Exercise to get fit?

9:50 a.m. on January 26, 2015 (EST)
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What exercise do you guys do to get fit for mountaineering? I don't need to become a pro athlete. 

9:59 a.m. on January 26, 2015 (EST)
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I bicycle everyday, keeps my legs and back strong. I ride just 10 miles a day. Been cycling everyday since I was 12 years old. I also bicycle tour, riding 1000s of miles per year to get from my winter home to my summer home and back again.

10:38 a.m. on January 26, 2015 (EST)
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I lost 50# last year then climbed Mt Hood and Rainier.  I'm not a pro nutritionist or anything and lots of people told me I'd die of malnutrition if I did this but here is what I did:

I ate about 1,200 to 1,300 calories daily, mostly vegetables and protein.  I did eat some carbs, just not many.

I drank ONE Guinness or another Stout beer every night with dinner. 

I ran a four mile stretch of trail (not a treadmill) three times per week.

I climbed the stairs of a 300' building twice a week.

On weekends I hiked with a 20# pack up hill gaining about 3,000 feet and going 3-4 miles or so. 

When I put on my pack to climb Rainier and stepped on the scale I weighed what I did the previous winter without anything on. 

I started all this in February and climbed in June and August. 



Thats my two cents.  The mountain doesn't care how much you bench or how many pull-ups you can do.  You need legs and lungs.  Good luck!

12:02 p.m. on January 26, 2015 (EST)
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I cross-train so I work different muscle groups.  I'm a lawyer, not a professional climber or athlete. 

-walking - with or without a small backpack, anywhere from 5 to 20 pounds.  i'll try to throw some hills in if I can, and I walk for at least an hour.  as a bonus, walk with trekking poles and use them.  great for your shoulders, and you get a better aerobic workout.  we have some good, up-and-down trails nearby that I do on weekends. 

-walking with a heavy pack - same as above, but I stuff a larger backpack with old sleeping bags and weights, usually in the 50-60 pound range.  I do this less often, but I increase the frequency in the months before a trip. 

-cycling - if the weather is decent, i'll bike outside.  whatever I can fit in, but usually 15-30 miles.

-indoor cycling - I like recumbent bikes inside, and I like them when I'm feeling kind of tired and beat up, because they are so low-impact on one's back.  i'll usually go 60-90 minutes, and I go at a steady pace but throw in 'surges' every 5-8 minutes by jacking up the resistance.

-swimming - if you have a pool handy.  not the greatest for your leg muscles unless you do a bunch of kickboard laps, but awesome for aerobic fitness.

-free weights - every so often so my arms and shoulders are at least kind of in shape. 

12:28 p.m. on January 26, 2015 (EST)
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The best training for Activity A is doing Activity A. So for mountaineering, go mountaineering. That's hard to do if you are living in a city, of course. But think about what mountaineering activity is - mostly hiking up and down mountains, usually carrying a load in a pack. So if you have hills nearby (which I do, living on the San Francisco Peninsula), get out to the hills and hike them with a pack.

One thing I add is the weight in the pack is gallon jugs of water. This is not because I drink multiple gallons on a given hike, but to empty the 5 or 6 jugs when I get to the top to reduce the impact on my knees. Having 7+ decades of wear and tear on the ancient bones and joints (no arthritis, though), I want to keep the impact of downhills as low as possible. (side benefit - on hot summer days, I see lots of people hiking up the hills, 4 or 5 miles to the summit with a gain of 2000-3000 ft with these tiny 1-cup purchased water bottles that are empty by the time they summit, so I can "rescue" them by refilling their bottles - lots of heartfelt thanks, though I don't have the heart to tell them they will be thirsty before they get back to their car).

Running is ok, but running uses different muscles than hiking. Hiking off-trail helps strengthen muscles used in uneven terrain (pay attention to the rules where you are hiking, though - do not go off trail where it is forbidden). Bicycling also uses different muscles than hiking or running (though if you are going to do an Iron Man, you better get running, bicycling, AND swimming muscles in shape).

If you get into technical mountaineering, then weight training becomes important. However, remember that technical climbing, whether on rock or ice, is primarily legs, not arms, despite the many videos of gymnastic climbers.

3:26 p.m. on January 26, 2015 (EST)
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I'm training for Mt. Rainier this September. Back in June I started the Couch to 5k program with ZenLabs. Then I just kept running. I've dropped 26lbs.

Now, I'm running 3-4 times per week (my shortest runs are 5 miles). I cross train 2-3 other times per week, either swimming or cycling.

After I finish my first marathon in April, I tend to switch to stair running and ladder climbing. I have a 30' ladder on my challenge course that gives me a nice work out, especially when I throw a pack on.

3:29 p.m. on January 26, 2015 (EST)
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8:00 a.m. on January 27, 2015 (EST)
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GOOSE, whats the Monkey Ball. You and Jeff both look great, BTW!

I tend to put on about 20 lbs during the summers and then burn them off in the fall and then another 20 in the winter and burn them off in the spring. Summer and winter is my least active times as I am usually working summers or just couch potatoing it in winter, especially this past one back here in Tucson. For years 1982-03, I backpacked all winter in either the Grand Canyon or around the mountains here in the old pueblo, but this has been wet a lot so I have spent most of my time indoors since Thanksgiving and won't really get out till April on my way back to Wyoming.

9:30 p.m. on January 27, 2015 (EST)
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It's the Monkey BUTT 5k run. The run was created to make fun of a caver who had a rash.

10:12 a.m. on January 28, 2015 (EST)
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Great story by Jeff.

The best way to train for climbing the hills is to climb the hills.

I have done so much rehab from injuries that I really don't like training in a gym except in winter when the weather is bad. I was out hiking this week.  I ran into two people horseback that are my neighbors and that was it.

There is a certain benefit from running as training for hiking, but with a rod in my femur and a bolt through the hip, I can only run on a soft treadmill. When I was younger x-c skiing and basketball leagues kept me in shape through the winter. Working outside took care of the rest of the year.

12:15 p.m. on January 28, 2015 (EST)
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Goose, you are looking great, keep it up!

3:48 p.m. on January 28, 2015 (EST)
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I do a hybrid workout of HIIT (high intensity interval training), free weights and calisthenics, in a circuit training type format.  The HIIT stays constant, but the free weights and calisthenics vary by muscle group.

G00SE, you look like you're half the man you used to be!

12:59 p.m. on January 31, 2015 (EST)
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Get out as often as possible.  Running for 2+ miles is a big plus. If you can complete a marathon, you are basically ready for very steep hills.

6:11 p.m. on January 31, 2015 (EST)
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Bill S is right.  Doing the activity is training for the activity.  However in north Texas, my chosen activity is non-existent so I run and bike.  It definitely helps when I make trips to the mountains.  There is still a noticeable "huff and puff" factor when I'm in the mountains but that's due to not living up there. 

4:01 a.m. on February 1, 2015 (EST)
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Unless you have proper hills where you live, training for being in the mountains is tough. The best policy is just to be fit, have good cardio and be generally healthy. This will make it much easier when you do get to the hills... and frankly will improve your quality of life in general.

Adopt good habits like taking the stairs instead of elevators or escalators whenever possible, making healthy eating choices instead of junk food.... walking places instead of taking a car or bus. It all adds up over time and will translate to more enjoyment for all your physical activities.

If you are doing any actual mountaineering (Climbing/Scrambling), then you may want to consider some weight training as well.

10:58 a.m. on February 1, 2015 (EST)
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FromSagetoSnow said:

Goose, you are looking great, keep it up!

 You too, my friend!

11:01 a.m. on February 1, 2015 (EST)
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The guide I'm using for Mt. Rainier in September required me to send them a detailed summary of what I am currently doing to get physically ready for the trip and what I was planning to do in the next 8 months.

When they confirmed my reservation, they sent me this link. I think you will find some good information here for any climb:


11:34 a.m. on February 2, 2015 (EST)
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Goose, Alpine Ascents has a good reputation.  I'm glad to hear you got your trip booked.  I like their fitness plan. 

12:27 p.m. on February 2, 2015 (EST)
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I find my lifestyle keeps me fit for the most part. We heat our house with wood which I collect throughout the year. As we live on the northern limit of the forest I usually travel to the mouths of rivers to search for drift wood coming down from Great Bear Lake or the Yukon. I use an axe and a 5 foot cross cut saw to buck up wood into stove lengths. My wife and I usually pack it in on our backs or toboggan. For work I’m often in the mountains for long periods of time, camping and hiking, which is pretty much what I do for pleasure. When not at work I enjoy skiing, snowshoeing, hiking, canoeing and camping pretty much on a weekly bases. We also have dogs who demand a lot of exercise. So, there really is little difference between my day to day life and going hiking and camping in the outdoors.

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