What It Takes

Training:

In the world of mountaineering unique demands are placed on climbers. In no other sport is there a sustained struggle for days on end just to even get to the beginning of the event. In your typical race, game, or match you have the option to drop out if things go badly for you, while someone climbing a big route does not. Even if you do drop out the risk may be greater than pushing on. Once you get to the summit it is not over, the difficulty and risk lies in descending. The majority of injuries and fatalities occur in the descent because of fatigue and the adrenaline dump after making a summit. Because of all these factors and more training to climb a signifiant mountain is essential to not only success but survival.

The training for Everest is the most important part of the expedition and begins months before even stepping foot on the mountain. Training consists of physical, mental, and psychological preparation. Each demands structured training which is a new phenomenon in mountaineering but has be proven to advance mountaineering and break historical limits and boundaries.
 
Two types of training will be used in the physical preparation for the Everest expedition. The first type of training is general conditioning which is a mixture of strength and endurance training that is not specific to the climb itself. The second is specific event training. It is made up of workouts that are molded after the specific demands of the climb itself.
The idea for Everest is training specifically to the largest obstacle it imposes, which is the exposure and effects of high altitude. The condition of the respiratory and circulatory systems will determine how well you can perform in a low oxygen environment and must be in the utmost shape. To train for this low intensity cardio will make up the majority of the workouts. The first 10 weeks of training are building a base period. This is essential to handling larger workouts down the road. Using the principles of a consistent, gradual, and progressive training program made up of big volume at low intensity I can build a general resistance to fatigue. The end of the base period will overlap into the specific training period. Special workouts will be introduced which are sport specific simulating physiological stress and conditions encountered while climbing.
Towards the end of this training period all the individual components will be combined in test climbs specific to what will be encountered on Everest. This training is conducted once high level of endurance, basic fitness, and skill level has been developed. Training for Everest comes with the extra demand of finding the time along with my 40 plus hour work week. To complicate it even more is three to five days per week requires me  to travel for work. The time of day I train is determined by what hours I have to be at work. The other consideration in planning my training is where I will be. If I am at home I have my local gym, the rock climbing gym as well as local running trails and mountains.
If I am traveling for work I must rely on hotel gyms, or gyms around the hotel I can walk or taxi to. On weekends I make a point to get to the mountains. Living in Southern California I have many great options. If I do not have a lot of time or money for gas I will climb in the Los Angeles national forest which is only an hour and a half away. If I have more time I will plan to climb a peak in the Sierra Nevadas where the mountains are much bigger and more challenging.
 
Resistance training is still a large part of my training routine. In order to train for both strength and endurance I lift both heavy weights with low reps and light weights with high reps every week for each muscle group along with a rigorous core strength routine. In addition to that I do a cardio workout four to five days a week. Three days will be low intensity cardio and one to two days will be a climbing specific cardio workout.

In  the last four months my training has become more mountain specific. Training volume and intensity will gradually increase over a four week cycle. A typical  four week training cycle for me looks like this:

Week A
 
  • 40-50% weekly volume in the mountains w 100% vertical gain of biggest day on Everest, carrying 50% of most weight carries on the climb
  • sustained zone 3 hill climb, wearing mountain boots, 50% of vertical goal on biggest day, carrying 75% of most weight carried. GO HARD!
  • Zone 1 @ 15% weekly volume.
  • Max strength weight rotuine workout & core routine.
  •  High repetition weight routine & core routine.
  • All other training hrs @ recovery level.
 
Week B
  • 50% weekly volume in the mountains w 100% vertical gain as biggest day on Everest, carrying 60% of most weight carries on the climb.
  • sustained zone 3 hill climb, wearing mountain boots, 50% of vertical goal on biggest day, carrying 75% of most weight carried. (Alternative is a 3-6 mile beach tire drag)
  • Zone 1 @ 15% weekly volume.
  • Max strength workout & core routine.
  • High repetition weight routine & core routine.
  • All other training hrs @ recovery level.
 
Week C
  • Big day in the mountains hiking with boots totaling 75% weekly cardio volume & 150% of biggest goal climb day’s vertical, using 100% of most weight carries on the climb.
  • Sustained zone 3 hill climb, wearing mountain boots, 70-80% of vertical goal on biggest day, carrying 100% of most weight carried (Alternative is a 3-6 mile beach tire drag)
  • Zone 1 @ 15% weekly volume.
  • Max strength workout & core routine.
  • High repetition weight routine & core routine.
  • All other training hrs @ recovery level.
 
Week D
  • consolidation week to allow training load to absorb fully.
  • 2 big days in the mountains back-to-back totaling 75% weekly volume & 150% of biggest goal climb day’s vertical, using 100% weight.
  • sustained zone 3 hill climb, wearing mountain boots, 80-90% of vertical goal on biggest day, carrying 100% of most weight carried. (Alternative is a 3-6 mile beach tire drag)
  • Max strength workout & core routine.
  • High repetition weight routine & core routine.
  • All other training hrs @ recovery level.
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