/ importance of srtength and muscle in winter climbing

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Mountain Spirit - on 14 Oct 2013
Hello.

After some winter walking and maybe winter mountaineering I might do some winter climbing in Scotland with a guide or MIC instructor.

I am very strong and have alot of muscle on my legs, forearms, back and some shoulder and upper arm muscle (not sure about front and chest due to fat and I was wandering how important this is to winter climbing?

Bye

Savvas
CurlyStevo - on 14 Oct 2013
In reply to Mountain Spirit:
At the level you'll be climbing as a novice muscle isn't generally that important but cardio fitness is. For training lots of long walks with a rucksack on is the order of the day preferably incorporating many steep hills.

That said strong calfs help as the crampons tend to act as a lever. I tend to do a lot of calf raises in the weeks prior to winter climbing especially ice climbing (rather than mixed)
highclimber - on 14 Oct 2013
In reply to Mountain Spirit: Cardio cardio cardio.
CurlyStevo - on 14 Oct 2013
In reply to CurlyStevo:
If you struggle to find the time / space to do a long walk then I find gym work can help. If so concentrate on the cross trainer, walking fast on the tread mill set to the steepest setting and finally the steps machine.
mp3ferret on 14 Oct 2013
In reply to CurlyStevo: Or if you don't have a steps machine - fill your rucsack with as much iron mongery as you can find and go up and down the stairs (unless you live in a bungalow).
Dave Perry - on 15 Oct 2013
In reply to Mountain Spirit:
I can only reinforce what the others have said. Concentrate on cardio fitness. Scottish winter climbing is about getting to the climbs first anyway and improving your general fitness will make your calves have endurance - which is more important than strength. And I think you'll only have to worry about upper arm strength when you're climbing grade V or more!!

NB Muscle size is no indicator of strength and is certainly no indicator of endurance.
Charlie Burbridge - on 15 Oct 2013
In reply to Mountain Spirit: I can only support the sound advice that the previous posters have offered. Long walks carrying awkward weight. Have a friend slap you around the face as you are doing it so that you can simulate the 'why am I doing this' feeling, too. Have a great time.
TheDrunkenBakers - on 15 Oct 2013
In reply to Charlie Burbridge:
> (In reply to Mountain Spirit) I can only support the sound advice that the previous posters have offered. Long walks carrying awkward weight. Have a friend slap you around the face as you are doing it so that you can simulate the 'why am I doing this' feeling, too. Have a great time.

Don't forget that said friend should also be giving you dead legs.

Big Lee - on 16 Oct 2013
In reply to Mountain Spirit:

I do a lot of strength-endurance training in the lead-up to winter. Things like rowing work for me. Good cardio definately makes the walk-ins more enjoyable and quicker. I think muscle strength definately counts for more for winter climbing verses on rock. I doubt you'll be doing anything difficult with the instructor. Hypothetically, for steeper winter mixed stuff I generally get tired from being in really awkward positions for long periods of time rather than getting forearm pump in isolation as with rock climbing. So I think general core strength counts for a bit more.
Ron Walker - on 16 Oct 2013
In reply to Mountain Spirit:

Lots of hill-walking with a heavy pack Savas...
Be prepared for long days of 5-7 hours in adverse weather. You don't need that much lower or upper body strength but you will need lots of stamina. If you can't get out to the hills on a regular basis then daily walking or cycling to work and walking up and down stairs is more beneficial than just gym work or shorts jogs...
Cheers Ron
Flashy - on 16 Oct 2013
In reply to Mountain Spirit: Everyone is giving you surprisingly good advice. Only thing I'll chip in with muscle-wise is that even at the very lowly grades I climb I feel it more in my biceps than my forearms (which is where rock climbing gets me). Your axes push you back a little bit so the strength to hang around on your arms (on massive holds) for a while might make things more comfortable and enjoyable.
Michael Gordon - on 16 Oct 2013
In reply to Ron Walker:
> (In reply to Mountain Spirit)
>
> long days of 5-7 hours
>

?!

felt - on 16 Oct 2013
In reply to Ron Walker:
> (In reply to Mountain Spirit)
> then daily walking or cycling to work and walking up and down stairs is more beneficial than just gym work or shorts jogs...

Out if interest, why is walking to work better than short jogs? Are 3 x 15-minute runs/week (run, not a jog) as good for stamina as walking to work (let's say work is 2 x 30 mins walk)?
Andrew Mallinson - on 16 Oct 2013
In reply to felt:

Hi Felt,
It's really about getting hours in the saddle....often winter days can be 8, 10 12+ hours long, of which the climbing bit is often a small part...the ability to keep going walking for hour after hour with big sacks in crap weather is what matters most...lots and lots of walking... I can quote you numerous examples of 15-20 hour days......
Forget the strength/muscles bit...go bash the hills this Autumn.....repeatedly......
ANdy
Milesy - on 16 Oct 2013
In reply to Michael Gordon:
> (In reply to Ron Walker)
> [...]
>
> ?!

Maybe he is talking about the mess of pottage ;) that's a roadside crag ;)
Andrew Mallinson - on 16 Oct 2013
In reply to Milesy:

...that's as far as you're capable of walking Chris..... (He He!)
ANdy
Joak - on 16 Oct 2013
In reply to Andrew Mallinson:
> (In reply to felt)
>
>> Forget the strength/muscles bit...go bash the hills this Autumn.....repeatedly......
> ANdy

Good advice, I'm fortunate enough to get into the Scottish hills at least once a week (sometimes twice) throughout the year yet it still comes as a shock to the sytstem when I shoulder my first winter climbing sack of the season!
Andrew Mallinson - on 16 Oct 2013
In reply to Joak:

.....you and me both Joak ! Always feel trepidation at the thought of the first serious winter's day......
ANdy
Timmd on 16 Oct 2013
In reply to Mountain Spirit: Norrie Muir (a Scottish winter climber now in his 60's who's done a lot of quite hard winter first ascents) once claimed not to have never really been able to do a pull up on here.
nufkin - on 16 Oct 2013
In reply to Timmd:

> Norrie Muir...once claimed not to have never really been able to do a pull up

And Andy Kirkpatrick has in the past praised the capabilities of the hefty, pie-happy British Mountaineer when it comes to plodding along and getting on with things
Timmd on 16 Oct 2013
In reply to nufkin: How did that double negative slip through?

felt - on 16 Oct 2013
In reply to Timmd:

How couldn't it not?
alooker - on 16 Oct 2013
In reply to Mountain Spirit: long mountain days and long runs, in the worst weather you can find so you get used to just getting on with it.

As Andy Kirkpatrick says, you need a bit of belly timber!
Steve Perry - on 16 Oct 2013
In reply to Mountain Spirit: Put a fingerboard up and do as many pull ups as possible on the two big top jugs. Don't walk past the fingerboard without repeating this simple exercise. Mix that up with some regular hill walking or running until winter arrives.
Kane - on 16 Oct 2013
In reply to Mountain Spirit: general fitness and strength helps but more important is resilience and having a positive attitude that sees you through to the finish even if some parts of the day did not feel fun at the time. Big days in the mountains is one way to prepare but my personal favourite is to go to the local indian, get a curry way out of my league and commit to finishing it.
Red Rover - on 16 Oct 2013
In reply to Kane: Brilliant, probably the most good old fashioned British training method ever
Ron Walker - on 17 Oct 2013
In reply to Michael Gordon:
> (In reply to Ron Walker)
> [...]
>
> ?!

Well if he's doing a course at a certain National Outdoor centre he'll be back for tea and cakes by mid-afternoon so 5-7 hours is about right!
Ron Walker - on 17 Oct 2013
In reply to Joak:
> (In reply to Andrew Mallinson)
> [...]
> >> Forget the strength/muscles bit...go bash the hills this Autumn.....repeatedly......
> [...]
>
> Good advice, I'm fortunate enough to get into the Scottish hills at least once a week (sometimes twice) throughout the year yet it still comes as a shock to the sytstem when I shoulder my first winter climbing sack of the season!

Me too and I and I'm out on the local hills almost daily! On a more serious note I've had a number of clients over the years who sported big numbers on climbing walls and in sport climbing but really struggled to reach the winter climbing crags. I've also had sub four hour marathon runners that struggled as soon as they were given a rucksack with a rope to carry...
French Erick - on 17 Oct 2013
In reply to Mountain Spirit:
not important.
Grit, determination, a clear idea about how much suffering you are ready to endure and finally an even clearer idea of what you are capable of doing safely are much more important.

Get a few days with a MIC instructor, then you can concentrate on my first 3 aspects and leave safety to someone who knows best at the moment.

Have (some) fun.
Mountain Spirit - on 18 Oct 2013
In reply to Mountain Spirit:

Hello.

Thanks for all of your advice everyone.

I have not replied one by one as I have not had much time on the computer.

I have taken all of it in mind and will start cardio training the coming week.

Bye

Savvas
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Mountain Spirit - on 18 Oct 2013
In reply to Dave Perry:

Hello

I like your last sentence.

You can have small muscles that are strong and you can have huge muscles that you hardly use and become week.

A lot of marathon runners, cyclists, hillwalkers etc do not have much muscle mass but a lot of endurance.

Bye

Savvas

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