Build Up Your Endurance

Tip from Kent McBride

Noah Howell climbs steep snow on a windy day     Photo: Jim Harris

Focus on your endurance. Since you're trying something new—skinning or climbing with crampons and an ice axe—you'll need to be in great shape to handle exercise at high altitude. Here’s a simple training plan to execute in the offseason that will prepare you for ski adventures in the backcountry. Find a hill that offers 1,000 to 3,000 vertical feet of climb at an angle of at least 35 degrees. Run up and shuffle down for 45 minutes to an hour at a time, taking breaks as needed. You may only be able to do one run in the beginning. You will be able to do more laps as you gain fitness. Going uphill, move at a fast, steady pace to get your heart rate up. Coming downhill, practice the "sherpa shuffle" with quick, small efficient steps to glide down the terrain as smoothly as possible. If you're doing it right, you'll hurt after the first ten minutes going up. As you get in shape, find steeper and higher hills. Integrate this into your endurance training two to three times per week.

Kent McBride is a UIAGM/IFMGA certified mountain guide who has extensive guiding and instructing experience in all the realms of skiing and 
climbingIn 2005, he climbed to the Central Summit of Shishapangma (8000 meters) in Tibet without bottled oxygen and then completed the first ski descent of the Untsch couloir.

Website:
Eddie Bauer First Ascent Team

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