RMI Expeditions Blog
On our drive from Mexico City we were treated to views of La Malinche, Ixta and Pico de Orizaba. Today’s clarity was one for the books and we made the most of it on our first acclimatization hike. One of the advantages of this style of trip is that you can pretty quickly get in position to be at altitude AND get a good night’s rest indoors. After a beautiful hike through the “arboles ponderosicas” we made it to some lounging at our cabana before dinner.
Hope everyone up North is doing great!
On The Map
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Buenos dias everyone.
Our team has all safely arrived in Mexico City and after a team meeting and dinner last night, we are about to head out for our first scramble at altitude. Today we will leave the big city for an acclimatization mission to La Malinche, an extinct volcano a few hours from Mexico City. Thanks of following along and we will check in from down the road!
RMI Guide Jake Beren
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October 31, 2017
Categories: Mountaineering Fitness & Training
Building an endurance base takes more than just long easy-paced workouts. Long workouts create the muscular efficiency to deal with long miles, but moderate intensity intervals and steady state workouts are important for building a solid endurance circulatory system that, in concert with your long workouts, makes up your endurance base. A great aspect of steady state training is that you can incorporate it in a variety of training mediums: running, mountain biking, road biking, swimming, rowing, or hiking.
A steady state workout encompasses a sustained period of hard effort, paced just under what you would consider your race pace or the maximum pace that you can sustain for a given distance. Sustained efforts between twenty minutes and an hour and fifteen minutes have been shown to be most effective for this type of training. There is an obvious difference in pace between a twenty-minute effort and an hour plus effort: the goal is to sustain the pace that you start the workout at all the way until the end of the workout. The pace is typically about 10% less than your maximum effort over a similar time period. You can use a variety of methods to measure your pace and success of the workout: heart rate monitors, your minutes per mile, or for those with more experience, basing your pace on perceived effort or feel, are all effective methods. Though the pace is below your maximum effort, this workout is uncomfortable, and one of the biggest challenges is to stay with the workout mentally and maintain the pace throughout without letting the pace drop. This mental component is also great training for climbers, since this is exactly the mental toughness that you need in the midst of a tough stretch of terrain.
Note: As the intensity of your workouts increase, the importance of a quality warm-up and cool-down cannot be overstated. This is a really important aspect for preventing injuries.
Steady state workouts provide a couple of key training objectives. Accomplished over several months as part of an endurance building block, these workouts increase cardiac output (the amount of blood pumped by the heart), decrease resting heart rate, and increase lactate threshold. To increase cardiac output, your body is stimulated to increase the capillary network that delivers oxygenated blood to your muscles, to increase the capacity of existing capillaries, and to increase your blood volume. These factors help your circulatory system to deliver oxygen and nutrients to your muscles and remove waste products. An increase in your lactate threshold indicates that your body is able to remove lactate efficiently at higher levels of effort, so that you can exercise harder and longer before fatiguing. Finally, a drop in resting heart rate indicates that your heart is operating more efficiently, delivering blood to your muscles with less effort.
The training gains from incorporating steady state training into your routine will help you push longer and harder in the mountains, and the ability to move more blood that contains more oxygen will do nothing but help with the effects of altitude as well! These are difficult workouts, but keep your head in the game and push hard all the way through the end and you’ll be amazed at your endurance gains!
Questions? Comments? Share your thoughts here on the RMI Blog!
We made it back to Kathmandu. Our descent from Khumjung went well, and we decided to expedite it, as the weather forecast looked not the most favorable, and wanted to have an extra day to secure flying out of the mountains without issues. Upon arrival to Lukla, the only storm of the entire trip developed, but we were lucky to get wet for only the last 30min of an almost 2 week hike… not bad! But we flew out yesterday, and were able to farewell the Himalaya from the air, as the skies were still relatively sunny by mid morning.
Tired but accomplished, we left the Khumbu with incredible images in the memory, miles in the legs and new friends in the hearts. Our Sherpa and porter crew made it possible for a great trip through this fantastic and mystic mountainous area of the world. All is good now in the city as we await for our flights back home tomorrow.
Today we continued to descend the Gokyo Valley towards Khumjung, “The Green Village”, which, with its twin city, Kunde, hosts the largest population of Sherpa people in the Khumbu. Sightings of the smaller, yet impresive Ama Dablam, Tamserku and Kantega peaks reminded us we were back to the proximity of the lower lands where we started ten days ago.
Upon arrival to Khumjung, we visited its monastery, which believe it or not, conserves a scalp of the Yeti!!! We saw it ourselves. We continued to circumnavigate the perimeter of the two villages following long mani stone walls (fence like dwellings made with flat slate stones engraved with prayers and mantras) which, along with the mist and the domesticated yet majestic yaks, delivered a great deal of Himalayan mysticism.
We’re now in bed, and bound to Lukla to finish the trek.
RMI Guide Elías de Andres Martos and team
October 26, 2017
Posted by: Elias de Andres Martos
Today we descended from Gokyo with the sense of accomplishment of having reached the highlights and high points of our trek. As we descended, only the quiet Turquoise Goddess (Cho Oyu) continued to peer above. The cold temperatures of the late afternoon brought the misty fog to surround us as we made the last turns on the trail into Dhole. The caravans of yaks now substituted those of porters, the tea houses became more hospitable, and the air thicker. We’re headed now into the lower Khumbu.
Let’s go gang, Marie-Sarah and Frank :)
Posted by: Audrey-eve on 10/26/2017 at 7:11 pm
October 25, 2017
Posted by: Elias de Andres Martos
Good afternoon from Gokyo.
What a day we had! We woke up early to cloudy skies, which made us doubtful of the views we might get on our hike. But as we started gaining elevation and covering the distance between our lodge by the lake, and Cho Oyu Base Camp, we punched through the layer that was coveting the valley. The Himalayan giants we saw from the distance yesterday, towered above us today, and walking along the lateral moraine of the Ngozumba Glacier (the longest in the area) was really something. The feeling of being so insignificant overwhelmed us as much as the beauty we were discovering. We did reach the vicinity of what has been Cho Oyu’s Base Camp on the south side for the less than half a dozen expeditions that have dared to attempt this impressive face. After lunch and pictures, we turned back penetrating into the cloud layer that still was covering the valley bellow. We’re now enjoying dinner and getting ready for tomorrow’s stage.
RMI Guide Elías de Andres Martos
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Namaste from Gokyo!
We have arrived to the namesake of our trip, a small Sherpa village a stone’s throw from Tibet. We had been out of touch the last couple days, on our way up from Thame to Renjo Pass, where we felt the remoteness of our whereabouts. Those two days were filled with great sightings of yak karkas (farms) Kongmas (a high altitud bird endemic of the area), but most definitely, the high peaks that reign above the area. We culminated this morning with the climb up Renjo La Pass, which provided jaw dropping views of Everest, Lhotse and Makalu; we had to take a 1.5h break at its 5,400m of elevation to sink it all in… we just couldn’t get enough! The feeling of the effort being so worth it took over the entire group.
We then descended towards the turquoise waters of Gokyo lake and made it into our lodge, where we’ll be for the next two nights. Tired but happy, we’re looking up valley towards another Himalayan giant, Cho Oyu, who’s base camp we’ll visit tomorrow. Now, it’s time to enjoy some dud chai (milk tea).
RMI Guide Elías de Andres Martos and team.
Such a studly pic of the peaks in the background and the raven in the foreground!
Better keep an eye on those lunches or those winged critters will get them for sure.
Posted by: Art Muir on 10/26/2017 at 8:52 am
And the magic started to happen… Namaste from Thame.
We’ve left the main Everest trail, and started to encounter less people, enjoy a more rustic path, and an overall more authentic Himalayan experience (not that up to Namche wasn’t) But secluding ourselves to the Gokyo trek means enjoying a more authentic journey.
The day today was easy, but filled with senses stimulating opportunities; from the mist climbing towards us, to the juniper burning in the villages, or the mystic appearances of Buddhist prayer flags among the fog, the entire way presented multiple chances to amaze ourselves.
We climbed above tree line in order to visit the monastery upon arrival to Thame, a side half hour excursion with the excuse of taking pictures of the yaks that seemed to be grazing on the slopes. A pick up ball game with the young boy monks was a true highlight, and despite being at 13,000 feet, we managed to forget about breathing hard and just enjoyed the smiles.
We made it back to our lodge, owned by Ang Sherpa, who’s climbed Everest “only” 21 times. An honor to be in such a humble home tonight. We’re now awaiting our dinner, then it will be bed time and we’ll prepare for an early start tomorrow.
RMI Guide Elías de Andres Martos and team
Namaste from Namche,
We enjoyed a day in this neurological center that is Namche, old trading town, when the Sherpa from Tibet came to the southern slop of the Himalaya to commerce their goods.
In order to allow for acclimating, we took a good walk on the main trail of the Everest Base Camp route, to get astonishing views of the range, with Ama Dablam as the most imposing figure. A small museum with some Sherpa artifacts, as well as graphical descriptions of their traditions provided great education about this old mountain culture.
We ventured for lunch away from the tourists, and chose a local “Chia Pasal” where true locals eat their dahl bhat and momos (for a fraction of the price and double the smiles)
The afternoon was spent resting, and simply enjoying being in the heart of the biggest mountain range of the world.
Stay tuned for more.
RMI Guide Elias de Andres Martos