Monday, April 14, 2008

Mt. Shasta this weekend!

Five of us are going to attempt to climb Mt. Shasta this coming weekend: H'ard, myself, and three friends from New England, Bob, Lloyd and Mats. Aside from the obvious draw of climbing such a beauty (ain't she though?!!) in early spring conditions, this is a training climb for something I've hinted at in previous posts: an attempt at DENALI, aka Mt. McKinley, later this spring. (O_O)
Living in coastal SoCal, where the temps hit 90 this past weekend, it seems very strange to be filling my backpack with things like down jackets, face masks, snowshoes, mountaineering boots, and the like. When I lived in Vermont, I spent my winters snowshoeing and cramponing across the White Mountains of NH, including Mt. Washington, home of the "world's worst weather." (Now you know why I moved to CA.) But other than Mt. Hood last summer, I've hardly been on snow in the past two years.
In "training" for Alaska, yesterday I eclipsed my all-time heaviest backpack by A LOT, carrying a 70-75 lb. pack 3 miles with about 1000 feet of vertical. I felt pretty, uh, maxed out with that poundage but needed to really know that I could carry that much. Even after my knowledgeable and experienced friends (hi Deb!) recommended getting some hikes in with a heavy pack, I'd kinda put off doing it all winter. After reading the following pre-trip conditioning advice on the Mountain Madness* site, I knew I had to stop procrastinating:
"Besides aerobic training, such as running and cycling, you need to do strength training with a pack. This is the most valuable thing you can do to prepare yourself. The best method is to go on long hikes or climbs with a heavy pack once or twice a week. Begin with a light pack and work your way up to approx. 50% of your body weight (55 – 80 lb.) "
Well, I didn't exactly start with a light pack and work my way up, but jumped right in with carrying well over 50% of my body weight... not tellin' exactly how much! :p What was I carrying? Three 2.5 gallon containers of water to stash on the trail for use during long runs (plus some other stuff).
"Looks like cruel and unusual punishment." So commented one of the 25 or so hikers we met on the trail yesterday morning. My response: "It is! But I'm in training!" Surprisingly, I'm sore in just a couple of spots--mild shoulder tenderness and a right hip flexor ache. The Mt. Shasta pack feels rather ladylike in comparison. I'm really looking forward to this trip. :-)
*We are not going on a guided trip ($5000+!!!) on Denali but as a private group of nine.


Olga said...

Sue, i am so behind in commenting to you, but I've been visiting! Girl, you rock - on trails, mountains, at C2M, in to you and enjoy your trip to Shasta! I was just talking about it while driving by Hood on Saturday - they both are sharp and oh, so pretty:)

Bryon Powell said...

Mount Shasta looks awesome! Best of luck in your Denali training!

I am a runner. "We are what we repeatedly do" said...

Denali??! wow good luck Sue! I f it was any other ordinary ultrarunner I would be worried. But you and all your NH mt treks in the winter should be very well suited for this journey. IF you want any tips, remember that JEff Wilbur used to lead trips there for NOLS.

Train hard, enjoy it, then come East for Iriqious 50/100 and/or Grindstone 100.

Matt Hart said...

awesome!... can't wait to read about shasta, and of course denali! good luck sue!

Doug McKeever said...

Sue, good for you for maxing your pack load. But you will be happy to know you will "seldom" have to hump that big of a pig on Denali. Your daily loads will be more manageable, since you will not be single-hauling but staging it. (many parties, however, single haul from Denali base to Camp One....we did on both my trips). But that first haul is downhill then quite gradual. When you consider than about half the load goes in your sled, and this is the mode of operation until either 11,200 or even to 14,200' it isn't so bad. (by the way, I really wouldn't recommend taking the sled to 14,200....but I'll write you about that fact why am I putting all this detail on your blog at all?) Have fun on Shasta. There is a LOT more snow on it than in the awesome image you show here! It will be a great ski descent or sitting glissade from the Red Banks down.)

Unknown said...

Keep posting about the Denali training!!! This stuff is so cool. I need to get rid of this pain in the ass I call a job and do some climbing!
I'm glad to hear that you are learning the technical skills to be a competent climber and braving the Mountain w/o a guide. Style is everything in Mountaineering and you will relish your accomplishment all the more knowing that you climbed in good style!
Leo Lutz