Friday, July 30, 2010

Less than a week for Lindsay...

Yikes...less than a week away until my climb of Rainier and I have to admit I am a little anxious to find out if the training has prepared me enough for the climb. This week has been pretty low key with only one resistance workout, a couple 20 km bike rides, and some swimming. I have been trying to taper down my workouts in preparation for the climb like I would do if I was getting ready for a road race or triathlon. I wouldn’t say that I have been carb-loading as I don’t necessarily have a specific formula to follow, but I have certainly been trying to make sure I am not dehydrated in the days leading up to the climb. I have been drinking at least 2 litres of water each day and compensating when I work out. If you haven’t seen the videos that have been posted on Whittaker Mountaineering’s website, I would highly recommend it. The video of the climb to the summit of Rainier on July 16th really helped me get mentally prepared for the climb. I can’t believe there is so much snow, but at least I am going to be prepared for it. It gave some insight into what I can expect, like going to bed at 6 pm (really?) and setting out for the summit in the dark. I find the more information I know about the climbing conditions and itinerary, the better I can handle not so favourable the wind. I hate wind, but knowing that there is a likely chance there will be lots of it, makes the idea a little more bearable. I have been reading a lot of updates on Facebook that the weather has been really good up on the summit so I am hoping the good weather stays around for my climb. My husband and I are heading to Seattle Friday and will head down to Ashford on Sunday to begin our adventure...can’t wait for the experience to begin!

Be sure to check out the latest Route Condition video from Whittaker Mountaineering owner, Peter Whittaker's latest climb, July 28th.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

David's Final Entry

Beshears Final Journal Entry
July 28, 2010
Friday morning, about 10:30 AM. I check my gear one final time and load it into the car. I turn on the GPS system, directed it to Whittaker’s Bunkhouse in Ashford and set off.

Orientation at the meeting house started at 3:00. We got acquainted with our fellow team members, checked thr
ough our gear to make sure we had all that we’d need, and the guide went over the game plan for the next few days.

I checked into my room, then wandered around trying to find a phone signal. It took a while, but I finally got one near the left rear bumper of my car. I called home to let Sylvia know how things were going.

Saturday morning… the team met up outside the meeting house. We loaded into a shuttle and made the 45 minute drive up to Paradise. We spent the day up on the mountain training for the climb; learned all about ice arrest, how to rope up and travel roped, how to use crampons, and a lot more. It was a great day of training and a great workout.

Saturday evening, sitting near the back bumper of my car, carefully holding my cell phone in just the right position to keep a signal… There
was a problem at home, a family crisis. After doing what I could long distance (pretty much nothing), I hung up and hoped for the best. A few hours later, one of the hotel staff knocked on my door with a message to call home (no phones in the rooms). I went looking for a signal. When I finally connected, things were worse…
Sunday morning before I met with the rest of the team to start the climb, I called home again. Looked like I was going home… no mountain today. I stood outside the gear rental shop until it opened and turned in those items that I had chosen to rent rather than buy. I left word for my guide, got into my car, and started home.

It was devastating.
I was crushed. After two years of planning, after seven months of training, I was headed home. This climb was for my son, a young soldier injured so horribly in the war, and I was going home without completing the mission. And I was ready… so damned ready…

Well I’m not finished. As soon as this all gets sorted out, I’m going back to the mountain. 

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Caroline George's Nutrition Tips

Whittaker Mountaineering Guide Team member, Caroline George's advice on nutrition for alpine adventures...

Nutrition: eat healthy! If you eat well and enough, you will be ready for a climb. I don't usually eat more than usual the night before a climb because it would prevent me from sleeping well. I eat normally the days before a climb too. What matters is that while you are climbing, you are snacking regularly. I always keep food accessible in my pockets so that I can eat something quickly at each break. On a climb, I usually eat nuts and dry fruits, because they are high in calories and I therefore don't need to carry too much with me. It's a great weight/calories ratio. 

Personally, I try to eat a lot of protein, fruits, vegetables, goat cheese and nuts. These seem to be the food that make me feel and perform the best. That being said, we all have different body types and it's important to figure out what works best for you.

Allison Takes Her Pack To The Gym!

Phew, what a week it has been for us. First off, my husband arrived safe and sound on Thursday morning...YIPPEE! Now for some TRAINING!

It has been hard for me to find the time to train like I really want to with my husband gone, but that obstacle is no longer an issue, YEAH FOR ME. I was able to get in a few runs this week along some rolling hills here in town. The town we live in is ideal for running and biking. We have over 30 miles of trails, both paved and dirt/gravel to utilize, right outside our front door with amazing views of Rainier and the Puget Sound, very picturesque. I really enjoy running and if I can get my IT band under control, would LOVE to try for a marathon someday. I also sported the backpack with about 30 lbs in it (using some of my old Nursing Text Books, man are those BIG) and hit the stair climber at the Y. Was able to get in about 45 minutes before the kids were done with their activities. I guess I stand out at the Y with the big pack on because numerous people have come up to me and asked if I was training to climb a mountain. Guess I'm on the right path.

On top of training, I have started listening to Whittaker Mountaineering's Training Podcasts on Altitude. I think that will be my biggest obstacle, mentally. I am not as worried about the physical aspect of the climb as I am about the altitude. The first podcast was interesting, especially to me, a Registered Nurse, as it talked over the pathophysiology of altitude on your body. I plan to listen to the 2nd and 3rd Podcasts as well.

Well, I'm off to take the kiddos to the pool! Happy training :)

Sunday, July 25, 2010

How Caroline George stays fueled in the mountains...

Whittaker Mountaineering Guide Team member, Caroline George on 'what to eat' in the mountains:

There is no one way to eat in the mountains. What might work for one person may not work for another, so it's important to figure out how your body reacts to different food and drinks before you actually start on the climb. As a general guideline, it's good to eat a few healthy and slightly more caloric meals during the days preceding a climb to stock up on energy. During your approach to camp, stop every hour to drink and nibble on a light snack. Once at camp, rehydrate thoroughly. I personally try to drink a warm beverage because it performs the double task of hydrating me and that of keeping me warm. Supper should consist of an easily digestible meal so that it doesn't prevent you from sleeping. Also, the stress of the climb might tie your stomach in knots, which could in turn make the digestion process harder. Be mindful of how much you eat the night before the climb.

On D-Day, a small cup of oatmeal and a warm drink is enough to get me going in the morning. While climbing, take advantage of every break to drink and snack. As it's not always possible to stop every hour, I keep something to eat in my pants or jacket pocket in case of a sudden craving. We all react differently to temperatures, the stress of the ascent, the weather, the altitude, etc: some people need to eat a lot, others have no appetite. What matters however is to eat a little bit every hour: don't eat your whole sandwich in one go because it will literally take your breath away when you start ascending again. A little bite at a time will do the trick.

This is what I would typically take on a climb with me:

Approach Snack: a big cookie, an orange, nuts (I like Maple Pecans because they are sugar coated so it gives me an instant kick), bars, a sandwich.

To rehydrate at camp: an electrolyte powder (Nunn, Gatorade, etc.), a soup or some broth.

In the evening: mashed potatoes (super light to carry) and a package of tuna fish. Some chocolate and an herbal tea for desert.

The morning of the climb: 1.5 small package of Quick Oatmeal and some tea/coffee.

On the climb: a few bars, nuts, chocolate, gels or cliff blocks, a thermos full of a warm drink or a platypus depending on the temperatures. I bring food that I am really excited to eat so that I can motivate to eat them on the mountains.

After the climb: a nice meal, lots and lots of liquid and if you're afraid you might be sore, take an Ibuprofen.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

"...there is no greater satisfaction than to overcome your fear."

Whittaker Mountaineering Guide Team member, Caroline George answers some training and preparation questions:

What are your best suggestions for staying fit for your next climb?
For alpine climbing, a mix of cardio and strength is the best training for your next climb. It's a good idea to go on long hikes with a loaded backpack on, so that you know what to expect. Knowing what to expect will help both physically and psychologically. Getting psychologically ready and motivated is maybe the most important training you can do, as the body will follow what the mind wants.

What was an intimidating or scary moment in your climbing career and how did you overcome it?
The most scary moment in my climbing career was skiing down from the summit of Mont Dolent, a peak border to Switzerland, Italy and France. I was skiing down a 45-50degree slope when a small wet snow slide took me off guard and pushed me over the edge. I fell 1300ft down a rock face, landing in soft snow on the glacier below. During the fall, I was sure that I was going to die. Others had died there. But I survived. And despite deep hypothermia - I had to wait 4 hours for rescue -, multiple fractures and two months flat on my back on a hospital bed, I didn't shy away from climbing. Much to the contrary. It motivated me to learn more about snow conditions and how to climb safer in the mountains. I could have quit climbing then, but I didn't and this taught that when you really want something, you have to be willing to overcome your fears and failures.

In the mountains, when I encounter an intimidating or scary moment, I take the time to regroup my thoughts, assess the hazard and consider the options. Sometimes the only way out is going to the top and you just have to dig deep and trust that you can do it. Other times, the risk may not be worth your while, and it's time to bail. An important aspect to acknowledge in climbing is the difference between irrational fears and a truly dangerous situation. Be sure to know your limits and feel comfortable with them. But know that in the end, there is no greater satisfaction than to overcome your fear.

Do you have any tricks to staying warm when you start feeling cold?
Think warm thoughts! Anyone who knows me knows I can't go anywhere without warm tea. I drink a lot. Eat a lot, but in small portions. And I am not afraid of climbing with one or two down jackets on. I wear heat packs on my wrists when it's really cold: to do so, I use feet warmers and put the sticky side on the inside of the glove, so that the warm side is on my skin. I take the time to windmill my arms a lot to keep blood flowing to my extremities. And I don't wait a whole day to go pee, because all the energy that the body puts into keeping urine warm, is energy that doesn't go into warming other parts of your body.

It is important to use the layering system to stay warm. The pockets of air between each layer are what help you stay warm. I personally prefer to wear Merino Wool close to my skin. Merino stays warm even when it gets wet. My favorite piece is First Ascent's Ultra-195 Merino Baselayer 1/4 Zip and Pants.

 For more on Caroline, check out her page on our website.

Anthony mixes it up

For the most part my routine stayed the same this past week, with a few minor tweaks to keep things interesting. “Two-a-days” are pretty much standard for me now, with weightlifting in the morning and cardio in the afternoon.

I sat in on my first cycling class the other day. It’s a great workout. It really fired up the quads and the lungs. I’ve been back four times since and feel myself getting stronger each time. Each class is 45 minutes to an hour in duration and the intensity is up to the individual. I know it’s not the “best” cardio for climbing, but I’ve found that there are a few advantages (for me at least): 1) it helps me to mix it up. By utilizing different training modalities, I stay interested, challenged, and out of the rut of monotony. 2) It is very motivating. There is something about being in a room full of people that brings out my competitive side; I refuse to let anyone work harder than me, so I really push myself (c’mon, admit it…you guys are just as competitive as I am…or, am I a freak?). 3) It fits my schedule. As much as I want to, there is no way to fit in a 4+ hour hike each day. There is one disadvantage to cycling though, (at least so far). How do I say this? Um, the bike seat is very hard. Consequently, my seat is very sore. I’ll be taking a few days and hitting the stair-master and treadmill instead.

My wife and I got in a pretty good hike on Saturday. I had picked up a backpack earlier in the week, so I loaded it with 53lbs (I used the bathroom scales) of stuff and we hit the trail. We hiked to a place called Mcafee’s knob. It’s a popular piece of the Appalachian Trail in Virginia. Total distance is about 8 miles roundtrip. It’s a pretty easy hike with only about 1200 feet of elevation gain, most of which is in the last mile of the trip up. Not counting the time spent enjoying the view, we spent a total of just under 3.5 hours hiking. It rained hard the whole way up and my wife was a real trooper about it. She really isn’t “into it”, the way I am, and I know she just goes to keep me company, which I appreciate. We are planning an over-nighter this weekend which should be fun.

Friday, July 23, 2010

David Heads to Rainier!!

Beshears Journal Entry - July 23
Friday, July 23rd
This is it… heading out to Mt. Rainier this morning. Orientation with RMI this afternoon, ascent this weekend. Looks like a full moon coming up, hope the night sky is clear when we make the final climb to the summit early Monday.

I went on my last conditioning climb this past Sunday; climbed Mt. Ellinor. It went great, and I got acquainted with mountain goats living up at the summit. Took a lot of pictures, put some of them on my facebook page (davidrbeshears).
Mt. Ellinor has a snow field that reminds me just a little of the snow field below Camp Muir. Good training. 

I was planning to do some glissading back down, but another climber I met told me she had heard of people getting injured on Ellinor recently because of hidden rocks. So I put away my outer layer and started hiking down. I began slipping and plopped onto my butt, began an involuntary glissade. Trying not to glissade is much harder than glissading. I wasn’t wearing my outer layer and since I didn’t want to get soaked, I tried to stop myself. My legs went under me and I was holding my trekking poles for hiking, not glissading. I grabbed at some bushes going by and managed to come to a stop before things got out of hand. Still, good thing I’m going to be trained for this tomorrow, eh?  

When I got back down to the trailhead, I felt exhilarated. Great hike, had a wonderful time. I am really looking forward to Rainier.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Lindsay hits the trail some more!

Well, we couldn’t have had better weather on the climbs this weekend.  When I got out of the tent on Saturday morning there was not one cloud in the sky, just bright blue and sunshine.  Grotto Mountain started out okay, but about an hour and a half into the climb it became relentless.  Once again I had my pack on with most of the gear I would need to bring for the Rainier climb and for some reason it really felt heavy this time.  It seemed like it was taking forever to get to the summit.  All I could think of was I hope the hike up to Camp Muir would not be as steep.  My husband and I ran into some big horn sheep on the ridge approaching the summit and they didn’t appear to care that we were even there.  It took us just under 5 hours to climb 1425 m with our weighted packs and just under 3 hours to get back down.  We were both pretty tired when we got back to the car and ready for a relaxing evening at the campground.  We did stop at a gas station in Canmore to get some much needed Powerade and water as we both felt pretty dehydrated, even though we had both packed a litre of water and half a litre of gatorade.  The next morning we had prepared for it to be cloudy and raining, but to our surprise there was a bright blue sky and it was sunny.  We cleaned up our campsite and headed to climb Ha Ling Peak.  This is a pretty popular climb in the area so we wanted to get an early start so the trail wouldn’t be too crowded.  Ha Ling Peak is an easy scramble with an elevation gain of 700 m.  It took us under 2 hours to get to the summit and just over an hour to descend.  Since we leave for Seattle in two weeks we have decided to forego climbing next week and instead just continue with the gym workouts.   
I can't believe there is only 2 more weeks until we leave for Seattle - I hope the weeks go by fast :)

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Allison HEATs it up!

This week was filled with goodbyes to family and hello's to new neighbors with lots and lots of packing and unpacking from our vacation. I was able to get in only two days of Insanity workouts this past week...UGH! I have all these plans for the upcoming weeks prior to our big weekend, with hopes that I can actually do them. I borrowed a nice hiking backpack from a friend and plan to stuff it full of "stuff" and hop on the stair climber at the Y while our 7 yr old is at gymnastics. Our Y has an amazing trainer who teaches HEAT (High Energy Athletic Training) classes three times/week, which I was doing prior to our vacation. Just found out that she has started a HEAT Boot Camp for the summer, three times/week full of running, climbing, swimming etc. I'll let you know how it goes :)

This upcoming week is the most anticipated week for our family though.
My husband is due to return from Iraq after being deployed for 12 months. Not sure when he is due to arrive, but we are hoping by Friday the latest! The kids and I cannot wait to get our arms around him and have him home again.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

One more week for David!

July 16, 2010

As I write this, I have one week to go before orientation day at RMI and I begin my four days at Mt. Rainier. I spent the last week stair climbing in the mornings and on the treadmill in the afternoons. I will be going on a final conditioning climb on Sunday, this time Mt. Ellinor. I understand the elevation gain is about 3200ft and that it takes about 4 hours to get to the summit.

After Ellinor I’ll back off quite bit. Monday thru Thursday I’ll limit myself to some easy walks, Yoga and stretching. And on Friday morning I’ll pack everything up and make the drive up to Rainier.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Anthony has an awesome Nutrition Tip...

So far so good...This week I've managed to hit the gym twice a day everyday except Wednesday (rest).  I've been hitting the weights in the mornings and the cardio in the afternoon/evenings.  I realize that the weightlifting is not as important for conditioning as the cardio, but I just can't help myself; I enjoy it.  Plus, I really don't want to lose strength or body-weight and with the increased cardio I'm concerned that's a possibility.  So far the cardio work has been good.  I'm shooting for at least an hour a day (except rest days) with my heart rate in the aerobic zone and most days I push it beyond that.  I try to pay attention to how I feel and adjust my workouts accordingly.  I don't want any injuries.

I've been watching my diet pretty closely as well.  As I mentioned I don't want to lose weight so I want to make sure I get enough of the right kind of calories.  I use a website called “FITDAY” to help me keep track of the calories and macro-nutrients I consume on a daily basis.  This may be a little OCD  for some people, but it works for me.  The website is free and I recommend it to anyone who is interested in monitoring and controlling their diet.

I've decided that there are a couple of training items I need to pick up to make the trail hiking more productive.  First is a decent backpack.  Something large enough to effectively carry sufficient amounts of weight.  I've been using a book-bag stuffed with 30lbs of old text books, but the bag is really strained and the weight pulls directly down on the shoulders.  The second item is a good heart rate monitor, something that will  give me accurate and consistent feedback.

I'm looking forward to a couple of good day-hikes this weekend.  Honestly, I'd like to get in more hiking than time or work will allow, but so far so good...

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Monica's McKinley Trip Report!

The wise sage Woody Allen once said, “If you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans.”  After months of tunnel vision, during which I obsessively read about, talked about and thought about climbing Denali, the mountain made mincemeat out of me, with no apologies or explanations.  But do I care or have any regrets?  No!  I have never considered myself a peak bagger, and making the summit has always seemed like icing on the cake.  The time on Denali was incredibly rich in experience and sensory input that the only annoyance in not making it to the top is that I will probably have to try again sometime.

 We were delayed in Talkeetna by a day due to weather, but were finally flown on the glacier that Friday late afternoon.  We then rigged our sleds and packs with more gear than I thought imaginable, had dinner, drank copious amounts of water, slathered on sunscreen, roped up and set out at about 10PM.  I was behind Jake our rock star of a lead guide, and he must have sensed I was a bundle of nerves because he said “Monica, all we’re doing today is going for a nice, leisurely walk.”  He was correct.  That first day was the heaviest load, but the mildest terrain, going downhill first then gradually heading up to 7800 ft. camp on the Kahiltna Glacier.  There were many crevasses all around  and below us, but the snow was firm and we had a pretty direct path.  We rolled into camp around 5:30 AM, set up tents and went to sleep.  Our next move was to 9700 camp.  I tried to outwit my backpack and put more weight in my sled, which was a big mistake.  I felt like I was pulling the entire world behind me, and struggled unnecessarily.  After some redistribution, I had a much better time. 

 Things went south for me after our carry from 11000 to 14000.  It was very hot, as it had been on most of our days, and we were sweating profusely.  I felt good and strong, although the last push to the 14000 foot camp was endless, and it felt like we would never get there.  My feet were feeling very sweaty and I could feel some hot spots under my heels, but as we were going down, those hot spots became searing.  When I took my boots off, the left heel and arch of my foot were lacking a couple of layers of skin, with subsequent oozing.  Getting around camp that evening was torture, and I cursed every time I had to pee.  Even hopping in the vestibule to use my pee bottle was shockingly painful.  The next day we moved to 14000 camp and I cowboyed up since that’s what I was there for.  Again, I felt pretty strong and was able to overcome the feeling that I was stepping on nails with each step.  However, in camp I couldn’t cope and again going to the bathroom was the most dreaded of chores.  Despite the constant reminders from the guides to drink tons of water, I limited my intake as much as I could, because I couldn’t deal with the simple act of walking or standing to pee.  

The next day we carried to 16,200ft.  This is along the “headwall”, and the last 800 or so feet were steep enough to require fixed lines.  I felt horrible.  I had trouble catching my breath, felt off balance, felt my calves cramping, generally was quite miserable.  Coming down chafed my left foot even more, and I started feeling the same on my right.  The next day was a rest day when we should have been acclimating and regaining strength for our move to 17000.  Since we weren’t exerting ourselves, I conserved my water to avoid walking to the pee area, and got myself in a major hole.  I also started Diamox, thinking my issues were altitude related.  Unfortunately, Diamox is a diuretic, and I didn’t’ drink nearly enough to compensate.   During the move, I felt much worse than the two days before.  I felt terribly off balance, couldn’t catch my breath, was cramping, and kept closing my eyes like I was about to fall asleep.  At one point I asked Andy, one of our other rock star guides, if I could just lie down and take a quick nap.  Needless to say, that was the end of the line for me.  At that point I was not disappointed.  I felt terrible and was questioning if I had cerebral edema.  I assured myself  that if I was even thinking that, I didn’t.  I air-kissed my teammates goodbye and watched them head up while Elias, our third rock star, and I descended to the medic tent at 14000. 

 The doctor at 14000 was kind of like a high altitude Dr. House, and he came up with the thoroughly unglamorous diagnosis of dehydration and electrolyte imbalance.  Once he said it, I realized of course that’s what had happened.  Reviewing my water intake over the past several days, it wasn’t sufficient for a day at the office at sea level.  I spent the next two days drinking water and Gatorade and anxiously waiting for my teammates to do their thing and safely descend.  By the time they came down I felt better but certainly not normal.  The descent was probably the most harrowing of all the days.  It had been quite warm and despite traveling at the coldest time of day, the snow bridges on the lower glacier were really weak and everyone on our team punched through crevasses.  Our guides got us out flawlessly though, and I had complete trust in them.  The move up heartbreak hill actually drove me to giggles.  It was the final push before getting to base camp, and after all that downhill, uphill with our heavy sleds made us feel like true beasts of burden.

 At one point while I was rehydrating at 14000, I began anticipating my friends and families questions, namely was I terribly upset that I didn’t summit.  I wholeheartedly have to say no.  Although I would have liked to see the Buttress and the view from the top, I felt so privileged to have been on Denali at all in such an intimate way.  The beauty of Denali and the surrounding peaks is so shockingly splendid that it dropped me to my knees at times.  It was truly the closest to a spiritual encounter that I will ever have.  I also felt like every moment was filled with a new experience, ranging from dealing with snow inside the tent from condensed, frozen breath to managing those sleds.  Thus, even though when I got home my feet were still in terrible shape and I was exhausted, I felt refreshed and renewed.

 For obvious reasons, my biggest piece of advice for future Denali climbers is to drink more water than you can possibly fathom.  Also, if you are a contact lens wearer and have ever considered lasix, get it done before the climb.  Dealing with Contacts was a major hassle.  Finally, sleep with the food you’re going to eat the next day.  Nothing is worse than biting into a frozen cliff bar.  My sleeping bag housed socks, boot liners, contact lenses and solution, iPod, batteries, the two layers I would wear over my base layer, climbing pants, water, pee bottle (frozen pee bottle is no good), gloves, and the food I’d eat the next day.

 As for my future climbing, I desperately need more practice with self care at high altitude, and need to find some less hostile mountains to work on it.  I’m a bit afraid since I couldn’t have anticipated those blisters for anything.  Same boots as previous climbs, same socks.  I have no idea what happened.  Ultimately though, I think I could have overcome the pain during climbing, if I were able to manage the water flow.  It’s the dehydration that finally got the best of me, not the blisters.  Denali isn’t going anywhere, and I’m pretty sure I’ll try again within the next five years.  At that point if I again don’t make it to the top, I’m still sure I will have an amazing time and again be foolishly happy that I even stepped foot on it.

Allison Takes Her Training To The Trail!

This week has been full of fun with some training involved as well.

Started out Sunday morning hiking through Sleeping Giant State Park in Connecticut with my brother and a friend. We put about 30 lbs into our backpacks and headed out for about 5 miles or so. I was so mad (and still am) at myself for forgetting my Garmin Forerunner, would have LOVED to see how far we actually hiked along with our elevation, but oh well, totally forgot it in my suitcase! We hiked through some steep rocky terrain and the view from the top was great. I will attach a few photos. This was my first time hiking with hiking poles and I have to admit, they really made a difference.

I think I frightened my little brother when I told him we only have 8 weeks until our big climb. I am pretty sure he thought we had more time. His training buddy reminded us that we are ready for this climb, it's the added training that will make the climb less painful. I thought he said it quite eloquently :) LOL.

It has been hot and humid here in Connecticut and we hit a waterpark/ amusement park on Friday with the kids. Four adults to 7 kids 10 and under, we were definitely outnumbered. Does riding roller coasters suffice for altitude training?? I WISH! At least all that walking gave me a bit of a workout, especially when my 5 year old twins demanded I carry them. I'd say they weigh more than my Mt Rainier backpack.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Ready or not...

July 9, 2010

I spent a lot of this last week with our son (wounded in the war), but I did manage to get onto the treadmill every day (always there waiting for me). The front is blocked up high and I tried to work hard at each session. I’ll be going out on a day hike this weekend with a 40lb pack, and next week I’ll be on stair climbs in the mornings, treadmill in the afternoons. I would like to get one more serious conditioning climb in, don’t know if I’ll be able to. Two weeks to go… I feel ready, but ready or not…

Friday, July 9, 2010

Meet Anthony - Training for Rainier!

Hi everyone!  My name is Anthony and I’m currently living in Roanoke, Virginia.  I’m scheduled to climb Mt. Rainier with RMI the week of September 19th.  I was fortunate enough to get one of the last spots for the Expedition Skills Seminar-Camp Muir.
The idea to climb Mt. Rainier occurred to me a couple of years ago.  It seemed like it would be a really neat challenge and a worthy accomplishment if I was successful.  Unfortunately, work commitments and scheduling conflicts prevented the opportunity until now.  Why Mt. Rainier and not some other mountain?  I don’t really know, other than to say it seemed like a serious challenge and a great place to learn about mountaineering.  Who knows, if I like it, maybe I’ll try some other climbs (although my wife may have something to say about that).
My training really started around November of last year.  At that time I was overweight and out of shape (approx 200lbs @ 5’ 7”) to say the least.  I made up my mind to do something about it, so I joined a local gym and hired a personal trainer.  I got a lot of flack from friends and got a lot of strange looks from the muscle heads at the gym about the personal trainer, but I paid them no mind.  It worked for me.  It was a great motivator knowing that someone was at the gym waiting for me and expecting me to be there.  The results were good too.  In a few months I was able to drop 35 to 40 pounds and cut my body fat percentage from around 30% to around 10%.  Since then I’ve been training on my own and making steady progress.
With the climb coming up in September, I’ll be focusing on hitting the cardio hard (treadmill and stair-master primarily) and getting as much hiking with a weighted pack as I can.  Unfortunately, living in Virginia, there is very little way to train for the altitude of a big mountain like Rainier and honestly, I’m a little nervous about that.  I’m hoping that a regular routine of high intensity interval training (HIIT) will help, but I guess there are always factors we can’t train for perfectly.
Anyway, I’m excited about the climb and look forward to a great adventure!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Lindsay's Backcountry Adventure!

My husband and I have not been backcountry camping since we hiked the Chilkoot Trail in 2008 but we figured it would be good for the training.  We headed out to the Fryatt Valley about 30 km south of Jasper, Alberta.  I knew this would be a test for me because I hadn’t really been on a longer hike carrying as much weight, but I was up for the challenge.  The first day was just a long plod through a forest with a little bit of elevation gain towards the campsite at 17.7 km.  It was a little chilly in the morning when we set out, so I was wearing a dry fit shirt, light fleece sweater, and a jacket.  I like to bring small gloves (the stretchy kind) that keep my hands warm while I get going into the hike.  My experience as a runner helps with knowing what to wear and how to layer my clothing so I knew I needed to start out wearing clothes that I was a bit chilled in.  I’ve learned it is much easier to strip off layers than to not have enough. 
Taking breaks isn’t something my husband and I do often, but we found that every hour it was good to give our shoulders and hips a break.  Hydration is important and even if you are not thirsty it is important to have something every time you stop; I have to remind myself of this all of the time when I am hiking. 
The second day, we climbed the headwall which was over 200 m elevation gain in a 0.8 km distance.  I took my pack (half full) with me to have something on my back while scrambling up the headwall.  I was impressed that I was able to get up the headwall and not feel exhausted.  It’s been a while since I last scrambled any mountains so I was a little nervous how it was going to go.  In past climbs I was so slow and my calves were just killing me, but not this time.  I remember not liking hiking poles, but using them has really helped with my speed and decreased the amount of strain on my body. 
In between climbs I have been keeping up with the resistance sessions twice a week.  Interval speed runs start this week where I will be starting off with 2 intervals (warm-up run approx. 2 km, run 1 mile at 5:10 pace, then walk/slow jog for 0.40 miles, repeat once, then cool-down run approx. 2 km, then stretch).  Each week the number of intervals increases and depending on how the runs go I may change the pace at which I run the intervals.  Our next climb will be a scramble out in Jasper which has a higher elevation gain than what we have done so far.  Should be interesting!

Monday, July 5, 2010

Meet Allison - Training for Rainier!

We've got another round of climbers who are training for Rainier later this summer - Here's a look at Allison's training...

Hello, my name is Allison and my husband and I (along with my brother, brother-in-law, and sister-in-law) are scheduled to climb Mt Rainier over Labor Day weekend.

Why are we climbing Mt Rainier? Well, we are a military family and this is our second time stationed here at Ft Lewis, WA. We are constantly looking up at Mt Rainier and saying "Wouldn't it be amazing to climb that Mountain!". In December of this year, my little brother came out to visit while my husband was deployed and looked at me one day and said "Let's climb Mt Rainier".  He knew that if he said it out loud, I would follow through, so, after much planning (having 5 children 9 and under requires a LOT of planning), we decided to do it.

My training really began back in January when I began doing the P90X workout at home. Since finishing that, I have taken up the Insanity DVD workout and finished round one about a month ago. This week, I ran my first 1/2 Marathon...YEAH! My goal was to run it in under 2 hrs, however, I didn't realize just how incredibly hilly the course was and how hot and humid it would be running in Connecticut along the Long Island Sound so early in the morning. Needless to say, I have a goal and have signed up for another 1/2 Marathon in September.

I am currently out east visiting my family and will return to Washington in about a week. My husband is due to return from his latest deployment in a few weeks and then the training will really begin, for both of us. I am excited and nervous all at the same time about this climb. It will be an experience of a lifetime!

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Lindsay get's out and hikes!

This week has been the most hectic week. It’s the last week of school and it seems like training is taking a back seat. I was able to get in one resistance training session on Tuesday and 8 hills in a hill training session on Wednesday, but that was about it. My husband and I finally were able to get out to the mountains for an actual hiking weekend. My pack was about 37 lbs and it certainly felt heavy when I first started out on our hike, but got used to it quickly. Our first hike was 10.4 km with an elevation gain of 590 m. My boots worked out well and I was thankful for having my hiking poles. They helped me steady myself with the weight on my back, especially when climbing over fallen trees and other debris on the trail. By the end of the hike my hips were a little sore, but overall I was impressed at my ability to get through the hike. The next day was just a quick hike up to a lake with a distance of 7 km. My shoulders and hips were a little mad at me when I put my pack on again, but I found it was quite easy to adjust to the weight. This weekend was a start and now the countdown begins...4 more weekends until the climb up Rainier! My husband and I are off to do some back country camping and practice hikes this weekend. We get an extra long weekend with the Canada Day holiday so we should get some pretty good hikes with some more elevation.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Three weeks left for David!

Beshears Journal Entry - July 2
July 2, 2010
I had an abbreviated training schedule this week, following my climb up to Camp Muir last weekend.  I focused on Yoga and stretches and some light walking. I feel really, really good. Now, with three weeks to go, I’ll pick it back up again over the next two weeks, work on putting some extra effort into endurance, and then back off just a little during the last week before orientation day with RMI.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Lindsay's Race!

The K-100 race this weekend was quite the experience.  My leg of the race started off with a hill and climbed about 200m over the 14.1 km distance.  Adjusting to the altitude was a little difficult when starting out on a hill, but once the course flattened out for a bit I was able to get into a rhythm and settle into my pace.  The scenery was breathtaking and certainly worth the trip.  It was so great to finally get out to the mountains to experience some elevation.  Our team was 12th out of 28 mixed teams, which I figure isn’t too bad.  The next day I was surprised that I wasn’t that sore, but I attribute this from the training I have been doing.  Although I don’t enjoy resistance training there is no way I will stop doing it.  I have noticed benefits already!  After the run on Saturday, I was able to sneak in a 45 minute bike ride when I got home on Sunday.  I’ve also started back into the pool, trying to get in a swim twice a week.