The book's easy-to-use format and scaleable training programs are accessible for anyone looking to improve their fitness through a new approach. coolhunting.com
Training for the New Alpinism: A Manual for the Climber as Athleteby Steve House, Scott Johnston, Mark Twight (Foreword by)
In Training for the New Alpinism, Steve House, world-class climber and Patagonia ambassador, and Scott Johnston, coach of U.S. National Champions and World Cup Nordic Skiers, translate training theory into practice to allow you to coach yourself to any mountaineering goal. Applying training practices from other endurance sports, House and Johnston/i>
In Training for the New Alpinism, Steve House, world-class climber and Patagonia ambassador, and Scott Johnston, coach of U.S. National Champions and World Cup Nordic Skiers, translate training theory into practice to allow you to coach yourself to any mountaineering goal. Applying training practices from other endurance sports, House and Johnston demonstrate that following a carefully designed regimen is as effective for alpinism as it is for any other endurance sport and leads to better performance. They deliver detailed instruction on how to plan and execute training tailored to your individual circumstances. Whether you work as a banker or a mountain guide, live in the city or the country, are an ice climber, a mountaineer heading to Denali, or a veteran of 8,000-meter peaks, your understanding of how to achieve your goals grows exponentially as you work with this book. Chapters cover endurance and strength training theory and methodology, application and planning, nutrition, altitude, mental fitness, and assessing your goals and your strengths. Chapters are augmented with inspiring essays by world-renowned climbers, including Ueli Steck, Mark Twight, Peter Habeler, Voytek Kurtyka, and Will Gadd. Filled with photos, graphs, and illustrations.
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Read an Excerpt
The Old Becomes New Again
It was a close, warm, breezeless summer night,
Wan, dull, and glaring, with a dripping fog
Low-hung and thick that covered all the sky;
But, undiscouraged, we began to climb
William Wordsworth, “The Prelude” (17991805)
Physical exploration of the world was growing rapidly during the Romantic Period, the time of Wordsworth. Early mountaineers were upper class and well educated: poets, photographers, geologists, painters, and natural historians.
In 1895 the Englishman and alpinist Albert Mummery and four men undertook the first attempt to climb one of the Himalaya’s giant peaks, the 26,660-foot (8,126-meter) high Nanga Parbat. Mummery and two of his men lost their lives in an avalanche during the attempt. Thus climbing entered the twentieth century with artistic grace tainted by extreme tragedy; this began the greatest period of growth in alpinism, particularly in the Alps.
Technical standards rose rapidly. In 1906, 5.9 was first climbed in the Elbe Sandstone Mountains. Around this same time Austrian Paul Preuss trained himself to do one-armed pull-ups and climbed (and down climbed) alpine rock routes in the Dolomites to a modern grade of 5.8, solo and in hobnailed boots. By 1922 the top grade was 5.10d. Climbers of the time climbed many beautiful, difficult routes in the mountains. To modern climbers, they seem to have been driven by an innate curiosity to ascend, explore, and observe what would unfold in the process.
The great wars twisted everything; the conquest of the world’s fourteen highest peaks after World War II became surrogate battlegrounds to reinforce superiority, or symbolize rebirth, depending on whether your country had won or lost: Annapurna to the French, Everest to the British, Nanga Parbat to the Germans, K2 to the Italians. Ascent was transformed into conquest; summits became symbols of nationalistic pride. The climbing of mountains was changed forever. This ended symbolically in 1980 when Reinhold Messner was asked why he did not carry his country’s flag to the top of Everest, and he replied: “I did not go up for Italy, nor for South Tirol. I went up for myself.” Though his comment angered many at the time, the line was drawn.
In the information age all must be measured. For climbing, an emphasis on difficulty and speed emerged. Hardest, highest, fastest. In the age of social media all must be shared. The resulting cocktail of cameras, danger, and testosterone are all too often tragic. Rarely graceful.
The new alpinism comes full circle as small teams of fit, trained athletes emulate Mummery, aspire to Preuss, climb like the young Messner. Because those pioneers knew that alpinismindeed all mindful pursuitsis at its most simple level, the sum of your daily choices and daily practices. Progress is entirely personal. The spirit of climbing does not lie in outcomeslists, times, your conquests. You do keep those; you will always know which mountains you have climbed, which you have not. What you can climb is a manifestation of the current, temporary, state of your whole self. You can’t fake a sub-four-minute mile just as you can’t pretend to do an asana. Ascent too is an expression of many skills developed, refined, mastered.
Training is the most important vehicle for preparation. Constant practice begets examination and refinement of technique as well as fitness. It is not our natural tendency to value struggle over success, a worldview that climbing sternly enforces. Embracing struggle for its own sake is an important step on your path. Incremental vacillations in your selfyour physical and mental selvesare exquisitely revealed in practicing ascent. There is no end to your progress or your process. For the two of us the pursuit of climbing mountains has been among the most powerful personal experiences we have known. Nothing else has come close to the blunt power of climbing to inform us about ourselves.
We don’t presume to tell anyone what the new alpinism will actually become; no one can know this. But we do think that we have earned the perspective to point in the right general direction: Structured, progressive training will be a big component, perhaps define, the future of alpine climbing. But not because it will help you climb harder, fasterthough it will. Training prepares your body and, most important, your mind for ascent through consistent, hard, disciplined practice.
Go simply, train smart, climb well.
Meet the Author
Steve House is a world renowned climber, mountain guide, and Patagonia Ambassador, widely regarded for his light-and-fast style. He has published articles in a number of periodicals, and he is the author of Beyond the Mountains (Patagonia Books, 2009). He lives in Ridgway, CO.
Scott Johnston, who grew up in Boulder, CO, has ski raced on a national and international level and is an avid climber. He currently coaches several of the nation’s top cross country skiers, and climbs, establishing local climbing routes in and around his home town of Mazama, WA, in the North Cascades, where he lives.
Mark Twight has applied the light-and-fast tactics he first developed in Europe to climbs ranging from the Himalayas to Alaska. Mark is the author of two books: Extreme Alpinism Climbing Light, Fast and High and Kiss or Kill Confessions of a Serial Climber. He is a Patagonia ambassador, and the founder of GymJones.
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