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Training for hard alpine in only 5 weeks?
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brokesomeribs


Feb 20, 2011, 3:31 PM
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Training for hard alpine in only 5 weeks?
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Just bought tickets to head to Chamonix in exactly 5 weeks. Our objectives are NF of the Eiger, Supercouloir, the Grandes Jorasses, and similar routes. They aren't the hardest the Alps have to offer, but they're certainly no joke. This whole trip is coming at a bit of a surprise to me as I obviously would have preferred to have more time to train.

I'm currently in decent shape... leading 5.11 on sport when I'm fresh (but poor endurance has me down to easy 5.10 after only 2 or 3 pitches), 5.9ish trad, and WI4. Bump each of those numbers up a grade if following. I think my weaknesses, particularly for alpine, are just being able to keep up the grind for 10+ hours a day. Oh, and I'm a terrible crack climber and have never done more than 4 hand jam moves in a row. I foresee this being a potential problem in chamonix.

I've put together a rough training plan, but would be interested to hear some additional perspectives to refine my plan moving forward.

General Thoughts
- None of the technical climbing is extremely hard - about WI4 or 4+ and rock moves up to 5.8, but in mountain boots and crampons with a 20 lbs pack
- Cardio work with lactic acid build-up is the most important facet of this training, i.e. hill sprints with a pack, running stairs, etc. My secondary goal is forearm endurance for ice climbing.
- I don't have time to do a proper periodization plan and spend x weeks on cardio base, then x weeks on endurance, then x weeks on power, etc
- Therefore, I'm going to train hard every day, keeping track of my body and how I feel, with at least 1 mandatory full rest day every week.

So, without further ado, here's my rough training plan:

Cardio
- Hill climb or stair sprints for 1 hr - 4x/week. Will slowly increase pack weight and add ankle weights each week (Stair sprints at local high school when I'm short on time, hill climbs when I have a little more time to get in the car and drive to the hill)
- Long hike each weekend, anywhere from 10-15 hours of constant movement. Preference to trails with as much scrambling or steep terrain as possible. Starting with 20 lbs pack, will increase weight each time to do last hike with 35 lbs. All in mountain boots.

Climbing
-3 Nights a week at local climbing gym focusing on power endurance. My goal is to be able to lead at least 10 routes in a row in the 5.10-5.12 range with no rests other than belaying my partner.
-Will build a plice wall (see Will Gadd's blog) in my back yard and 3 plice workouts a week, plus one-arm lock-offs on my axes each night.
- Lots of rollies (hanging weight on a broomstick, roll up and down, lather/rinse/repeat) and pullups. I can do about 20 consecutive pullups today, By the time I hop on my flight, I would like to be where I was last year... able to do 35-40 regular pullups and able to do 2 one-arms on each side (this is mostly out of vanity haha)

General Fitness
1 or 2 Mountain Athlete workouts per week (taken from their website) to do in the regular gym

My main concerns are overtraining and training for crack climbing. I'm going to be able to hit the Gunks at least 2-3 days before I leave, but there's very limited crack climbing. Even so, the cracks there aren't really all that similar to the splitter granite cracks in the Alps. I highly doubt I'll be able to make it up to the Dacks which has very granite-esqe Anorthosite cracks. Oh well. As far as overtraining goes, I'm just going to pay close attention to my body, my waking pulse each morning, and ensuring that I get at least one mandatory full rest day each week where some light yoga and stretching will be the limit of my physical activity.

Anyway, lay it on me! I'm particularly interested in hearing from anyone who has attempted a similar training program on a short schedule and how it worked out. Oh, and any "Yer gonna die!" comments are both expected and invited.

Thanks!


kachoong


Feb 20, 2011, 3:59 PM
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Re: [brokesomeribs] Training for hard alpine in only 5 weeks? [In reply to]
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How much mixed ice have you done? How many pitches of 5.9 on crumbly rock with two pieces of pro? How may 1000' walls have you climbed? 3000' walls? How many hanging bivies? Have you done much glacier travel or crevasse rescue?

I'm not sure if your 5.12 power endurance will help out too much half way up the NF of the Eiger. Not trying to be an ass, just realistic. You'd be better off spending your time climbing in RMNP or in the Tetons for the next five weeks.


brokesomeribs


Feb 20, 2011, 4:10 PM
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Re: [kachoong] Training for hard alpine in only 5 weeks? [In reply to]
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kachoong wrote:
How much mixed ice have you done?
None since last week.

In reply to:
How many pitches of 5.9 on crumbly rock with two pieces of pro?
Hard to say. Somewhere between 20-30 I guess.

In reply to:
How may 1000' walls have you climbed? 3000' walls?
One 1000' wall. Nothing bigger than that.

In reply to:
How many hanging bivies?
None. Luckily there are none on any of the routes we're looking at. I can rig some slings and leg stirrups and stand in my pack overnight if that's what you're asking. Or just climb through most of the night if weather conditions allow.

In reply to:
Have you done much glacier travel or crevasse rescue?
None, but practiced on steep slopes a bunch.

In reply to:
I'm not sure if your 5.12 power endurance will help out too much half way up the NF of the Eiger. Not trying to be an ass, just realistic. You'd be better off spending your time climbing in RMNP or in the Tetons for the next five weeks.

Thanks for the input on training, much appreciated.


milesenoell


Feb 20, 2011, 4:24 PM
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Re: [brokesomeribs] Training for hard alpine in only 5 weeks? [In reply to]
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Sounds like you've got an awesome trip lined up. Go shred that gnar.


skiclimb


Feb 20, 2011, 5:48 PM
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Re: [milesenoell] Training for hard alpine in only 5 weeks? [In reply to]
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milesenoell wrote:
Sounds like you've got an awesome trip lined up. Go shred that gnar.


Ditto.

Your training program looks about as good as can be for 5 weeks. Although 1h hill climbing is less than optimum suggest 2 hours at least when can. And i'd recommend only 3 to 4 days a week instead of 6 with caffiene and carbs for the hiking days and protiens for the alternate days.. lotsa sleep.

And do find time to nail down your crevasse rescue systems.

best bang for the effort with only 5 weeks to go.

And yeah back when i was about 25 to 30 that kind of training in 5 weeks had me flying up big mountains.

Seems to take a couple extra months at age 40 lol


(This post was edited by skiclimb on Feb 20, 2011, 6:01 PM)


hafilax


Feb 20, 2011, 6:16 PM
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Re: [brokesomeribs] Training for hard alpine in only 5 weeks? [In reply to]
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brokesomeribs wrote:
Just bought tickets to head to Chamonix in exactly 5 weeks. Our objectives are NF of the Eiger, Supercouloir, the Grandes Jorasses, and similar routes. They aren't the hardest the Alps have to offer, but they're certainly no joke. This whole trip is coming at a bit of a surprise to me as I obviously would have preferred to have more time to train.

I'm currently in decent shape... leading 5.11 on sport when I'm fresh (but poor endurance has me down to easy 5.10 after only 2 or 3 pitches), 5.9ish trad, and WI4. Bump each of those numbers up a grade if following. I think my weaknesses, particularly for alpine, are just being able to keep up the grind for 10+ hours a day. Oh, and I'm a terrible crack climber and have never done more than 4 hand jam moves in a row. I foresee this being a potential problem in chamonix.

I've put together a rough training plan, but would be interested to hear some additional perspectives to refine my plan moving forward.

General Thoughts
- None of the technical climbing is extremely hard - about WI4 or 4+ and rock moves up to 5.8, but in mountain boots and crampons with a 20 lbs pack
- Cardio work with lactic acid build-up is the most important facet of this training, i.e. hill sprints with a pack, running stairs, etc. My secondary goal is forearm endurance for ice climbing.
- I don't have time to do a proper periodization plan and spend x weeks on cardio base, then x weeks on endurance, then x weeks on power, etc
- Therefore, I'm going to train hard every day, keeping track of my body and how I feel, with at least 1 mandatory full rest day every week.

So, without further ado, here's my rough training plan:

Cardio
- Hill climb or stair sprints for 1 hr - 4x/week. Will slowly increase pack weight and add ankle weights each week (Stair sprints at local high school when I'm short on time, hill climbs when I have a little more time to get in the car and drive to the hill)
- Long hike each weekend, anywhere from 10-15 hours of constant movement. Preference to trails with as much scrambling or steep terrain as possible. Starting with 20 lbs pack, will increase weight each time to do last hike with 35 lbs. All in mountain boots.

Climbing
-3 Nights a week at local climbing gym focusing on power endurance. My goal is to be able to lead at least 10 routes in a row in the 5.10-5.12 range with no rests other than belaying my partner.
-Will build a plice wall (see Will Gadd's blog) in my back yard and 3 plice workouts a week, plus one-arm lock-offs on my axes each night.
- Lots of rollies (hanging weight on a broomstick, roll up and down, lather/rinse/repeat) and pullups. I can do about 20 consecutive pullups today, By the time I hop on my flight, I would like to be where I was last year... able to do 35-40 regular pullups and able to do 2 one-arms on each side (this is mostly out of vanity haha)

General Fitness
1 or 2 Mountain Athlete workouts per week (taken from their website) to do in the regular gym

My main concerns are overtraining and training for crack climbing. I'm going to be able to hit the Gunks at least 2-3 days before I leave, but there's very limited crack climbing. Even so, the cracks there aren't really all that similar to the splitter granite cracks in the Alps. I highly doubt I'll be able to make it up to the Dacks which has very granite-esqe Anorthosite cracks. Oh well. As far as overtraining goes, I'm just going to pay close attention to my body, my waking pulse each morning, and ensuring that I get at least one mandatory full rest day each week where some light yoga and stretching will be the limit of my physical activity.

Anyway, lay it on me! I'm particularly interested in hearing from anyone who has attempted a similar training program on a short schedule and how it worked out. Oh, and any "Yer gonna die!" comments are both expected and invited.

Thanks!
This is WAY to much to train for in 5 weeks. Pick maybe 2 weaknesses that you really need to improve. If you want to improve at something you want to do 3+ workouts per week for the full month with rest days every 2-3 days. You'll want to take at least 2-3 days rest right before the trip. Your plan looks like at least 2 workouts per day with one rest day per week. Unless you are a professional athlete that will lead to serious over training.

For alpine I would train pure climbing endurance and leg endurance. I'm biased toward Mountain Athlete given that I do a lot of crossfit these days. Having strong legs is vital for long moderate climbing IMO. I would do a couple of Mt. Athlete workouts during the week and do a long slow distance hike on the weekend. For climbing, I would focus on sustained climbing and not worry about pushing grades. Alpine leads are way longer than leads in the gym so you'll need to run a bunch of laps in a row without breaking to belay.

Alpine is most enjoyable if you can just keep going and going. A big part of that is dialing in your eating and hydration routine. That has as large an effect on your endurance as the training.

I'm envious.


highlander


Feb 20, 2011, 7:29 PM
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Re: [brokesomeribs] Training for hard alpine in only 5 weeks? [In reply to]
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Don't underestimate the importance of recovery/rest days or you will end up more tired than fit for your trip. I would allow at least 4 days of rest just before leaving, that way your batteries are fully charged.
I would alos try to put in as many big days as possible to simulate the type of days you are going to have on the trip (at least 1 a week, 2 would be ideal). ex.: Hike for a few hours, go to the crag and run laps on rock, ice/mixed, then go hike for couple hours, keep yourself moving for 12 hours+. Nothing works better for getting your body ready for those long days than actually doing it.
Throw in a couple highend work capacity workouts a week, 2 climbing gym workouts a week (could do 1 with focus on strength/power, and 1 with focus on anerobic endurance). Get lots of rest and eat well and you will be ready to charge.


deschamps1000


Feb 20, 2011, 7:46 PM
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Re: [brokesomeribs] Training for hard alpine in only 5 weeks? [In reply to]
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You are going to be an animal after your training. Go for it!

Here's an easy way to feel better in Chamonix. Actively manage your jet-lag. Turn the 5 day funk into a 2-day minor issue.

I always travel with an eye-mask, ear plugs, and a neck pillow. Get as rested as possible before you leave, then sleep as much as you can on the plane. When you get there (probably in the morning), spend all of your first day walking around outside, in natural light. Do not go to bed when you arrive at 7am tired! Do not take a nap. Make it until 8pm then sleep.


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