Training for 14ers | Hiking and Mountaineering Tips


In this video I go over 5 tips for training for a 14er. These mountains require quite specific training to maximize speed and efficiency and many people train the wrong way! If you are serious about climbing 14ers (or 13ers for that matter), these tips should be useful to you. If you are a very experienced ultra-endurance athlete, these tips may be underwhelming, however for the rest of us, hopefully are useful.

Tip 1: 0:21
Tip 2: 6:18
Tip 3: 13:19
Tip 4: 16:54
Tip 5: 18:14

If you are further interested in exploring Tip 2 and 3 more in-depth, look into Steve House’s (@Uphillathlete) book, “Training for the New Alpinism.” Any modern mountain athlete has either read or heard of this book.

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Likes and comments are always acknowledged and appreciated! I am an beginner, amateur cinematographer and love feedback in what I can improve in.

Media inquiries: wannabealpinist@gmail.com

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20 comments

  • Great advice. And it is so important to take diet, weight, and composition as seriously as training. Losing nonproductive, deadweight fat – and any useless muscle mass – which you no longer have to haul up the hill – is free mountaineering fitness. Leaner is faster – and faster is safer. Not to mention more fun. This is a point driven home well in House and Johnston's more recent book, Training for the Uphill Athlete.

  • During the hiking and training part I would factor in a 4th point.

    4. Conditions such as temperature, humidity, altitude etc.

    The psychological factors and mental conditioning is critical. Physical condition is not enough at the elite level.
    In many cases people will not know how they will respond under pressure, adversity and extreme conditions.
    That is part of the risk and journey of gaining experience.

    (Also, climbing alone and in a team are completely different monsters. I suspect that talking to a camera whilst walking can help with pain distraction and rhythm etc)

  • Great video! I just downloaded the audiobook of Training For New Alpinism, I'm excited to give that a listen.
    Thanks for talking about heart rate zones. I have an understanding of this from running, but haven't really applied it to hiking.
    Also I dig your outlook on the importance of elevation gains, I only have ever really looked at that as a metric of how difficult it will be, and not as something to keep track of.

  • Great video. I enjoyed it. I'd add one more topic of concern and that would be altitude. I can tell you are from Colorado but some of us live in the lower altitude states and coming out West to do a 14ner is a big adjustment. Personally I'm usually pretty good at 10 thousand ft. but when I get to 12 thousand it's like someone sucked all the energy from me. I know that spending more time at altitude is really the only way to adapt.

  • I wish we had some fourteeners here in Australia.. or 4000m would do. I've solo hiked up to 5000m in India, love the unique challenges of high altitude. Keen to get to something like Mera peak in Nepal one day, not keen on the health passports & experimental vacs though 💉

  • Preparing now for my 4th 14er and only have 2 months, got a late start and lots to do in less than 2 months, this helps hearing! Thanks for making this, it is helpful

  • One thing I might add to the vertical gain aspect is that the vertical gain you are training at, starts at a higher elevation. Because you can do 4000 feet of gain but if you’re doing it starting down at 5000 feet it’s not the same as starting that 4000 vertical gain at 10,000 feet. Just my two cents.

  • I've been looking for a video exactly like this, Thanks for the great information

  • I liked your tip on visualization. I appreciate your openness and can feel your sincerity. Funny how some ppl I've hiked 14'ers with almost put off the air of not wanting to help/guide/advise as if they were guarding the world of hiking. 😂 Thanks for this! 💖💖💖

  • Very useful advice.

    In addition to getting your hiking legs, invest in a good pair of socks (I use Darn Tough) and get a roll of leukotape for any hot spots on your feet that might come up. Better to wrap your toes if they're starting to rub than put up with blisters. I wrap the tape just below the grips of my trekking poles so I have it with me without having to carry the roll around in my pack.

  • The most valuable "training" for 14ers is, unfortunately, acclimatization. If you're wiling to plod along and put in the time, you can make it up most 14ers. I grew up in 5000-foot hills, but now live at only a few hundred feet. In the last few years I've gone out to summit Mount Whitney and Pike's Peak (don't waste your time on the latter until about the mid 2020s, the summit views are wrecked by construction). At 50 and carrying a lot of muscle for my height (5'9", 235#), I still have the legs to make it up, but the damn altitude has me pounding once I hit around 10000 feet. It's the main thing that has kept me from heading up to Alaska or even to try Kilimanjaro. I just wouldn't be able to take the altitude, and you really can't train around that. I'll have to "settle" for maybe something like the Half Dome in the future.

    So, I've switched gears and am moving toward lower but more technical climbs now. I'll be putting on the crampons and grabbing an ice axe for the first time in a few months for 11000-plus Mount Hood. I'm sure it will be fun hauling my heavy ass up that mountain. 🙂

  • You are spot on when you say the way to train is just to hike. I hiked Longs Peak by just going a little further each time. By the time I did it it was so familiar with the trail that it didn't seem that far (understatement LOL). I find it a little sad that some people are paying $50 for training programs to hike Fourteeners. I've done 15 of them so far, and it's just about experience, and upping your game. Thanks for the common sense video, making these peaks attainable for most of those who would like to climb them.

  • Great video! We got smoked out of doing Whitney for the first time this fall. I think we were ready for it. I’ll put this info to use while training for next time!

  • What’s that on your right shoulder strap ?

  • Excellent in its basic information. I’m attempting to summit ISLAND PEAK via EBC Oct 2021 and have already started a weekly 12-15 mile walk with approx 5kg backpack. My legs are recovering quicker each week and feet are adjusting to wearing trek shoes or boots. Next Saturday we’re doing SNOWDONIA as our first actual ascent walk (3000 ft). Thanks for your interesting and honest videos, keep them coming pal…..

  • tell people go into the mountains… I love the enthusiasm…but people PLEASE SEE A DOCTOR first AND JOIN A CLASS…. Do not try 14er if your a newbie into hiking. Also don't go into the wilderness without proper gear and knowledge.

  • Hey there! I'm going to be in Colorado first week of October, any tips on what to pack for the hikes? What's the weather like?

  • Liked the video. Just subscribed to your channel. Dan Becker just recommended us recently. Check us out and subscribe over at Worldview Trekking. We make outdoor family friendly hiking and camping videos. We actually try to publich a new video every week. Thanks again.

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