Workouts in the Mountains Suck Less

Getting into mountaineering shape consists of throwing on a pack and running around in the neighborhood.  It builds leg muscle and strengthens the heart to better endure the rigors of actually hiking up the mountain.  But nothing prepares you for a hike, nor has better scenery and experience, than actually getting out there and hiking in the mountains.

For part of my conditioning this week, I threw on a 45ish pound pack, and hiked with the family to Mystic Lake.  The distance was about the same (around 4 miles from the trailhead to the campsite), but the workout was a whole lot more enjoyable when it’s in the beautiful Montana mountains.

adventure writer from Billings, Montana training to climb Granite Peak

Training to Climb Granite Peak Gear Tip: Trekking Poles

I feel I have largely exhausted my training tips.  You run, you work those legs, you run some more.  For these mountains that don’t require technical climbing, it’s not really a difficult regimen.

But there are more tips.  One of the best ways to help reduce strain on your legs, and feel better when you’re done with your hike, is to grab a pair of trekking poles.

For this trip I wanted to make things as light as possible.  So while I was tempted to pick up the $11 pole at Walmart (it felt as cheap as it was), and I debated getting the $33 aluminum version, I opted to spend a little more and go with carbon fiber.  The deciding factor was that I reduced the weight to just 7 ounces per pole instead of the 10 ounces per pole that aluminum offered.

All things considered, that was the only difference I could see between poles.

I went with a pole from The Fit Life, but ultimately it’s all about what you feel best with.

A Couple Days and a Night at Mystic

Mystic Lake is roughly 3 miles from the trailhead to the lake.  But this area has become so popular that parking overflows the trailhead, and despite numerous signs not to park roadside; people park roadside.  If you want to follow the rules, you have to go all the way back to the West Rosebud parking lot and hoof it along the road for an extra .7 miles.

I dropped my pack at the trailhead, and parked down the way.  I figured what’s a little extra cardio, and jogged back to the trailhead.  There, I threw my 40 something pound pack on my back, and headed up the trail.  It was a mere overnight trip… so how did the pack get so heavy?

My family consists of two adults, a child, and two dogs.  But for backpacking we only have a two man tent and a one man tent.  Enough for us, but we wanted a bit more luxury.  So, I shoved our enormous six man dome tent, all 22 pounds of it, into my pack.  There wasn’t a lot of room for much else, but I managed to also include most of everything else I needed to take (my loving wife was able to pack my sleeping bag in her pack).

The nice part was that after training with a 52 pound pack, this one hardly felt like anything.  Even with the uneven terrain, it was a pleasant trip that didn’t end with exhausted knees and legs.

Billings Montana Copywriter Mystic Lake Adventure in the Montana Mountains

Three More Weeks of Granite Peak Conditioning

There are just a few more weeks of training to climb the mountain.  While I feel my conditioning is in good shape, it’s time to maintain it and not slip back into late night chips and beer.

It won’t be long now before I’m trekking past Mystic Lake once more, and turning up the Phantom Creek trail to get to the top of Froze to Death Plateau.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Enter Answer to Comment : Time limit is exhausted. Please reload CAPTCHA.