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John Frieh

[TR] Alaska - Great Gorge of the Ruth Glacier 5/2/2010

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Thanks everyone for the props... glad you liked the TR. And yes that is Marko and yes we knew that.


I don't know much about the Alaska Range but 12 hours up an apparently technical route on Mount Bradley sounds like some..."MAJOR HAULING FUCKING ASS!!!" Am I mistaken?


How many pitches are thrown in there?


Bradley gains 1400 meters from glacier to summit... I recall 6 or so actual belayed pitches amongst a whole lot of simulclimbing. Specifically:


- 1 belayed pitch on Season of the Sun

- 2 belayed pitches on the new terrain

- 3 belayed pitches on the East Buttress


The FA of Season of the Sun took the giri giri boys 15 hours base to summit + a bivy on the descent. On the second ascent the Slovenians took 16 hours base to summit though they complained of "lean conditions". The Slovenians also bivied on the descent.


It isnt exactly fair to compare our time of 12 hour to either team as we only climbed the approximately first third of Season of the Sun (where as they climbed it all) but that said we did climb what both teams agree is the crux pitch of Season. Though it may be the crux of Season we climbed a number of pitches on the new terrain as well as on the buttress that felt harder than the Season crux so it could be that our link up has more difficult pitches. Until I climb all of Season I cant really say and honestly it doesnt really matter. What does matter is we both had a blast on a very cool mountain and we didnt have to bivy.


So are we really fast? Personally I dont think so... I like to think we were both really efficient (belay change overs/racking/etc) but I could just be an arrogant ass :laf:. Also we did simulclimb a lot of low/mid 5th class as well as some easy ice/mixed steps that I could see some people belaying which I think helped speed us up. Additionally we didnt stop for a brew stop which may or may not have resulted in a faster time... hard to say. The time one saves not stopping to brew is often lost to fatigue as one dehydrates.


Then to turn it around a day later and climb Ham & Eggs in a huge day! Wow! Thats some serious instant recovery! WTF are you eatin up there?


For the Bradley day I had 2.5 packages of oatmeal for breakfast + 16 ounces of coffee and 16 ounces of water before leaving camp. For the entire day (tent to tent) I consumed 4 hammer gels and 4 probars and a little over 1 liter of water that had hammer perpeteum mixed in it. All told about 2000 calories for the entire event. Dylan had nearly the same breakfast and water consumption as me (he had more water) but he only ate a few shots and a few bars for the effort which was really impressive to me considering he outweighs me by ~15 pounds. I think his experiences on Siguniang taught him how to run on fumes for long periods of time :)


Skander is right: we did have some hammer recoverite with us in camp which we did consume immediately after getting back to camp. Additionally we would have at least a liter a day of recoverite to fill any gaps in our nutrition that the glacier diet was creating (i.e. not as much fresh fruit and veggies)


It is also worth noting neither of us consumed booze on the trip until we were back out in Talkeetna... I know climbers often like to celebrate post climb but honestly that is one of the worst things you can do to your body after a long climb especially if you hope to climb later in the trip.


***Soapbox Rant Warning: dont read past this point if you think doing anything but just climbing to train for climbing is stupid***


Though what you eat in AK will directly effect your performance as well as recovery time (like for us and ham and eggs) you can make much much more significant gains during the off season... things like making sure you get your recovery drink within the first 15 minutes of a hard workout... during this window all your capillaries are already dilated so that you get maximum delivery to the muscles.


Additionally your diet in general during your training period will determine how well you slowly build glycogen stores. Taking the time and effort to do so will only reward you when your alpine event finally arrives. As a wise man often tells me "you will never outwork a shitty diet"


And yes of course how you train (not what you do on a particular day) i.e. the bigger picture (rest days vs gym days vs climbing days) can have a great impact, positive or negative, to how you perform on your trip/event.




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