16 week Mountaineering or Alpinism Plan

  • Creator
  • #55596
    Cory from Wisconsin

    Hi Guys,

    I feel like I’ve seen a similar question to this in the past, but I’m not locating it with the search.

    I’m a weekend warrior and only get a couple of moderate US based trips per year (this year was Mt. Whitney via Mountaineer’s route in March and climbing the Pseudo Wiesnner route at Devils Tower in June). I’m not doing anything super technical or difficult for this audience, just everyday man type stuff consisting of moderate climbs and 14ers without significant technical difficulty. I’ve also gotten into ice climbing in the last few years, but that consists of a weekend or two a season due to the drive distance to reach ice.

    With that being said, I do have time to train and I’m looking for advice on which training plan(s) to buy. Next year’s primary objectives are leading WI5 in Feb (Dairyland in UP Michigan) and climbing the Grand Teton in May/June via the Owen Spalding. For the Teton trip I’m going with a few buddies, but I’ll have the most experience and want to have plenty of reserve capacity since I’ll be making the decisions on terrain assessment, gear placement, and overall safety (suffice it to say we will not be soloing the route, despite its moderate grade). I have not previously purchased a plan from UA, but I’ve used the free Training for Ice and Mixed Climbing article (https://uphillathlete.com/training-ice-mixed-climbing/) to great effect.

    My question is should I buy and start the 16 week mountaineering plan now, run through October then transition to the free Ice and Mixed plan for ice season, then back to the mountaineering plan to prep for the Grand? Or should I purchase the Steve House 16 week Eiger plan and just loop that plan?

    Thanks in advance for the responses.


  • Participant
    LindsayTroy on #55598

    Do you have an objective planned for 16 weeks from now? I wonder about burnout if you’re doing plan after plan after plan.

    What if you did an unstructured transition and/or max strength plan to get you to October. Something like aim for a rough number of hours per week sub AeT but without any real structure and maybe do some kind of strength training 2x per week

    Cory from Wisconsin on #55602

    No specific plans 16 weeks from now, other than a desire to be in better shape. I’ve only introduced structured training to my life a few years ago and typically summers are a difficult time to maintain training motivation which leaves me feeling like I’m in a serious rebuilding phase in the fall. Its amazing how quickly some of the gains fade after time off and a few too many adult beverages during our short summers. This year instead of having to rebuild in the fall I’m looking for something structured to build fitness now so that I can wring more out of a late fall/winter cycle.

    Burnout could be a concern but I know that without a plan I’ll be inclined to not do enough to maintain current fitness.

    I guess part of what I’m curious about with the plan selection is if the Eiger plan would be appropriate for both my goals since I’m assuming it has a good amount of upper body strength for ice/mixed combined with lower strength and endurance for general mountain travel vs. the 16 week mountaineering plan being more focused on overall core and leg strength to support high mountain objectives. Has anyone purchased both and can comment on the mix of activities vs. the specificity of fitness the incorporate?

    LindsayTroy on #55665

    Sounds like you’ve thought through how you handle training and your appetite for sustaining it for a long time.

    I’m sorry I can’t help more with which plan you should pick.

    Anonymous on #55696


    Lindsay asked me to chime on. I hope I can add some value.

    With your goal of the Owen Spalding on the Grand Teton, base fitness will be your principal aim during the bulk of your training. (BTW: If the Tetons have a normal winter, climbing in May will be mostly on snow. June is probably a better target date).

    This routes is not technically very difficult but it is a lot of vertical at significant altitude and unless you plan to do it in a day from the car you will be carrying camping gear. So, the packs will be heavy. Either way you choose to do it, you’ll be looking at long days. This means that aerobic capacity and general strength will be the biggest limiters to your performance as long as you feel technically able to handle the crux bits. Not being exhausted by your efforts on the first day of getting to the bivy site will allow you to be a more effective leader on the second day, which will keep you safer.

    The 16 week plan is a good one but since you are not so constrained in time I would suggest the 24 week plan. Start it at week one now. When finished with it in December start it over again but from week 9 and extend the plan later by repeating the last 8 weeks. During this summer and fall add in the same ice and mixed plan you have buy either substituting it for the general strength in the 24 week plan of adding it to the strength workouts in the 24 week plan.

    I hope this helps.

    Cory from Wisconsin on #55736

    Thanks Scott! This was exactly the insight I was looking for and I’ve now purchased the 24 week plan per your suggestion.

    You probably hear this a lot (at least I hope you do) but I wanted to say how grateful I am that you guys have chosen to share such a wealth of knowledge on this site and in the books and have make it readily available. Thanks!

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