Training and mountain guiding

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  • #7019

    Hi Steve or Scott,
    I am building a training plan out of New Alpinism for the Harvard Route on Mt. Huntington this spring. I am a full time mountain guide who has done 8 west buttress trips. We are planning to arrive in Talkeetna on May 1. My question is this- I am living in Las Vegas this season and have been full time rock guiding (14 days a month, mostly longish moderate routes) for 2 months, with December also looking busy, but I’ll be working very little after that until March. My question is this- Can I count these three months of rock guiding as base training and just add in some more specific base cardio workouts starting now, continuing into the new year before I begin a specific training period, or am I better off just having a shortened (12 month total) training plan? I have been very careful this season not to let myself fatigue, and am feeling well rested most of the time. I am happy to pay for the answer, cheers.

  • Inactive
    Anonymous on #7026


    These long guiding days have a training effect for sure but not the same as if you were out with friends or even if you were mountain guiding where you are were moving more continuously all day.
    The Red Rocks approaches and descents are not super long or with especially big vertical involved. So I think you can see that that there is some sort of factor we need to take into account when considering base training effect when compared to guide working in more alpine terrain.

    How much is that factor is tough to say. Here’s why: You’re already a fit guy. The fitter one becomes the more training load it takes to induce a significant training effect. Here is a simple example. Say you want to train to run but have never done so. When you first start maybe even running a mile will cause a big training effect because your capacity for this type of work is so low. After a month or so of daily runs that mile will be come easier and if you don’t increase the distance or speed your body will stop adapting to what was once a big load for it. In fact if the load is held static for too long the adaptations begin to fall away and you actually become less fit. This is why the training load must progress to keep the adaptation process occurring.

    For you a day on Cat in the Hat is not going to have much training stimulus. But how much? I can’t say because I don’t know you. Only you can judge that. My recommendation based on the above is that you should be supplementing guiding days with additional aerobic training up to the point where you can tell you’ve gotten a good training day. This might mean nothing but putting your feet up and watching TV or it might mean a 3 hour run in the Park after work depending on your fitness.

    So, its not as easy or as formulaic as your question implies. Steve and I have struggled for years trying to help guides figure out how to add training to an already physically demanding job. So far all we have come up with is telling guides the above.

    Look at the key workouts for the period you are in and try to hit them in the week as they fit in. I suggest making the most of Jan/Feb doing a mix if lots of basic running/hiking as much as you can tolerate while adding in specific work like uphill water carries for muscular endurance since that is the main quality you will need in AK (steep slogging). Maybe 2x/wk in those months. Then, when work kicks up again in March drop those ME workouts down to maintenance level (when ever you can fit them in, say 1x/10-14 days) with maintenance of aerobic base running/hiking up to your tolerance.

    I hope this helps,

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