Category Page: Uncategorized

How to Prepare Your Body for Climbing

 

Climbing is an athletic adventure, which is sometimes difficult to reach. But the final result is worth it because you realize what you are capable of, expand your horizons, deepen your connection with nature and rethink your life. It doesn’t matter how difficult your climb is because each climb gives enough experience and teaches something new.

So, despite being a pleasant activity, it is very tough as it requires a special physical and mental preparation. If you are a novice in the climbing world but love the mountains, consider these tips. They will help you to focus on important aspects of your preparation and enjoy your climb to the fullest.

 

The Importance Of A Good Physical Condition For The Climber

Climbing is both a thrilling and challenging experience, which requires a profound physical and mental preparation. Having a strong body is extremely important if you decided to go climbing due to the several reasons:

  • A strong body makes it easier to cope with low oxygen environments. Having a strong body can prevent Altitude sickness, which can trigger pulmonary edema (fluid buildup in your lungs) and lead to death.
  • Climbing means that you walk up and down hills for several days with a backpack with about 6 kg. You will climb so that you need superior upper body strength, great endurance, and a strong lower body.
  • Climbing encourages participants to increase their range of motion. It requires the climbers to reach, climb and leap from an uncomfortable distance. Therefore, a good flexibility in your tissues helps to handle any activity with ease.

 

Mountain Climbing Training

To start an adrenaline-pumping adventure, you should improve your physical and mental condition. Alex Johnson, a professional climber and five-time U.S. national champion says, “It’s easy to get discouraged—it happens to everyone—but the best way to improve is keep trying.”

So, don’t be intimidated, even if it’s your first experience, try your best and prepare well and then, it will be a start of a thrilling journey. Here are tips as for the mountain climbers workout.

 

Physical Exercises

Climbing requires a serious upper-body strength (arms, shoulders, the back) and a strong core, fingers, and hands. These exercises will help you to get ready for the demands the climbing puts on you.

 

  • Building Strength

 

During the climb, you move vertically with an extra weight, so you should be strong enough to do it. Firstly, start with exercises, which will help you to get the necessary fit. They include:

 

  • Squats

 

Deep squats make the legs and hamstrings stronger, which is vital for climbers.

How to do:

  • Stand on your feet wider than shoulder-width apart. Maintain a neutral spine.
  • Extend the arms so that they are parallel to the ground, palms should face down.
  • Inhale, bring your hips back as the knees begin to bend.
  • Keep the chest, shoulders, and the back upright, the spine should be neutral.
  • Squat when your hips sink below the knees.
  • Then engage your core and go back to the starting position, driving through the heels.

 

  • Push-ups

 

Push-ups make your upper body stronger and therefore, more enduring.

How to do:

  • Lie down on the floor, your hands should be a little bit wider than the shoulder-width apart. From the head to your toes there should be a straight line.
  • Keep your arms straight, the abs should be braced, lower your body until your elbows at a 90-degree angle or when your chest hits the floor.
  • Then pause and explode back until you’re in the starting position.

 

  • Side Lunges

 

Side lunges strengthen the adductors, improve the knee stability and enhance balance.

How to do:

  • Stand firm on your feet and hold a weight on your chest. Take a big step to the right with toes pointing straight ahead.
  • Bend your knee, shift the hips back and lower down until your hips are parallel to the floor.
  • Come back to the initial position. Then, repeat the same movement to the left.

Once you are comfortable with the classic weight training, you should do the exercises, which will help you to get the strength you need for climbing. Thus, front squats, bench press, and deadlifts are your ultimate choice.

 

  • Front Squats

 

This exercise will strengthen your legs, hips, the glutes, so it is beneficial for climbers.

How to do:

  • Inhale, tighten your core, pull the shoulder blades down and back.
  • Move your hips back, bend your knees, and push the knees out to lower into the squat. Your chest should be upright.
  • Bend your knees until your hips are parallel to the floor.
  • Drive through the midfoot to stand up out of the squat. Then, squeeze the glutes to extend the hips at the top of the squat.

 

  • Bench Press

 

This exercise is important not only for the upper-body muscle building but for the upper-body strength as well. When you do this exercise, your back, your shoulders, your triceps, and the glutes are involved. If you do this complex exercise properly, you’ll increase your strength.

How to do:

  • Put your feet firmly on the floor, they should be back toward the glutes as far as you can.
  • Position yourself under the bar: set up far enough under the bar, but in the meantime, don’t set up too far.
  • Arch your lower back, it will help you to keep the spine neutral.
  • Grab the bar tightly and make sure your wrist is straight because then you’ll provide the optimal force. If you have long arms or want to push maximum weight, grip wider. If your arms are short, then grip narrower.
  • Inhale, unrack the bar, and exhale. Then, take a deep breath and move the bar downward. Hold your breath, and when you get past the concentric sticking point of the press, breathe out forcefully.
  • When the bar has touched the torso, tighten your glutes and drive your legs into the ground, it will initiate the upward movement you need. And throw the bar back.

 

  • Deadlift

 

This exercise is paramount for building strength as it strengthens the glutes and hamstrings.

How to do:

  • Stand with the mid-foot under the bar, your feet should be hip-width apart.
  • Grab the bar, shift the hips back, bend your knees and bend forward until your torso is close to parallel to the floor.
  • Lift your chest and straighten your back.
  • Inhale, hold it and stand up with the weight. The bar should be in contact with your legs while you pull.
  • Return the weight to the floor through unlocking your hips and knees. Then, move your hips back and lower the bar.
  • Once the bar is past your knees, bend the legs more and put the bar over your mid-foot.

Thereby, once you’ve increased your strength with these exercises, you should be able to use this strength on the mountain. That is why you should emulate real-world conditions. For this, wear your special clothes, best sneakers for overweight walkers, and gear, take a loaded pack and try to climb the mountains of a different height.

 

Improving Stamina

 

Being able to move for hours is a crucial ability for mountaineers. So, any mountain climbing training should include both aerobic and anaerobic endurance exercises. The aerobic exercises enhance respiratory and circulatory efficiency by improving oxygen consumption. These exercises require oxygen to generate force for activities. As for anaerobic exercises, they don’t require oxygen to generate force.

To increase aerobic stamina, you should incorporate running (road running and trail running) and distance cycling into your workout routine. These exercises are a perfect cardio training. The main benefit of cardio training is strengthening the major muscle of your body – your heart. The stronger your heart is, the more enduring you are. Besides, it improves the ability of your body to recover. Cardiovascular training reduces the onset of muscle soreness and improves the oxygen-rich blood circulation so that your tissues recover faster.

As for anaerobic endurance, the win-win option here is a high-intensity interval training (HIIT). HIIT is the concept where one performs a short burst of high-intensity (or max-intensity) exercise followed by a brief low-intensity activity, repeatedly, until too exhausted to continue.

Depending on your fitness level, you may choose different HIIT sessions. Normally, they last for 30 minutes.

 

 

Altitude Training

 

Strength and stamina are important for a climber, but this adventurous activity may be risky, so altitude training is vital. The problem of oxygen consumption is compounded at altitude because of the reduced pressure of oxygen. Each person is born with a unique ability to reach a certain VO2 max. If genetically you can reach a certain max and it is low, you won’t be able to reach a higher max no matter how hard you train. But if genetically you are able to reach a certain VO2 max and it is high, if you don’t train, then your actual max isn’t as high as it can be. Thus, if you train to increase the VO2 max, then you can climb harder and it is easier for you to climb.

The best way to increase your efficiency at altitude (except for the aerobic activities) is to train at altitude. The major methods are hiking and running stairs with your pack on. More experienced climbers (including those, who choose extreme mountain climbing) use a hypoxic tent. This tent is used to simulate a higher altitude with reduced oxygen. The main goal of this training is to make the body produce more oxygen-carrying red blood cells and hemoglobin. In this way, your body adapts to the higher altitude. This training will help you avoid altitude sickness, which is characterized by dizziness, vomiting, shortness of breath, nausea. If your body adapts to the high altitude, then you get an enhanced performance.

 

Proper Diet

Climbing is considered to be a high-intensity activity, so it requires much energy. Nutrition is an important part of the preparation your body for climbing, but sometimes mountaineers overlook it. To get ready for climbing, follow these tips:

  • Figure out the intensity and duration of the session. If you choose bouldering (it is short, but high-intensity climbing), then go for easy-to-digest carbs (bananas, quick oats, rice milk, dried fruit). For longer and lower-intensity climbing (e.g. alpine climbing), choose slower digesting carbohydrates (beans, brown rice).
  • Eat healthy meals with a proper balance of carbohydrates. Get around 25-30 grams of carbohydrates 30 minutes before a climb. Also, 20 grams of protein within 30 minutes before climbing to improve strength and prevent muscle breakdown. For instance, eat two eggs (about 14 grams of protein), a turkey breast (22 grams of protein).
  • Hydrate well to prevent dehydration and don’t eat fats as they are slower to digest and they may trigger stomach problems.
  • Avoid foods you are allergic to. The most common allergens are eggs, soy, milk, corn, some nuts, shellfish.
  • Eat foods, rich in probiotics, as they promote a good microbiome in the gut (yogurt, kombucha). Also, consume broccoli, onion, leeks, asparagus as they give enough fiber and provide plenty of probiotics.

Other Tips & Tricks

If you are ready physically, you should do other steps in order to be ready for climbing 100 percent. A strong body is only half the success, you also need a medical evaluation and appropriate attire and gear.

 

  • Choose The Type Of Climbing

 

If you are a newbie, a rope climbing with a belay partner is an option. You may cover much distance on the walls. If you prefer to go solo, you may use an auto-belay.

If you like climbing without ropes, go for bouldering. The height isn’t so big and the distance is short.

Besides, there is trad climbing where you follow the routes that have pre-placed anchors, but this type is for experienced climbers.

 

  • Choose The Necessary Attire And Gear

 

The climb will be safe if you have a strong core and appropriate gear. The first thing to remember is soft climbing shoes, which provide a great grip on the wall. You may wear thin socks or don’t wear them at all. If you choose bouldering, then don’t forget to get a chalk bag. If your choice is top roping, then you’ll need many things: a harness, lead rope, chalk bag, carabiner, and belay device.

 

  • Get A Medical Checkup

 

Even if you follow a special preparation regimen, you should get a medical checkup before the climb. The doctor should evaluate your medical conditions that can cause problems on the climb. Also, he should figure out whether some medications can affect altitude acclimatization. Also, such conditions as spine problems, asthma, head injuries, kidney problems, sprains, joint dislocations, blood disease can make your trip more dangerous.

Conclusion

Thus, on the way to your goal, dedicate time to the physical preparation as it plays a crucial role in the success of your trip. If your body is strong and enduring enough to withstand everything climbing throws at you, then it will be a pleasant experience.

So, set up the right goals, go through planning, training, and implementation processes and then you’ll tackle your objective successfully.

I’ve Started a New Blog..

I’ve noticed posts on here are becoming more and more irrelevant to this project so I have decided to find a new home for them.

Anything related to Generation Y or really anything not related to the 7 Summits Project can now be found over at my new blog which I’ve titled Generation Y Musings.. (the Address is codyjay.info). I want to start discussing topics relating to Generation Y (of which I am a member) and our place in the world.

From now on I will be keeping posts on this site related to this particular project only. That will still cover treks and training, mountains, Nepal and education, since I’m still involved in all these subjects.

I will try and keep some good content coming, so stay tuned!

What the #@$% is a Stitch?

I had a pretty bad experience during a half marathon last weekend which brought about this post. Around 7km in, I developed a ‘stitch’, a sharp stabbing pain up under my ribs. No matter what I did, I couldn’t get rid of it, struggling through the last 14km without being able to push myself in any way. I probably dropped 15 minutes off the time I was expecting. Incredibly frustrating experience… 

Well, I’ve decided to do some research, both for my own sake (to prevent future incidents) and hopefully to help others avoid the painful ailment. 

Here is what I’ve found..

 

What is a Stitch?

“An intense stabbing pain under the lower edge of the ribcage that occurs while exercising. It is also referred to as exercise related transient abdominal pain (ETAP)”

“The pain usually eases within a few minutes after exercise has stopped, however some people experience some residual soreness for a few days, especially after severe pain. The Stitch seems to be more prevalent in activities that involve vigorous upright, repetitive movement of the torso.”

stitch

 

What Causes it?

“Scientists are unsure of the exact cause of stitch.” Look’s like we’re off to a good start here..

“For some time, stitch was thought to be caused by a reduction in blood supply to the diaphragm, a large muscle involved in breathing.  It was thought that during exercise, blood was shunted away from the diaphragm and redirected to exercising muscles in the limbs.  This theory has now lost favour with scientists.  Both the diaphragm and the limb muscles have to work harder during exercise so it is unlikely that an inadequate blood flow would be directed to them.

Another popular theory is that stitch is caused by organs pulling on the ligaments that connect the gut to the diaphragm.  Ligaments that support organs such as the stomach, spleen and liver are also attached to the diaphragm.  Jolting during exercise may cause these organs to pull on the ligaments and create stress on the diaphragm.

A more recent idea is that stitch is caused by irritation of the parietal peritoneum.   Two layers of membrane (peritoneum) line the inside wall of the abdominal cavity.  One layer covers the abdominal organs.  The other layer (parietal peritoneum) attaches to the abdominal wall.  The two layers are separated by lubricating fluid, which allows the two surfaces to move against each other without pain. 

The parietal peritoneum is attached to a number of nerves.  It is thought that the stitch occurs when there is friction between the abdominal contents and the parietal peritoneum.  This friction may be caused by a distended (full) stomach or a reduction in the lubricating fluid.” Source: ausport.gov.au

That’s the scientific version..

What is essentially being said, is that a stitch is predominantly caused by either solids or fluids that are being digested at the time of intense exercise. 

Due to the ‘pulling’ or ‘tugging’ motion described above, high intensity exercise, without an adequate warmup, may also be a factor.

In my own case, I ate a meal of fatty tuna and brown rice about an hour before I started running. Besides some light stretching, I also failed to warm-up properly. 

Stitch

Trying to avoid a picture being taken as I try to walk off a stitch. Photographer payed no attention..

 

How to Prevent it..

The consensus seems to be a combination of the following..

  • Drink plenty of low-GI fluid in the 24 hours leading up to the event.
  • Don’t eat large meals within 2 hours of intense exercise. (Particularly avoid fatty, harder to digest foods)
  • Avoid extremely sugary foods and drinks like fruit juices and soft drinks.
  • When consuming fluids during activity, drink smaller amounts at regular intervals.
  • Warm-up sufficiently before intense exercise.
  • Regulate your breathing- Slow, deep and controlled breaths provide more efficient blood-flow that short, gaspy breaths.

 

If you get a stitch anyway..

The common treatments seem to be

  • Stop, bend forward and touch your toes
  • Place pressure on the affected area with your hand/fingers.

According to Runnersworld, this is the solution:

“If you still get another side stitch, implement this strategy and it will go away in seconds (I promise). Slow your pace and exhale as the foot on the opposite side of the stitch strikes the ground. This doesn’t mean every time that foot hits the ground, but as you exhale, do so in sync with that opposite side. When you exhale, you use the muscles of your diaphragm. When this happens in unison with your foot striking the ground, the impact forces travel up the body and through your core (your side too) and exacerbate (piss off) the muscles in spasm creating that stitch. When you change the side of the landing forces to the opposite side, the tension causing the stitch releases. For example, your stitch is in your right side. You slow your pace, and exhale as your left foot is hitting the ground. Voila! Side stitch is history and you’re running without swearing once again.”

I didn’t stop for a good 2-3km after I got mine in the half-marathon, pushing through until I got to the next drink station. Very unwise move.. Next time I will be stopping immediately to deal with the problem.

 

There you have it. Hopefully that helps you out and you will forever be rid of the little painful bastard known as a ‘Stitch’. 

Life with a Restless Soul

It’s like living with a pressure inside you. A pressure that builds over time until you finally grant it release…

The relentless pull of life on the move becomes somewhat unbearable.

That internal drive that doesn’t allow you to settle for more than a few weeks at a time.

Then it’s off chasing the next adventure.. The rest of your time spent thinking, dreaming of the moment

photo-1453282716202-de94e528067c

The limitless opportunity, the freedom, not only to do what you like, to go where you want to go, but to be whoever you want to be, it’s like a drug. And every bit as self-consuming..

Perhaps it’s the fear of missing out.. I’ve always been acutely aware of my own mortality, the limited time we are all granted. I guess it’s more so the fear of not making the most that time, of squandering it, wasting it..

We were all nomads at one time, wandering, drifting, searching.. we never settled. I think it’s a natural state of our being to explore, to seek adventure, something we’ve forgotten as the years have passed..

I  hope that one day that pressure will die down and I’ll be able to live contentedly, something resembling a normal life. In the meantime all I can do is satisfy this restless soul, giving in to the pursuit of perpetual motion..

The Quitter

I was captivated by one particular line of poetry as I was watching the story of Douglas Mawson, one of the greatest survival stories you’ve probably never heard. Mawson was a geologist & explorer during Antarctica’s golden age of exploration, sitting alongside names such as Roald Amundsen, Robert Falcon Scott, and Ernest Shackleton.

Douglas_mawson

During Mawson’s heroic ordeal, he had fallen into a crevasse, dangling at the end of his sled rope. He had no strength, he was thoroughly exhausted. There didn’t appear to be a way out. Just as he was giving up hope, one particular verse popped into his head..

Just have one more try — it’s dead easy to die,
    It’s the keeping-on-living that’s hard.

Mawson followed this mantra, pulled himself out of the crevasse and made it back to camp, nearly a month later. It would go down as one of the great survival tales and secure Mawson’s knighthood and even brief inclusion on the Australian $100 note.

I found it to be a truly captivating and poignant line, encapsulating no doubt, what willed Mawson to keep on moving, to survive and to live.

Here is the full poem by Robert Service, culminating in that epic verse..

 

The Quitter

Robert William Service [1874-1959]

 

When you’re lost in the Wild, and you’re scared as a child,
    And Death looks you bang in the eye,
And you’re sore as a boil, it’s according to Hoyle
    To cock your revolver and . . . die.
But the Code of a Man says: “Fight all you can,”
    And self-dissolution is barred.
In hunger and woe, oh, it’s easy to blow . . .
    It’s the hell-served-for-breakfast that’s hard.

“You’re sick of the game!” Well, now, that’s a shame.
    You’re young and you’re brave and you’re bright.
“You’ve had a raw deal!” I know — but don’t squeal,
    Buck up, do your damnedest, and fight.
It’s the plugging away that will win you the day,
    So don’t be a piker, old pard!
Just draw on your grit; it’s so easy to quit:
    It’s the keeping-your-chin-up that’s hard.

It’s easy to cry that you’re beaten — and die;
    It’s easy to crawfish and crawl;
But to fight and to fight when hope’s out of sight —
    Why, that’s the best game of them all!
And though you come out of each gruelling bout,
    All broken and beaten and scarred,
Just have one more try — it’s dead easy to die,
    It’s the keeping-on-living that’s hard.

Documentaries on Nepal: A Glimpse into an Unknown World

Nepal is a truly incredible country, filled with a rich cultural history, world heritage building, a diverse landscape & of course, the legendary Himalayas. Outside of the mountainous landscape however, the general population doesn’t tend to know a lot about Nepal and it’s people. I have been fortunate enough to experience a little of what the region offers and I wish everyone the opportunity to travel there and experience it for themselves.

I have put together a list of documentaries that hopefully provide you with a glimpse into what life holds in this mystic nation.. There is of course, a great deal of footage based around the Himalayas and what the mountains mean to the Nepalese people. Perhaps you will also discover another side to Nepal, away from the trekking and the tourism that it’s renowned for. A spiritual side, and a culture you won’t experience anywhere else. 

Introducing Nepal..

Nepal: In the Mountains Shadow

“Nepal, in the Mountains Shadow” is a compelling cultural documentary set in the mystic country at the heart of the Himalayas. Guided by child rights activist and orphanage director Visma Raj Paudel, the film explores the growing social disparity that exists throughout the whole of the country, as he struggles to uncover the truth behind the plight of the nations most precious resource–its children. The documentary weaves together beautiful imagery and gripping first hand interviews to create a rare look into modern day Nepal.”

 

30 Days in Nepal

“Three friends adventure across Nepal with the goal of trekking the classic Annapurna Circuit and the Thorong-La Pass at an altitude of 5,416m whilst stopping by for a visit with an old friend on the way.”

 

Sherpa

“The filmmakers set out to make a film of the 2014 Everest climbing season, from the Sherpas’ point of view. Instead, they captured a tragedy that would change Everest forever. At 6.45am on 18th April, 2014, a 14 million ton block of ice crashed down onto the climbing route through the Khumbu Icefall, killing 16 Sherpas. It was the worst tragedy in the history of Everest. The disaster provoked a drastic reappraisal about the role of the Sherpas in the Everest industry. SHERPA, tells the story of how, in the face of fierce opposition, the Sherpas united in grief and anger to reclaim the mountain they call Chomolungma.”

 

The Last Lost Kingdom

A king who lost his kingdom. A son who lost his father. At one time or another in life, every man is aware that his time is limited. In the very midst of life we know what never will come again, what irreversibly replaces a past that cannot be recovered. Three men journey to the forbidden kingdom of Mustang in the remote Himalayas in search of roots, to reconcile loss and anticipate the rise of modernization.


 

History of Kathmandu: My Diary

A fascinating look into what life was like before the influx of trekking and climbing tourism that exists in the modern day.