Mountaineering Training | Fit To Climb: Week 16

Posted by: | May 20, 2013
Categories: *Mountaineering Fitness & Training

Fit to Climb: Week 16 Schedule

1 Rainier Dozen / Easy Hiking ( 30 min) 42 min. Medium
2 Rainier Dozen / Stair Interval Training (30 min) 42 min.   Hard
3 Rest / Travel Day - Recovery
4 The Climb Begins! - -
Total 1 hr 24 mins.


To be honest, there is no way you can improve your fitness this week. Instead, the purpose of this week’s workouts is to simply allow your body to move, feel the benefit of some light exercise, and manage the stress of the upcoming climb. If any day this week you would rather not exercise at all, you should make that choice. Your top priority is being well rested and prepared by the end of the week!


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: Rainier Dozen +  Stair Interval Training (60 Minutes)
You are cutting the volume of this workout by 50%. You should also cut the intensity by the same amount. You’ve been training for 16 weeks and will be working hard on the mountain. You do not want to feel your legs burning in this workout and you certainly don’t want to deplete your energy stores. Just get out, have fun, celebrate your last stair workout, and maybe head to a nice restaurant with friends and savor the opportunity to eat with a knife and fork off a real plate.

Warm up for about 10 minutes, and then climb up and down a set of stairs, at a consistent pace, for about 20 to 25 minutes. Cool down with some stretching. 

Day 3: Rest / Travel Day
Today may be a long travel day for you. If you’re traveling by air, be sure to plan ahead to maintain your nutrition intake, paying attention especially to your hydration. If you don’t have to travel, consider today a bonus rest day.

Day 4: The Climb Begins!


Mt. Rainier is a tough climb no matter what amount of preparation you have managed to put in. Remember that all of the training you’ve put in up to this point is just getting you to the trailhead. From here, it’s all about managing the challenges of the mountain as best you can in order to preserve your strength and energy through the entire climb. In the mountains the little things add up: keeping yourself at a comfortable temperature and eating and drinking continuously throughout the day will help you arrive into camp feeling good and with energy to spare. Conversely, ignoring that hot spot on your foot and not taking the time to pull out a snack at a break can mean that by the end of the day you’re dealing with blisters and running out of energy. You know how to manage all of these little things after the training hikes you’ve already completed - carry these habits through to the climb!

And most of all: have fun! Mt. Rainier is a beautiful climb and an unforgettable adventure - enjoy the experience!

Good luck and safe climbing!

- 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.

RMI Climbers, led by Peter Whittaker and Melissa Arnot, celebrate on the summit of Mt. Rainier. Photo: Jon Mancuso



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