Climbing or trekking up a mountain requires the participant to be both physically and mentally fit. The Guardian reported in 2015 that after a series of accidents the Nepalese government changed the rules on climbing Everest so that only those with experience and in peak condition could attempt the summit. While this is an extreme example the same basics apply to regular mountain climbing and trekking. Thus, it is best to be prepared to ensure that your trip is completed safely.
Mountain climbing and trekking is like any other sport, there needs to be training and preparation involved to yield positive results. The cardiovascular requirements to reach the summit of a mountainous ranges is high and if a climber hasn’t conditioned himself it can lead to failure or injury. So climbers need to be in the same condition as professional athletes to safely attempt such a difficult feat.
Leading football website Betfair published an article entitled What it Takes by journalist Stephen Tudor, in it he documented the lengths football players have to go to be considered match fit. A mountain climber should also consider how far they are willing to go to be prepared. While the two sports are very different, they both are extremely demanding on the body and mind.
So with that in mind, in this article we will look at the training a climber should undertake to be able to climb safety and effectively.
Mosaic Adventures wrote a blog post on preparing for a trek to Everest base camp that focused on the cardiovascular training required. It stated that it is a huge advantage to workout and exercise during the off-season. Exercises such as biking and swimming are a great way to build up stamina and reduce the chances of injury.
Rick Davidson, CEO of Century 21 Real Estate, in an interview with the Wall Street Journal said that he found training vital to condition his body to carry a 75-pound pack of gear. He adapted his workouts to focus on strengthening his leg muscles, balance and his core muscles. To help his body prepare for the changes in altitude Davidson would do interval training and wear a heart rate monitor to evaluate his performance. Davidson also discussed his diet during a climb and offered some interesting tips. He told the paper that during a climb it is easy for climbers to lose their appetites. In order to combat this he packs comfort food such as pizza, chicken and gummy bears that help him maintain energy. He mentioned that at 10,000 feet the other climbers are “very jealous of my cheese pizza and chicken.”
No two treks are the same and each will throw up different challenges for your body to face. RMI Guides writes that the best way to prepare is to set goals at the beginning of your training program. These include evaluating the fitness required for the climb by asking yourself questions such as: how many days does the climb take? What type of terrain and climbing will you encounter? To what altitudes will you climb? How heavy a pack will you carry? Answering these questions long before you set out will allow you to be in the best possible shape come the expedition or trek.
Your training for the trek or climb should begin as soon as you book your trip and even before. Coley Gentzel of the American Alpine Institute wrote that it is best to combine indoor gym and cardio exercises with outdoor activities. His gym-training program is a full body workout that focuses on compound moves such as bench presses, pull-ups and squats. He puts an emphasis on outdoor training, as “it’s no big secret that climbing is the best training for climbing.” He recommends hiking and rock climbing as two of the best preparations.