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.
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.
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.