Tune Up

“In the mountains I celebrate creation. On each journey I am reborn” -Anatoli Boukreev

The reality of this spring is beginning to set in. I’ve been running quite the operation out of my apartment…arranging everything from visa applications to heli charters to cataloging, inspecting and stockpiling a manmade Everest of equipment and clothing. I’ll to use this post to relay a few things…

First off, I leave for Nepal a week from today. This year I’ll have better communications than ever, so I’ll be sharing the adventure as it unfolds. Feel free to drop me questions, comments or anything you’d like via email, the contact form or comments on posts and I’ll get back to you. I’m hoping to show a little more of what an expedition is like behind the scenes.

Preparation

I’m often asked about training these days, so I’ll shed a little light on my preparation for this spring. I’m a bit unusual in this regard given my background as a runner. I think the single most important physical element in high altitude climbing is cardiovascular fitness. These days, I’m mostly taking walks (about 6 miles a day) to be gentle on my back, but I’ll run up to a few times per week, usually no more than 5-6 miles. Occasionally, I do a little check up with my fitness. Two recent tests have me confident that I’m stronger than I’ve ever been going into previous expeditions:

1. On several recent occasions, I’ve run about 5:10ish/mile for 5-6 miles. Something in the 32-33 min 10k range wouldn’t be too much of an issue at this point.

2. Stair climbing over 6000 vertical feet in an hour without too much trouble, so the leg strength and endurance parts of the equation are right where they need to be.

I lift weights twice per week and have definitely added significant muscle and functional strength. This should definitely help me handle the day to day abuse of climbing with a pack (I’ll carry 40-50 lb loads and cache gear up the mountain). In order to climb without oxygen, I’ll have to handle several multiday acclimatization climbs up the mountain that definitely beat you up.

Most importantly, I’m trying to come into starting with a solid foundation. There’s plenty of time to get fit during the two month expedition. Endurance athletes often frame training into cycles that last up to six months. One of the most common reasons for a flop at the end of a season would be to be to peak too early. Last year on Lhotse I lost 25 pounds and gained a ton of fitness during the trip itself, leaving me pretty close to being “peaked” during the summit bid. Now, I’m hoping to put a bit of weight on before I leave, and on the trip I’ll just focus on staying patient and healthy.

In short, I’m healthy and in solid mountain shape. The hay is in the barn.

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