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Eric Anderson

Fit enough?

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I'm trying to make sure I'm ready for Rainier in June. I've got a pretty good handle on ways to train for the climb but how would you judge if you're 'fit enough' before the actual climb? I know the altitude and other factors are different for individuals but any rough guidelines?

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Not sure of any rigid guidlines, but I would suggest putting in a couple long days of the real thing.

 

As a general rule of thumb, go climb something like white horse or Eldorado in a day (over 5k vertical gain), If you feel wasted or weak then you need to be doing more.

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If you live in Seattle, go do mount si. If you can make it up and back (including the scramble to the top of the haystack) in under 3 hours, you're "fit enough".

 

Do it with a loaded pack for excellent training. With a loaded pack, you should be able to manage 4 hours round trip.

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Grab the pack you are taking on Rainier, load it up with ~40 pounds of water and head to the top of Si. Once you are up there, dump the water out and head back down. If you can make it up the boulder field in under 2 hours with a 40 pound pack, you will be just fine. Of course more weight and faster times will help you, but you will be "fit enough" at that point.

 

Good luck and have fun up there!

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Another idea is to take that pack up to Camp Muir...you can get good training in and get a feel for your performance slogging up the snow at higher altitude. Hopefully you will be in shape, stay hydrated, and have luck with the weather. I wish you well!

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Not sure of any rigid guidlines, but I would suggest putting in a couple long days of the real thing.

 

As a general rule of thumb, go climb something like white horse or Eldorado in a day (over 5k vertical gain), If you feel wasted or weak then you need to be doing more.

 

Definitely. Make sure you have glacier experience first though.

 

-Mark

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I do plan on doing some hikes with extra weight but having never been hiking at high altitude I wasn't sure how different it would feel. The times to shoot for at Mt Si sound good. I'm planning on going there next month.

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Muir is a great idea. Maybe even bring a tent and sleep there to see how well you feel the next day. Also make sure you wear whatever footwear you plan to use on your climb on the conditioning hikes. Big difference between going up Si or some such hike in running shoes versus heavier boots, also if you are going to have blisters or other issues you want to find that out before your climb.

 

Doubling up once or twice a week on your workouts is really good. Maybe do a conditioning hike in the morning and then a 2-3 hour road bike ride in the afternoon.

 

Mailbox Peak is only a few miles from Si and a lot harder and better training IMO. Tenerife is close too and is 4K in elevation and something like 12 miles which makes for a longer hike than Si.

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If you've haven't spent much time going from sea level to altitude it's highly advisable to make a couple trips to Muir and even go do Adams as a warmup to get a handle on how quickly you acclimatize. You can be in the best shape in the world and acclimatize like shit, and there is no rhyme or reason to it, you just have to find out for yourself.

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I'll second jon.

 

Muir. Jaunt up Adam's South Spur.

 

Also, spend a weekend on Baker's north side and get a feel for complex glacier travel if you already haven't.

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I will be going up to Muir in May to meet all the people climbing and to practice crevasse rescue and all that. I'll see if I can get to Adams before Rainier too. Not sure I can fit it in but I will be climbing St Helens next month (I know it's much easier than Adams.)

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Being a "flatlander" I wondered the same thing. Training in Ohio isn't ideal for climbing. My goal is to summit Rainier. To get an idea of how my training was going, I flew out last summer and did the south spur of Adams, took a day off and then did Muir. I came home realizing that I was definately not training enough! But I had a blast!! The climb to Muir is awesome. Ivan's idea isn't a bad one either!! LOL! Best of luck!

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fat old men are frequently seen frolickign up there - the main key i think is just establishing a good pace - if, at any altitude, you can hold your heart rate at 70-80% of your max for 50-60 minutes at a time (w/ a 10 min break or so afterwards b4 you go again), you ought to be fine and actually enjoy it (unless of course it's bitterly cold, windy, foggy, crevassy, etc. etc. :) )

 

key is, don't go in a huge-cattle train where you have to fit an unnatural pace - slow n' steady n' take a bunch of pictures

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I couldn't agree more! Just don't hurt yourself training for the climb...

 

Personally I like to over-train. So I want to make Rainier not just possible but pleasant. Better to suffer now than later in my book.

 

Once you're on the mountain (i.e. training is over), this is the most important skill to master.

the main key i think is just establishing a good pace... slow n' steady n' take a bunch of pictures

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I'm trying to make sure I'm ready for Rainier in June. I've got a pretty good handle on ways to train for the climb but how would you judge if you're 'fit enough' before the actual climb? I know the altitude and other factors are different for individuals but any rough guidelines?

 

Hike to Camp Muir and see how that goes for you. Have fun!

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What advice would you give to a newbie from Louisiana climbing Rainier this July? The highest spot here is the roof of my house and it does not look like I will be able to make it much higher between now and then.

 

I am currently doing high intensity cardio 4-5 times per week with at least 1-2 of those including inlcine treadmill and/or stairmaster with a 55# pack. Cardio sessions usually last 1 hour and try to do interval work getting to to 75-80% of my HR max during all sessions. I cross train with swimming, biking, running, and tae-kwon-do for my cardio sessions on days without a pack.

 

I plan on increasing the number of cardio workouts with a pack slowily over the next three months. Eventually doing 4-5 (in lieu of other cardio) sessions per week with a loaded pack up to 65#. I am planning to start a longer (3-4 hour) slow hike on area trails on a weekend periodically.

 

I also weight train 3 days per week.

 

Not much I can do here to simulate the altitude, but by May the humidity here will be a bitch. Does anyone have any suggestions that might help?

 

I did complete a 7 day glacier course and Summit on Mt. Shuksan last year and have done a few snow hikes in Colorado, but this will only be my second true alpine climb.

 

I found that my stamina and breathing were ok on Shuksan, I had the most trouble with the approach hike and a 65# pack. My hips and legs were on fire.

 

Any suggestions would be appreciated.

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Thanks. In looking at the cost of the altitude tent, I think I will just extend my time periods. My wife already thinks I am crazy for climbing. She would kick me out if I covered our bed in a tent and cut her O2 down to simulate altitude.

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One thing you might consider: lighten your pack! Carrying 65# is hard work and hardly necessary. Invest in lighter gear, dial down to just the necessary clothing and food (in my experience, people bring 2x as much grub as they need) and water (no more than 3 litres). For example, my pack rarely tops 45#, even when I'm carrying a tent, stove, fuel and climbing gear on a 3-4 day climb.

 

Carrying a heavier pack for training purposes isn't a bad idea (hypergravity training), but when the climbing begins you will appreciate the lost pounds.

 

I found that my stamina and breathing were ok on Shuksan, I had the most trouble with the approach hike and a 65# pack. My hips and legs were on fire.

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Thanks for the advice. After the Shuksan climb I did invest in some lighter gear and learned a good bit about what to bring and what to leave behind. However, i wanted to train heavy...just in case.

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I had the most trouble with the approach hike and a 65# pack. My hips and legs were on fire.

 

Make sure your pack is fitted properly - I suffered for years with a pack that was too big, and it killed my hips even with moderate loads. Since then, I got a better-fitting pack, and my hips don't bother me anymore, even with bigger loads. Quads, different story... but you're already getting good training advice.

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Snell, you don't need to go to that extreme. I'm in my late 40's, live at sea level, have and office job and and try and climb Rainier every year. Also get out a few times each winter on lengthy back country ski trips and typically climb 1-2 other west coast peaks in the 10,000' range. I'm certainly not a fitness nut, but I watch what I eat/drink to keep my weight in check, walk and cycle whenever I can, and jog 6 - 8 miles 2 to 3 times a week. That "recipe" has always worked very well for me on my Rainier trips which usually entail travelling from sea level to ~ 3,000' for a car camp the first night, booting up to Muir or Schurman the second night and topping out and descending day 3. You don't need to be superman, just reasonably fit, with good cardio capacity and above all - good mental stamina.

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i agree with Bigtree, it almost sounds like you're training much more than most people do. Don't over-train - trust me, i've been hurt by overtraining too many times... Just workout and stay fit!

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