required Challenge.
                      • Compete: This is not a currently required Challenge.
                        • Stirling: required distance is to complete the Challenge is 12 miles at the prescribed weight (see below)

                          Challenge Weight Requirements

                          • Forward and Endure: there is no stated minimum weight requirement. An appropriately challenging weight for the rosters fitness level must be in the ruck at all times.
                          • Advanced: 45 lb/20 kg ruck dry weight for body weight of 150lb/68kg or more, or 30lb/13.6kg  ruck dry weight for body weight less than 150lb/68kg.
                          • Stirling: 50lb/22.6kg  ruck dry weight for all rosters

                            Challenge Time Requirements

                            • There are no time requirements for this Challenge.

                              Challenge NOTES:

                              • Paved trails (concrete, asphalt, similar) should not be used for this Challenge. Gravel trails are acceptable.
                                  • Stairs are not an appropriate substitute for this Challenge. If stairs are the only option in your area, consider the Firefighter Challenge instead.

                                Challenge Restrictions

                                • Ruck safely. Communicate your route and estimated times to another individual/party who can alert
                                • YOU MUST COMPLY WITH ALL APPLICABLE LAWS AND RESTRICTIONS. DO NOT TRESPASS. If you are in doubt contact facility management for a clear understanding of access to and usage of any facility’s property. PATHFINDER assumes no liability whatsoever for any actions taken by a PATHFINDER roster.

                                PATHFINDER assumes no responsibility or liability for any injuries, damages or death. A roster assumes all risk associated with their participation in any and all PATHFINDER programming.


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