Congratulations on prevailing through less than optimal training conditions.
Wanted to give a little feedback after purchasing your 24 Week Expeditionary Mountaineering Plan and also using Training Peaks to record.
Bottom line is a successful summit and return from Denali. Another nice little result was a PR for a 10k I like to run here in Colorado on Memorial day called the Bolder Boulder. ( 56 years old and live at 10k in Fairplay Colorado)
I was very pleased with the plan and the discipline of the tracking on Training Peaks. I was unable to make every single training session but made most of them and followed the principles also laid out in your book “Training for the New Alpinism”.
Here is kind of the break down. Purchased the 24 Week Expeditionary Mountaineering Plan around Oct 2018 and summited Denali via WB July 4, 2019. Completed nearly every session in the base build up. In late Nov. my Mother in law began to succumb from a terminal illness so we went to be with her in California and be her primary caregiver during her hospice time at home. This was nearly a 24/7 job. During about 6 weeks I was able to get a 6 mile run in every 2 days with some floor exercises. All at sea level and on flats. She passed in mid Jan so back home to Colorado to hit up the strength portion of the plan. Not 3 weeks later a similar event occured with my Uncle down in Texas. So 3 weeks down there just doing some running and a little stairmaster + floor exercises. Back to Colorado in March where I was able to finish up the strength portion and move to specificity. March and April were good training months. In May I mixed it up a bit as I like to run the Bolder Boulder 10k and felt my training for running was lacking. To my surprise I finished the Bolder Boulder nearly 2 mins faster than last year. (I am in my mid 50’s and have always run this race within about 30 seconds since my 30’s)
The Denali Climb-For some reason I fell very ill the day before the climb. Quite certain I had a high temp and I hardly remember the flight to the glacier or the first night in the tent. But my fever broke by the next morning and I was going to go climb as long as I was conscious. I improved day by day and most of the climb went just fine. (BTW, this was a guided climb on the WB with AMS) We did end up spending 5 days at 17k camp due to weather and I could feel some physical deterioration, atrophy or something of this nature. Summit morning and heading up Denali Pass. The pace was extremely slow to the point of getting fairly cold. However, things changed somewhere near the top of Pig hill. As we approached the top of Pig Hill I was having a difficult time breathing- really huffing and puffing. So much so that I had to ask for the rope team to stop 2 or 3 times. This has never happened to me on other roped climbs. Extremely embarrassing for me. This occured right as the guide approached the top of Pig hill and began moving on the summit ridge. I was on the end of the rope. My excuse anyway, is that I was getting a little bit of a slingshot effect as the guide and others on the rope in front of me picked up the pace a little once reaching the summit ridge while I was still on a steeper part of Pig hill. No matter, this part of my endurance was disappointing as I had not had that trouble earlier. I thought with the training, plus the altitude at which I live and conducted most of my training (10k’) I might have a slight advantage over those coming from sea level.
Other than Pig Hill, I did feel my conditioning was good and attribute most of it to this training program. I did not feel the exhaustion some team members felt each time we reached a camp. Even after summit day most of the team wanted to sleep and skip dinner. Not me. Still had energy and wasn’t going to turn away any calories.
BTW, saw Karl Eglof set the Denali speed record. He passed us (Running up hill as a human would run the flats!) while we were coming down from a cache site. Later that evening he descended through our camp very happy knowing he set the summit record and was on the way to the beating the round trip record. Extremely impressive and made us think, for a second anyway, why the heck we were carrying and hauling all this gear and taking a few weeks to do the same!)
Once again, really enjoyed your book and training program and would recommend to anyone. (and have)
Posted In: Your Athlete Stories
Thank you for sharing your journey, especially the life challenges you notice that we have such different life challenges after about age 45 than we do when we are younger. I live in Alaska and while bagging Denali is not really a goal there is a ton of stuff you can do up here, winter or summer, if you are in good shape.