Long, high elevation gain days

  • Creator
  • #51154

    I am interested in hearing from the community on how I might modify a training plan I currently use be in shape for long days with a lot of elevation gain. I’m currently scheduled to head for Liberty Ridge on Rainier in June of this year and the plan will be to do a single day car to car push. The route is roughly 12 miles RT and 10,000 feet of elevation gain.
    My current training includes manitou incline 2x per week (2,000 ft gain in 1 mile), a short hike on an 800ft gain mountain 1x per week and a 13,000ft or 14,000ft mountain with roughly 3,000 ft gain one weekend day. All other days are spent with my new daughter! Should I incorporate more than what I’ve listed?
    I have used this training schedule for other mountains in the past with good results but wanted to hear from others on how to improve.
    As far as one day pushes, I am no stranger to them – Eiger Mittelegi Integrale, Matterhorn Hornli from Zermatt, Rainier DC route, Meeker to Longs to Lady Washington, Evolution Traverse, 50 mile trail running races to name a few fun ones.
    I look forward to hearing how I can improve.

Posted In: Alpinism

  • Participant
    sgw on #51162


    michaelchx on #51197


    When you say you’re doing the incline 2x a week- as in one lap on two different days?
    With Sam I was doing 3x in a row – 1st with heavy pack slow 2nd lap about half as much weight 3lap no weight ( water/jacket/pack) pushing hard… first (2) laps I went down incline 3rd lap I walked down trail….
    Obviously pack weight is relative to other uphill work w/ pack… I also did 1-2 laps heavy pack using water I dumped at top. For those I carried ~30lbs, without going and looking I think the (3) laps was mid 20lbs first lap etc.
    Also did one heavy lap on incline, down and reload water at truck and went to Barr camp via trail…. sometimes I’d drive to crags trail, hike to top…
    Any of those or similar would give you lots of elevation maybe try something like that?

    michaelchx on #51198

    As incline now more complicated with reservations I’ve been using Cheyenne peak – that’ll give you 5k elevation – ~ 15 miles depending on loop and it takes me 5-6 hours depending on pack weight…


    Anonymous on #51259

    It sounds to me as if you are got a good training regimen going with an appropriate amount of vert for a climb like Lib Ridge in a day. I assume you’re carrying skis and descending the Emmons on skis. That’ll be way faster.

    Would more or harder training, like more ME stuff (the “Manitou Incline” is hard to beat for that type of training) be helpful? That’s very hard to say. Would it push you over the edge fatigue wise? Will it create more stress in your life to be gone longer and more often. In these cases the trade off is probably not worth it. Since you have a lot of experience with big single day pushes using this type of training I’d stick to the old adage: “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”.

    If you are seeing fitness gains using this approach as measured in speed, rate of ascent or times on the same terrain you are doing it right. More is not always better. A wise coach once told me: “The best training is the least training that still allows you to improve”. IN this more is better world it is easy to lose sight of that wisdom.

    Good luck on this project and let us know how it goes.

    Justin9 on #51273

    Thank for the info from both of you Michaelchx and Scott. While I agree with the if it’s not broke, don’t fix it, I find myself falling into a this is boring routine. I wonder if adding weight, cycling, rock climbing, or other exercises would get me out of that mindset. I do see small gains in speed on the incline but most times find that I’m consistently faster than my regular partners and slow down to accommodate them in the mountains. Am I feeling very consistent because I am working the same muscles doing the same routine over and over again? Is it likely that I would see better gains by mixing things up a bit? What’s your opinion? I think I’ll try and post an update later.

    Anonymous on #52370

    For performance, some ME work may help, but re-read Scott’s caveats on the negatives. (In short, overtraining is much worse than undertraining.)

    Cycling may be helpful as super easy recovery exercise if you keep it super easy and short. It’s less specific to your goals though, so I doubt that it would increase your fitness.

    Rock climbing? Again, so easy movement may be a good recovery exercise for both physical and mental reasons, but improving your rock climbing won’t help at all with uphill performance.

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