Despite living in Chamonix and having a lot of spare time over the past few months I’ve got very little to show for it in terms of big days in the mountains, which makes me sad and frustrated. The weather this Summer has been abysmal with lots of wind, rain and snow up high. On the bright side this poor weather has been building some awesome conditions on the high north faces which bodes very well for this Autumns mixed climbing season.
This summer has been a good opportunity for me to get into the swing of a good training regime. With the help of Steve House’s new book Training For The New Alpinism (full review on here coming soon!) I’m already starting to feel stronger and more focused on what I need to do to improve my fitness. The hardest part for me was realising that what I thought was a half descent way of training was actually making me weaker for what I wanted to do. Its great to finally have an extremely well thought out and well written manual on training for Alpine climbing.
I’ve spent a lot of time reflecting back on how I felt before, during and after previous climbing efforts. It’s made me realise that I could have been a lot better prepared for some of the objectives I was planning. Especially looking back at my 2012 expedition to climb the north face of Talung (7349m) in Nepal, I can now see just how far away I was from being ready to climb an objective like that. I may have just been able to drag my scrawny butt up it but it would have been preferable to have been feeling on the top of my game for that one. I was recovering from a knee injury, I wasn’t strong or even particularly fit but I still felt confident. Had I trained harder or with more structure then I might have been feeling even more confident and had even more chances of success. I still remember the feeling of the rucksack straps digging in to my shoulders on the acclimatization climb to 6300m and my lungs being compressed under the fairly average pack weight. Not good.
With my focus shifting away from the alps and the fantastic, although often crowded, climbing that it has to offer, I feel I want (or need?) more stimulation from the mountains which I’m just not getting from what is on offer out here. I have by no means done everything I want to do in the alps…far from it, but I crave the adventure that can only be found from going to the greater ranges and for this I need to be stronger and fitter above all.
For now I’m super psyched on training and looking forward to getting out for some bigger days when the weather allows. I’m also going away to Kyrgyzstan for a peak bagging trip for September which I’m very excited about. With an awesome team of fun loving friends and nothing too technically challenging this should be the perfect opportunity to wet the appetite for bigger trips to the Himalaya and hopefully get a few good peaks under my belt outside of the alps. It should also be a great warm up for this Octobers mixed climbing season! More info on this trip soon but check out the team blog here to start with to see what everyone has been up too. Some really well written posts up already by the team.