Chase Tucker from Base Camp Training in Brisbane gives us a brief rundown on on how to set your mind and body up for success in the mountains.
Firstly, congrats on getting involved with Aspiring Guides, over the last 5 years of being a mountaineering specific fitness coach, we’ve seen many of our clients succeed with the winning combination of being strong and prepared, as well as having expert guidance in the mountains from Aspiring Guides. The first thing I can say about training for alpine climbing, in New Zealand in particular, is that you can’t be too prepared. I’ve found myself in tricky situations many times, and it’s in those times that I have to draw on strength that I’ve built in my training. When you regularly place yourself in a hostile environment like the mountains, which can turn from benevolent to life threatening in just a few minutes, it becomes apparent that the more physically prepared you are, the better. Put simply, you cannot be “too fit” for the mountains. Besides, the more time and effort you put into training the more you’ll enjoy the trip - unless you really enjoy suffering! So with that in mind, what I’d like to cover briefly is four things that are often forgotten about when training for the mountains.
Be Specific - The more specific your training is to the mountains, the better. Being fit in one sport doesn’t necessarily translate to fitness in another. For example, you may be an incredibly strong swimmer, but that most help you dramatically when it comes to getting up a mountain. Just as training for the mountains won’t make you a great swimmer either.
Adaption - Your training needs to adapt over time to be beneficial. Even the most perfectly planned week of training will not be sufficient, if simply repeated over and over for 12 weeks. We need to force the body into adaptation, and we do that by adding variety in our training programs, and constantly asking the body for more in every cycle. Doing the same training routine for 12 weeks may give you some improvement, but it certainly will not be optimal.
Strength - Most people in training for the mountains focus on endurance only, like basing the entirety of their training on cycling or hiking long distances. And whilst this is beneficial, it’s important to note that strength is the basis of endurance, meaning that it’s important to build a solid base of strength first, for say, 6 weeks, and then transition into endurance specific training. This make sure you get the most out of your endurance training.
Test and Retest - One of the most difficult parts of training is staying motivated. And after 5 years of training people for the mountains I’ve noticed that the most effective way of keeping people on track is showing them how much they’ve improved over time. This is where our Alpine Testing Protocol comes in handy. It’s a series of 5 strength tests and one endurance test, designed to give you an overall measurement on where you’re at with your fitness, and how you’ve improved over time. It’s completely free for you to do, and I highly encourage you to give it your best shot! Go to our testing page, and see how you measure up against other people training for the mountains with Aspiring Guides!
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