How to make it through Breath of the Wild on just one stamina wheel
In my 55 tips and tricks for The Legend of Zedla: Breath of the Wild, I said that the entire map of Hyrule is traversable on just one stamina wheel, making stamina upgrades useless. This suggestion has frustrated some people who feel like whole areas of the map are cut off from them, even with multiple stamina wheels.
However, I stand by my statement, and in this article I hope to show you how and why. Just follow these tips and you will be able to ascend to even the highest peak without a single stamina upgrade.
Take a Rest
This is the most important advice I can give you when traversing Hyrule on low stamina: whenever you can, take a rest. If you see a small outcropping barely the size of Link’s foot during a climb, stop there and let your stamina recover. If you see a small peak you can rest on in the middle of a long paragliding journey, stop there and let your stamina recover. You will frequently have to let your stamina recover in the middle of massive expeditions, sometimes dangerously perched on the side of a cliff. However, every rest you take is, essentially, one free stamina wheel, so take every break you can.
Look for Slopes
I mentioned this in my more general tips and tricks article, but slopes are your best friend. Not only do they allow Link to climb quicker, even a tiny slope can usually be used to take a rest without falling off the mountain. Mountains are littered with areas that gently slope inward toward the peak, and any of these areas are perfect candidates for a resting point.
Look for Cracks and Outcroppings
If you can’t find a slope, a crack is your next best bet. First of all, vertical cracks actually allow Link to climb slightly quicker than he would on a sheer cliff-face. Second, horizontal cracks or outcroppings are, once again, good places for Link to take a rest.
Let Go Instead of Falling
I’ve heard several complaints about players being unable to take rests on slopes, cracks, and outcroppings. This is usually because people let their stamina wheels run out somewhere above these locations. When your stamina wheel runs out, Link starts falling fast. If he makes contact with a crack, slope, or outcropping, his momentum will make him slide right off and continue his plummet down the mountainside. Even if he finds footing, Link goes into a small stumble animation after falling when his stamina wheel is empty, and this is usually enough to push you off your safety ledge.
Instead of letting your stamina run out, find a place to rest and choose to “let go”. If Link has even the slightest bit of footing, he will stand up and his stamina will recover.
Sometimes your footing is only as big as your, well, feet. If you manage to stand up on a mountain and it looks like you should have fallen off, don’t move! Height detection in the game is a little wonky when Link is standing still. Just don’t do anything and your chances of refilling your stamina wheel go up. And I mean it – don’t do anything! Don’t take out a weapon or shield, use a rune, eat anything. Don’t do anything that would cause Link to animate in any fashion. Just stand there and rest.
Do the Mountain Shuffle
There are some mountain ranges that simply don’t have slopes, cracks, or outcroppings for Link to rest on. In these locations, you are looking for any land with even a tiny bit of incline. Letting go on a steep incline like this will usually make Link begin falling down the mountain. However, if you let go while holding forward on the analog stick, Link will attempt to run up the mountain before eventually clinging to it again. Usually, Link will be unable to make any ground, but the trick here is that Link recovers stamina during the running animation. Doing this over and over again will allow Link to regenerate his stamina wheel even when there is no place to rest.
Walk Perpendicular to the Slope of the Mountain
Let’s say you have managed to find a place to rest but the next piece of footing is several meters off to the side. As I said before, you’ll waste stamina by climbing horizontally. Instead, walk horizontally. If you don’t attempt to climb up or down the mountain, the game doesn’t actually check if link is attempting to climb. This allows you to walk perpendicular to a mountain face on incredibly steep inclines without making Link grab hold. Use this trick to reposition yourself and find a better place to start your vertical ascent once more. In general, all horizontal movement should consist of walking, and all climbing should be done as vertical as possible, making you ascend mountains in zig zagging right angles.
Try to Climb Vertically Whenever Possible
Your main challenge when traversing the world on one stamina wheel is climbing. Therefore, you need to squeeze as much vertical distance out of your stamina wheel as possible. Thus, any horizontal movement when climbing is just a waste. Even if you climb diagonally upward, Link will end up covering less distance than if he climbed straight up. You basically want to avoid climbing to the left or right at all times, unless doing so will get you to an easier sloped climbing path, or a resting spot that will allow you to totally regenerate your stamina.
Do Not Jump While Climbing!
Before I explain the Last Ditch Jump trick, I need to make this clear. Most of the time you should NOT be jumping in the middle of a climb. While it does let you ascend quicker, you actually cover less height for the same amount of stamina than you would simply climbing. Only jump when trying to avoid enemies, if you find yourself stuck in the rain, or to make a Last Ditch Jump, which I’ll explain below.
Use the Last Ditch Effort Jump
When Link’s stamina bar is almost empty, it will turn red. If you jump at this point you will make a “Last Ditch Effort” jump. This jump will cover twice the amount of distance of a normal climbing jump in a final attempt to get to the top of whatever peak you’re scaling. This uses up the last of Link’s stamina meter, meaning he will plummet if he doesn’t find footing after the jump. However, if you use the jump right before Link’s stamina totally runs out, you effective spend 0 stamina and still get the jump. This method allows you to cover the greatest amount of distance possible per stamina wheel.
Eat After the Last Ditch Effort Jump
Now we have the Last Ditch Jump trick, a trick which will allow you to scale any peak with ease. Once your inventory is full of stamina refreshing and overhealing items, head to whatever peak you want to scale and start climbing. If you find yourself without a place to rest, or to do the mountain shuffle, climb until your stamina is just about out and use the Last Ditch Effort jump as usual. Then, at the peak of the jump, pause the game to go into the menu and eat a stamina restoration item. When you come out of the menu, Link will grasp the mountain side and begin climbing once more. Once again look for a place to rest and, if you can’t find one, use the Last Ditch Effort Jump to once again climb the maximum distance possible, and then pause and eat another item. Lather, rinse, repeat, and you’ll find you can climb even the tallest peaks in Hryule using only one or two relatively common items.
Some people complain that repeated use of this trick depletes your inventory, but finding stamina recovery ingredients isn’t that hard. If you have adventured through the entire game and haven’t found a single stamina recovery item, the best place to find them, in my opinion, is the Great Fairy Shrine outside of Kakariko village. It’s easy to fast travel to, and it’s home to a patch of Endura Carrots that respawn every day. Endura Carrots are endurance ingredients, meaning cooking with just one and nothing else will get you a meal that restores your entire stamina wheel to full and overheals it another quarter. Just stop by the fountain before any long expedition and you are good to go. You can even paraglide down to the village below to cook the ingredients right away at the local grocer.
Equip the Climbing Gear
While the Last Ditch Jump Trick should get you wherever you need to go, you can make it a little bit easier on yourself by equipping the Climbing Gear. You find these pieces of gear in treasure chests in certain shrines, so just make sure to grab the chests in every shrine you visit and you’ll eventually find it. Climbing gear increases your climbing speed, granting you more distance per tick of stamina.
Cook with One Stamina Ingredient at a Time
Green stamina ingredients create meals that restore your stamina wheel instantly and, yes, you can do this in the middle of a climb. Your goal is to cook each stamina ingredient alone (or perhaps with some spice) but with absolutely no other additions. Adding extra ingredients will restore more hearts, but in general your hearts will be close to full while exploring, and if you need to restore hearts you are better off making meals for that specific purpose (usually with hearty ingredients since they overheal you). While this creates meals that only restore a very small amount of your stamina wheel, they will actually allow you to cover much more distance than usual when you use them with the Last Ditch Jump trick, which we will cover later.
Cook with One Endurance Ingredient at a Time
The advice we gave for green stamina ingredients goes double for the light orange “endurance” ingredients. These ingredients will all restore your stamina bar to full, and then “overheal” it with some extra stamina as well. Cooking with more than one ingredient will increase the overheal, but only by about a quarter of a wheel. Eating multiple endurance meals restores a full wheel each time, which is definitely the most efficient way to use these ingredients.
Eat or Drink Speed Elixirs and Meals
In addition to eating stamina restoration meals, drinking speed buff meals will also help to increase your climbing distance. They have the same effect as the climbing gear, increasing your distance traveled per tick of stamina. Unlike stamina restoration meals, you want to be using as many ingredients as possible when cooking up a speed enhancing meal. Doing so will increase the potency of the speed buff, making your stamina to distance ratio even more efficient.
Equip the Zora Armor
If climbing isn’t the bane of your existence, but swimming is, equip the Zora armor that you get from the Divine Beast Vah Ruta quest. Doing so will increase your swimming speed, which, again, increases your distance to stamina ratio.
Use a Raft
Honestly, the best way to traverse bodies of water is to avoid swimming altogether. Instead, use a raft and a Korok Leaf. Rafts use up absolutely no stamina whatsoever and Korok Leaves can generate the wind you need to blow the Raft wherever you want. There you have it! Infinite water travel, no stamina required.
Swim Up Waterfalls
The one time you should jump into water is whenever you see a waterfall. The Zora armor allows you to swim up these waterfalls like a fish. When you hit the top, you will launch yourself up into the air a great distance, making waterfalls excellent points to begin a paragliding journey.
Try to Paraglide into Cliffs
In general, try to paraglide into cliffs rather than starting at their base. While paragliding into them from another peak will cost some stamina, it won’t be nearly as much stamina as it would take to start at the bottom.
Feather Your Paraglider
When attempting to cover horizontal distance with your paraglider, you want to repeatedly take it out and put it away in mid-air. While this makes you fall a little faster, it allows you to conserve stamina and clear more horizontal distance. Remember, you can always eat stamina restoring items mid-air to extend your paraglider trips even further.
Stock Up on Fire Making Tools
Before you head out on any journey, make sure to stock up on flint, wood, and fire arrows. Fire is an incredibly useful tool for a stamina frugal traveler. Fires create updrafts which allow you to get a massive height boost when using your paraglider. A single updraft can cover enough height to get you halfway up a tower. This boost is usually enough to bypass the most treacherous parts of many climbs, but when used together with the Last Ditch Jump trick, it makes any climb trivial.
Wait Out the Rain
The second use for fires is to provide a place to wait and pass time, and you’ll need to pass time if you ever catch yourself in a rainstorm. Rainy weather makes cliffs slick, causing Link to fall down whenever he tries to climb. While you can still climb in the rain, you can only do it by climb jumping, which is stamina inefficient. So whenever it starts to pour, build a fire and sit by it to quickly pass time until the rain stops.
Use the Infinite Sprint Glitch
I mentioned this in my other Tips and Tricks article, there are two ways to infinitely sprint. Either A) repeatedly tap the sprint and throw weapon button or B) repeatedly tap sprint while holding down the whistle button. Either of these methods will allow you to sprint anywhere without losing a single tick of stamina, making traversing flat plains a breeze.
Get a Horse
As useful as infinitely sprinting is, horses are just faster than Link’s legs can travel. Find a horse with a good speed rating and care for it the entire game. It will get you wherever you need to go.
Jump Off Your Horse
Jumping off a horse gives you more height and distance than a normal jump. So if you need to get just a small amount of extra distance on a climb, start it from horseback. If you are skilled enough to jump off of horseback into an updraft, you’ll clear even more distance.
If the amount of stamina you have is bothering you, you simply aren’t fast traveling enough. Remember, you only ever have to scale any peak in the game once, since there is usually a shrine up there you can just teleport to later.
When in Doubt Look for Help from the Environment
There are several peaks that look like they cannot be scaled even with these tips, but I assure you, there is ALWAYS a way. Look around for vents to catch updrafts from, trees to jump off of, boulders to move with Stasis in order to get a little bit more height. There is ALWAYS a way.
So, I’ve been asked several times “why” I would choose to play the game this way when I could just choose a couple of stamina upgrades and have a much easier time. In fact, other journalists have said the exact opposite, that health upgrades are useless and high stamina is the true way to get the most out of Breath of the Wild.
But, frankly, investing in upgrading your stamina feels, well, boring to me. I want to see the high peaks of Hyrule’s mountains as much as the next guy, but I want to feel like climbing that mountain was a triumph. Exploring feels most exciting when it is interactive, and having low stamina makes everything you do interactive. It, essentially, turns every new trip into a puzzle. How to I scale this? How do I cross this body of water? Where is the next place I can rest to let my stamina regenerate?
Dumping your spirit orbs removes that puzzle from the game. When you have all the stamina in the world, even the most daunting cliff face can be scaled by holding up on the analog stick. That’s not fun. That’s tedious. Some would argue managing my inventory to always have stamina restoring items is also tedious, but I don’t think it’s any more tedious than, say, cooking up a batch of meals to buff your stats or overheal your hearts.
Breath of the Wild is magical because there is a new puzzle to solve at every turn. Cooking is a puzzle, combat is a puzzle, and yes, even exploration is a puzzle. Dumping your spirit orbs into stamina essentially cuts exploration puzzles out of the game. Dumping your spirit orbs into hearts doesn’t do the same with combat puzzles. No matter how high your health you still have to learn to block, dodge, parry, and sneak around enemies to prosper.
Don’t believe me? Try going up against one of the guardian robots. Their lasers deal a massive 10 hearts of damage! Even if you cleared every shrine in the game, your maximum heart total is 30, and there are several areas of the game that put you up against 4 or 5 guardians at once. Having higher hearts allows me to interact with that combat puzzle, as opposed to having lower hearts, which would force me to run away and avoid it all together.
So that’s why I invest my spirit orbs in hearts rather than stamina, because it gives me the most puzzles to solve and the most entertaining treks across the many hills and valleys of Hyrule. If you want a truly rewarding trip into the unknown, a trip where you are rewarded for your ingenuity and problem solving skills, then heed my advice and take the single stamina wheel challenge.