Hey Al, Scott Ferguson here (author of the beetroot juice article on the website)
You pose a great question that I feel many folks could benefit from. It sounds to me like you may have a strong maximal aerobic capacity which would lead to a strong performance in a 1000 ft climb. Also, you’re likely correct in stating that your upper body strength needs improvement, particularly if you are planning to hit those 12’s in the high country.
However, from speaking with Scott and Steve and from my knowledge of exercise physiology, my advice would be to still keep your endurance training at the forefront of your training plan. You may be able to shorten your transition phase and focus your attention on building strength (i.e. transition or max strength workouts) where you are weak. However, there is no substitute for those long hours in the saddle (figuratively) and despite exercising your legs during these sessions, changes in vascular function do occur globally (i.e. in your arms). Once you establish a solid base of strength you can transition from general training (i.e. weight and pullup training) to muscular endurance exercises at the climbing gym or crag. At this point, you’ll have a nice strength AND endurance base built and you can hone in on making these muscles fire more efficiently for your given climbing discipline.
Finally it is important to note also that the ability to ascend 1000 ft quickly may not transition directly to impeccable endurance performance. The body can accomplish amazing feats by still metabolizing primarily carbohydrates (rather than fats) during this climb. The low intensity long duration training suggested in TFTNA are aimed at improving our ability to metabolize primarily fats which will afford long duration performance well past the ~45 minutes it takes to climb 1000 ft. A high VO2 max doesn’t equal superior endurance performance. Scott Johnston can tell you about folks he’s trained with a low VO2 max who have accomplished exceptional feats of endurance.
So, short answer: No, don’t direct your program specifically to climbing and neglect the low intensity stuff. You’ll get plenty of time to hone your sport specific skills later in the spring after you have established that endurance foundation. It’s not always exciting….but it works.
Does this help at all?