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A Journey to Get Back in Mountaineering Condition

When I started my business as a copywriter, I did so in order to have more free time.  I designed the business around being able to live life on my terms, and not on my boss’s terms.  This meant I get more time to get out and explore the great outdoors like I once used to.

The opportunity came up to climb Granite Peak in August 2020, and I jumped on it.  The last time I reached the top was August of 2007 and I am long overdue for a good, long adventure.  There’s one minor detail though.  I’m now 37 years old, and I don’t get out and go on adventures every weekend like I once did.  As much as it pains me (literally, my feet and knees hurt) to exercise and condition myself, I have started a Granite Peak training regimen.

This is my journey, what I learn, and how I progress.

Granite Peak from Avalanche Lake

Conditioning my Legs and Heart

To say that I’m not in shape is a bit of a stretch.  But to say that I’m well conditioned is even more of one.

I would say that I’m moderate.  In fact, I could go climb Granite without the conditioning… but it would hurt a lot.  So, to make it easier and the aftermath more bearable, it’s a matter of making sure my legs can handle it, and my heart can keep the blood moving.

I started this documentation late, I’m in my third week of training.  The first week I wore a 25 pound pack.  The second week I bumped that to 33 pounds.  This week I increased to 42 pounds.

My goal is to add another 10 pounds so that ideally I will train with a heavier pack than I will carry on the approach.

Granite Peak Training
Click to Embiggen

Once each week I train at Zimmerman Park here in Billings.  But most days I cycle through the neighborhoods, half jogging and half at a brisk walk.  In town, I am able to average around 13.5 minute miles; at Zimmerman Park it’s closer to 17 minute miles.  No pack and straight jogging I’m around 9 minutes 15 seconds.

Over the next 5 weeks, I’ll document how the training goes, and share tips and tricks that I learn along the way as I condition to climb Granite Peak – Montana’s high point.

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