Training for Mountaineering

What kind of physical condition should I be in for mountaineering?
Climbing requires strength & endurance. Being in sound physical condition is the single most important.phpect for climbers to maximize their climbing potential. The better your physical condition, the more likely you are to perform well and have an enjoyable experience. The most frequent comment we have received over the years is that climbers have underestimated the fitness level needed to fully enjoy their climb. Additionally, inadequate fitness has a direct effect upon the atmosphere, pace, and overall enjoyment of the trip for all team members. We encourage you to consult our office and the resources below when preparing for your climb or course. 

Physical conditioning should be approached on two fronts:

Cardiovascular conditioning. Traditionally improved by activity sustained for at least 45-60 minutes, 4-5 times per week. Suggested activities include running, bicycling, swimming, stepping, etc. Proper stretching and warm-up are very important. 

Strength conditioning. Traditionally improved by training with free weights or Nautilus machines.

  • General conditioning for mountaineering: Hike steep outdoor trails with water weight added to your pack. A physical goal for the course or climb should be to ascend 3,500ft carrying 55-65lbs in a 2-3 hour period. (15-20 pounds for Kilimanjaro, 40 pounds for Aconcagua) Increasing amounts of water in collapsible plastic jugs can be carried to vary the workout and slowly work up to a heavier pack. (Water weight is suggested so that when the climb up is complete the weight can be dumped to save knees on the downhill return). If you are training in a gym you can use a "Step-Mill" machine that is similar to an escalator or even better an elliptical trainer. If not in a gym stairs or small hills also work well.  If you train indoors, be sure to work gradually up to training with a heavy pack & boots.

We highly recommend checking with your physician before embarking on strenuous physical activity. We reserve the right to turn away those clients who we determine to be in inadequate physical condition.

Trip-Specific Training Programs:

Cascades 6 Day
Cascades 13 Day
Cascades/Rainier 10 Day
Cascades Intermediate
Rainier 8 Day Course
Denali Prep
Alaska 8 Day
Alaska 12 Day
Alaska Intermediate

Mount Rainier 3 Day Muir
Mount Rainier 4 Day Emmons
Mount Rainier 4 Day Kautz
Mount Rainier Liberty Ridge
Mount Baker Climb
Mount Adams Climb
Carstenz Pyramid
Ama Dablam
Mont Blanc
Island Peak

Everest Base Camp
Snowman Trek - Bhutan
Peru Trek
Yak Tour

You can find additional training resources at www.BodyResults.comfor the following:
• Training Articles
• Training Books and DVDs
• Customized Online Mountaineering Specific Training
Special discounts are available for Alpine Ascents Customers at the page

This training information was provided by Wilderness Sport Conditioning experts Courtenay and Doug Schurman of They are the exclusive conditioning resource for Alpine Ascents. They oversee all client training, are co-authors of the book, The Outdoor Athlete (2009) and are creators of the Train To Climb Mt Rainier DVD.

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