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Q: mountain climbing ( Answered,   1 Comment )
Subject: mountain climbing
Category: Sports and Recreation > Training
Asked by: kar-ga
List Price: $6.00
Posted: 20 Apr 2002 05:03 PDT
Expires: 27 Apr 2002 05:03 PDT
Question ID: 2286
What fitness training will I need to do to prepare to climb Mt.Rainer?
Subject: Re: mountain climbing
Answered By: penguin-ga on 20 Apr 2002 11:38 PDT
Hi Kar!

While we are aware that each of our physical needs are unique to each climber, 
I am going to brush on some general helpful fitness tips for an average healthy 

Mount Rainier has a summit of 14,411 feet. “Clinical studies have shown that at 
an altitude of 14,000 feet, 0.5 percent of adults and 8 percent of children 
under age 16 will suffer from pulmonary edema. Males and females are equally 
“Adjustments To Altitude” by Larry Olsen & Andy Perala. W.M. Keck Observatory.

Edema is when the lungs fill up with fluid while adapting to high altitude. By 
using a guide, learning the symptoms of edema and other altitude sickness, and 
taking your time up the mountain, you may avoid this trouble. has some useful exercise tips to physically prepare you for a 
Mount Rainier climb. It is recommended that you begin training at least three 
months in advance. Please plan for rest every couple of weeks for the most 
productive training. There is no need to over do it.

Begin by stretching. Stretch your fingers, elbows, and shoulders, because they 
will be holding ropes and pounding ice axes into the ice above 6500 feet. 
Stretch your back, groin, legs, and ankles to avoid injury during your training 
and your climb. Protect your neck by gently rotating it clockwise, and counter 
clock wise, as well as side to side and up and down.
“High Performance Climbing Coaching Words” by Neil Gresham.

In climbing Mt. Rainier, you need to strengthen your arms. This aids in 
effective belaying, ice axe skills, and rappelling. Pull-ups are your best bet 
here. You may find it useful to set your arms at different heights, as the 
mountainous terrain of Mt. Rainier is anything but level.

It is also great to strengthen your shoulders for raising the ice axe and your 
wrists and forearms for digging the axe into the ice. Wrist curls and dumbbell 
triceps extensions will work wonders for your upper body.
“High Performance Climbing Coaching: Training for ice and mixed routes” By Neil 
Gresham. Planet

A great way to condition your legs for the climb is by doing some light squats. 
The intent is to strengthen your legs and improve your endurance on the 
mountain, not to bulk up with heavy weight. Bulking up could actually harm you 
on the mountain so be sure to rest between all these exercises. Working your 
glutes and calves are essential in strengthening your lower body. Lunges, stair 
climbing, and leg presses all work fine for your needs.

Another important physical preparation is to prepare your lungs for long hikes 
at high altitude.  Cardio vascular exercises include running, walking, yoga, 
martial arts, swimming, gymnastics, and dance are great cardio workouts.
“High Performance Climbing Coaching” By Neil Gresham.

If you would like to pay for a class to guide you to the top of Mount Rainier, 
you may contact: 
Rainier Mountaineering, Inc. 
P.O. Box Q 
Ashford, WA 98304 

Additional Website that may interest you: 

Mount Rainier National Park Hiking Page

Search Terms Used: 

Mount   Rainier   climbing   training
cardiovascular   training   mountain   climbing
cramponing   training   climbing
altitude   change   lungs
edema  altitude

I hope this helps begin your journey to a great destination, Mount Rainier!
  ~ penguin
Subject: Re: mountain climbing
From: cyclops-ga on 20 Apr 2002 08:02 PDT
Mountaineering requires cardiovascular training to deal with altitude. One of the commercial guide services tenders this advice:

Additionally, here is a reccomendation regarding a climb of Kilimanjaro, the highest peak in Africa.

The thing you are most concerned about is Altitude Sickness (AMS)in its varying forms.   For an overview of AMS, and its ramifications, please see

Another major concern is climbing experience.  Please, Please for safety's sake do not attempt to climb Ranier, or any mountain without either being well versed in climbing and glaicer travel techniques or without someone who is experienced.  Consider contaciting any of these commercial guiding services.  They are all approved by the National Park Service to guide trips on Mt. Ranier

I wish you best of luck on your climb.

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