A new era of training

With my failure on Hood still eating at my soul, I have become very resolved to get my physical and mental condition in better shape than I ever have. In a sense, I was both blessed and cursed when I was a little younger, since I could basically go months without doing any kind of exercise, then get off the couch (metaphorically speaking) and go climb a mountain. At 42, I am discovering that I can no longer do that, and it certainly isn’t going to get any easier as I age.

I had been doing these five-mile walks from my house to Whistler’s Bend park and back, and I felt like I was in decent shape from doing them, but after Hood I realized that I needed to make them tougher, so I have walking with my backpack on, starting with about twenty pounds and gradually adding more weight. I am now carrying around 30 pounds. But even my walks are not nearly grueling enough to get myself in the shape I need to be in, so last Monday I went to the North Bank Habitat Management Area, a nearly 7000-acre park that is only ten miles from my house.

(The map below shows the area of the NBHMA)

I did a loop that is about 9.5 miles long, with cumulative elevation gains and losses that are probably over 2000 feet. Basically, it is a mini mountain-climb. I love going there. On Monday I saw more raptors (around 20) than people (zero). I am quite fortunate that this amazing park is so close to my house. I am going to go there again today. My goal is to do that loop at least once a week, but preferably two times each week. Combining that with my five-mile power walk three times a week, plus a new series of core exercises I am doing, and I will be in great shape. I am already getting there.

In a couple of weeks I plan on doing an even bigger loop at the North Bank Ranch (as it is known locally). By connecting trails, I ought to be able to do a fifteen-mile loop that will have cumulative elevation gains of closer to 3000′. Once I am in good enough shape to do that, then I will make it a weekly hike.

This is going to be great year in the mountains.


7 thoughts on “A new era of training

  1. Just like to start off by say like the video of your climb. I love Mt Hood, it is my favorite mountain. I was up on Hood the 27th and 28th of December. But anyways just wanted to share some things that I do to stay in shape for Hood and many other climbs I do. I’m fortunate to have hills in my back yard that gain 800+feet a mile and 1 that I can get 1400feet gain in .9 of a mile. I do these hikes 3 to 4 times a week with 1600 feet gain and 4miles+ with a external frame pack that has 50lbs strapped to it. About every 4th time out I take the weight off and go balls to the wall. I also add ankle weights not heavy one just like 3lbs to stimulate my heavier mountaineering boot and crampons. Some my said what I do is a bit overkill but it works for me. Im not fast but have lots of stamina and what I mean I can make it to the top of hood in 5 hours and back down and do it all over at midnight and add to this I’m 240lbs and I’m only 5’9 not your topical in shape climber lol

    • That actually sounds similar to what I am now doing. Twice a week doing the big hike I outlined in my blog (I am going again tomorrow), and I am slowly adding weight to the pack as I get in better shape. I am 5’8″ and weight about 155 pounds, so fifty pounds will be about the max I will do for training. I like the idea for leg weights, however, and I will probably add that to my workout after a time. Truthfully, all I really need to do is have an actual workout routine and stick to it. Getting too old to just get up and go like I could five years ago! Thanks for the advice! Don

  2. Yeah, 50lbs is the heaviest I train with. My reason is that a person that climbs in most of the cascades shouldnt be packing more then 35 to 40 pounds of gear, clothes, food, water, etc for a overnight cause you are well aware of packing 35lbs will fell like 50lbs up high. If I looked at your map right NBHMA is by Roseburg? If so I have family there. I will say you know what you got to do be successful on your endeavors . “It’s not the mountain we conquer but ourselves” a quot from Sir Edmund Hillary

    • I am actually surprising myself with my dedication — especially this morning since it is raining pretty hard out and I am going anyway. Yes, the habitat is just outside of Roseburg and it hardly ever gets visited really. When it is warmer and drier there are more people but it never really gets crowded. Great place. If you are in the area sometime I heartily suggest you check it out!

  3. Hey, just checking to see how your new era of traning is going? Ive been running more and have noiced a diffrents the days I pack weigh on. I have a set in stone date to be on Hood June 12-14, summit day will be the 14th if the mountain permits and if it does then from Hood I’m going to Adams to summit it on the 16th. That’s the plan if the mountains permit it. So look me up if your up at timberline on thoes days I will proble be the only 1 with a dodge flat bed in the overnight parking. Chat with you later

  4. Your blog is awesome, like seriously! If you want, I would love it if you marked some of your posts on JourneyJotter.org it’s an effort to collaborate all outdoor adventures on a map to help other people research and plan their next trip for a specific location. Your blog posts would be a wonderful addition for others to see!

    • Thank you so much! As you may have seen, I am not blogging much right now due to being in school. I plan on starting to blog again soon, however, and when I do, I would be glad to link it to your page! Thanks again. Don

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