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Mountaineering Training | Fit To Climb: Week 14

Fit to Climb: Week 14 Schedule

1 Rainier Dozen / Easy Hiking ( 30 min) 42 min. Medium
2 1-2-3 Stair Workout x 5 90 min. Very Hard
3 Rainier Dozen / Rest 12 min. Recovery
4 Rainier Dozen / Fartlek Training Hike or Stair Interval Training (2 hrs) 120 min. Very Hard
5 Rainier Dozen / Hike (2 hrs, 1,500’ of elevation gain) 120 min. Medium
6 Rainier Dozen / Hike (4 hrs, 2,500’ of elevation gain) 420 min. Medium
7 Rainier Dozen / Hike (7 hrs, 4,500’ of elevation gain, 45 pounds of pack weight) 420 min. Medium
Total 17 hrs 24 mins.


Week 14 may well be harder than the climb itself. This is intentional: in an ideal situation, you want to make the training more difficult than the climb so that you can arrive feeling more than prepared! Self care, organization, and a positive attitude play a critical role in the success of this week’s training. Good luck!

The only easy day this week was yesterday! During the first part of the week, you complete the interval training you are used to from the last few weeks. On Day 4, you have a choice between stair interval training or a fartlek training hike. Heading into the weekend, over three days you’ll complete up to 13 hours on the trail. After this effort, the next big push you’ll do will be on the climb! With the appropriate planning, you could make Days 5 through 7 a three-day backpacking trip. If you are able to, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to take a day off from work so that you can focus on a pretty tough series of workouts.

The goal of these hikes is to prepare you fully for the terrain and efforts you will encounter in the mountains, hence the emphasis on elevations throughout the hikes - nothing beats training for uphill climbing like climbing uphill! Carry whatever amount of weight is necessary to pack all of the gear you will need for the hikes on Days 5 and 6, but aim to carry about 45 pounds on the final hike on Day 7. If you are unable to find steep enough terrain consider finding a series of smaller hills and repeating them until you achieve the needed amount of elevation gain. An altimeter watch is a great tool for this. You can also consider adding a bit of weight to your pack if that sort of elevation gain is out of the question for the terrain you have available but be careful not to injure yourself in the process.


Day 1: Rainier Dozen + Easy Hiking (30 Minutes)
Today’s hike is a recovery workout and you can always substitute it with a different activity, such as running, biking or swimming. The important thing is to move at a moderate pace for 30 to 45 minutes. The pace can be conversational and you do not need to be dripping with sweat at the end of the workout.

Day 2: Stair Interval Training: The 1-2-3 Workout
Warm up with some moderate paced stair climbing. Then, make three efforts: one moderately hard, one very hard, and one close to maximal effort, with rest periods in between. This may look like:

• 2 minutes at 50-65% intensity, followed by 3 minutes of rest (1 minute standing, 2 minutes descending)
• 2 minutes at 65-80% intensity, followed by 3 minutes of rest
• 2 minutes at 85-90% intensity, followed by 3 minutes of rest

Repeat this sequence five times.

Day 3: Rainier Dozen / Rest
Begin your day with the Rainier Dozen. Feel free to take another 30 to 60 minutes of light exercise if you feel like it (a brisk walk is a great option). If you feel tired, today is a good opportunity be good to take a complete rest day instead. Listen to your body.

Day 4: Rainier Dozen /  Fartlek Training Hike or Stair Interval Training (2 hrs)
This week, you have a choice between a two hour fartlek training hike or your consistent pace stair training workout. Either way, warm up with the Rainier Dozen first.

Day 5: Hike (2 Hours, 1,500 feet of elevation gain)
After a warm up, hike for two hours and aim to cover 1,500’ of elevation change. If you are absolutely not able to take some time off from work or otherwise fit in three consecutive days of hiking, you might opt to skip this hike and do two long days instead by changing the hike on Day 6 to a 6 hour hike.

Day 6: Hike (4 Hours, 2,500 feet of elevation gain)
This is the second day of your three consecutive days of hiking this week. Find a hike that allows for 2,500’ of elevation change and takes about 4 hours. Warm up with the Rainier Dozen, and then hike at a consistent pace. Carry a light pack with you with just the bare essentials of food and water to keep you comfortable and adequately equipped for the hike.

Day 7: Hike (7 Hours, 4,500 feet of elevation gain, 45 pounds of pack weight)
This hike is shorter in distance than last week but bumps your pack weight up to 45 pounds. This is more akin to the weight of your pack on the actual climb. Pick a location that allows you to cover 4,500’ in elevation change.

This will be your longest hike or workout of any kind until your actual summit bid and it’s a great opportunity to practice packing well, exercising the right safety-related steps, and take in the right nutrition. On the hike itself, keep moving at a consistent pace and try out any gear that you’ve recently purchased to make sure it works well for you. Pay close attention to how you feel during the hike because it is a great opportunity to learn from you experience and make any adjustments to your gear or nutrition before the climb itself.


Hearty congratulations! You not only completed the toughest week of training, but have completed the entire peak phase of the Fit to Climb Program! As you think forward to the final couple of weeks, one thing you should feel confident about is that you have prepared yourself well and are set up for success on your climb.

Next week’s training will be significantly different in that you’ll be resting instead of loading up your body. It’s also true that from this point forward, you really can’t build any more fitness. The best part of this news is that you don’t need to; you are ready!

- 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.

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