Friday, August 14, 2015

Musings on Training for the New Alpinism

I've found that you can do just about all of the exercises well with a set of adjustable dumbbells, pullup bar, and a 12-inch plyometric box. For dumbbells, I use the Bowflex SelectTech 552 (which show up on Craigslist about every month); the fact they can't be dropped isn't a problem since you're not working to failure in any of programs (the goal is endurance, not maximum strength that breaks you). Sometimes I find myself wishing for a bench for bench presses, but the one at my climbing gym suffices.

The rates of ascent mentioned in the book are insane. In Chapter 6:
Yes, you can still get up the big routes if you can't climb at 3,000 feet (915 meters) per hour with a twenty-pound pack.
The fastest hikers I've met (marathoners, trail ultra runners who have trained for years) can ascend at 2,400 feet per hour below 10,000 feet with minimal packs. The book goes on to say,
But we're not talking about being merely good. We wrote this book to help you break boundaries.
This sets the tone of the book. Freedom of the Hills gives 1,200 feet per hour (for a short hike, not sustained) as its "baseline" hiking ability to start mountaineering training. It's a long way from the base! New Alpinism is mostly about taking you from strong to super strong, not average to strong. Along these lines, I've been thinking of compiling a southern California "curriculum" for transitioning into New Alpinism. This would be a collection of somewhat technical routes or just steep, more strenuous trails, all suitable for the hiker-turned-mountaineer. There aren't any true alpine multipitch 5th class climbs here to my knowledge, but there are some snow climbs possible in the winter and hiking trails with 3rd/4th class sections.

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