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Mountaineering Training | Fit To Climb: Week 1

This is officially the first training week Fit To Climb and of your Mount Rainier adventure. Much like fastening up a coat, it’s really important to get the first button in the right hole, or no amount of effort at the other end is going to make the process successful!

In physical training, a core foundational principle is to develop correct movement patterns, this so we can use our bodies efficiently while avoiding injury. The method we’ll use to practice this week is the Daily Dozen. (Download a description of the Daily Dozen here).

During this first week of training, measure your success by performing the exercises with the greatest amount of skill possible. Consider how you’ll want to move on the mountain during your climb, moving over rocks covered in ice, wearing crampons and a heavy backpack, potentially in a snowstorm. At that point, you’ll want your foot to end up exactly where you want it, and you’ll want to have the strength and coordination to efficiently move your body upwards.

The very first step toward getting there is to figure out how to move your body right. Therefore, do not worry about how many exercises you can do or how intensely you can do them; simply focus on the quality of movement and make a strong commitment to quality training during this week and for the weeks to follow.

Fit to Climb: Week 1 Schedule

1 Daily Dozen (Crux Workout) 12 min. Recovery
2 30 Minute Hike 30 min. Medium
3 Daily Dozen / Rest 12 min. Recovery
4 30 Minute Hike 30 min. Medium
5 Daily Dozen / Rest 12 min. Recovery
6 1 Hour Hike 60 min. Medium
7 Rest - Recovery
  Total 2 hrs 36 mins  

- John Colver

Have a question? See the Fit To Climb FAQ for explanations of specific exercises and general pointers to help you through the Fit To Climb Program.

John Colver is a longtime climber, former mountain guide, and certified personal trainer with the American Council of Exercise. Colver introduced outdoor fitness classes to athletic clubs throughout the greater Puget Sound region before creating his adventX brand. Currently, adventX leads training programs in Seattle and Colver presents clinics on outdoor fitness at companies such as Microsoft, Boeing, the American Lung Association, and REI. Colver lives in Seattle, and is working on his second book, Fit to Climb - a 16 week Mount Rainier Fitness Program.

Comments (10)


Thank you for posting this information, as I really had no idea where to start! Just to confirm, we’re only supposed to do the 12 minute workout today? No aerobic training?


Posted by: Kate on

I have booked an RMI 4 Day climb of Mt. Rainier, June 7-10.  I’m in reasonable shape already, and have some climbing experience, and I’m currently a ski patroller at Snoqualmie Pass (waiting for snow!).  I live in Ellensburg and have almost instant access to two climbing trails, one of 1740’ elevation gain and one of 1200’.  I also use a Scandinavian kickbike and a mountain bicycle for cross-training.  I can currently climb the 1740’ foot trail with 25 pounds of water weight in one hour.  I usually climb twice or three times a week, and kickbike or bicycle two or three times a week….with one day completely off.  I’ve been training nearly three weeks, averaging 5.5-6 hours a week, in Zones One and Two (55-80% MHR).  My question:  what week should I jump in at for an early June climb.  Also, my age (72) is definitely a factor, although I’ve been stress-tested and cleared by my doctor, I think I need to perhaps get into a formal training program somewhere.  Is there a program you’d recommend for a tough old man with bucket list issues!

Posted by: Mel Goudge on

Did we answer the question “what is the daily dozen crux workout? ”  thanks!

Posted by: Rebecca on

Getting ready for my climb the first week of September and I’ve followed this training plus mixing it with other stuff but it gave me a good base on what to follow!
I created the below blog to track my training and keep me motivated while I trained.

Posted by: Brian on

I see it now, please disregard, sorry :)

Posted by: Jeff Holland on

What is the daily dozen crux workout? Can you be specific please?

Posted by: Jeff Holland on

Wow, just started the week 1 training today.  Shows just how out of shape I really am.  Having climbed 9 of the 14’ers in Colorado already, I’m looking forward to doing Rainier hopefully later this year or early next year.

Posted by: Steve on

Mark and Keith-
There is not a way to automatically skip to certain weeks of the training.  However, you can access all of the Fit to Climb Training posts by following this link: http://www.rmiguides.com/blog/expedition/fit_to_climb_the_adventx_16_week_mt._rainier_training_program/asc

Please give our office a call if you have any questions.
RMI Office

Posted by: Melissa on

Like Mr Van Eaton I am hiking the first part of June and would appreciate jumping in to the 4th week of training. Thanks!

Posted by: Mark Moberly on

Howdy, can you please fast forward to me to week 4? I’m set to climb the beginning of June.


Keith Van Eaton

Posted by: Keith Van Eaton on

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