Alison

20th Jun 2010

Question:

Hi, I am going on an 8 month rock trip around Europe next summer. The idea is to climb longish easy grade rock routes. Any tips about preparation/training?

Going with my husband, we are both in our 40's and started climbing a few years ago. My husband onsites HVS and I onsite HS. I have good general endurance and am used to climbing multi-pitch routes, but want to do as much preparation for the trip as possible. Thanks.

Answer:

Wow this sounds awesome. I have to apologise for answering this one late as you will probably be getting prepared to go before long. But an answer may help others too.

You say your general endurance is good etc. So it sounds like you are already fairly well prepared.

I would suggest if you are wanting to get the most out of your trip and spend more time climbing rather than recovering, having a good level of body fitness will help a lot.

Long routes mean long days out. The climbing is not technically too challenging but the logistics can be wearing and being on the move for many hours is a drain on the body.

So, doing some running, maybe with a slightly weighted rucksack could be a help. Getting your body used to working at a higher intensity than normal. Obviously, some longer walks would work really well too, just for general toning.

Some light weights would be helpful too. So you aren’t looking to put on muscle but gain muscle endurance. This will happen when you do sets of high reps. For example if you were doing bicep curls, you would pick a light weight that was possible for you to do around 15-20 reps at a time, then with 1-2 minutes rest, do 2-3 sets. Doing a variety of exercises around the body will help to up your overall endurance, increase muscle tone and generally help your body to feel more up to the job.

But thinking about your hydration and nutrition while on your long routes will be very important. If you keep your body topped up with energy and fluids, it will be able to work harder and longer for you. It is easy for people to neglect the need to drink water but in my mind this is a big mistake and a sure fire way of getting into trouble. Or at the very least, if you don’t rehydrate correctly, you will be left feeling exhausted and drained for longer than is necessary. This can mean you don’t end up doing as much climbing as you hoped because you are taking longer to recover from the long days.

Being completely au fait with your rope work and general technical skills is a big must to. It’s important to be quick and efficient on long routes, in order to get up and down as quickly as possible; meanwhile enjoying the process a long the way.

Make sure you have systems in place that you both understand. You know how to communicate with each other when out of view and you have the skills to be able to escape the system and perform a rescue if the worst did happen.