Friday, August 27, 2010

Anthony is preparing mentally too!

Ok, so I had the best of intentions for hiking this past weekend.  Unfortunately, it didn’t pan out and I missed another opportunity for some pack time.  I’m not going to let it get me down though.  I will put boots on a trail this weekend, for sure.  Given my schedule I have precious few opportunities remaining to be on the trail and I’m starting to feel the pressure.
The gym training has been solid.  I’ve been getting about 4 sessions of intense cardio every week.  Sessions usually last around an hour and the intensity is pretty high (even anaerobic at times).  That combined with 4 sessions of weight training means I’m spending a lot of time in the gym.
I picked up a copy of Mountaineering:  The Freedom of the Hills, by Steven M. Cox and Kris Fulsaas over the weekend.  It seems like a very good source of information and I’ve managed to skim over a good deal of it.  Although, honestly, some of the technical aspects covered are beyond me at this point.  Like Allison mentioned, I too have been pouring over the RMI and Whittaker Mountaineering videos and clips on You Tube.  I especially liked the tour of Camp Muir, by Peter Whittaker and the July 16th summit video with Ed Viesturs and Peter Whittaker.  Both videos were a great introduction to Mt. Rainier and get me excited all over again about the climb.
I still have to sort out the food situation.  At the moment I’m leaning toward just going with a pre-planned meal package.  It definitely seems like the most efficient way to go (for me at least).  I’m sure I’ll supplement with some of my own goodies, but trying to buy, organize and fly with everything I’m going to eat doesn’t seem practical.  Of course, my wife would be the first to tell you that I’m anything but practical.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Camp Muir, Mount Rainier

Tag along as Whittaker Mountaineering owner, Peter Whittaker gives you a quick tour of Camp Muir....

Allison's got two weeks to go!

OK, two weeks to go! Wow, this summer has gone by way too fast! I have started to up my workouts a bit here in the last week and a half. In the beginning of the year, I had completed the P90X workout and then towards April/May timeframe completed Insanity. I have now restarted Insanity daily just to make sure I am getting a bit of cardio mixed with resistance training more regularly. I am still hopping on the Stair Machine at the Y with my 30-35lb backpack for an hour about twice a week. I have had a hard time making the HEAT class at the Y this summer, to my disappointment, the class is from 5:30-6:30 and my daughters summer gymnastics schedule is from 2:30-5:30, so it just hasn't worked out much :( I was able to go this past Wednesday and she had us running laps in the parking lot, lunges up and down the sidewalks and resistance running with a partner pulling against the "reins" of a resistance band around our hips. We then finished the workout off with a tricep/bicep workout with the resistance bands in the grass. LOVE that class when I can make it!

Equipment is rented and flights are all set for my climbing partners.
Getting a bit more nervous, but still really excited to do this. Still love watching all the RMI and Whittaker Mountaineering YouTube videos (I get a kick out of how calm and collected they all are when talking about crevasses and ladders, amazing) and I want to thank Lindsey for her amazing blog following her summit. The more I read, the more prepared I feel and her entry had a lot of great information in it, thank you Lindsey for sharing your experience! One loose knot we still have is food. I read, and forgive me for I can't find the post again, a post on nutrition and what to bring on the climb. Trying to decide whether to go with the pre-planned meal package or just bring my own??
Decisions, decisions...

School starts for four of our five kids the day before our climb.
Perfect timing, get to see them off on their first days and then, with hopes the weather holds out, Grandma and Grandpa can take them outside to look at Mt Rainier while we are climbing and tell them that somewhere on that Mt, Mommy and Daddy are going UP!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

"I think my biggest concerns are the unknowns..."

Here is Anthony's latest training blog...

Well, this past week was a little disappointing training wise.  While I managed to hit the gym four days, for cardio and resistance work, I missed my normal weekend hike (bummer).  I’m going to try and make it up with a little longer outing this weekend.  Unfortunately, it won’t be until Sunday due to my work schedule, which means I can’t go over-night like I wanted to (back to work on Monday).
Otherwise, I can’t complain.  My training in the gym has been consistent and I’ve made reasonable gains in both my resistance and cardio work over the past few weeks.  I have noticed that the increased cardio has made weight maintenance more demanding.  I feel like I’m eating pretty big and pretty often in an effort to maintain my weight.  I know, I know, that’s a problem most people would love to have.
As time goes by and my climb approaches, I’m getting a little more anxious (nervous?).  I feel like physically, I’m fairly well prepared (famous last words), but I still have some loose ends with my equipment and personal supplies to tie up.  I know I’ll feel better once everything is taken care of.  I think my biggest concerns are the “unknowns” Like:  How will I handle the altitude?  Will I be able to figure out all the unfamiliar equipment?  Will the weather hold up?  Have I forgotten anything? Etc, etc.  I’m just hoping it’s like they say:  Our greatest fears (anxieties) lie in anticipation…

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Lindsay Summits Rainier!

Lindsay & her husband, Marcus on the summit of Rainier!
 Our climbing team made it to the summit on the morning of Wednesday August 4th and couldn’t have had nicer weather.  It was sunny and there was little to no wind...exactly how I like it.  The weather through the four days was very favourable although I did go through quite a lot of sunscreen!
En route to the training area.
  I had some ideas as to what to expect during climbing school, but I couldn’t get over how hot it was when I was completely surrounded by snow.  I was a little nervous going into the school because I was afraid that I would not be able to self arrest myself properly, but it turns out the guides were really good at demonstrating and coaching me through each type of self arrest.  I wish they could have taught me how to avoid getting chunks of snow in my ears and up my nose, though.  Part of the training involved learning how to move as part of a rope team, as well as manoeuvring on snow and rock with crampons.  Having to lean forward and trust that the crampons would dig in and stop my forward motion was a little difficult to get used to, especially on the steeper slopes.  It feels much different than how I would center my body weight when coming down scree or rock.  By far the most fun of the school was sliding down the snow slopes.  Who would have thought you could get up so much speed going down such a small hill!  
Taking a break during school.
 The night before the climb I was pretty anxious.  Climbing school had gone pretty well and I was confident in my skills, but what I still didn’t know was how I was going to handle the altitude.  I kept telling myself that I would be okay because I had previously climbed to a higher altitude, but it was still an unknown.
Climbing up the Muir Snowfield en route to Muir.
 It was calm and very sunny all of the way up to Camp Muir.  On the snow, I found it was difficult for me to stay in rhythm with the rest of the team because their stride lengths were much bigger than mine.  During breaks (every hour for about 15 minutes), I would drink about 500 ml of water and refuel with either an energy bar, dried fruit, or granola bars.  Pita chips were my favourite snack so I saved those for the summit. 
 At Camp Muir I had time to organize my gear for the climb, sip on my water, and eat (dehydrated meal – lasagne and more snacks), before getting into bed at 6 pm.  I had thought about bringing a pair of sandals with me, but at the last second I decided I would forego the weight.  My advice would be to bring them because there is some time at camp where you can just hang around and rest.  It’s nice to do this without big hiking boots and sweaty socks.  If someone forgets to tell you, use the mats to block the windows in the top bunks (not sure why I couldn’t have figured this out myself?).  I think I probably got about 3 hours of decent sleep before our guides brought in the hot water.  I slept in my base layers so it would be easier to get going in the morning as our team only had one hour to pack up our gear, eat (dried fruit and cream of wheat), go to the washroom, and put on our harnesses and crampons. 
Heading up a steeper section.
 When we set out at 1 am, it was dark, but a lot warmer than I had expected.  At our first break, to my surprise, I was shivering the whole time we sat down.  Some of our climbers were deciding to turn around and at one point I thought I may need to as well because of how cold I was, but when we started to move again, my shivering stopped and I was feeling pretty good.  The summit climb ended up being a lot easier for me physically than I had expected.  Mentally, I was waiting for the altitude to hit me, but it didn’t come until we started to descend.  I felt a little light headed, but was surprised that I had not felt nauseous at all during the trip.  Overall, I was very prepared for the challenges of the trip.  Going over the ladder was easier than it sounded, but the jumping of the crevasses was certainly something I would not like to do very often.  One thing I will mention that I found a little difficult on the climb was adjusting to being roped with the team.  I had to force myself to move faster than I usually do, but also I had to be cognisant of the person in front and behind at all times, especially when going up and down the Clever on short ropes.  
Little Tahoma
Lindsay at High Break.
 My favourite part of the climb would have to be sitting at High Break (13,500 ft) and watching the sun come up.  The clouds below were starting to billow up over Lil’ Tacoma and Mount Adams could be seen peaking out of the clouds.  It was such a beautiful sight!  It also meant that it would begin to warm up, so mentally it was a really good pick-me-up before making our final push to the summit.
The whole team on top!
 I am so happy that my husband and I took the time to pack train as much as we did prior to the climb.  If you can do this climb with someone else it certainly saves on the amount of weight you have to carry up the mountain with you (my husband and I shared a lot of stuff rather than bringing duplicate items).  My pack was pretty light compared to what I actually trained with so I found I could handle the weight easily on both days of the climb.  I am sure that the resistance training that I did helped with the ability to carry my gear, but I believe it also played a role in my recovery.  My body didn’t really fatigue as much as I thought it might.  Other than a little tightness in my right calf muscle, I felt like I had just done a regular workout.  I thank our RMI guides and Whittaker Mountaineering for helping make the climb such an enjoyable experience.  Now all that is left is to figure out what peak will be next!  

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Ed Viesturs: Physical vs. Mental Training

What's more important, physical or mental training?  Whittaker Mountaineering Guide Team member, Ed Viesturs talks about training for mountaineering physically vs. mentally. 

Anthony hits the beach!

Well, I made it back from the beach (had a blast!), so my training schedule was a little short this past week.  I still managed to get in three days at the gym and a short day hike on Saturday.  Unfortunately, I didn’t hold to my diet very well while I was at the beach and I feel a little (just a little) guilty about that.  The pizza, ice cream, French fries, and beer (lots of beer) were the worst of it, but hey, it’s the beach!  Overall, no harm done and I’m back on the plan (or wagon if you like).  I did get in a couple of long walks and a good run, but it was nothing structured so it doesn’t count as training.
The hike on Saturday was good; short, but intense.  The total distance (roundtrip) was only about 6 miles, but we gained over 1700 feet in the last 2 miles with a gnarly rock climb/scramble (steep!) in the final ½ mile or so.  I carried my pack with 55lbs in it and was able to move at a fairly fast pace, but I was huffing pretty hard by the time I reached the top.  The decent through the rock climb/scramble, with the pack on, was a little scary and a good workout in itself.  I was surprised at how much my core had to work to brace and balance the pack.  Good stuff.
My training plan going forward will stay the same for the most part.  I definitely want to get in some longer duration, perhaps overnight or full weekend, hikes in the near future.  It would also be nice to get in a conditioning climb with some altitude, but altitude is hard to come by on the east coast.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Allison Hits the Gym & YouTube

Wow, time is FLYING!!! Just 4 more weeks until our big climb and I am beginning to feel ready...I think. I have been going to the Y several times a week (carrying my big 30lb ruck sack) and stepping on the stair machine for about 60 minutes at the Intense Fat Burner interval level. I follow that with an amazing hour long YOGA class. For more endurance training, I have been trying to run once or twice a week if I can get away from the kids.

I continue to listen to the RMI Training Podcast on Altitude, quite interesting and I would recommend it to anyone planning on doing any activity where altitude is a factor. This past week, however, I have taken to watching a ton of videos on all things climbing related.
Myself, being a novice, I want to soak up as much information about crampons, ice axe use etc... so I have some idea what to expect prior to arriving in Ashford. My husband and I really enjoy watching the Whittaker Mountaineering videos on YouTube.

The weather here in the Puget Sound this past weekend was YUCK.
Reminds me of mid October weather but a bit warmer. I am crossing my fingers that our climbing weather will be perfect. Here's to hoping :)

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Anthony gets out on a hike!

This past week was a pretty full training week for me.  I managed to get in a good hike over the weekend.  Total distance was about 15 miles.  I carried 50lb in my pack and I'm not sure what the exact elevation gain was, but there was a lot of up-hill work.  I quickly realized that I wasn't carrying enough water and suffered for a long piece of the hike.  I later found out that the heat index was over 100 degrees that day.  I managed to finish okay, albeit with a very dry mouth and five pounds lighter (161.8lbs prior to leaving and 156.2lbs when I got home).  Not an ideal job of planning on my part, but lesson learned.

We had intended to do a two day overnight trip, but ended up boating with friends (lots of fun) on Saturday, so I had to fit the hiking in on Sunday.  The rest of the week was filled with the usual weights and cardio.  For weightlifting, I use a fairly comprehensive routine.  My leg work focuses on 4 sets of 15 reps or 5 sets of 10 reps.  I don't usually work with rep ranges higher than 15, maybe I should, but so far I haven't.  The usual exercises like squats, lunges (usually dynamic), stiff leg dead-lifts, leg extensions and leg curls are the staples of my leg work.  Although, I recently did some hack squats (4 sets of 15 reps) that absolutely hammered my thighs.

I picked up a really good DVD called “Train To Climb Mt. Rainier” produced by Body Results Inc.  There was some really good information on it.  It lays out a very nice training program and provides some really nice benchmarks to train toward.  I would definitely recommend it for those new to training for climbing (like myself).  I also took the time to review the three training pod-casts put out by RMI Expeditions.  These are also filled with very interesting information.  Definitely worth taking the time to listen to.

We are heading to the beach for a couple of days this coming week so training will be put on hold.  I'm going to shoot for some active rest; morning runs, stretching and some body-weight calisthenics.  Honestly, so long as I don't eat too badly, the rest will do me good.