Author: Steve House

When I was young I discovered climbing, through my parents. I was fascinated by the big world of mountains from day one. I can’t say I ever made a conscious decision to become a climber; I followed a path of fascination that developed into a love. Thirty years on and I’m still climbing and I still love it and I still create new, interesting adventures. Thankfully, I’ve also become a coach via the platform of Uphill Athlete. Besides the balance and strategy of creating workouts to mold an athlete to be her best, what most fascinates me about coaching are…

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$59  I developed this plan over a 10-month period, starting in December 2017 and finally publishing it in September 2018. I spent more time developing and refining this plan than any other to date. This plan, due to it’s advanced nature, required that level of attention to detail. Much of this time was spent developing two workouts which became the key workouts of the plan. I’ve called those the “Figure-4 Pain Circuit” and the “Advanced Mixed Climbing Work Capacity”. These two workouts combined with the uniquely progressive Endurance Ladder Workout are balanced in such as way as to create a…

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Calves burning, hips locked in hard against the ice, one arm locked off low as I swing an ice tool high overhead. I have trained for ice climbing since the first season I discovered it way back in 1988—training that has taken me to some of the wildest places on our planet. Ice and mixed climbing are core skills to alpine climbing, and fun in their own right. Before jumping into ice climbing training (and mixed climbing training), it helps to know what is involved physically. The quintessential ice climbing movement taxes the calf muscles, the shoulder girdle muscles, the triceps,…

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#Alpineprinciples This video could save your life. Why? Because most mountain accidents happen on the descent. In “Fail Well,” the third installment of the Alpine Principles video series, we discuss why failure is important and detail how to descend well. Topics covered include how to err on the right side of survival; what kills descending climbers; and how to think in terms of islands of safety. Success as an alpinist is dying of old age, in bed, surrounded by loved ones. Success on a climb is going up, making good decisions, and coming back down safely. -by Steve House Intro…

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Climbing mountains is incredibly dangerous. I believe long-term success as an alpinist should be defined as survival to old age. Alpinism and all its component sports—rock, ice, and mixed climbing; ski touring; and ski mountaineering—are a continuous series of life-and-death decisions that begin with planning and end when you finally step off the mountain. Technical skills (rope work, belaying, etc.) and movement (climbing or skiing) skills are easily focused on. But when you look at what kills people, it’s usually not a bad belay or an inability to climb well. This is especially true when you look at accidents among…

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While working on our article “Training, Oxygen Systems, and Hypoxic Tents: Success Factors for Climbing Mount Everest and 8,000-Meter Peaks,” about climbing 8,000-meter peaks and the use of normobaric hypoxic tents to pre-acclimatize, Dr. Monica Piris spearheaded the research effort. She culled the recent editions of High Altitude Medicine and Biology and conducted searches of Pub Med and PLOS One to find all publicly available articles about intermittent hypoxia, applied either in training or sleeping. It is worth noting that all of the following studies a) spanned periods of 7–14 days and b) only went up to moderate altitudes. Dr. Piris…

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All three of us stood on the summit of The Gem, thrilled to have finally succeeded on something after so many days of bad weather. When we started up the spire, we didn’t have any information about it—no previous knowledge, no sense of what we’d encounter the higher we climbed. There was good rock, but also a lot of chossy rock. We were really far out there, deep in India’s Zanskar Range. I’m obsessed with the region, which is in Kashmir in northern India, near the border with Pakistan. There are all these sub-valleys with big rock spires—6,000-meter granite spires,…

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The spring ski-touring season is close at hand. And as we’ve seen a surge of interest from our athletes, both coached and those following plans, in prepping for long ski tours across the globe, many have asked me for my hut-to-hut ski touring gear list. I developed this list over the past decade spent guiding hut-to-hut ski trips in Europe, such as the incredible HochTirol (High-Tyrol) Traverse through Austria’s wildest mountains and the much more famous (and much more crowded) Chamonix-to-Zermatt Haute Route. This gear list, like any such list, can be modified for your needs. I suggest fine-tuning it…

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Before we talk about 2018 and what a new year means to each of us personally and athletically, I want to be clear about one thing: Anything I accomplished, any success I achieved as a climber, and indeed my very survival, was enabled by the training I did. I have no special athletic talent. In all likelihood, neither do you. And that’s okay. We’ve just completed our first year pursuing our mission to provide proven training knowledge to mountain athletes: coaching plans, training plans, phone consultations, numerous articles—144 and counting—and a rich intellectual framework based on 100-plus years of training…

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In this video, Uphill Athlete co-founder Steve House demonstrates how to get off an ice climb with a naked A-thread rappel anchor. By “A-thread,” he means the rappel will be oriented vertically, not horizontally. And by “naked,” he means he will not leave any sling material behind. The advantage of the horizontal orientation is that if it’s snowing, the snow will slough out the bottom hole. He and Vince Anderson hit upon this solution after descending a lot of routes in storms with their V-threads filling up with snow. Steve begins by creating the bottom hole. After finding a flat…

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