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Training Plans for Mountaineering

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Training Plans for Mountaineering

Postby Andrew Rankine » Sat Jul 21, 2012 8:04 pm

As a cyclist, we often train with fixed plans and workouts from coaches. I haven't noticed any coaches for mountaineering and climbing, but I am planning on taking a year off, maybe to climb all of the European Country highpoints. To train for the trip I am looking for coaches and training plans. Are there any coaches that can give me training plans, or is that unheard of? Thanks.
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Re: Training Plans for Mountaineering

Postby Andrew Rankine » Sun Jul 22, 2012 5:06 am

An interesting take on the subject, something I had never considered...Thanks.
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Re: Training Plans for Mountaineering

Postby Andrew Rankine » Sun Jul 22, 2012 6:48 am

Well...guides and alpinists do a lot of training so that they can climb peaks and recover very quickly. Sure, I can hike and climb...I already do that. But I want to be able to climb as many days as possible on the trip so I need that type of specific training.
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Re: Training Plans for Mountaineering

Postby norco17 » Sun Jul 22, 2012 7:02 am

The best training for climbing is climbing. There are other things that can help you get in better shape, but it depends on the type of route you are training for. Anything that works cardio and legs is good for mountaineering. Don't forget core workouts. I don't think heysailer was being sarcastic when he said go climbing. If you want to train for fast recovery after climbing than doing something each day that simulates walking up a mountain would be a good place to start. For example running stairs, walking up a hill with a pack, or going climbing. Also if you search the forums you will see other threads on mountain training. Most of the people who respond to them are out climbing right now since it is the weekend and they are trying to get in shape for climbing.
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Re: Training Plans for Mountaineering

Postby BigMitch » Sun Jul 22, 2012 9:47 pm

As a cyclist used to specific training programs geared toward specific events, I know what you are looking for.

Contact Mountain Athlete.

One of my buds bought a training package from them for monster ice climbs in Alaska next April. He bought a six month workout plan plus access to a coach.

All the best.
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Re: Training Plans for Mountaineering

Postby jpsmyth » Mon Jul 23, 2012 4:04 am

Mark Twight's book Extreme Alpinism provides a good workout regimen to prepare for climbing. Of course, I don't climb anything like he did but I followed it pretty closely last year and I never felt better or stronger in my climbing. That year I climbed Mt Hood, Shasta and Rainier and felt great on all of them.

Climbing may be the best training for climbing, but it certainly is not necessary. In fact, when I was attending mountain warfare school in the Marines many years ago (which involved lots of climbing), our daily fitness program did not include climbing with a backpack. Lots of running up some significant elevation, but not climbing hills with a backpack. Caveat - this may no longer be the case.
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Re: Training Plans for Mountaineering

Postby Andrew Rankine » Mon Jul 23, 2012 5:21 am

Of course climbing is the best training for climbing. Fortunately as I student I am on summer break so I can avoid the crowds and climb on weekdays as well during these months...I just did Mount Angeles in the Olympics this morning. But during weekdays I can't always climb.
I'll get in touch with Mountain Athlete, thanks BigMitch. I will also purchase Extreme Alpinism, thanks jpsmyth.
I am going for the speed record on all of the European country highpoints (possibly--still considering other options). Though the record stands at like 7 years or something, I want to put up a respectable record that will stand for awhile. So being able to recover from climbs will be vital to success.
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Re: Training Plans for Mountaineering

Postby bird » Mon Jul 23, 2012 8:50 pm

I second Mtn Athlete. If you can't get out and climb everyday, it's the best substitute training IMO. I've followed their plans (modified) and done pretty well with it. Also look at crossfit.com and crossfitendurance.com and sealfit.com. If you can do the sealfit.com workouts, you can get up any mountain (fitness-wise)
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Re: Training Plans for Mountaineering

Postby Jake » Tue Jul 24, 2012 5:25 pm

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Re: Training Plans for Mountaineering

Postby surgent » Tue Jul 24, 2012 11:00 pm

I find regular hikes up Camelback and Piestewa Peaks in Phoenix are fantastic for good overall fitness. The west-side approach up Camelback (via Echo Canyon) works out some of the lesser muscle groups a little more since you'll be stepping every-which-way. Hike these with a full pack and maybe a couple times in a row.

For alpine, then yes, you may need to locate a guide and try a couple climbs to learn how to handle yourself on snow slopes and glacier. Unfortunately, AZ's biggest peaks don't emulate what you may find in Europe very well. For that, probably the Sierra Nevada in California is better. Still, hiking up and down Humphreys Peak near Flagstaff (el 12,633 feet) will help you learn how you handle higher elevations.

Some of the European country highpoints are low hills, so walk out into a field and look bewildered. That will be what you should expect over there. Make sure you get all those little tiny countries like Andorra, Liechtenstein, San Marino, Monaco and the Vatican City, too.
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Make a Plan

Postby GEM Trail » Wed Jul 25, 2012 4:12 am

If you are thinking of taking a year off, you obviously are smart to think about a training plan. Climbing is the best training, but you can and should do more.

I would suggest that a lot of training plans could work for you if you apply them intelligently. Obviously you want to develop lots of endurance and also strength and power. A good strength program before you go can prevent many injuries in the mountains.

Then get specific. Think about the skills you will need for the peaks you want to climb. The highpoints of Europe will take you on lots snow and can be long and technical.

So where are you in the skills you will need? You can break them down and start learning them before you leave Arizona. Maybe a trip to Whtiney or Rainier to try out your new equipment before you leave the States?

Can't wait to hear about your climbs!
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Re: Training Plans for Mountaineering

Postby ExcitableBoy » Wed Jul 25, 2012 9:31 pm


+1. Courtenay was my personal trainer for years. I personally recommend her. She can set up a plan for you. I learned a lot about training from her and as strong and fit as I thought I was, she still found new and inventive ways to work my body. She is smart as well, a former sicentist she worked with the preeminent sicentist in her field before becomming a personal trainer.

Regarding the "climbing is the best trainging for climbing" mantra, I know of very few full time climbers who don't train, just climb. If you work or go to school you can typically only climb on the weekends, vacations, and after work/school at an indoor gym. If you don't have this luxury you have to train. John Freih and Dave Burdick are great examples of guys who have families and work full time who have winter ascents of Huntington, new routes on the Burkett Needle Ice Cap and a new route on the east face of Mount Dickey in the Ruth Gorge. They attritube their success to dedicated training programs . http://vimeo.com/38327717
Last edited by ExcitableBoy on Wed Jul 25, 2012 10:16 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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