Mountaineering Training | The Final Countdown

Posted by: | April 21, 2015
Categories: *Mountaineering Fitness & Training

As your next climb approaches, it’s a great idea to revisit your training plan with a critical eye and make a plan for how you are going to tune-up for the big event. Within four to six weeks of your climb, assess what is going well in your training and what could use a boost. This might mean entering a race or checking back in on a set of benchmarks that you’ve been using.

It’s difficult to make an effective difference in your endurance base at this point—there simply isn’t time. Cramming in all of the hours that you wish you had done earlier is more likely to lead to injury or showing up to the climb already fatigued.  Have confidence that you’ve done the job of setting yourself up with a good base and look to these other areas of your fitness for the final tune-up:

Core strength: Your core is comprised of all of the muscles that surround your spine, the side muscles, pelvic muscles, the glutes, as well as (but not just!) the abs. These muscles provide the link in the kinetic chain between your upper and lower body, and thus, nearly any movement you make ripples through the core. In climbing, a strong core helps to link the movements that we make rest stepping uphill with the stabilization of the upper body, including a heavy pack. Add an extra workout or two per week of core strength—focusing on the whole core not just the abs—in the weeks leading up to your climb. The extra strength that you build will help you to climb more efficiently, for longer!

Anaerobic threshold: Your final weeks of training should include some tune-up interval workouts. Try to find a mix of slightly longer level 4 interval workouts to increase your anaerobic threshold, and shorter, speed oriented workouts to tune-up your fast-twitch muscles. Emphasizing some harder intervals and speeds during your final weeks can give you a greater ability to recover from hard efforts during your climb and give you a few more gears should you need them.

Flexibility: A focus on strength training often comes at the expense of flexibility. As the muscles are broken down by training and recover again to build strength, they tend to tighten. If you haven’t dedicated much time to stretching and flexibility, use this opportunity to build it. Building flexibility will help your muscles work more efficiently during the climb and can help to prevent injuries or discomfort that may arise from the effort.

In your final tune-up don’t leave out your long workouts completely, but you can reduce your training volume or hours, and in doing so free up some workout time to focus on these areas. Though mountaineering is an endurance sport, strength, flexibility, and your capacity for high output activity are all important and the effect of your training can be greater in these areas over this last period of preparation. Pick out the elements that could use a tune-up, and take this opportunity to maximize your gains and head into your climb feeling ready and prepared.

Questions? Comments? Share your thoughts here on the RMI Blog!

Dave Hahn leads the Everest team on an acclimatization hike to Kala Patar. | JJ Justman

Mt. Everest Expedition: Sherpas Make Camp 1 & ABC, Climbers Take Dress Rehearsal

Posted by: Dave Hahn, JJ Justman | April 21, 2015
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Everest
Elevation: 17,575'

Finally, a breakthrough day.  Our excellent Sherpa climbing team ran up to the midpoint of the icefall where we’d cached gear yesterday.  They put all of that on their backs and busted on up to establish Camp 1 at approximately 19,800 ft.  Two of the guys, Rinjin and Sonam then cruised on up to Camp 2 (Advanced Base Camp), claiming our campsite -which will be crucial with the mountain as busy as we expect it to be- and retrieving our ABC gear from last year (“abandoned” when the season came to an unexpected end last year).  Meanwhile- Chhering, JJ Justman and I guided the climbing team on our much anticipated “dress rehearsal” for the Icefall.  We were up at 3:30 AM, eating at 4 AM and walking by 4:30 AM.  The intention was to travel smoothly and efficiently to the midpoint of the Icefall and return to base… as a check that the entire team would be ready for the committing step of moving to Camp 1.  We did just that on another perfect weather morning.  It was encouraging for all of us, and a little awe inspiring when three of the Icefall Doctors caught up and passed us as if we were standing still -all while carrying heavy and cumbersome sections of ladder to put in place at yesterday’s trouble spot near the top of the Icefall.  About two hours into our climb, we hit our own first real ladders and aced a half dozen awkward crossings.  We took a break at the midpoint, still in deep and cool shadows and then got set for the equally challenging descent to Base.  The team cruised through this test, showing the advantages of two weeks of training and acclimatizing.  We were back down to the luxuries of Base Camp by 9:30 AM, feeling like we’d already put in a full day of hard work.  The remainder of the day was spent resting, talking with climbers and guides from neighboring trips, and enjoying a few hours more of T-Shirt weather before we bundled up again for the late afternoon clouds.

Best Regards,
RMI Guide Dave Hahn

Ascending thru the ladders of the Khumbu Icefall.  Photo: Dave Hahn

On The Map

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2

Rock on…haha BTW, I recognize the guy in the climbing picture.  Hiking behind Hans.  Give him a hug for me.  Safe travels to Camp 1. xoxo

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Posted by: Bonny Rogers on 4/21/2015 at 2:36 pm

Hi all together, great pictures from the icefall!!!
You are in and everybody is well and feel fine - I hope so! And thank you Dave and JJ, you… read more

Posted by: Ute Novak on 4/21/2015 at 10:58 am


Mt. Everest Expedition: Hahn & Sherpa Team Make Another Attempt to Get to Camp One

Posted by: Dave Hahn, JJ Justman | April 20, 2015
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Everest
Elevation: 17,575'

Another early morning, another attempt to get through the Khumbu Icefall.  Thwarted.  We were still hoping to accomplish a recon/carry and so I headed out with our Sherpa climbing team at 4:30 AM.  As we started, the Sherpa teams ahead of us formed a solid parade of headlights, snaking up through the glacier in the darkness.  We made fine progress though, easily passing our highpoint from the other day.  That last time the weather was poor, and this time it was perfect, so we could see everything we needed and wanted to see about the climbing route.  Our luck ran out near the top of the technical difficulties when we skidded to a stop at 7 AM at the tail end of a monumental traffic jam.  We spent 90 minutes inching upward, stomping our feet to stay warm (we were still in deep and cool shadows), and alternately eyeballing the ice towers hanging over our heads and the nearby site of last year’s tragic avalanche.  Finally, with perhaps a hundred Sherpas at full stop between ourselves and a fairly difficult wall climb, we determined that we’d pushed our luck far enough.  We descended, cached the load at the icefall’s midpoint and got ourselves out of the line of fire and on our way back to Basecamp.  Sherpas and climbers did eventually make camp one and even camp two on this day, but the missions took perhaps three times as long as they should have, with much of that time spent at risk… Not for us.  We reached sunny and safe Base Camp shortly after JJ Justman had departed with our team for a Pumori Camp One hike.  The route needs more work and we conveyed this idea as best we were able to the Icefall Doctors and their administrators.  In general terms, it takes a safer path than the routes of recent years, but more work needs to be done and more ladders need to be fixed in order to handle the Sherpa traffic, let alone the less skilled foreign climbers who will soon hit the climb in great numbers.

Best Regards,
RMI Guide Dave Hahn

Sherpa teams and guide attempt to navigate through the Khumbu Icefall.  Photo: Dave Hahn Sherpa and guides going through the Khumbu Icefall.  Photo: Dave Hahn

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Don’t we go to the mountains to get away from traffic jams! You exhibit that all important combination of dogged determination with prudence that is so important up there. Glad… read more

Posted by: Everett Moran on 4/21/2015 at 6:45 am

Glad you are a safety guy.  Hate to think of the frontline team in the risk zone while awaiting a traffic jam.  Be well. Sending my best. xo

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Posted by: Bonny Rogers on 4/20/2015 at 1:48 pm


Mt. Everest: Hang Time at Base Camp

Posted by: Dave Hahn, JJ Justman | April 19, 2015
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Everest
Elevation: 17,575'

Finally, the storm has fled.  It was about six days of snow or the threat of snow… But the wind blew like crazy last night and our bad weather is now somebody else’s bad weather.  Bright and strong sunshine all day today… T-Shirts were just fine at midday in Everest Base Camp.  The Icefall Doctors were hard at work in the big jumble and the rest of us stayed out of their way, just as planned.  Teams could be seen clawing all over the ice towers close to camp, practicing in their own little chutes and ladders gymnasiums.  We took an afternoon cruise through the maze of ice ridges and towers in the “safe” part of the glacier and then tried to catch up on 3G connections.  Internet access has been a little squirrelly these past days what with the cloud blocking solar power and the wind wrecking reflector dishes.  Word by late afternoon was that the route is almost restored to Camp One… With some difficult trail breaking through new snow remaining to be done.  I’ll try to keep up with our Sherpa team early tomorrow with C1 as our goal (once again).  JJ Justman will take our climber gang hiking.

Best Regards,
RMI Guide Dave Hahn

Horseshoes at RMI Everest Base Camp. Photo: JJ Justman 2015 Sherpa World Championship Horseshoes. Photo: JJ Justman

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2

Larry,

I’m glad you and the team can put the 15-2, 15-4, 15-6, 15-8 behind you and get on the move!

Howard

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Posted by: Howard Norman on 4/19/2015 at 11:40 am

Allez Allez Super Team !

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Posted by: Chrystel on 4/19/2015 at 10:50 am


RMI Guide Alex Barber Ready for Climbing After Long Weather Wait

Posted by: Alex Barber | April 18, 2015
Categories: *Guide News

It’s been awhile here at Annapurna Base Camp waiting out the bad weather. Today dawned clear and warm which sent the mountain into an impressive cycle of purging excessive snow as shown in the photo below.

The forecast is showing a period of reasonably stable weather. The next few days will be clear but windy. As the winds subside on the 22nd the snow returns the 24th. Currently my plan is to head directly to Camp 2 tomorrow with two Sherpa mountain guides. We’re going to attempt to break the route in all the way to Camp 4 over the next three days. The western climbers associated with these Sherpas will be following us up one day behind, eyeing the 23rd for a possible summit attempt. I’m skeptical that the 23rd will remain stable and/or that the conditions (deep snow) will allow a summit. Either way, I need more time spent up high, see the route past C2 (see photos below). And also, I just feel the need to stretch my legs and do some climbing after this long wait at BC.

RMI Guide Alex Barber

Significant avalanche shown in center bottom of Annapurna photo. Photo: Alex Barber Annapurna route past Camp 2. Photo: Alex Barber

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1

I’m glad the weather is giving, even a little.  And good you are following you plans and instincts—not get in a hurry for the summit because someone else is.  Always… read more

Posted by: Mary on 4/19/2015 at 4:08 am


Mt. Everest Expedition: Team is Holding at Base Camp

Posted by: Dave Hahn, JJ Justman | April 18, 2015
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Everest
Elevation: 17,575'

The storm may be coming to an end.  We hope.  It was still snowing yesterday, and predictions had it continuing today, but despite a great deal of cloud and moisture in the air… we’ve got sunshine on Everest Base Camp.
There is no climbing activity in the Icefall today out of respect for the Nepali men who -one year ago- lost their lives in the avalanche off Everest’s West Shoulder.  This somewhat grim anniversary has been made a little worse by our recent inability to get through the glacier.  The reasons… bad weather and shifting glacial ice, are perfectly normal in this game, but against the backdrop of last year’s season-ending tragedy, the barrier to the Western Cwm seems more formidable than ever.  Early yesterday morning I accompanied our Sherpa team into the start of the difficult sections, but we along with perhaps 70 Sherpas from other teams had to turn around when a combination of vertical ladders was discovered to have been destroyed by shifting ice.  We were back in camp before the normal wakeup and breakfast time… and it must be admitted that sitting in a chair sipping coffee beat balancing over treacherous and tedious crevasse crossings, but… as I say, it would have been a major boost to morale and to the team’s progress to have made Camp One.  That will now have to wait until the route is repaired and the storm has exited.  It will happen.  In the mean time, our team is simply in the same situation as a couple dozen others… maintain mental and physical readiness.  We did it yesterday afternoon by going on a brisk hike toward Pumori Camp One.  Today, it seemed best to give the team their freedom… some chose a hike down to the tea houses of Gorak Shep, some chose showers and good books in basecamp.  Realistically, there will be more waiting to endure.  The Icefall Doctors need to do a fair bit of work to make the route passible tomorrow and the climbing teams have decided not to crowd them in their labors.  So we’ll wait.  And we’ll be ready when our chance for climbing comes.

Best Regards,
RMI Guide Dave Hahn

On The Map

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4

Pardon the typos and bad “cut and pastes”. I’m just so excited, and interested in the challenges facing Emily, and all of the climbers up there this year, and with… read more

Posted by: Susi Johnston on 4/19/2015 at 6:00 am

I’m writing to you from my home in Bali, Indonesia. Just to say three cheers for RMI, always a solid team of solid climbers. The RMI legacy of Everest pioneers… read more

Posted by: Susi Johnston on 4/19/2015 at 5:54 am


Mt. Everest: Hahn & a Sherpa Team Explore Midway Through the Icefall

Posted by: Dave Hahn, JJ Justman | April 17, 2015
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Everest
Elevation: 17,575'

This is Dave Hahn with the RMI Everest expedition. Sorry to leave you hanging last night. We didn’t get a dispatch out before all the power shut off and all of our forms of communication ended. It has been a stormy week here, so not quite as much solar gain as we would have hoped. Systems all through the valley are running on short time that way. Cell service, internet service, all of that was being affected by the storm. We’re doing okay here. We tried to get up the Icefall yesterday morning, the Sherpas and myself, but it was not to be. We, along with perhaps 70 other Sherpas from other teams got turned around where the route has collapsed during the storm, natural movement of the glacier. The route needed some maintenance- some ladders put back in place. So without even getting to the midpoint of the Icefall, we were turned around, brought everything back down. Hoping to go up with conditions improve. Still storming here. Still windy up high, still cloudy. We are down at Base Camp today.  I’ll try to get a real dispatch out this evening. Bye now.

RMI Guide Dave Hahn

RMI Guide Dave Hahn joins the Sherpa in some Icefall exploration. Photo: Dave Hahn A looksee at the Icefall confirms continued storm and busted ladders as they are turned around. Photo: Dave Hahn A looksee at the Icefall confirms continued storm and busted ladders as they are turned around. Photo: Dave Hahn


RMI Guide Dave Hahn calls in with an update.

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KEEP IT SAFE DAVE, KEEP IT SAFE.

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Posted by: douglas Hihn on 4/18/2015 at 3:41 am

Wishing the team clear weather and safety through the icefall.

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Posted by: Brendon on 4/17/2015 at 11:40 pm


Mt. Rainier: Winter Seminar Reaches 12,300’

Posted by: Brent Okita, Seth Waterfall, Elias de Andres Martos, Ben Liken | April 16, 2015
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount Rainier
Elevation: 12,300'

The Expedition Skills Seminar - Winter reached 12,300 feet on Mt. Rainier before being dead-ended by a crevasse. Despite the crevasse, the team has been enjoying excellent weather on the upper mountain. The team will descend back to Camp Muir for the night where they will continue their skills training.

The Winter Seminar team enjoys the sunrise on the upper slopes of Mt. Rainier. Photo: Brent Okita Sunrise on Mt. Rainier with Little Tahoma. Photo: Brent Okita The Winter Seminar Team taking a rest break on Mt. Rainier. Photo: Brent Okita

Mt. Everest Expedition: Ground Hog Day

Posted by: Dave Hahn, JJ Justman | April 16, 2015
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Everest
Elevation: 17,575'

Once again, we (the Sherpa team and guides) were ready to go up through the icefall on a recon mission.  Once again we nipped it in the bud at three in the morning due to falling snow and cloaking clouds.  The clouds were still thick as clam chowder when the team assembled for breakfast.  That didn’t stop us from gearing up and going for a walk in the new snow for an hour or so along the route to just where things get steep and serious at the base of the Khumbu Icefall.  It was eerie and beautiful to have the giant towers and walls of ice drifting in and out of our view as we trudged quietly through the snow.  Out in front in the whiteout, it was nearly impossible to tell anything as to whether the next step would be up or down or sideways, but we managed to find the route by braille in any case.  The goal was to get some exercise and some more practice and -as much as anything- to occupy the mind in what could be construed as dull circumstances.  There is still a blanket of snow over everything and so hiking Pumori’s ridges (as we’ve done to reach both Pumori Camp One and Kalapathar) doesn’t seem wise, what with shallow powder over uneven rock.  We passed the afternoon playing games and monkeying around with internet/3G connectivity.
Tomorrow, for sure… up and at ‘em.

Best Regards,
RMI Guide Dave Hahn

On The Map

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5

Dave - really enjoy reading your daily updates, and as always love the photos when there are some posted.  Wishing you and your team the best at the best, and… read more

Posted by: Mary on 4/17/2015 at 4:51 am

Hi Larry, JJ, Dave and Team ... We are reading your blogs everyday.  Keep your spirits up ... As we know you most certainly are!  Fred K

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Posted by: Fred Klingbeil on 4/16/2015 at 5:29 pm


Mt. Rainier: Winter Seminar Enjoying Post Storm Sun

Posted by: Brent Okita, Seth Waterfall, Elias de Andres Martos, Ben Liken | April 15, 2015
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount Rainier
Elevation: 6,200'

The Expedition Skills Seminar - Winter led by RMI Guides Brent Okita and Seth Waterfall spent yesterday training on the lower slopes of Mt. Rainier. The team experienced stormy conditions with 5 - 6 inches of new snow overnight and some mild wind.

Today, the team is breaking camp and making their way uphill towards Camp Muir where they will continue their technical training. While breaking camp, the team enjoyed bluebird skies and beautiful mountain views.

The view of Mt. Rainier after the storm earlier this week. Photo: Brent Okita
1

Enjoy the climb. I was there on the same type climb with Brent and Elias in April of 2012. Lots to learn. Have fun. I am headed to the Alaska… read more

Posted by: John Newland on 4/16/2015 at 9:35 am


More Entries

Expedition Stats

Kilimanjaro Climb & Safari
1/10 - 1/24/2015
Kilimanjaro - Summit
Aconcagua Expedition
1/4 - 1/27/2015
Aconcagua - Summit
Expedition Skills Seminar - Ecuador
1/6 - 1/19/2015
Cayambe - 17,000' / Antisana - Summit / Cotopaxi - Summit
Ecuador's Volcanoes
1/20 - 1/30/2015
Cayambe - Summit / Cotopaxi - Summit
Aconcagua Expedition
1/11 - 2/3/2015
Aconcagua - Summit
Kilimanjaro Climb & Safari
1/24 - 2/7/2015
Kilimanjaro - Summit
Aconcagua Expedition
1/18 - 2/10/2015
Aconcagua - Summit
Expedition Skills Seminar - Ecuador
2/3 - 2/16/2015
Cayambe - 16,500' / Antisana - Summit / Cotopaxi - Summit
Aconcagua Expedition
1/26 - 2/18/2015
Aconcagua - Summit
Mexico's Volcanoes
2/14 - 2/22/2015
Ixtaccihuatl - Summit / Pico de Orizaba - Summit
Expedition Skills Seminar - Winter
3/8 - 3/13/2015
Mt. Rainier - 11,200'
Mexico's Volcanoes
3/7 - 3/15/2015
Ixtaccihuatl - 15,300' / Pico de Orizaba - Summit
Expedition Skills Seminar - Winter
3/22 - 3/27/2015
Mt. Rainier - 10,080'
Expedition Skills Seminar - Winter
4/12 - 4/17/2015
Mt. Rainier - 12,400'

Recent Images

  • Dave Hahn leads the Everest team on an acclimatization hike to Kala Patar. | JJ Justman
  • Ascending thru the ladders of the Khumbu Icefall.  Photo: Dave Hahn
  • Sherpa teams and guide attempt to navigate through the Khumbu Icefall.  Photo: Dave Hahn
  • Sherpa and guides going through the Khumbu Icefall.  Photo: Dave Hahn
  • Horseshoes at RMI Everest Base Camp. Photo: JJ Justman
  • 2015 Sherpa World Championship Horseshoes. Photo: JJ Justman
  • Significant avalanche shown in center bottom of Annapurna photo. Photo: Alex Barber
  • Annapurna route past Camp 2. Photo: Alex Barber
  • RMI Guide Dave Hahn joins the Sherpa in some Icefall exploration. Photo: Dave Hahn
  • A looksee at the Icefall confirms continued storm and busted ladders as they are turned around. Photo: Dave Hahn
  • A looksee at the Icefall confirms continued storm and busted ladders as they are turned around. Photo: Dave Hahn
  • The Winter Seminar team enjoys the sunrise on the upper slopes of Mt. Rainier. Photo: Brent Okita
  • Sunrise on Mt. Rainier with Little Tahoma. Photo: Brent Okita
  • The Winter Seminar Team taking a rest break on Mt. Rainier. Photo: Brent Okita
  • The view of Mt. Rainier after the storm earlier this week. Photo: Brent Okita
  • RMI Climbers testing out their down suits while at Everest Base Camp.  Photo: Dave Hahn
  • The RMI Sherpa team in their down suits at Everest Base Camp.  Photo: Dave Hahn
  • Panorama of Base Camp with Annapurna being the left most peak.  Photo: Alex Barber
  • Khumbu Icefall seen with the new snow from yesterday's storm. Photo: Dave Hahn
  • Dave Hahn leading the RMI Everest team in a training session into the lower section of the Icefall. Photo: JJ Justman
  • Everest BC - Mark Tucker choosing to go with his air game. Photo: Dave Hahn
  • Overnight snow covers Everest Base Camp. Photo: JJ Justman
  • Hanging out in the EBC cook tent on a snowy day. Photo: JJ Justman
  • The RMI Everest team gather for a meal in the cook tent. Photo: JJ Justman
  • Common Tent at Base Camp. RMI Photo Collection
  • Fun and Games at Base Camp on a Rest Day. RMI Photo Collection
  • Views along the trail to Kalapathar- hike from Everest BC.  Photo: JJ Justman
  • Dave Hahn leading the way to Kalapathar. Photo: JJ Justman
  • The 2015 RMI Everest team at Kalapathar. Photo: JJ Justman
  • Grom & Team celebrate at Baskin Robbins in Kathmandu, Nepal. Photo: Casey Grom
  • The 2015 Everest Icefall Doctors- Stout ladder load. Photo: Dave Hahn
  • RMI Guide and Everest BC Manager, Mark Tucker, crushing the ball. Photo: JJ Justman
  • An RMI team playing golf at Everest BC. Photo: Mark Tucker
  • The Everest team training in the lower Khumbu. Photo: JJ Justman
  • The Everest team practices with crampons on ladders. Photo: JJ Justman
  • The Everest team training on fixed ropes in the lower Khumbu. Photo: JJ Justman
  • The Everest team's training day on fixed rope. Photo: JJ Justman
  • Climbers walking through the streets of Lukla.  Photo: RMI Collection
  • The views while hiking to Pumori Camp One.  Photo: Dave Hahn
  • Enjoying the views from Pumori Camp One.  Photo: Dave Hahn
  • Looking over Namche Bazaar.  Photo: RMI Collection