Very different for each person but I have found a combination of training targets and real world goals works well for most peoples progression. This could be something like 1) peak CTL 80 then Mt Shasta climb. 2) peak CTL 90 – Mt Rainer climb 3) peak CTL 100 – Denali as a 3 year progression just for example. Most of us have a hard time motivating daily for a goal that is 2-3 years out so always having a goal inside of 6 months works well mentally I think. These can also be intermediate and more approachable things like -get out ice climbing 10 days this winter or -do 10 days of ski touring over 5000′ of gain this winter. They should be things that are at least loosely sport specific to your big goals but this will help keep the juices flowing in between big goal trips. I will also set little mini goals in the gym like Deadlift certain percentage of BW as that helps motivate me in an arena where I’m not naturally super enthusiastic. Make an actual checklist on paper of easy to achieve and big long term goals and put it on the fridge or somewhere you can’t avoid seeing it. Physically check things off as you do them and it will be a great motivator.
Okay, this is a TL;DR post…
Though I’ve been mountain biking, skiing, trekking, running and climbing for much of the last forty years (and spent a lot of time in the gym), I’ve rarely trained for an objective. I just went to the gym because going to the gym seemed to make what I was doing outside easier.
The big exception was a 2017 trip to the Dolpo region of Nepal (my second). The “training” I did worked I guess, as I hiked almost two hundred miles (mostly over 10,000 feet), climbed twelve passes (two above 17000 feet), and had an active medical clinic role without injury or undue suffering. But I don’t imagine it was efficient or highly effective in any sense of the words.
When I decided to spend the next couple of years climbing volcanoes in Oregon and Washington, I looked at my Dolpo experiences and figured I needed to do something different, then found TftNA and started studying. Now I have the basics and I can lay out the climbs I want to do over the next three years but I am not quite sure how to translate my objectives into a training plan with milestones. If I were training for marathon, I’d have pacing targets and such. But for mountaineering?
Is it as simple as saying, “I want to climb South Sister, which is a 5000 foot nontechnical hike and a 13 mile round trip, and I want to get to the summit in four hours or less.” and then devising smaller test cases to do along the way? Or setting a CTL goal in TP and training toward it? Or using some other milestones?
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