Untrained to Rainier in a little over a year

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  • #25581

    Me and my climbing partner Ross wanted to share our trip report this past June with everyone since Training for the New Alpinism has had a considerable impact on us. We also wanted to thank you Scott and House for their work and convey a TFTNA success story.

    Our background is that we met in our mid 20s and currently we’re in our early 30s. We would take multi-day backpacking trips a handful of times a year, nothing much was required other than some mental fortitude and some mediocre packing. We had gained a moderate amount of weight and while we accomplished all the trails we set out on we often felt quite ruined afterwards.

    In Nov of 2017 we took a hike up Mt Marcy (highest point in NY) for a weekend backpacking trip. The temperatures were in the single digits and ice was everywhere. We had never gone above the treeline, put on microspikes, or camped in the cold. We made it to the summit at sunset and saw the entire Adirondacks lit up, immediately the high places had us.

    We bought new gear and returned to the Adirondacks to be pushed back off of a three day traverse after getting a quarter of the way through our plan. Spending a lot of time online we found TFTNA mentioned in many different places. We bought the book and the physiological explanation that covers nearly half the book had us – we wanted the abilities that were so clearly lain out.

    We set a goal to climb Rainier by the Emmons Winthrope route unguided in 16 months from when we started training. We worked ourselves up to this: a 44 mile 10kft elevation gain trail in 3 days became easy, then some ascents of Mt Washington with varying routes and conditions, a 36 hour traverse in the Adirondacks which required an unplanned bivy without sleeping bag or tent, finally we ran the 44 mile trail that took us 3 days the year before in 14 hours and felt ready.

    Our climb went extremely well, we felt strong and it allowed us to concentrate on navigating the environment rather than our own physical limits. We were faster than most teams on the mountain even when we went off route and found ourselves alone, we loved every minute of it (Our full trip report can be found https://photos.app.goo.gl/P9eEy876d2KMSRxn6 if you want to see two guys just excited to be on a mountain). Without TFTNA we would never have been able to engage at this level with the speed and confidence that we have. We can focus on our technical limitations and when we reach our physical limits we know how to systematically increase our abilities accordingly. So we wanted to thank you for giving us access to mountaineering, which otherwise would have remained closed to us.

    We’re going to concentrate on leading more than a 5.6 and learning how to lead on ice for now. When we’re ready to combine technical climbing in the alpine we’ll be sure to ask for some advice, or head out west for a class.
    Camp at emmons flats

  • Inactive
    Anonymous on #25611

    Jeffrey and Ross:

    Congratulations on your successes. Your dedication and perseverance has paid off. You are exactly who Steve and I wrote our books for and why this website exists.

    Keep up the good work. There are more great adventures to come, I’m sure.


    Ruck-Steady on #46056

    Looks like an epic mission! Well done!

    Peter Rodrigues on #48121

    I know this post is a bit old, but these are great! Super inspirational for another beginner. Great job Jeffrey.

    contraincendios on #50664

    Looks like an epic mission! Congratulations on your successes.

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