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Mountaineering - A novice goal to 8k

Discussion in 'Sports Arena' started by Illgresi, Dec 15, 2018.

  1. Illgresi

    Hitman

    Joined: Feb 18, 2013

    Posts: 964

    Location: Perth

    I'm 35, and I'm the most unfit and overweight I've ever been. I'm a bawhair under 6 foot, and I must weigh about 16 or 17 stone now. I'd blame my fiancée for making me too comfortable, but even I know that's a pitiful excuse. I love lifting weights, but I've totally fallen out of the habit since I started my new job. I could run out a string of excuses why, but I won't. What I will do, is proclaim a desire I've held since I was a child; to stand atop the world.

    I've had an absolute belter of a year. I've graduated as a mature student, got a new job, got engaged, and now unfortunately have a child on the way. I'm never happy unless moving forward.

    My soon-to-be father-in-law, is an avid Munro bagger, such that there are few left for him to climb. He walks up a hill most weekends. Unfortunately, I'm nowhere near the fitness levels to hit 914m these days. I will have to condition myself, and hopefully accompany him over the coming few years.

    I guess I'm hoping that there's someone here with the knowledge to inform me what the focus should be? Am I correct in suggesting I build my fitness, climb munros? There's clearly a gap to the likes of Alpine mountains; the use of crampons etc. Where do I learn those skills?

    Is it even possible for someone of my age? Assuming it takes 15 years...I'll be 50. Is it a realistic goal for 50 year old to climb an eight-thousander?

    It's a helluva lofty goal, I know. But I'm at a stage in my life where I need to push myself every day.
     
  2. Rroff

    Man of Honour

    Joined: Oct 13, 2006

    Posts: 60,240

    I've seen all sorts up some of these peaks - people way past 50 even that you wonder they don't drop especially at the pace some of them go at it at. More my parents hobby than mine so can't really offer much advice other than never underestimate how fast conditions can change.

    There are load of people who run climbing stuff though - my cousin does professional tuition (outdoor) I believe though rockcity.co.uk but not certain on the details as I've not talked to him in awhile - if you can find a climbing centre like that they can probably put you in touch with people who do proper mountain stuff.
     
    Last edited: Dec 15, 2018
  3. Jonnybmac

    Wise Guy

    Joined: Dec 17, 2009

    Posts: 1,596

    Location: Brotton

    Find an indoor climbing gym. Normal gyms are boring, and climbing gives you strength where you need it without just bulking up to the point you can lift a bar but have restrictions.
     
  4. D.P.

    Caporegime

    Joined: Oct 18, 2002

    Posts: 29,350

    A 50yo can climb an 8000m peak but it is really just a waste of money and time, and really not enjoyable in the slightest.

    Work on getting fit. Just go out hiking. There are easier Munroes, living in Perth you can drive up to Glenshee and 2000ft and climb a few with a short hike, but in winter conditions will require much more experience so would suggest something lower and easier short term. Even just hiking on he low lands will help, and trying to add walking during the week such as walking to work, taking a walk at lunch time. Add some cycling and swimming as well. Once your weight starts coming down running is an excellent way of loosing weight and getting fitness in for hiking.

    There are loads of courses to learn basic alpine skills in scotland. Proper use of crampons and ice-axe self arrest are important in Scotland n the winter, as is an understanding of avalanche safety. In the summer you can think about a trip to the alps to do some bigger hikes between huts. Plenty of safe and easy routes that don't need much experience. Over time you can build up to slightly more technical routes, hire guides for interesting summits. At which point I doubt you would ever care about wasting time suffering from AMS in the Himalayas.
     
  5. Street

    Soldato

    Joined: Jan 17, 2005

    Posts: 7,068

    Location: Liverpool

    Get fit.. Then get fitter. For mountaineering you need a pretty high tolerance to suffering. Long days in miserable conditions carrying a load of gear and probably not eating very much all while needing 100% concentration.

    The best thing to do is just get out and start doing some easy peaks around the UK, plenty of good walking routes to get you going and build a good base of hill fitness. Learn how to nav and get that spot on. When you're progressing to winter, it's probably worth doing a winter skills week with the likes of Glenmore Lodge or hiring an MIC for a few days (I can recommend a few good ones). Learn rope work, learn how to climb and move efficiently. Rock climb, winter climb, spend some time in Scotland in the winter and a few seasons in the Alps.. Then realise there are far more fun things to do than a snow plod up an 8000er. :)

    That said, you could probably just pay a guide to drag you up an 8000er if that's all that matters and you have the cash. It would be a pretty miserable experience though!
     
  6. Rroff

    Man of Honour

    Joined: Oct 13, 2006

    Posts: 60,240

    This is the no fun bit for me - I'm just not built for concentrating that much on any one thing. I actually deal well with trudging for miles under miserable conditions carrying heavy loads almost enjoy it LOL (aslong as I'm not completely wet though - that stops being fun very quick).
     
  7. Trappi$t

    Perma Banned

    Joined: Oct 30, 2018

    Posts: 320

    what would be the closest 8000m peak to the UK/Europe
     
  8. Dave M

    Commissario

    Joined: Oct 17, 2002

    Posts: 5,396

    Location: OcUK HQ

    The Himalayas basically, 8000m is insanely high.

    First off, you can do 1000m peaks in the UK in your current shape - get good boots, good insoles, and 2 walking poles. You'll be fine. Take a packed lunch and plenty of water, May would be best to start thinking about it because you have more daylight. The weather isn't particularly against you (pick mild spells, not blizzards) but the hours of daylight are short. You could find a winter skills course up in Scotland this winter - they tend to focus on technique rather than strenuous all day hikes, and the skills will do you good if you get into winter walking when the white stuff hits (or for higher stuff pretty much anytime).

    If you want a target I'd say Mont Blanc in the alps, it's a proper mountain and a big achievement (a multi day walk I believe), and you'll not be spending your life savings to get dragged up by a sherpa on oxygen most of the way. You'll need winter skills (crampons, axe) but it isn't mountain climbing as such (not the straight forward route anyway).
     
  9. mid_gen

    Sgarrista

    Joined: Dec 20, 2004

    Posts: 8,067

    Location: Düsseldorf

    Any climbing/bouldering gyms near you? I've got totally hooked since starting a couple of years ago (I'm 38 now). I don't feel like the age is a problem at all, I'm in better shape than I've ever been. Just ramping up my training over winter to get ready to try and crack a Fontainebleau 7a next year :)
     
  10. Vargas

    Mobster

    Joined: Apr 15, 2012

    Posts: 4,586

    Location: Aonach Dubh

    Get fitted boots in Tiso and do Schiehallion first, it’s easy. My ex girlfriends mother did all the Munro’s in 4 years, when she was 70.
     
  11. Jokester

    Don

    Joined: Aug 7, 2003

    Posts: 37,882

    Location: Aberdeenshire

    You’ve plenty time now to start getting fit and losing weight to starting hill walking next spring/early summer.

    Check out Walkhighlands website, it’s not just got Munro walks on it but also all sorts of hill walks and flat walks which you can break yourself gently into and then build up the ascent and distance.

    And talk to your dad in law, he’ll have the knowledge of the easier Munros to start on (Schiehallion is a good shout).
     
  12. Trappi$t

    Perma Banned

    Joined: Oct 30, 2018

    Posts: 320

    Has anyone climbed Stromboli or do you need special access to do so ?
     
  13. Street

    Soldato

    Joined: Jan 17, 2005

    Posts: 7,068

    Location: Liverpool

    I've been completely fried mentally after some long days. Having to get everything consistently right while being cold and hungry is pretty draining.
     
  14. D.P.

    Caporegime

    Joined: Oct 18, 2002

    Posts: 29,350


    I actually would say to avoid Mont Blanc because it is just one huge tourist train in the summer with people being dragged up by guides, and a load of under-prepared tourists. The standard tourist route is a boring slog much like Everest, and it is not without its dangers with an area of bad rock slides and some serac falls. The huts are totally overcrowded and extremely grim. It has got so bad the local authorities have no capped thre number of people allowed up the mountains so you have to start sorting permits. Mont Blanc is best done int he spring on skis via the Trois Mont Traverse. Much more interesting ascent, great ski descent, technical enough to feel like mountaineering rather than slogging, a little less objective dangers but still some serac issues.

    There are far better mountains in the Alps to climb, more rewards, more solitude.
     
  15. Street

    Soldato

    Joined: Jan 17, 2005

    Posts: 7,068

    Location: Liverpool

    The new Gouter hut wasn't that bad when I stayed there, although it's not my favourite, it does have some amazing views. The Conscrits hut on the Tre la Tete is fantastic and the guardian is great. When I stayed, there were probably only 30 other people and we were the only English. They've got a lovely little cat which lives there too who was harassing me at 3am when I got up for breakfast. The guardian also took my BMC membership as a reciprocal rights card and pretty much halved our bill. :D
     
    Last edited: Dec 18, 2018
  16. robj20

    Soldato

    Joined: Apr 9, 2007

    Posts: 6,969

    Location: Manchester

    8000m so basically the Ben 6 times.

    I think I could do it 3 times non stop then I would need a rest.

    If your goal is to get fit, forget a challenge just go out and hike, walk and enjoy it. I started that way now can easily chain multiple mountains together in one walk.
    It's rare I go up and down just one it's often a 15 mile 3+ peaks.

    I learnt the use of crampons and ice axe, self arresting by just reading and watching then going out into the mountains and practicing, you need it to be almost from muscle memory should you slip. So simply knowing what to do, while is important being able to quickly perform is much better.
     
  17. neoboy

    Capodecina

    Joined: Mar 16, 2004

    Posts: 10,849

    Location: UK

    Funny this thread pops up, I'm 31 and unfit and always wanted to climb something around 5000 mark like Mont Blanc. Only started training over last 6 weeks with light hiking in the local area and currently do around 16 miles a week. Pretty flat though as elevation doesn't go beyond 400 feet according to the app.

    Hopefully can get my fitness up and lose weight for the summer as have a few friends around Bulgaria and Romania so can have good guides around the Carpathian mountains there.

    Won't even be considering any mountaineering training until at least next winter depending how quickly the body gets back into old shape. Only part I'm actually struggling with at the moment is finding decent boots/shoes as I've a rather wide feet. Returned 3 pairs I've bought online recently so going to have to bite the bullet and go to a specialist shop and pay a premium.
     
  18. Dave M

    Commissario

    Joined: Oct 17, 2002

    Posts: 5,396

    Location: OcUK HQ

    I've not found too much difference in price for good boots online vs specialist stores. I'd avoid go outdoors these days, unless you know exactly what you want (they mostly sell own brands, which are okay but not great and the staff rarely know anything).

    You will get the best advice and prices if you travel to a walking area - e.g. in keswick and ambleside in the lake district, you'll find several specialist shops and the staff will be keen walkers / mountaineers so you'll get good advice as well as the competition keeping prices sensible.
     
  19. #Chri5#

    Soldato

    Joined: Feb 27, 2003

    Posts: 6,540

    Location: Shropshire

    I would consider myself to have wide feet - current boots are Salomon Quest 4D GTX which I love, though was a close call with a Scarpa when I was shopping.

    January sales should be a good time to hit a few specialist shops.
     
  20. robj20

    Soldato

    Joined: Apr 9, 2007

    Posts: 6,969

    Location: Manchester

    I find Scarpa on the narrow side, my Mantas are fine up to about 10 miles anymore than that and they really start to hurt my feet. Can't justify changing them yet though.
    Really like Mammut boots, fit my feet like a glove.