New Schedule for Everest Preparation
So, after getting back from Scotland a week ago, I’ve been pretty busy. Catching up on uni work in particular, headed up by the infamous dissertation, and designing a presentation on ‘strength training: hypertrophy or hyperplasia’ for anyone remotely interested. Then there’s the matter of getting the 6 week study on beta alanine and bicarb supplementation at altitude out of the way. But aside from the enthralling 3rd year at university, I’ve had some hard thinking to do regarding my schedule of preparation in 2011 for my Everest summit attempt in 2012. Although that’s not all true, Zac, my guide in Scotland did most of the thinking for me, with his wealth of knowledge in the mountains that only comes from personal experience. But I did end up coming home with a bit of thinking to do, and a lot of changing to do. First off was a call to Adventure Peaks. I had already booked onto the Mt Blanc climb this July, but now needed to change that. The staff at Adventure Peaks are easy going, and the change was hassle free, so now I’ve changed a quick 8 day climb of Mt Blanc, for a 22 day expedition, to a country I didn’t know existed, and also can’t pronounce. Better still, it is pretty close to a few countries that I wouldn’t ordinarily choose to go on holiday to. The fun doesn’t end there, as I need a few courses of immunisations, a few hundred pounds more kit, and some pretty funky sounding drugs for ailments such as altitude sickness, pulmonary oedema and cerebral oedema to name but a few. And to put the final icing on the cake, this isn’t even my main expedition of the year!
All that sounds mad, but there are some good reasons for the schedule change. I am actually really looking forward to this new schedule, especially this first expedition, as it marks the end of uni, and the start of my expeditions in the run up to Everest.
So onto the details. Having completed my first element of climbing preparation in Scotland a week ago, I then have a few months to wait before my next element, and first expedition in July to the Tien Shan in Kyrgyzstan. This is as I mentioned before, a 22 day expedition, to a remote part of Kyrgyzstan, requiring helicopter access. The expedition will focus on Peak Chapayev at 6200m. This should hopefully make the new schedule make sense; as this expedition teaches new skills that you don’t learn on Mt Blanc but are essential for Everest, such as moving on fixed lines, and the ‘personal admin’ that is required when you live in a tent for weeks at a time.
After Tien Shan, I have changed my plans once again, this time from Cho Oyu, to Baruntse, a 7129m peak in Nepal on a 35 day expedition. Baruntse is lower than Cho Oyu, but the thinking is that this will help bridge the gap, where before, I was aiming to go from almost 5000m to over 8000m in one push. Also on the expedition, I will hopefully include the optional extra of Mera Peak, at 6476m to aid acclimatisation before the climb on Baruntse itself.
An extra element of climbing has been added to my schedule, with the sole intention of climbing hard, technical routes, especially on mixed ground, to replicate the sort of climbing I will face on the Northeast ridge. In January 2012, I will be heading to Scotland once again, and climbing with Zac, my guide from this year’s Scottish winter. This has a double bonus. Having climbed with him already and getting on well, climbing with him again will be great. The second advantage is that Zac is leading an expedition with Adventure Peaks on the Northeast ridge of Everest April 2011. When I climb with him again in 2012, I will get a firsthand account of his experiences on the mountain, and importantly from a guide’s point of view, what qualities the successful climbers in the group had. These personal accounts are vital for potential climbers, as they form a good picture of what you can expect on the mountain.
After the Scottish winter in 2012, the next expedition will be Everest in April 2012. In between these expeditions, I also have my regular training, which continues up until the taper before Everest.
So there you have it, a transformed schedule. Hopefully that gives a good idea into the preparation needed for an expedition to Everest.
You can follow Zac as he prepares for his Expedition to Everest here: http://zacpoulton.blogspot.com/