12 Week Time Crunched Mountaineering Plan

The Uphill Athlete 12 week Time Crunched Mountaineering Plan is designed for climbers heading for a 2-14 day mountaineering objective who have limited time to train. The plan progresses over 12 weeks and tops out at 7:40 hours of training in the final week. It does not include any technical training components so is best for those with either a good technical skill set or for those bound for non-technical objectives. The focus is 100% on climber fitness which in our experience is most amateur climber’s biggest limitation on these sorts of climbs. This plan does not include a taper/easy week, so it is important to plan one very light week (or travel) after completing the program before tackling your main objective.

Caveat: You can’t get something for nothing and this plan sacrifices the aerobic base building period. As such this plan should not be considered as a short cut to fitness. It is a compromise plan for those with strictly limited time to train and/or a short time horizon. While it is a stand alone plan It will give better results if it comes on top of a solid aerobic base. If you plan to stack 2 of these plans back to back it is important to separate them with a 4-6 week strictly aerobic base building period. This Aerobic base period is fully explained and outlined in our book, Training for the New Alpinism.

For specific questions about this training plan email us at coach@uphillathlete.com.

Thanks for becoming an #uphillathlete

Steve House

IFMGA-certified Mountain Guide, Coach, and Founder of Uphill Athlete

Sample Workouts:

Workout #1: Other

Planned Time: 1:00:00

Mountaineer/Alpine Climber Anaerobic Threshold Test Instructions: This test determines your anaerobic threshold (AnT); which will be useful for us to help control and monitor your training. It should be performed at least 3 days after any hard efforts. You can do this either on a steep treadmill (15%), or a steep uphill. The test will take 30 minutes and you will need a recording heart rate monitor. This test requires maximal output so you need to be physically and mentally ready for a hard effort. You will want to be well fueled prior to testing. Make sure you ate your most recent meal at least 120 minutes pre-testing and ideally top up with a light carbohydrate-focused snack of about 100 calories within 30-45 minutes of beginning the test.

Workout #2: Hike/Run

Planned Time: 0:45:00

On treadmill set @10% or steeper, Stairmaster or outdoors on uphill or rolling terrain. Hold HR to 50-90% of Anaerobic Threshold Heart Rate for duration

Workout #3: Strength

Planned Time: 0:30:00

Warm up with 5 min running or steep hiking and 1-2 sets of squats with 50% of max weight. Use this for Max strength development.

For step ups use a 30-40cm (12-15″) box to step up. Face the box and step up then back down repeat for prescribed reps then switch legs.

For Step Downs you may need a smaller box. Step off the top as though going down a set of stairs. Touch your heel to floor and rise up again.

Select a weight that allows 5-6 reps till failure. Do 4-5 sets of only 4 reps on each leg with this weight in each exercise. Do not go to failure. Increases in weight should come week to week. See video for reference.

Workout #4: Day Off


Workout #5: Run/Hike

Planned Time: 0:45:00

On Treadmill set 10% or steeper, stairmaster or rolling to steep terrain outdoors. 10min @ 80% of Anaerobic Threshold Heart Rate 3x8min @ 90% Anaerobic Threshold Heart Rate with 2min easy walk between 10 min @ 60% Anaerobic Threshold Heart Rate

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