I found myself laid on my sofa, thinking about how I can make my isolation (covid-19) more productive and exciting. I had nothing to look forward to and it just felt like I was living the same day over and over again. I was trying to find new hobbies to start with but I felt a bit restricted with lockdown and could only leave my house for exercise or an essential trip to the shops. Cannot beat a late-night trip to Tescos or Asda.
Climbing mountains and getting outdoors is a big hobby of mine and I decided instead of taking on a new hobby, I will stick to the ones I have got already and plan something big. Mount Everest big.
I have only climbed The Yorkshire Three Peaks, Ben Nevis, and Scafell Pike. All of a sudden, I think I’m Bear Grylls. Here I am, 14 stone wet through, getting ready to take on the top of the world. I went ahead and booked the trip. Mount Everest is booked. Next year in April 2022, it happens.
To reach the summit of Everest (29,035 ft./8,850 m) I must be in top physical, emotional, and psychological condition. Benchmarks for physical conditioning include: Gaining experience dealing with gear and equipment; handling extremely cold temperatures and extreme altitude; gaining solid cramponing skills both on and off the rock, snow, and ice; rappelling with a pack on; and using ascenders and jumars on a fixed-line. In addition to solid alpine living, snow, and ice-climbing skills, I need significant strength endurance, high-altitude tolerance, and strong cardiovascular conditioning.
Keeping in mind that just because I exercise regularly at significantly lower elevation does not mean I have the suitable conditioning needed to stand on top of the world. Cardiovascular fitness is simply not enough. I should focus on building physical conditioning at lower altitudes necessary to ascend 4,000 ft. of elevation on successive days carrying 50–60 lbs. Although I will not be carrying such weight on Everest, by conditioning my body to that degree of high tolerance, I will have built extra reserves that will serve me very well on the mountain as I inevitably start to lose musculature and body fat from being at extreme altitudes for two months. This extra reserve will also make it possible to focus on the many, many other components involved in a climb of such extremes, rather than dealing with the added harsh reality that my physical preparation may have been somewhat less than adequate.
I will need to prioritize my training efforts in the following way:
- Climbing conditioning — pack-loaded uphill hiking, walking, and stair climbing
- Strength training — for the lower body and core
- Cardiovascular training — including both aerobic and anaerobic workouts with and without pack weight
- Flexibility training
Most people will need to train specifically for their climb of Everest for at least a year, building up from a solid baseline of fitness for the last six to nine months. During my training, I will need to progressively ramp up my hike time, distance, and elevation gain (at roughly 10% per week) to safely and effectively build my climbing-specific conditioning. Trying to rush this will increase the risk of experiencing some sort of training injury and not being ready for the climb.
Over 60 weeks of training starts now. I have been called an idiot, stupid and fat. Let’s do this. Welcome to my personal blog, updated weekly with my training routines, vlogs, and much more.