Entries By pete van deventer
From RMI Guide Pete Van Deventer
This season brought about a different approach to training for me, as for so many of our guides and climbers. In a typical year, the summer guiding season counts for the vast majority of my “training” time. Multiple 12+ hour days a week in the mountains is a great way to build a deep aerobic base, and that leaves me free to fill in around workdays with activities that I enjoy (trail running, mountain biking, and ski touring top that list). While many of our climbers are training for a specific climb and many of our guides are counting those same climbs as training, the training principles between groups aren’t actually that different. Our climbers are trying to be at peak fitness for their climb to give themselves the best chance of reaching the summit, for guides the same training gives us the durability to do 10, 20, even 30 climbs a season without our bodies falling apart.
The cancellation of the climbing season this year necessitated a different approach for me. I count myself extremely lucky to live amongst Colorado’s Elk Mountains, with miles of trail running, mountain biking, ski touring, and peaks immediately accessible. With local trails one of the few outlets left to us this spring, I happily was putting in miles, finding new trails, and generally filling the aerobic base hole that the loss of the season brought. Just like everyone, I have my preferred activities, things that I count as training, but bring me personal joy as well. Ripping through swoopy single track on a mountain bike makes me grin, even if my heart is jumping out of my chest. Other activities aren’t so enjoyable, and they feel like training. I do them out of a sense of duty to the training plan, but I’m not smiling. Weight rooms top this list. I found as spring bled into summer, that I was putting a lot of time into the training activities that I liked, while totally dropping the ones I didn’t, and that was leaving a big hole in my fitness. I needed some structure.
Exercise is doing activities that stress the body and make our body work, while training is the programmed and strategic arrangement of patterns of exercise to increase performance and achieve a predetermined goal. It is difficult to put together a training plan if you do not have a goal. My goal became to build a base of specific strength and endurance to give me durability through the ski season, and I turned to our partners at Uphill Athlete for a 12-week Ski Mountaineering plan. Much of the plan involves activities that I enjoy: lots of trail running and some mountain biking for recovery workouts. There are also some twists that I usually don’t incorporate, but are fun: level 3 long interval workouts, and very short, all out hill sprints. There is also a strong focus on strength work, and though I struggle to be engaged by gyms, a different take on strength has actually been pretty fun and interesting. I’ve been doing a mixture of max strength, very low rep lifting work, as well as very high rep, very low weight muscular endurance work. Both are interesting in how the workout doesn’t necessarily feel taxing during, but for days after I find myself feeling the aftereffects. A bit sore, a bit depleted, but also seeing pretty quick improvements and results.
In Colorado, we got our first snow early, the last week of October. This kicks off the few weeks every year that feel awkward as an athlete. There is too much snow and mud on the trails to ride a mountain bike, but there isn’t enough snow to skin yet (my bar for this is pretty low, as skiing on grass still feels like skiing, but there isn’t enough even for me!). I went for a run up one of my favorite local mountain bike trails, and though the details of getting out the door were complicated (do I wear shorts because it’s in the 60s, or pants because I’ll be running through 4 or 5 inches of snow) I found a simple joy in picking my way through snow and mud and moving fast on foot on a trail that no one else seemed to be interested in taking.
I came back with renewed energy to train, running my local snowy, muddy trails until enough snow lands to allow me to ski. It has been a strange year to train, with gyms alternately open, closed, then open again, restrictions on our ability to get out and travel to our favorite places. I’d encourage everyone to set a training goal (or multiple), lean into what you can do, and blend the activities that leave you smiling with the others that are necessary to reach your goal.
Posted by: Kendra Madrid on 11/8/2020 at 8:13 pm
Thank you for posting this! It’s encouraging and inspiring to know others are experiencing the same shift in plans and how they are going about staying active.
I don’t know about you, but I love to train and I agree when you said it is hard to train without a goal. Especially if goals have changed (or have been cancelled).
I have been training for my first summit climb and I live in Florida, so… training has been a bit less traditional but more focused on what I can do. (Lots of max incline treadmill exercises.) It’s been difficult with not being able to travel as easily to the mountains. However, I’ve been strength/endurance training and started climbing and bouldering for the first time. I’ve gained a ton of confidence and it has kept me mentally healthy. This is also something that I can keep track of my progress as well - which has been keeping me motivated and training better.
I hope everyone is staying safe and healthy and look forward to hearing more stories of the positive things we have accomplished during this unique time.
Posted by: Kathleen on 11/8/2020 at 6:27 pm
August 1, 2020
The Expedition Skills Seminar - Muir teams led by RMI Guides Pete Van Deventer, Dustin Wittmier, Hannah Smith and Kiira Antenucci reached the summit of Mt. Rainier today under clear skies and moderate winds. The teams were descending from the crater rim around 7:30 am PT.
The group gathered at Rainier BaseCamp on Monday for a full day orientation to prepare for their program. On Tuesday morning the group left for Paradise where they donned packs and made the ascent to Camp Muir. The teams spent the next few days training near Camp Muir, honing their mountaineering skills and preparing to make their summit today. Today is their final day on the mountain and once they return to Camp Muir, they will repack their gear and continue their descent to Paradise.
Congratulations to today's teams on capping off a great week of training by standing on the summit of Mt. Rainier!
September 8, 2019
WTG dad! So proud! Can’t wait to see pictures!
Posted by: Jennifer C Hitz on 9/8/2019 at 5:00 pm
Good job, Proud of you!
Posted by: Bobby & Kristi on 9/8/2019 at 12:53 pm
September 2, 2019
Congratulations Kerry & Jeff, you did it…..never a doubt! We miss you, just know, it’s 100 degrees in Colorado today, the snow looks very refreshing. See you soon. Kisses
Posted by: Grandma on 9/2/2019 at 2:39 pm
Awesome Jeff & Kerry! What a great feeling it must be to train and accomplish such a feat
Posted by: Tom Hutcheson on 9/2/2019 at 11:08 am
August 29, 2019
Awesome climb, awesome guides, good advice. professional team. Thanks josh! Take care.
Posted by: Paul koltronis on 9/2/2019 at 2:04 am
Way to go, dad! What an amazing accomplishment. . . You never cease to amaze us! We love you and are so proud of you!
Safe journey to the mainland.
Love and God Bless,
Bo, Chris, and Carlton
Posted by: Bo, Chris, and Carlton on 8/29/2019 at 2:20 pm
August 23, 2019
August 16, 2019
August 14, 2019
Great job Marcky-poo! Cant wait to have you back at my place. Miss you and love you!
Posted by: Lindsey on 8/15/2019 at 10:09 am
August 13, 2019
On The Map
Congratulations!!! How awesome! Safe travels back everyone!
Posted by: Jimmy Hoadrea on 8/14/2019 at 10:11 am
Congratulations Dan and the entire team!
Posted by: Tom Maddalena on 8/14/2019 at 7:16 am
August 12, 2019