Mountain climbing is not for everyone. Even seasoned and well-conditioned athletes wouldn’t dream of taking on the challenge of summiting some of the world’s tallest peaks. The rigorous preparation for and the actuality of mountain climbing requires a fierce commitment and peak physical health.
Again, it’s not for everyone.
That being said, if you’ve reached a point in your life and in your training regimen that you’d like to consider tackling a peak, there are many things to consider. Read on to learn more about how to prepare for what will undoubtedly be one of the most grueling, frustrating, and thrilling adventures of your life.
Choose Your Peak
While it might seem logical to think of Mount Everest as the white whale of mountain climbing, in fact many seasoned climbers find other, lower peaks to be more challenging and more accessible. If you live in the United States there are mountains in Colorado and Alaska that might be just the challenge that you’re looking for.
Mount Kilimanjaro in Africa is another option that combines climbing and adventure into one incredible package. Europe also boasts several peaks that will test your strength and stamina. Whether it’s at home or abroad, once you’ve chosen your mountain do some research and learn more about what other successful climbers have to say about that particular climb.
Train, Train, Train
You might think that you’re in top shape, but mountain climbing is something entirely different. Not only do you need the physical strength to make the summit, but you also need an incredible amount of stamina.
If you’ll be going with a group or a guide you should be able to learn exactly what you’ll need to carry in your pack and how much weight to expect. Add twenty pounds to that start working. Run with your pack on, hike with your pack on, and do everything that you can to increase your stamina and endurance. Using your heart rate monitor during this type of training can give you great information about your progress.
Keeping in touch with your personal physician is always a great idea when you undertake any type of specific and rigorous training, but for mountain climbing you’ll want to discuss an entirely different set of issues. The main one is the altitude of your chosen peak. If your doctor is not familiar with high altitude and the physical problems it can cause perhaps ask for a reference to a sports medicine physician familiar with the subject.
Altitude affects everyone differently but altitude sickness is no joke. If you’ve never spent time at high altitudes you’ll have no idea how your body will be affected, but even if you’ve done high-altitude climbs before with no ill effects, that’s no guarantee you won’t be stricken on your next climb.
Medication to combat the symptoms of altitude sickness does exist, but the best way to protect yourself is by ensuring that your cardiovascular system is in top condition.
Climbing a mountain can be one of the most personally satisfying experiences in any athlete’s life. Just be sure that you are adequately prepared and ready to take on the challenge.