Fitness and Climbing standards

  • Sunday, November 11, 2018 9:58 PM
    Message # 6899776

    With Alpine Skills Weekend coming up, there should be some weekend hikes starting. Plus, people who are thinking of alpine objectives next year should be thinking about fitness preparation. In thinking about this I did some searching around for fitness and other climbing standards. I'm going to make a couple of posts here to show a few things that I've found. 

    I'll start with the Explorer's Club of Pittsburgh, some friendly folks you may have run into at Seneca. ECP has a well known Mountaineering School program they run in fall/winter. The highlight is a long hike on the North Fork trail ending up at Seneca, then you climb something at Seneca and bivy overnight on a Seneca ledge (this in the winter). The Mountaineering School of ECP has some mandatory fitness standards. They have the "Cathedral of Learning" with a 34 story stairwell on the Campus of Pitt in town. See  for the whole story. 

    The short version is: Climb the 34 stories of the building (450 feet vertical) 5 times in 90 minutes, using the elevator to get down, wearing a 10 pound pack and normal shoes. So 2,250 feet vertical in 90 minutes (on stairs). They also have a climbing skills checkout, see the link.

  • Sunday, November 11, 2018 10:10 PM
    Reply # 6899781 on 6899776

    Here are a couple more fitness standards for mountaineering. Uphill Athlete has an "Alpine Combine," actually in the book "Training for the New Alpinism." The elements are:

    1a. Timed 1000 ft vertical ascent on class 2-3 terrain with a pack at 20% of your bodyweight. 

    1b. If you can't the hike/climb in 1a, do 1,000 ft vertical stepping up and down on a box.

    2. Dips in 60 seconds

    3. Situps in 60 seconds

    4. Pullups in 60 seconds

    5. Box jumps in 60 seconds

    6. Pushups in 60 seconds.

    The book has a table of Poor/Good/Excellent values. However, they say that the exact test doesn't matter, you can make your own. It is more important for tracking progress.

    One thing to consider, we actually have a fine place for doing 1a, the Old Rag Ridge trail. If you choose the right starting point you can make it 1,000 ft to the summit, and it will be mostly class 2-3 (the last 1,000 feet is the scrambling part. 

  • Sunday, November 11, 2018 10:26 PM
    Reply # 6899804 on 6899776

    The Rob Shaul site formerly Mountain Athlete now "Mountain/Tactical" at has a couple of interesting tests/standards. They have their own alpinist fitness assessment  It has some similarities to the Training for the New Alpinsim test, but is longer and harder with more weight carried. It includes both step-ups for time and a 10 mile run. As a guy to do really well on this you'd need ~20 pullups and dips, 1,500 feet in 40 minutes on step-ups (~2,000 feet an hour with a 40 lbs pack), and run 10 miles at better than 8 minutes/mile. 

    Mountain tactical also has what they call the "Relative Strength test." Essentially this test is to do a 1 rep max in Front Squat, Bench Press, and Power Clean plus max repetitions pullups. Divide the first three by your bodyweight, multiply the number of pullups by 0.7, add them all together. If you are a guy then a 4.5 is considered "excellent" for the mountains, a 3.5 is considered "excellent" for the mountains. 

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