Sunday, January 31, 2010

Training at 14,000 feet

As a climber, living in Colorado has many benefits. The ability to hike to over 14,000', even in winter, with relative ease, is just one. This weekend I decided to take my training for Everest to the Front Range of Colorado and Mount Bierstadt. Standing at 14,060' A.S.L. Mount Bierstadt is one of Colorado's easier 14ers. Even with the deep snow pushing the "winter" trailhead much lower than the normal "summer" trailhead, I figured this peak would be a great place to sneak in a quick winter camping trip. The object was to try and hike as high as possible and set up a tent for the night. This little mini-adventure would not be complete without some fine company. I turned to a new-found climbing mate, Gavin, who is training for his own springtime adventure - Denali. All said and done we set up our tent at 13,900', just a mere 160' below the summit. We quickly built a wall around our tent made from blocks of snow. This wall of snow was to protect us from the inevitable wind found at these elevations, especially in the winter. With the sun just about to set we figured we would hike the final 10 minutes to the summit and enjoy the view. We were treated to one of the more magnificent sunsets I have ever witnessed. Watching the sun set from the summit of a 14er is something I have witnessed only one time prior. How awesome! After a quick jaunt back to the tent and then melting enough snow for drinking water and dinner we were ready to call it a day.
The rest of the overnighter went well and we were up early for the hike out. This trip proved to be beneficial because I was able to dial in my systems for Everest. More to come on this subject later.
All said and done my training for Everest is going well. I still believe that mental tenacity will be my greatest challenge on this adventure. Will you keep me in your prayers? I hope so.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Everest training continues

Wow! It is amazing to think that it has been a month since my last post. On one hand the past month has cruised by quickly. On the other hand, usually while thinking about climbing Everest, the time has crept along slowly.
This past month has been filled with constant training - both physical and mental. What an undertaking. Am I crazy for trying this? What kind of person sets off for the opposite corner of the globe just to climb a mountain? Not to overuse a popular expression, but Mount Everest is more about the journey and not just the destination. I will be blessed to experience so much in the upcoming months. I truly am blessed!
As far as physical training goes the only new thing I have incorporated in the last month is the use of ankle weights. I have a set of 2.5lb ankle weights that I try to wear all day - everyday. In my mind I have reasoned that this additional 5 lbs is similar to the weight of the climbing boots I will be wearing on Everest. If I can get my body more used to the additional weight now, then, hopefully, I will be a little stronger on Everest. My pack weight has stayed at 50 lbs but with my regular hiking boots, plus the ankle weights, I feel I am really making great progress.
Over the next 2 months, before I leave, I will embark upon fattening up. No, I won't let myself get fat and out of shape. I will still work out just as hard, if not harder. It is just that I will try to eat more so as to put a little extra weight on. It is a known fact that on Everest a climber can burn up to 15,000 calories a day. There is no way I can eat that much so I will obviously lose weight while on Mount Everest. To the best of my ability I would first prefer to lose "fat" rather than "muscle". Who knows? Only the good Lord and to Him I remain ever thankful for the ways I have been blessed and for this grand opportunity. Cheers!