Bear Peak, overlooking Boulder, was to be my next mini-objective for the week. I really enjoy hiking Bear Peak and by combining that with a quick jaunt over to South Boulder Peak, I knew that I would get some decent exercise. This climb was to be just another training exercise and a tune up for my main objective next Spring - Mount Everest! Standing at just over 8400' it was not the altitude I was training for this weekend. Colorado has many points higher in elevation. Some that are still accessible even when considering the added logistics necessary for deep winter snow cover. This weekend I wanted to get some descent elevation gain (turns out 3,855') and some descent mileage (7+). I also had to include some added weight to my pack (45 lbs). I increase the weight in my pack by 10 pounds per month until I leave for Everest in March. By March I will have 75 lbs in my pack! No, I don't expect to be carrying a 75 lb pack on Everest but 45 lbs is not out of the question and with the shedding of 30+ lbs from my pack I hope to make my climb up Everest a little less strenuous. I also try to hike in as minimal of clothing as is safely possible. Very light shirt, no hat and no gloves. Of course I am not in -25F but with the temps around freezing and with a stiff wind I am training my body to adapt to and work efficiently in the cold. Hopefully, this will translate into an easier adjustment to the extreme cold found on Everest. Last but not least I decided upon climbing Bear Peak because the trails up and down the Peak are very popular with hikers and runners. No I was not looking for a "social" outing but I was, indeed, looking for the super slick, icy, snow packed conditions the trails would be in from all of the previous foot traffic. Many people use YakTraks or similar cleats which allow better traction when hiking on snow and ice and on Everest I would be in crampons. However, another objective of the day was to work on speed and balance while carring a heavy pack and encountering these conditions.
The whole idea behind my thought process of training for Everest is to try and SAFELY make my training conditions harder than the ones I will encounter on Everest. I can then help cultivate the mental and physical prowess necessary for the great demands of Mount Everest. Who knows if these things will provide an advantage. That will be determined in April and May of 2010.
Of course nothing provides great training like elevation training. Therefore, this weekend I am heading to climb a Colorado 14er, a peak in excess of 14,000' a.s.l. Combine that with a beautiful ski down for cross training and hopefully I will feel the happiness and fatigue that only comes from testing myself in the great outdoors.
BTW - Many thanks go out to Mike Smith for accompanying me on this great outing and for providing the wonderful pictures. I enjoyed the day!