Conserving energy to High Camp

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  • #19093

    I will be in the Himalaya for a month in April-May, attempting the 6,328 m high Saribung Peak via a non-technical route. I have been following the 16 week big mountain training program for this. There will be a lot of trekking before getting to high camp (around 5,700 m) – with about 11 days where I will camp at, or trek to above 4,000 m. I read an article on this site on maintaining AeT pace to base/high camp to conserve energy. The question is, is it reasonable to assume that the AeT estimated at sea level (where I live) for training purposes will be appropriate at/above 4,000 m, or should I aim to be even more conservative and keep myself to ~ 10 beats below the estimate of sea level AeT heart rate?

Posted In: Mountaineering

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    Anonymous on #19119


    There is no good formula for the lowering of AeT pace as you go up in altitude. We can only say in a qualitative way that it will drop and we have much anecdotal evidence from climbers recorded HRs at high elevation. I discuss this in some detail here

    David Goettler and Ueli Steck Put Low-Intensity Training to the Test in the Khumbu

    Note that David’s HR was about 20 beats below his low elevation AeT for this climb at 6100m despite the perceived effort being higher than AeT at sea level. Assume some thing similar for yourself.

    I hope this helps.


    NandaDevi on #19144

    Thanks, Scott! I’m very interested to see how my heart rate fluctuates this time. The last time I was in the Himalaya 3 years ago, I got up to 5,800 m and measured a maximum heart rate probably ~95% of my max that particular day. But then, I did not really train for that trip the way I’m doing so now (i.e. keeping my pace at/below AeT).

    alisonG on #20804

    I just returned from the Khumbu, and found that I didn’t exceed a HR of 120 even during some higher-output efforts (ie watch for yaks!) and at Everest Base Camp, didn’t get above 110. Sometimes my exercising HR was at or below my resting HR, which was curious- but often happened after a night of poor sleep or when battling respiratory irritation due to cold dry air. I also followed the 16 week mountain training plan and found that I acclimated well (with proper ascent timing), felt strong and had the energy to go all day for multiple days on end. I was really thankful for the amount of time I spent training at the lower end of my aerobic zone- as I think it was a major factor in feeling good up there.

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