Spring has come to the valleys, and with spring the allure of summer. And summer has long meant one of two things to me: expeditions to the Karakoram (I’ve spent 12 summers there so far), and alpine rock climbing. If you’re heading for K2, Masherbrum, or Nanga Parbat, you’ll want one of our mountaineering training plans, or better yet, coaching. If, like me, you are heading for some alpine rock this summer, then I’ve written a training plan for myself, and am sharing it with all of you.

This June I’ll be lucky enough to be able to spend time in the Dolomites. My goal climb? Il Pesce, The Fish, on the mighty south face of the Marmolada. A 31-pitch 5.12c free climb up one of the coolest alpine walls in the world. Thanks to three events, I’ve always wanted to do this route. First, this film of Patrick Berhault and Patrick Edlinger, which showcases their trademark smooth, effortless style.

Steve heading into steep terrain in the Dolomites. Eva House Photo.

Then, hearing my friend Marko Prezelj recount his first free winter ascent of the route. And thirdly, hearing Hans-Jorg Auer recount his story of the first free-solo ascent in person several years ago.

I’ll use this plan to build my climbing and my aerobic strength and fitness over the next two months, then I’ll spend a couple of weeks climbing limestone, attempting to put in days that mimic the number of pitches (31) and the grades (5.10–5.12 with 4 pitches of 5.12b–12c climbing). If I can put all that together, I’m confident I can accomplish my personal hardest alpine big wall free climb to date, climbing onsight and with one partner.

See you in the gym, at the crag, and in the Dolomites!

-by Steve House

Become an #uphillathlete with Steve House’s 8 Week Advanced Rock-Alpinist Training Plan.

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