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Mountaineering Training | Fit To Climb: Week 2

Congratulations on last week’s training, you are off to a great start! How does your body feel after seven practice sessions of the Daily Dozen?

The purpose of this week’s training is to continue to practice the Daily Dozen and to add a weekend hike to round things out. Choose an easy or moderate goal for the first hike.

This is the end of the adaptation phase. Next week is the beginning of the foundation phase.

Fit to Climb: Week 2 Schedule

1 Daily Dozen 12 min. Recovery
2 Daily Dozen + 40 Minute Hike 52 min. Medium
3 Daily Dozen / Rest 12 min. Recovery
4 Daily Dozen + 40 Minute Hike 52 min. Medium
5 Daily Dozen / Rest 12 min. Recovery
6 Daily Dozen + 2 Hour Hike 132 min. Medium
7 Rest - Recovery
Total 4 hrs 44 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 (14)

I’d like to see the next few weeks of the training program.  I realize that there are no shortcuts to the top, but I had been doing 30 to 60 minute hikes with a 45 lb pack for months before starting the Fit to Climb program, and need to speed up a few weeks to meet my climbing date.

Posted by: Mike Forsyth on


Great question. If you are limited by terrain, you can use a treadmill on an incline as a tool. I would suggest trying to find a variety of activities though to keep you motivated. Other options could include stadium stairs (lots of laps) or lots of laps of a small hill. We’ve heard of folks training with lots of laps of old garbage dumps, road embankments, etc. A treadmill on an incline will help build the muscles that you use to step uphill, but every step is nearly the same. By getting off of the treadmill and outside, grass or any off pavement terrain will make each step different, building your balance muscles as well. Also, it’s important not to forget about the downhill: half the climb will be downhill, which is a different set of muscles, and the treadmill doesn’t do a lot for those. Good luck!

Posted by: RMI Team on

In regards to the practice hikes and if you don’t have access to such trails with hills, would that be something that could be simulated on a treadmill with incline?

Posted by: Ayman Boulos on

Hi there,

These look like great plans, but: I have only 7 weeks left before my climb, how can I get a hold of the entire training program up to {final climb - 7 weeks}...?


Posted by: Stefan Lanker on

Explain the daily dozen in some detail please. Also what if you don’t have a stair master to your avail?

Posted by: Dave Pogatchnik on


The hikes will begin incorporating specified weight in the packs later in the program but it’s always a good idea to head out with food, water, and the clothing layers you need to stay comfortable while on the trail as well as get used to carrying a pack.

For pace, the difficulty is “Medium,” so you’re shooting for a pace that has your working but moving at a pace that you can maintain for an extended period of time. You should be able to carry on a conversation while you hike. The actual pace (mph) really depends on where your hiking, the terrain, altitude, trail conditions, etc. Learn more about training zones and how they correlate to effort level here:



- The RMI Team

Posted by: RMI Expeditions on

Question 1:  On the hikes - do you recommend rucking a full pack?

Question 2:  On the hikes - do you have a recommended pace?

Posted by: John on

Thanks for all of the comments. We’ve forwarded them to John for specific review and will post his replies soon!
- The RMI Team

Posted by: RMI Expeditions on

John, if you’re limited to find the terrain to do 40min hikes, there is an array of things you can do. Basically, you know that aerobic benefits do not start to happen unless you go over certain length of time exercising. With that, having that time to exercise, you can certainly try to mimic any climbing/hiking activity over that period of time at the gym. No fixed inclines or speeds, but just picture yourself on the trails. You can alternate steeper inclines on the treadmill at lower speeds with flatter ones at a higher pace. You can switch from day to day to the stairmaster and even put a pack on with some weight! The best to get in shape for a climb is to provide a lot of variety on your workouts, juts like mountain woudl do; not always the same angle, not always the same speed, not always the same load. Hope it helps.

Posted by: Elías de Andrés on

I also missed the specifics for the 40 minute stair interval training. Could you resend it? Thanks.

Posted by: Linda McMillan on

John: thanks for a great program!  Perhaps I missed it: what are the details for the 40 minute stair interval training?

Posted by: Mark Hayden on

I second Mr Janssen’s request.  Glad he was brave enough to ask first!

Posted by: Dean Dunham on

Any pictures to help me understand this “Turkish Get UP”?

Posted by: Paul Janssen on

John,I’m trying to follow along with your training program because I’m doing Rainier in July but since I live in the suburbs and work during the week I can’t get out to do 40 “hikes” during the week.  Could you suggest more specific ideas like a workout on a treadmill at a certain speed and incline?? THX Dave

Posted by: Dave Brounstein on

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