Choosing a Training Plan

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  • #30256

    Hi all,

    I am starting to plan a trip to Pakistan in June and July to try to climb and establish new routes, with a focus on mostly rock routes on peaks and spires under 6500m. I am looking to purchase a training program for training peaks to prepare for this trip. I have time for the 24 week mountaineering program, but am curious if you think this would be the best program to prepare for this type of trip. And if so, would you recommend any modifications since our focus will be more geared toward rock routes.

    Thank you,
    Aaron Ramras

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    Anonymous on #30283


    The best plan for you will be the one that best addresses your weaknesses. Doing long rock climbs at high elevation AND recovering well from them will demand a high capacity in several realms. Aerobic fitness will be what gives you the energy to sustain a high output for many hours and days. General strength will lay a good foundation for specific climbing strength.

    The 24 week expeditionary plan will be a great starting place. However is targeted at low technical mountaineering routes, not hard alpine rock climbs. If you feel you need more endurance and general strength then this is plan for you. If you feel you need more rock climbing specific training then stacking Steve’s 8 week advanced alpine climbing plan on top of his 5 week foundation plan will be a good choice.

    You can supplement the alpine climbing plans with more aerobic work too. I suspect that you’d get most benefit from these plans. You can then repeat the 8 week plan at a high training load to take you out very close to your trip.

    I hope this helps.

    aramras on #30320

    Thank you Scott! Your response was very helpful.

    matthewsbc on #31014

    Hey all – I have a similar question on choosing the right training plan. I’m heading to the Grand Canyon for rim to rim to rim in March – 19 weeks away. I did it about a year ago with very little training and want to approach the 47 miles and 12k elevation gain differently this time. I have a pretty solid cardio base to start from and am typically ready anytime to go hike a fourteener or do other hiking/mountaineering adventures. But trick is I used to live in Seattle but now I live in Oklahoma – so very little access to vertical gain. I also don’t do a lot of high impact running due to some overuse injury tendencies, but I can crank away on the elliptical, stair machine, incline treadmill, etc. I also train at an indoor climbing gym and have access to that. I was debating if I should go with something like the 16 week general mountaineering plan or if something like the 12 week trekking plan would be more appropriate given what I have access to?

    Thanks for the help – I read “training for new alpinism” years ago when I really started in the mountains and it has helped shape my approach for sure.


    briguy on #31033

    I can’t help with the training plan, though I did R2R2R in 2014 and I live in a similarly flat area (Southeast US). I did a ton of treadmill incline training in my preparation.

    Interesting you’re going in March? My understanding is they still don’t turn on the water at the various waypoints (Indian Campground, Cottonwood, etc) until mid-May. Has that changed or are you just carrying all of your water needed?

    matthewsbc on #31036

    Hey briguy – Last year we went the first weekend of November, which is a similar weather forecast to mid-March. The water is turned off at higher elevations – north Rim, etc. but typically stays on at phantom, indian gardens, cottonwood, etc. You can check this link to see updates on where water is available:

    We brought with a filter just in case to use by phantom or IG but didn’t use it. The biggest gap we found was going cottonwood to the north rim then back down to cottonwood before you have water access. We actually found someone at the rim with some extra to top us off, because we would have been out before getting back to cottonwood.

    Overall I thought the weather was perfect, which is why we are aiming for March. It was about 32 when we started at 6a from south rim, then down in the box it was maybe 65-70. It got a little cool coming back up in the dark at night but that was part the weather and part caloric deficit! We finished in 16:45 – so done just before 11p. I was pretty sore for a couple weeks after. I’d like to be a little quicker and recover faster with better preparation. That said, last weekend it was like -1 or something at the south rim – so weather can vary!

    I’m all about the incline treadmill – you can get crushed doing that and never go beyond 4mph. I used this to train for big hikes in Glacier this past summer and for R2R2R last time. I’m interested in the training plans to get a little more structure around my workouts versus my current method of just having a base to be ready for whatever adventure comes.


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