I like to conquer steep hills. Not to say I can ride every hill on the planet without stopping or even go up hills particularly fast, but I do seek out steep hills. Sometimes I have fellow riders that I warn about the hills on one of my rides and they say they are game, but they end up walking. I think that once you walk you throw the training of aspect of doing hills down the toilet. When a hill has been too much for me, I will stop and rest and go a little further, stop and rest again if need be, BUT NOT WALK. There is a hill in Austin that gains 400 feet in 4/10 of a mile. A year or two ago, I would have to stop 2-4 times and rest for a minute or two to get up that hill. Now can I make it without stopping. Someday, maybe it will be casual and easy, (or maybe NOT!) I don't think I would have reached the point of being able to make it up that hill non-stop if I had walked it when it got difficult.
I discussed this with one of my riding partners and she said maybe the rider is a novice in too hard a gear, or just can't get restarted. I understand trying to restart up a super steep hill is difficult and the bike keeps trying to pop a wheelie or you just stall out. So coast downhill a few feet, shift as appropriate, get going, do a u-turn and go back up until you have to catch your breath again. I am not frustrated with "walkers" on my ride because I have to wait for them -- I would happily wait for them to catch their breath and get a little further and even repeat the process as many times as needed. It just bothers me to see them throw away a training opportunity. I believe in the adage "to be able to do hills, you have to do hills." Once you are walking you are not doing the hill any more. When the trainer at my gym tells me to do 100 reps of something, I try to do them non-stop. But if I have to stop, I have to stop. He will let me rest if I have to, but he won't let me just do 30 because I ran out of gas. Only excuse is if I feel pain such that there is a question of injury risk.
I am not qualified as a trainer or coach by any means and am totally open to different points of view.
Don in Austin