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Train for the Peaks

 

You are serious about your polar goals and want to take your ambitions to the next level. You are ready to commit to an exercise programme and want to build a good endurance and strength level to succeed on your expedition. You want the skills to be able to participate in your goal with a high level of performance.

Read the Introduction

We set out in a team of two at the end of October to summit Annapurna II but were forced to retreat from the mountain before the final push. By this point we had done all the hard bits – ahead of us only a snow plod leading up to the summit.

After three weeks of everything going to plan, high winds, freezing temperatures and ultimately a medical emergency forced us to make a retreat.

At base-camp we heard six avalanches a day, there were massive explosions as they fell. The wind reached speeds of 160km per hour and it was way colder than you can imagine. So few people have been up Annapurna II that there is a limited amount of information available and we found that all the research we had done before the climb was out of date because of the way nature changes our mountain environments. The glacier had retreated a mile further than had been described and we had to reach the end of it to start the ice climb. The terrain was bullet hard, frozen mud, every step was slipping away.

 

With expeditions like this one I have learned how important preparation is for challenging mountaineering and how unique the challenges can be. For a goal as big as Annapurna II, you don’t just rock up. There’s months and months of planning, training and preparation. For me it was Annapurna, but many people have goals which seem unattainable at first. Our programme is there to bring the unattainable within reach. If you decide on a big mountain target, and you are not a skilled mountaineer yet, the traditional approach is learning to walk before you run. With our programme, you’d progress from trad climbing to Scottish winter routes and so on, instead of hitting the Himalayas right away.

 

The philosophy behind our programme is that we’d like to share not just our experience and knowledge of climbing mountains safely and efficiently, but also our own approach to training and preparing for it. This way, you get the full package of high altitude climbing, and we are working together to set you up to become self-sufficient.

 

Annapurna II is just one example of a big mountaineering goal which you could achieve with our programme. Mountains are really varied and the type of preparation and training we do with you depends on your goal. There are some things which are applicable to most high-altitude goals, such as experiencing extreme cold – knowing for example that it makes everything so much slower because you wear more gear, you are less agile and you have to manage everything like keeping your hands and feet warm. This time will all add up on the mountain and you need to account for it.

Building a solid mountain sense that allows you to tackle a mountain in its own terms takes time and dedication. You will need to develop not only mountain skills but know how to cope with expedition life, and how different mountains ‘work’. Taking you onto different level mountains will introduce you to different mountain conducts, with progressing challenges of technicality, altitude and logistics.

 

Climbs put high demands on your abilities in terms of high altitude, technicality and judgement calls – and in terms of working hard for long periods of time. Our programme has a long training phase which includes endurance and strength training. The peak of this training will be the climb itself. This is a new approach to expedition training; most other programmes are skills based and their timeframe is only a couple of weeks. What people need to understand is the correct timeframe for training is not weeks but it’s months or years.

 

For a high, technical mountain, we would start your training very early – up to two years in advance. You’d do lots of zone one, long days, big rucksack stuff – a lot of the work on the mountain is lugging big kit around. Calves, legs, core and upper body strength training to do the ice climbing and move on the steeper ice.

 

With challenging expedition goals, a lot is about where your mental capacity and mental tolerance is at. The physical side gives you the confidence, mentally, that you’re able to tackle it. By being really fit you’ll feel ready for it.

 

What is also important and what our programme delivers, is having experienced people to look at your lifestyle from a different perspective and helping you to stay focused with your training to give you the best chance to be in a good mental state. Life is stressful and most people have very little time to prepare properly. You’d need someone to pick a path through your life, make a suggestion on whether you have enough time to do it and fit the training in. It is about having somebody to keep your plan going and getting you into the habit to do it as well as having the right platform to show you how it’s working, the hours you have put in, your progress.

 

At the end of the day, on your summit, you’ll contemplate where you are and when you do you realise that this is completely insane. But it also feels really natural and you know that this is an extraordinary experience and it will be difficult or nearly impossible to replicate.

Programme Overview

Skills




Fitness





Choose your Intensity

Light

SKILLS
2 days
7,000m manual
Set up
Monitoring 6 per year
Equipment advice

FITNESS
Training Consultation
Analytics (monthly)
Fitness Plan (S)
Portal access

Medium

SKILLS
4 days
7,000m manual
Set up
Monitoring 12 per year
Equipment advice

FITNESS
Training Consultation
First week support
Analytics (2 a month)
Fitness Plan (M)

High

SKILLS
8 days
Implementation/monitoring/adjusting of stepping stones (unlimited)
7,000m manual
Set up
Equipment advice

FITNESS
Training Consultation
Access to weekly analytics
Fitness Plan (L)
1 Indoor and 1 Outdoor training session.
Suunto coaching

Price: on request

Price: on request

Price: on request

Your Mentors

Your mentors have first hand experience in high altitude climbing. Between them, they have undertaken many ascents including Ama Dablam, Aconcagua and Annapurna II. Your mentors hold relevant outdoor qualifications as IML, MIA, and Guide, medical qualifications as Wilderness Medical Technician and training qualifications as Personal Training Active IQ.

Training Mode

A mixture of self-directed training, 1:1 remote support via the Training App and Portal, 1:1 face-to-face training days (gym and outdoor based).

Length: The minimum length of the programme is 6 weeks, equivalent to one training phase and available for all intensities. You can also sign up for a longer term option, up to 2 years.

Location: the training courses are located in the Lake District or Scotland, depending on conditions on the ground.

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