View Full Version : Am i in shape for longer trips?

02-16-2005, 10:34 AM
After reading that wonderful Baxter trip and hearing about other long trips, how much experience do i need to tackle something like that? One scout group is doing Rainier (sp) in august but their prereq. is doing Mt. Washington this month. Is that the norm? Do i have to have a certain # of hikes under my belt to handle it both mentally and physically? I want to be confident and not a concern of the group when the time comes..This is becoming a serious addiction..Wonder what i would be doing now if i hated the outdoors?

02-16-2005, 10:48 AM
I find that only each individual can answer that question for themselves. Some will just jump into something feet first and be just fine, while others will take a more cautious route and work their way up to things.

The latter technique will probably increase your chances of success for each trip and possible keep you safer as you learn to build on your skills. Having said that, I tend to jump into things sometimes and that has also worked for me . . . but as SherpaK likes to kid me, I also will NEVER have enough faith in myself as I question and requestion my abilities and always assume the worst about myself so it really depends on your personality and what level of risk you are willing to take.

Be safe, don't push beyond your personal comfort zone TOO much and most importantly make sure to have fun !!!


02-16-2005, 11:14 AM
The younger you are and the more fit you are the easier it is to jump right in. On the other hand, the more experienced you are the more likely you are to either avoid or better manage risks and better able to respond to adversities where mental strength outweighs brute strength in getting yourself through it.

Personally, I'm comfortable tackling things somewhat beyond my comfort level with the knowledge that I must either be willing turn back or, if beyond the point of no return, be prepared to deal with, or accept, the worse that can happen.

I think most people are capable of doing more than they think they can. It's those who don't know their limits that I worry about.

02-16-2005, 11:42 AM
You can probably answer that yourself. That baxter trip is a couple of days at the least. Can you do 2 to 3 days in the whitesin a row Can you do a summit of washington, adams, etc, and feel like it wasn't the hardest thing you ever did? Is there any energy left - and feel totally wiped the next day. Can you recover? Only you can answer this.

I am kind of the same way. I doubt myself and then when the trip is done I always say - it wasn't that bad and I preferomed really good. I think the trick is that your in good enough shape to move a decent pace, minimal rests, and you are able to recover 100% after a short rest.

I am actually planning a trip to rainer hopefully for this summer/fall and been thinking about this topic alot.

I think I am ready to go west for some bigger climbs, Just to put it in perspective, I run at least 4 (try for 5) times a week with one run 7 to 10 miles, 2 runs at 6 miles and 2 runs at miles. ok - sometimes 5 times per week.

I can hike 10-12 per day miles in the northern pressies and then do it again the next day, the 3rd day is typically less miles.

I have not done katadin but will probably do it in winter 2005-2006. I don't have the time this year.

the biggest hurdle for me for rainer, hood, etc.. is the damn expenses to get out there and hire a guide, and plead with my wife to let me go.

As far was washington as a test for rainer - not sure. I think its apples to organges. I haven't done Rainer so if someone can help here, I think rainer would be more like doing washington 2 or 3 times in 2 days. I think it is like 20 miles R/T.

For rainer, it is wise to have glaicer skills if going unguided.

Mike P.
02-16-2005, 11:45 AM
Building up is probably the best way to learn more about yourself. Do I want to go 5 days & 40 miles away from civilization? Am I that self-reliant? Will I really like 3 days or -10 degrees, wind & snow, Was it fun for 5 hours?

Long Day trips demand a certain amount of fitness or the joy of hiking a couple of hours in the dark via headlamp.

Multi-day trips may not be as bad if no destination is needed, you walk as far as you want/can & camp, repaeat day two & at some point make your way back making sure you have adequate food & fuel & people know where you are in case you are overdue.

If you are doing multi-day trips with a destination, then you may need to hike X number of days each day, keep up with a group if not solo, getting accclimated or seeing how one does in altitude is good too if planning a higher goal like Rainier, Mexican or South American summits

Papa Bear
02-16-2005, 11:53 AM
... One scout group is doing Rainier (sp) in august but their prereq. is doing Mt. Washington this month. ...

There's a couple of points here:

Is this a Boy Scout group? That is a different proposition that goes beyond skills and fitness but brings in issues of responsibility for young poeople, leadership, support from parents, etc. Much of this is out of your control. There was a group of about 8 young boys (12 years old?) on the mountain when we did Mt. Hood last June and the boys were very well disciplined and had lots of energy. The leaders were right on the ball and put up fixed lines at a certain spot. I admired them but would no way want to be a part of that. My skill is at the level where I can take care of myself (mostly), but this was a different ball game altogether.

If it's just a group of like minded folks, then the other issue is that requiring a Mt. Washington trip this winter may be a great way to practice skills with axe and ropes, learn to work with the group (especially if you will be on a rope team) and to perhaps filter out some participamnts who may be in over their heads on Rainier. If you're new to snow climbing, I'd say do it.

As for fitness, don't underestimate the affects of elevation. I am experienced in hiking in New England, am a long distance runner, and in fact have run many marathons (one about a month prior to my Oregon trip), but I was humbled by the affects of altitude on Mt. Hood. It's not fitness, it's acclimatization. If I had spent even an overnight (or 2) at 9,000' - 10,000' before my climb, it would have made a big difference. More is better. You don't get that even if you can climb Mt. Washinton twice in a day.

My $.03

02-16-2005, 02:36 PM
Its amazing what you can do if you want to enough. I surprised myself last summer with a number of 20 mile day hikes, some of them solo. It may be overkill but when I go on a long solo I go with enough to spend the night out if I need to - extra food, tent rain fly or small tarp, filter or iodine tabs etc. I find that no matter what I do for my work out routine, nothing prepares me for hiking like hiking.

02-16-2005, 02:46 PM
I find that I need to start out the season slow and work up. I have knee problems. This year I plan on a few day trips to bag a peak or two...then work on a few back to back days. then a weekend backpack then in august I will do a five day trip. I am not able to hike when I want to so I must be cautious. It is a bad feeling looking down a 200' slope and the knees not bending anymore.

02-16-2005, 02:50 PM
47, that's what you need 47. :p

02-16-2005, 04:33 PM
Thx for opinions...just dreaming..the scouts are probably working on skills to get ready, it's probably not to get into shape, these are mostly older venture members. It's all new to me and I like what i see and hear on the trip reports. Hard to explain..It's like having your learners permit and waiting 1-2 years to drive anywhere. How's that for a comparison! I'll keep on hiking and learning!

PS..I think i'm free for a few days in late April! ;)

02-16-2005, 06:55 PM
coldfeet: hike with someone you trust that has been there, and ask them. Rainier would be at the upper level of my comfort zone - and a bit beyond, for me. With that said, it is still high on my to-do list. Shasta is higher on my list, and Whitney is making the rounds. I will take a course in glacier and roped travel before attempting Rainier (if I ever can)

If you do something before you are mentally prepared, the experience might not be as great as when you are ready. I love to soak it all in. Baxter was so great because I had people who knew me, my skills, and my limitations. They encouraged me to do things I was not sure I could do, but kept me well grounded. With that I was able to take it all in and loved every minute. At no point in the 5+ days did I feel I was over my head. That made is so much more special. Of course the weather cooperated also :)

02-17-2005, 08:10 AM
Everyone here should know where their edge is. Find out yours by probing it carefully. I have flat feet, had ankle/knee problems for a number of years before getting the right orthotics/footwear. Back in 2000 I was reluctant to do more than a hike up Mt Kearsarge or Cardigan (2-3mi). After a lot of gradual training & experimentation, I am up to 10-12 miles and 3000-4000ft el gain, though on the longer hikes I always plan for a way out early if I run into problems.

Knowing where your limits are will make it much easier to decide whether or not a hike is right for you or not.

02-17-2005, 10:48 AM
I hear you SherpK, one day it'll happen, and i'll be ready!