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Most Popular Entries


Our Commitment to Change

            Black Lives Matter. This isn’t a belief or personal opinion; it is a fact. And here at RMI we feel it is time for us to speak up about it. The last few weeks have been incredibly painful and emotional, but for the Black, Indigenous, and other People of Color (BIPOC) communities in our nation, the last few weeks are representative of daily life – this is just one of the times the rest of us decide to tune in. The murders of George Floyd, Brianna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and countless others are not isolated events. They are the painful and violent windows into the systemic racism that underlies nearly every part of our lives. It is especially noticeable in the outdoors.

 

            We have always seen nature, and specifically the mountains, as the ultimate equalizers. The mountains do not care about your race, ethnicity, gender, economic background, sexuality, or disability. If the mountains do not want you to summit, no amount of wealth or privilege will get you to the top. But the mountains, and their equalizing power, come at the end of the approach, and what we often forget is that the approach is much longer for some of us than for others. So many of us take our privilege for granted, the privilege that allows us to simply put on our boots and start climbing. But for millions of Black, Indigenous, and other People of Color, there are countless barriers between them and the mountains. Economic restraints, white-washed media, a lack of outdoor education, subtle racism on trails and in parks, and a plethora of other issues conspire to keep BIPOC out of the outdoors. According to a 2014 national park study,  91% of all national park visitors in the Pacific Northwest are white. This needs to change.

 

            We have been asked, rightly so, why we have not released a statement clarifying our position sooner. We did not feel it was right to say something without first educating ourselves and understanding the barriers faced by BIPOC in the outdoors. The need for this education can be seen as an indictment of our own complacency over the years. A few weeks is not enough time to call ourselves fully educated on the topic, but we are trying. Here at RMI Expeditions, Whittaker Mountaineering, and Bight Gear we are now in the process of gaining that education with the goal of taking significant actions to reduce barriers and increase representation of BIPOC in the outdoors.

 

            We want to use our voice and our capital in a more meaningful way than a one-time donation or post, because this issue is endemic.  To design and implement the kind of long-term, high impact program we have in mind, we need time. We will be releasing an action plan in the coming weeks and look forward to your suggestions and ideas, as we still have a lot to learn about our privilege and the ways we can best help our BIPOC outdoor community. And once our action plan is released, we ask that you check in on us and hold us accountable, whether that is in two months, two years, or two decades.

 

            The mountains have the potential to provide adventure, fulfilment, growth, and wonder to people of all races, ethnicities, genders, and sexualities. It is high time we help BIPOC communities grasp that potential.

 

Sincerely,

Peter Whittaker

Owner of Bight Gear, RMI Expeditions, and Whittaker Mountaineering

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Mt. Rainier: Expedition Skills Seminar Reaches Summit

The Expedition Skills Seminar - Muir led by RMI Guides Brent Okita, Hannah Smith and Avery Parrinello reached the summit of Mt. Rainier today.  Brent reported a beautiful day with windy conditions and challenges.  The group has spent the last several days training at Camp Muir.  Tonight will be their final night at the 10,000' camp and they will descend to Paradise tomorrow.  We hope the team enjoyed their time on the mountain.  Congratulations on reaching the summit!

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Mountaineering Training | Interval Training

Interval Training is a training technique employed in many endurance sports. It refers to a training session where periods of high intensity effort, followed by rest, are repeated during a training session.    The benefits of interval training:    Benefits include improved cardiovascular fitness, increased aerobic performance and increased anaerobic threshold. It has its place in a weight loss program too, due to the high levels of energy burned during and after the workout.    It’s true that during a climb, the goal is to ascend at a steady pace and to conserve energy, which begs the question;    “Why do high-intensity interval training”?    There are several reasons. One is that as we climb higher, the air is thinner and every effort becomes more taxing. Interval training, by raising the anaerobic threshold, will simply extend the range of effort we can make before we get out of breath. It also helps us to recover after a short, hard effort.    Some ideas to implement this type of training:    As a general rule, you’ll want to be fully warmed up with some mobility exercises (for example, try the Daily Dozen) and 10 to 15 minutes of moderate walking or running, just enough to get your blood flowing and your muscles ready for a hard effort.   Stairs: If you have a set of stairs available in town or at an athletic stadium you can use them for interval training. Simply push hard up the stairs for about a minute then rest by going easy down the stairs. How many times you’ll want to repeat this depends on your fitness ability. To start off, you may chose 3 or 4 efforts. During the peak phase of training a dozen or more will provide significant benefits.  Steep grade: Same as above and use a stopwatch or mark a spot as your turn-around point.  Indoors: You can do intervals on treadmill, bicycle, stair-master and elliptical machines None of the above? You can even do intervals with a step, a low wall or even a box you might find in a gym. Simply use your watch and do repeated step-ups. You can even wear a pack, hold weights or a medicine ball while you work.    Example workout: Short high intensity interval training.  Here is the timeline for a one hour interval training session:  • 0:00 Daily Dozen • 0:12 Ten minutes moderate walking or running  • 0:22 Two minutes rest • 0:24 One-minute high intensity • 0:25 Repeat six times • 0:43 Ten-minute cool-down walk • 0:53 Stretch • 1:00 Finish If you are new to interval training, expect to feel both exhilarated and fatigued. When I do interval training with groups it’s always easy to see the effort evidenced by sweat and hard breathing.    Another version of interval training is ‘Fartlek’ training. The word originated in Sweden and means ‘Speed Play’. It’s popular with cyclists, runners and cross-country skiers. You simply chose random ‘targets‘ like the top of a hill, a loop of a track, a tree or trail marker and then get after it with gusto! Increase your effort level as high or moderate as you feel like and mix up the length of the intervals. I like this type of training very much as it replicates the unpredictable nature of mountain terrain. It’s fun too, helping to pass the time while training alone, or to add a competitive challenge with friends. If you lack stairs, you can use any uphill grade and no matter what the terrain, you can always increase intensity by adding weight to your pack. Learn more about Fartlek Training... Other ideas for interval training include: • The 4 x 4 Interval WorkoutLadder Interval Training   How often to include Interval Training? I find that two times per week is a good amount and I’ll choose days of the week where I’m likely to be fully rested and recovered. Avoid doing back-to-back sessions as you’ll need a day or two to recover after the effort.    In summary:  Interval training is a valuable part of a mountaineers training. It’s energetic, gets the adrenaline flowing, boosts your cardiovascular system, burns energy and helps your body cope with the stresses of a high altitude, low oxygen environment.    As with any training session, make sure you are rested, hydrated and properly fueled before interval training. It’s hard work - you’ll need good energy to complete the sessions.  - John Colver                          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. Questions? Comments? Leave a comment to share your thoughts with John and other readers!
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VERY NICE BUT HOW TO JOINING

Posted by: Jigyansa meher on 8/3/2021 at 6:35 am


Summit for Whittaker, Viesturs and Team

Peter Whittaker and Ed Viesturs reach the summit of Everest.
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Mountaineering Training | Finding the Balance Between Training and Life

RMI Guide Adam Knoff originally wrote this for the training blog a few years ago. As we have all been more or less stuck in our homes, with life looming front and center for many, Adam's message again seemed apropos. 

Today I was surprisingly asked a question that, as far as I can tell, is as old as human curiosity, parental affection and plain ol’ sibling rivalry. This may seem strange because I only have one child, and my somewhat unhinged three wingnut dogs can’t speak and honestly don’t care about the answer as long as they are fed and played with. As you may have guessed, the question so abruptly put on me this morning was: “daddy, who’s your favorite?” Harder to guess was, who asked it? 

Things started normally enough; I made breakfast for my kiddo before packing him up and carting him off to preschool. I fed my dogs and chickens, cleaned the kitchen, and prepared for a day of light recreating before my afternoon duties began. It was when I entered the garage, home to my all important man cave and location of all my beloved fly fishing and climbing gear that things took a bizarre turn. Standing in front of me (I kid you not!) side by side, with puppy dog eyes looking up, stood my 12’6” Echo spey rod and my carbon fiber, oh so beautiful, Cobra ice tools. These sorts of things don’t just happen so I double checked my reality button. Dreaming? No I don’t think so. I have been up for three hours, had my coffee, and still felt the throb in my left big toe where I slammed it into the chest at the side of my bed. Ok, I’m awake. Drugged? No, I quit taking hallucinogens in high school and my wife, I think, genuinely cares about me. Then what? My two favorite activities in life, swinging flies for big trout with my spey rod and ice climbing, which is now doable in Bozeman, Montana, have come to a head. With a few free hours, my fishing rod and ice tools came alive and wanted me to pick favorites. Sheeesh! What’s a guy to do? 

As time stood still, I began to reflect on the week long steelhead fishing trip I took just two weeks prior to the Grand Rhond, Clearwater, and Snake rivers. Ohhh, the joy of that trip made me quiver. It made me want to reach out, grab my spey rod child and declare my love for him. 28 inch ocean run rainbows on the swing, the thrill of the next hook up, not wearing a heavy pack; the reasons almost overwhelmed me. Yes, yes, you will always be my favorite!!! Then I saw my ice tools. Hyalite Canyon is in! I can’t wait for the thrill of running it out on newly formed thin ice over a stubby ice screw, waking up before the sun, and realizing this day was bound to hold everything but the predictable. Ohh, ice tools, you are my favorite, “let’s go climb something!” I think you understand my dilemma. 

Parenting has taught me much in the five years that I’ve been at it. Love, patience and compassion are always at the forefront of dealing with children. Frustrations always arise. Liam spills my wine on the new rug, my spey rod whips bullets at the back of my head leaving welts the size of cheese curds on my scalp, ice tools rip out unexpectedly and send waves of sudden panic through me that make me want to puke. All part of the landscape I guess. So how did I answer the question, “who is your favorite”? Here I leaned on the invaluable lessons gleaned from seven years of blissful marriage. I compromised.

That day I took the ice tools out for their first climb of the season. I packed them up with the rest of my climbing gear all the while psyched I had just promised my fishing rod we would get out tomorrow. It’s a difficult web we weave, balancing work and play. I honestly felt troubled that I had to recreate two days in a row, climbing then fishing, but then again parenting is also about sacrifice. 

As readers of the RMI Blog, most of you are probably cracking a smile but are also curious how this story is relevant to the mission of mountain climbing, training, and/or preparing for an upcoming goal. Here is how I connect the dots: Fishing for me is the yin to my climbing yang. It is a glorious mental escape which allows me to shelve my daily stresses and exist purely in the moment. Everyone needs this periodic meditation to reset and clear the mind. For many, exercise accomplishes the same release but regular exercise does not necessarily constitute “training”. The expectations I put on myself when climbing on my own are very high and the specific training schedule I follow can at times be demanding, painful, and sometimes unpleasant. Here is where we tie in sacrifice. Everyone’s life is managed by time. Somewhere on that big round clock is time you can utilize for yourself. If you have a goal of climbing a mountain, running a marathon, or bench pressing a Ford truck, you need to prioritize and then commit! Finding enjoyment and purpose in life comes when these commitments are made. Being a husband and father keep me grounded. Being a passionate climber and guide keep me psyched and motivated, and the hunt for big fish calms me down. In the big picture I think I have found some balance. Remember it takes the black and the white, the yin and the yang, to complete the circle. The web you weave and balance you seek are your own, but seek it with conviction and purpose and you will be just fine.

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

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Mountaineering Training | Body Weight Core Strength Circuits

These strange times have many of us off balance and out of rhythm, and our training routines have felt the toll as well. Stay at home policies across the country have closed fitness centers and kept us at home without our usual tools. Body weight core exercises are a great way to continue to improve your strength and functional mobility, and taking your strength workout outside is a great way to break your routine and inject some new energy to training. The Dartmouth cross-country ski team uses this type of workout (and it’s where many of the example exercises come from) as part of a base and strength building cycle each fall.
Choose a jogging loop that has areas that you will be comfortable getting down to the ground on (a park, forest loop, or city parkway).

  • Set out for a good warm-up, 10-15 min at a gentle pace that is still conversational.
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  • Find a comfortable spot (grass or a forest floor are much nicer than concrete!) and complete a set each of two different core exercises (pushups and crunches for instance). This style of workout will build more endurance strength since they use just body weight, so try to pick a number of repetitions that you can do several sets of, but still push you hard in the individual set. 60 full crunches and 40 pushups is a great example.
  •  
  • Jog easily for 200 meters. The active recovery of jogging easily will still allow you to recover, but will train your body to recover while maintaining at least some level of effort.
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  • A set each of two more exercises (dips on a park bench and side planks). 
  •  
  • 200 meter jogging recovery. 
  •  
  • Complete a third set of exercises. 6 exercises is a great number to start from for your total workout.
  •  
  • Continue until you have done 3 sets of each exercise (9 total strength stops). 
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  • Cool down and head home!

 

As you progress, you can vary the workout in the number of repetitions you do during each set, or by varying the total number of sets. Try to mix up the exercises that you use, so that you get a complete core workout, without stressing one group of muscles unduly. This a great workout to do with partners at a safe social distance. You can spice it up by having different partners choose the exercises for a given set, which can add variety and show you some new exercises to add to your routine. If you don’t have a loop that is suitable, try a couple of laps of a small park. While it may take some imagination to get going, getting outside and breaking up your strength routine is a great way to keep the upward progress of your training going!
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These three resources have a number of good core exercises for inspiration:
http://www.brianmac.co.uk/exercise.htm#cte
https://experiencelife.com/article/core-circuit-workout/
http://www.sport-fitness-advisor.com/circuit-training-exercises.html

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

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You should contact Maria Faires at My Active Nutrition.  She trains mountaineers all the time including individuals climbing Everest, and has trained many for Rainer, etc. on her own and through Climb for Clean Air. 

She is an excellent resource for your climbers and clients.

Posted by: George R Naumann on 10/23/2021 at 10:53 am


Mountaineering Training | Introduction to the Fit To Climb Program

We are excited to share a weekly trainings series from the book Fit to Climb: The Adventx 16 week Mount Rainier Training Program authored by former RMI Guide John Colver! This conditioning plan is designed to help you train for a successful Mount Rainier climb.    As the plan unfolds you’ll quickly gain momentum, achieving milestones, and navigating each phase of training. Before you’re halfway through, you’ll feel confident in your abilities and have experienced significant physical gains.   Features of the Fit To Climb plan are: • A progressive training schedule with measurable milestones • A weekly chart with day by day workout descriptions • The ‘Rainier Dozen’ daily strengthening workout • Tips on cross-training and alternative training options • Instruction on aerobic endurance, anaerobic endurance, and strength training • Nutrition for training and climbing • Tips on motivation, goal setting, and mental preparation The Fit To Climb Program is designed to be done anywhere and with the minimal of equipment. No matter where you live, you’ll be able to participate and each week you’ll build strength and endurance for the climb ahead.   The 16 weeks are comprised of four phases: • Phase one = Adaptation Training (Weeks 1 - 2) • Phase two = Foundation Training (Weeks 3 - 10) • Phase three = Peak Training (Weeks 10 - 15) • Phase four = Expedition (Week 16) These phases are the building blocks, each ending in milestones. We start with general conditioning, then add endurance, followed by the addition of high intensity interval training in the peak phase and ending with a short ‘tapering’ phase during the final preparation in the week before your climb.  The timing commitment of the Fit To Climb Program varies. The Adaption and Foundation Training Phases ask for 4 - 7 hours a week of training. During the Peak Training Phase the focus is on building solid and aerobic endurance with long training sessions and the plan calls for 10 - 15+ hrs of training per week. It’s a big time commitment so plan ahead and try and prepare your schedule to handle the increased training demands. For some tips, see RMI’s collection of ideas to maximize the time and the find the right terrain for your training.   The timing of the sixteen weeks is designed to prepare you for Mount Rainier climb that is four months away. If your climb is later or sooner you can adjust the timing as necessary, either getting a head-start or beginning in the appropriate week. The Fit To Climb Program can easily be tailored to prepare you for any mountain beyond Mt. Rainier. In developing training plans for other climbs, plan your training with the end in mind: is the major challenge the high altitude, extreme temperatures, heavy pack, or multiple days or weeks?    As you create the training map, ensure that there are stepping stones to gain new skills and strengths as well as milestones where you can "test" your ability. One principle of training for mountaineering in all ranges, is that aerobic endurance conditioning is the primary training component for most climbers. Start by making sure that you have what it takes to "go long," then focus on the specific challenges of your climb or expedition. The Fit To Climb training program is rigorous and to complete it in its entirety requires a substantial commitment of time and effort. Do people follow it to-the-letter? Sometimes yes, often no - people become ill, work or family situations come up and the best plans work on the basis of flexibility. A paradox of training for a major climb is that we want to set the bar high in training in order to replicate the demands we’ll have during the expedition, however, we also want to maintain confidence if we fall short of a training session or goal. It’s rarely a linear process; sometimes we feel awful just when we expected to be strong, sometimes our perfect plan goes sideways, and sometimes we feel doubt when everything has been completed perfectly. As you start the process, think of the key elements of success: Maintain momentum, rest when you need to, push hard when you feel strong, and constantly think about how you can recover well. And most importantly, be confident that your efforts will pay off; many people have climbed and succeeded in their goals while having not completed all of the training or while feeling sub-par. I remind myself that one can miss a few classes and still graduate. It’s progress, not perfection, that counts.  - 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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I am interested in getting feedback. I have a good general plan for the climb, but could use further insight. Thanks, Mike

Posted by: Micheal Black on 10/26/2017 at 10:52 am

I’ve signed up for the five day Rainier climb starting on 6/23/17. I would like to know since I want to start training now if I should do two weeks for each of the sixteen week steps so that I finish my training just before the trip.
Thanks,
John

Posted by: John Chirinko on 10/10/2016 at 12:14 pm


Mountaineering Training | Training Zones

UPDATED 4 NOV 2019

A major component of a successful training plan and regimen is varying the intensity of workouts in an organized way to create an increase in overall fitness and performance. Some workouts are hard, some are short bursts of maximum effort, and many are long and slow endurance sessions. As we consider the goals of different training periods and the types of training that they entail, workouts tend to be defined by their intended HR or intensity zone.

Training zones have traditionally been distilled into five categories, based on their physiological effect and the corresponding effort they require. While it’s not a particularly exciting way to label them, the categories are named Zone 1, Zone 2, Zone 3…you get the idea. For those that train with a heart rate monitor, percentage of max heart rate (MaxHR) is a common way to help identify your training zones. The most common method to determine your MaxHR is to subtract your age from 220. This can provide somewhere to start, but MaxHR shows a high degree of variability between people, mostly due to genetics. It does decrease with age, and level of fitness actually has very little effect on one’s MaxHR. As you get further into your training plan and have some HARD workouts, you’ll get a sense for where your MaxHR more realistically lies. If you see a higher MaxHR show up on your workout than the formula says you should, go with that. If you can’t get anywhere near your calculated MaxHR despite the hardest workouts, go with the highest value you’ve seen.

While MaxHR is one of the most common ways to determine an individual’s training zones from common software platforms such as Strava, TrainingPeaks, etc, there are other methods that can offer a bit more refinement. These include the HRR or Heart Rate Reserve method, or completing an Aerobic Threshold Test and Anaerobic Threshold Test.

Heart rate monitors are great training tools, but are not necessary to train properly. Another method of setting the zones is to use perceived effort. The zones are described as follows:

Zone 1: Zone 1 is described as the aerobic recovery zone, and is between 50—60% of MaxHR. At this intensity, the body burns fat for energy and allows muscles to replenish their glycogen stores. On a perceived effort scale, this workout almost feels like a non-workout. At the end you should feel that you didn’t go hard enough to accomplish anything perhaps. In reality, this is a great intensity for building your aerobic base and to aid muscle recovery.

Zone 2: 60—70% of MaxHR is where the body is most efficient at building endurance. This is still a purely aerobic effort, and for those without a heart rate monitor, it is a pace that you can carry on a conversation while exercising. Since this is the best physiological zone for building your aerobic capacity, a lot of your long workouts will take place at this intensity.

Zone 3: Zone 3 is between 70 and 80% of your Max HR, and generally is the zone when you stop being able to talk in full sentences, but can still get out short bursts of words at a time. Physiologically, Zone 3 is the space between your Aerobic Threshold and your Anaerobic Threshold. It can bring powerful training improvements to both aerobic capacity and anaerobic threshold, but the benefits quickly plateau over the course of a training program, so use it sparingly. It is useful for some tempo workouts and interval training, but is probably the zone to spend the least amount of your training time.

Zone 4: Here, we are talking about speed, discomfort, and shorter efforts. Zone 4 is the anaerobic threshold zone. At 80 to 90% of MaxHR, your body burns significantly less fat, using the glycogen stored in the muscles instead. This form of energy transfer is less efficient (lack of oxygen!) so lactic acid is a byproduct. Above your anaerobic threshold, your body’s ability to remove and process lactic acid is overwhelmed, and it begins to build up. This intensity becomes unsustainable over the course of an hour or less. This translates to your race pace, and feels like an effort that you won’t be able to keep up for very long, and what you’d like most to do is slow down or stop.

Zone 5: 90 to 100% of MaxHR. This is for pure speed and all out effort. It typically involves intervals, or short bursts of max effort, and is useful for increasing your anaerobic threshold and increasing your body’s ability to cycle lactic acid and recover from hard efforts. It is difficult to measure Zone 5 with a heart rate monitor because the body’s ability to maintain zone 5 is on the order of several seconds, and there tends to be a lag in the HR response to the effort. Needless to say, these efforts are all out and explosive, 10 to 15 seconds long.

Training zones are a great way to set the goal for a workout and ensure that you are getting maximum benefit from your training sessions. Identify which zones you’ll be working out in before hand to design the day’s workout goals, and afterward assess yourself to see how you did - were you able to maintain your effort in your planned zone(s) throughout the workout?

The description of the zones is not set in stone. If your heart rate monitor says that you are in Zone 2 but you are having trouble carrying on a conversation, then you should scale back what you consider Zone 2 to bring it in to line. If you are going as fast as you possibly can but can’t make it to Zone 5, then your MaxHR estimation might be a little high, and you can scale it down. Once the levels are dialed in, they are a great way both to design and track your workouts going forward.

_____

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

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Does heart rate change with altitude? Should my first push up the hill to Panorama Point match my last push prior to Muir?

Posted by: Rob on 5/16/2021 at 8:02 am

This is most helpful. I did a CPET (cardio pulmonary exercise test) to possibly identify some breathing-lethargy issues after a 5600m Andean trek. (As with all my many other tests it was all good to excellent.)

The CPE Test has so much information but I only got a cursory overview from my health professionals as they were only interested in identifying ‘illness’.  (NB: post-pandemic I wish to continue hi-alt trekking.)

Can you please assist me to interpret the results i.e. what are the most useful numbers, graphs or tables, and, what can they indicate etc? It just seems a waste to have all this information but only consider a fraction of it.

Cheers.

Posted by: Grahame Rowland on 9/18/2020 at 10:03 pm


Mountaineering Training | Core Strength Training

The question of how to build strength for mountaineering can be answered in many ways. First, consider what kind of strength is needed when climbing. We need strength in our legs to carry ourselves up and down the mountain; we need strength in our back and shoulders to carry our backpack over uneven and variable surfaces; we need general body strength to tackle the everyday tasks such as setting up camp, digging tent platforms, or even to use an ice axe to arrest a fall. This strength can best be described as overall core strength.   One way to think of core strength is to consider our body’s ability to move functionally through a wide range of motion in a variety of directions with and without resistance. Many activities will develop this, ranging from certain gym classes and circuit training, to activities like dance, yoga, and weight training. These are all activities that can be done for a few minutes a day or for an hour or two several times a week. If you have an activity that meets all of these goals, I encourage you to continue to use it.     If you are looking for an all-around core strength activity that you can do anywhere, then look no further than the Daily Dozen. This workout can be done anywhere and with no equipment; you can even do it in your pj’s in the kitchen while you’re waiting for the coffee to brew! The Daily Dozen is a key workout of my book Fit By Nature and I use it routinely in my training sessions around Seattle. As a special resource for the readers of RMI's Weekly Mountaineering Training Series, you can download an excerpt from Fit By Nature that gives a detailed description of the Daily Dozen with accompanying photographs:     Download the Daily Dozen Description here.   Often, the question comes up: “Is twelve minutes of training sufficient?”  In reality, if you do 12 minutes each day, it adds up to almost an hour and a half per week of core strength training. However, if you prefer to make it a longer workout, you can simply run through the Daily Dozen two or three times. You can even combine it with other exercises to make it an all-around workout. For instance, in between each exercise, you can walk a set of stairs or do a short run.     What is important is to make your core strength training work for you. Remember the key concepts of moderation and consistency; this means that it’s better to train more often at a moderate intensity than it is to try and do all of your strength training in one big session once a week.   - John Colver                          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.
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Mountaineering Training | An Introduction to Uphill Athlete

RMI Expeditions is excited to be partnering with Uphill Athlete to provide our clientele what we believe to be the best training information and coaching available. We invited Steve House to introduce Uphill Athlete to our blog readers, which is what follows. RMI does not receive any financial compensation from Uphill Athlete, nor vice versa. We simply believe wholeheartedly in the effectiveness of the coaching and information that Uphill Athlete provides. 

 

Mountaineering Training and Uphill Athlete

By Steve House

“Man discovers himself when he measures himself against an obstacle.” – Antoine de St. Exupery

Mountains are, metaphorically and physically, the obstacles by which we measure ourselves. When you get to the base of the mountain you want to be ready. You want to be safe. You also may want to emerge as a changed person. If you agree with these statements, you are the reason my long-time coach, Scott Johnston, and I write books and a blog dedicated to how to train for mountain climbing.

The gist of what we wanted people to know is this: There is no magic to endurance training. Instead, there are 100 years of history and a well understood intellectual framework behind the theory and application that applies to the full spectrum of endurance sport. 

In 2002 as a professional climber I began training under Scott Johnston. Scott is an accomplished endurance coach with an extensive background as both an alpinist and high-level endurance athlete, During the ensuing years I, alone and with partners, achieved many landmark ascents. The training process transformed me from being merely good, to becoming one of the best in the world.

In 2010 a serious climbing accident cut short my high-level climbing career. Soon thereafter Scott and I decided to undertake a project to educate the climbing public about training for mountain climbing. Three years of work culminated with the 2014 publication of our best-selling book Training for the New Alpinism followed by the 2015 publication of The New Alpinism Training Log, and the 2019 publication of Training for the Uphill Athlete, our book aimed at mountain runners and skiers. 

All training is exercise but not all exercise is training

One important thing to understand is the difference between training and random exercise. Every effective training plan must adhere to these cardinal principles:

  • It must be gradually progressive in loading the athlete.
  • It must be individualized to the athlete.
  • It must modulate the athlete’s training load.
  • It must be applied consistently to the athlete.

 

Training is the structured and systematic application of specific amounts, types, and durations of exercise aimed toward achieving a performance result. It does this by increasing your capacity for physical work in the several realms that make up your event, whatever that is for you. When the time is right you will be able to utilize your hard earned exercise-capacity to its fullest extent and achieve your big mountain goals.

There are a lot of people selling exercise programs as training programs. The hallmark of an exercise plan is random physical activity. There is nothing wrong with an exercise program but don’t be fooled into thinking you are training by using that approach. Which one you choose determines not only your path but also your destination.

Today, our books and our website are the continuation of our mission of openly sharing proven training knowledge for the outdoor sports we love.

If you are ready to have your training transform you and explore your own boundaries, myself, Scott and the coaches at Uphill Athlete will be honored to share our knowledge and help you do the most effective training to meet your big-mountain goals.

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