Sunday, July 19, 2015

July 18, 2015
This weekend marked the end of the quick training hikes with light packs that I have been enjoying.  On Saturday I hiked 3,000 feet up Granite Mountain with Roxy and 20 pounds in my pack.  Roxy spent most of the time looking for shade, and I spent most of the time wishing that my pack was 10 pounds lighter.

Roxy on Granite Mountain, Rainier in the Distance
Photo:  Lisa White
Today I decided to discover a new trail near Darrington.  The Neiderprum trail  steep, solitary and perfect!  I hiked up 2,400 feet in 1.8 miles with 25 pounds in my pack.  Best of all, I discovered Whitehorse Mountain, which I will definitely return to climb.

Whitehorse Mountain
Photo:  Lisa White
Roxy joined me again today, even though she would have preferred to stay home and sleep.  We were both rewarded for our efforts with ripe raspberries and blueberries in the warm sun.

The crazy thing about the Neiderprum trail is that it leads the way to the site of a former mining cabin.  I can't imagine Mr. Neiderprum coaxing a team of horses up there to build his cabin.  Must have been one hell of a mine!  I searched around the "flat" area near lone pine pass, but unfortunately couldn't find any remnants.  

It was a beautiful, peaceful day in the woods, thanks Mr. Neiderprum! 

Saturday, July 18, 2015

July 17, 2015
It's hypoxic time!!  For several years Darrin and I have included hypoxic training in our preparations for big climbs.  The idea is that by sleeping or exercising in a hypoxic environment, you build more red blood cells, which carry more oxygen, effectively starting the altitude acclimatization process before even starting to climb.  Brilliant!  I met some of the Hypoxico crew while climbing several years ago and was really impressed by their technology.  Since then I've worked with them to prepare for each big climb.  

For Manaslu, I started sleeping at the equivalent of 4,000 feet last weekend.   I'm slowly working my way up to 9,000 feet, monitoring my SpO2 each morning when I wake up to be sure that it's not less than 90%.  If I increase the elevation too quickly, my sleep quality, and in turn my workouts, will suffer.  So, I'm walking a fine line to be sure that I gain the benefits of acclimatization without compromising performance.  Plus, getting a crappy night's sleep sucks and leaves me feeling hung over and cranky in the morning.  No one likes that.  Once I'm comfortable at 9,000 feet, I will follow the mountaineering principle of "climb high, sleep low" and alternate between 9,000 feet and increasingly higher elevations. 

Ideally I would have started this whole process a few weeks ago, but since I have been traveling for work, it would have been hard to make much progress.

One weird thing about the tent, which fits over our mattress, is that our cat, Murray loves to sleep in it.  By loves, I mean he throws a fit and paws at the walls until we let him inside.  And once he's in the tent, he stays there all night.  Cats live at high elevations, so I don't think it's bad for him, I think he's just weird.

Hypoxic tent

Monday, July 6, 2015

Our tickets are booked!  

Now we just need permits, vaccinations, Sherpa, trip insurance, food, and good weather! 

Sunday, July 5, 2015

July 2, 2015
"It's ok, I'll sleep in the trunk."  I found myself saying illogically as Darrin, our friend Jeff, and I were making plans for a one-day ascent of Mt. Rainier.  The plan was to "sleep" in the car for a few hours at Paradise, then start climbing an midnight and be home for dinner.  Making the climb  in one day would afford us the luxury of carrying light packs and moving quickly.  

We started off on the familiar trail which seemed completely different without a parking lot full of cars and people.  It felt peaceful to move in the warm night air.  Moths flew in patterns in the light of my headlamp and everything felt still and quiet.  Under the full moon we made good time to Pebble Creek and stopped to top off our water bottles before pushing to Camp Muir.  With the exception of a glissading cowboy - which I still think may have been a mirage - we were alone on the Muir snowfield.

This is where things went awry.  Remnants of greasy yakisoba started to torment Darrin's stomach and our pace slowed.  We weren't able to make it to Camp Muir by our three hour time limit, and Darrin didn't feel strong enough to push on.  Frustrating for us all, but it's a team sport and it just wasn't coming together for us.  I'm already planning my next Rainier-in-a-day trip.  Hopefully I won't have to sleep in the trunk.

Oh, and I kicked cancer's ass 3 months ago :)

July 4, 2015
Since I didn't achieve my objective on Rainier, I needed to gain some vertical.  I opted for a quick hike up familiar Mailbox Peak, making it to the top in just 1:47, which I think is a new record for me.  Jeff's time is still 10 minutes better, so I have some work to do!  In order to keep my heart rate above 130 bpm, I jogged down the new trail.  4,000 feet of vertical gained and lost in 3 hours and 11 minutes.

July 5, 2015
I leave for Nepal is 7 weeks!!!  It's time to transition my training regimen from max strength - low reps with high weights - to muscular endurance.  The muscular endurance phase is designed to reach muscular "burn" in about a minute without raising my heart rate above my aerobic threshold (which is now 160 bpm).  Achieving muscular burn in this way will increase the endurance of the affected muscles.  For my first muscular endurance workout, I started by warming up with a few core exercises (hanging leg raises, L-sits, kayakers, and sit-ups) and did two sets of weighted pull-ups (18#) and step-ups (60#).  When I was warmed up, I did one minute each of squats, step-ups, and lunges with a 22.5# weight vest.  I'm embracing the burn!