Fit to Climb: How to Get the Most out of Your Next Summit with Mountain Trip

june 17 2017 team denali summit

Fit to Climb:

How to Get the Most out of Your Next Summit with Mountain Trip

 

The following article was written by Steve House (IFMGA-Certified Mountain Guide, Uphill Athlete co-founder, coach) for Mountain Trip clients to understand the importance of training for their trips, and training the correct way.

During the years prior to my professional climbing career I worked as a mountain guide and was privileged to lead climbs all over the world. The one thing that stood out, consistently separating the successful from the disappointed guests, was physical preparation.

Fit to Climb

Climbers carrying big loads above 14,000 ft on Denali

People that come into a climbing trip, whether it be a Denali climb or an Everest Trek, with a high degree of physical work capacity can handle the daily physical demands that come from back to back multi-hour days of travel in mountainous terrain. In my experience, the best way to approach training is to bring an intellectual framework to your climbing or trekking goals, and then use that framework to apply established principles to your problems, and create tangible plans to overcome them. Going from nearly-sedentary, to successive days of climbing, is a recipe for disappointment. But what does that all mean?

 

The professionally-built training plans and coaching options that Scott Johnston and I have created adhere to a structured and systematic application of carefully calculated training amounts, types, and durations of exercise aimed towards achieving a performance result or goal (i.e. the summit of Denali). These contrast with a “do-it-yourself” and/or hire a personal trainer approach, which typically result in (random) exercise and general health. While that may be fun, it does not take into consideration a proper analysis, understanding, and build up to a specific goal.

 

Everest Summit Climbers

Mountain Trip climbers on the summit of Mount Everest

For example, in order to reach the summit of Denali, you need basic, supportive, non-mountaineering-specific fitness. Our training protocols allow you to build up to true mountain fitness and will put you on your way to the summit. We show you how to train like an athlete so you can reach your highest potential. There is a reason people don’t train for Denali by climbing Denali. Our approach works. Everyone we have coached (who stuck with their training) has had a much higher success rate than average. Of the first 14 climbers we coached for Everest, 100% of them reached the summit.

 

 

 

 

Both a good training plan and a good coach will utilize the following important principles:

  • Continuity: Your training needs to be consistent. This means regular and systematically planned workouts. Overdoing it on the weekend, and then doing nothing for five days will not prepare you.
  • Gradualness: As you become fitter with regular training the training load needs to gradually increase to give you the needed stimulus to keep increasing your fitness.
  • Modulation: Hard days and weeks need to be followed by easy ones to allow your body time to adapt to the new stress being placed on it.

 

We understand your goal, know what it takes to achieve it, and are experts in preparing a plan so you can ultimately reach your goal. Uphill Athlete offers both established training plans (prices range from $39 to $99) and custom coaching options (prices range from $289 to $499) to help prepare you for your planned trip, whether it be a pitch of hard rock climbing in Telluride, a summit of Denali, or an expedition up Everest. No matter how you choose to prepare for your trek or climb, remember that it is time well spent. Not only is it great for your health, but you’ll get more out of your experience with Mountain Trip, and the mountains.

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1 Comment
  1. Jonk

    Wow! This blog post somehow echoed my feelings as well for being a mountaineer. I just had my most difficult climb so far to reach the summit of Denali the other week and definitely, it was more than a soul searching climb. I agree with you that training protocols allow you to build up to true mountain fitness and will put you on your way to the summit. I would like to point out my learning during that climb too.
    Continuity: Consistency is the key. You can’t finish your goal to go on the summit if you will stop. It requires consistent training and discipline. I am into regular and systematically planned workouts at least 4 times a week.
    Gradualness: As you become fitter with regular training the training load needs to gradually increase to give you the needed stimulus to keep increasing your fitness. We have to do the daily grind of training to become fit. I am very gradual for all the trainings, if I see myself as fit I haven’t stop.
    Modulation: agree that our body is adjusting and we have to modulate on the hard days and weeks so our body can easily adapt.
    Thanks,
    Jonk

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