UKC

7000m peak in your mid 50s

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 Tonker 11 Jun 2021

Anyone done this?

I have plenty of alpine experience and made one trip to the Andes before stopping serious climbing 11 years ago.

I'm now 47 and have suddenly got the urge to get myself up a 7000m peak before I pop my clogs.

The only realistic way of doing this will be when I retire, which all being well will be in 8 years time at the age of 55.

I am fairly fit now but am well aware this declines with age and is more marked in your 50s.

Please share any experiences.

 waitout 11 Jun 2021
In reply to Tonker:

Eminently doable, though of course depends on your objective.

With 8 years you could get several hundred quality days and nights of climbing in to lead up to it, plus some general conditioning, and so long as you stay injury free and healthy you'd be at no real disadvantage.

What sort of objective are you thinking? 

 VictorM 11 Jun 2021
In reply to Tonker:

There's guys in their fifties and sixties running marathons. As long as you keep yourself in a healthy and fit state I wouldn't know why this would be an issue at 55. 

You might not be the fastest or the most technically adept but you'd definitely make a good chance to make it to the summit. Wasn't it Uli Steck who said that due to the massive amount of stuff to learn alpinism is an old man's game anyway? 

 Axel Smeets 11 Jun 2021
In reply to Tonker:

Perfectly doable. My climbing partner is now 62. Over the last decade we've been together on a 6,900m peak, two 7,500m peaks and an 8,000m peak. 

I'm hoping to follow his example when I reach my 50s and I'm no longer tied down by young children. 

 Tonker 11 Jun 2021
In reply to waitout:

> Eminently doable, though of course depends on your objective.

> With 8 years you could get several hundred quality days and nights of climbing in to lead up to it, plus some general conditioning, and so long as you stay injury free and healthy you'd be at no real disadvantage.

> What sort of objective are you thinking? 

Nothing in particular at the moment, wouldn't want a snow plod but nothing remotely technical.

 Tonker 11 Jun 2021
In reply to Axel Smeets:

> Perfectly doable. My climbing partner is now 62. Over the last decade we've been together on a 6,900m peak, two 7,500m peaks and an 8,000m peak. 

> I'm hoping to follow his example when I reach my 50s and I'm no longer tied down by young children. 

Which 7500m peaks were you on? Did you summit?

 Axel Smeets 11 Jun 2021
In reply to Tonker:

Muztagh Ata in 2010. We got to 7,250m (peak is 7,546m) then had to turn around due to weather. Frustrating as 4 of us would have definitely reached the summit had it not been for the weather (including my climbing partner who I mentioned on my earlier post). 

Dhaulagiri VII in 2014. We got caught up in a bad storm which killed a fair few in the area so didn't even reach base camp. We got pinned on a ridge at 4,200m for several days enroute to BC and eventually had to abandon our attempt without seeing the mountain. Was a full month in a pretty remote part of Nepal so it was still an interesting trip (and nice that we were unscathed when many were less fortunate). 

PS - both the above are snow plods so would fit your requirements. 

Post edited at 14:50
 chrissloan84 12 Jun 2021
In reply to Tonker:

You may find this article about ageing and altitude interesting to read. It's from a mountain medicine blog I follow, written by a group of very experienced mountaineering doctors.

https://deathzone.7thwave.io/blog/2540

In reply to chrissloan84:

Excellent!  

 Tonker 12 Jun 2021
In reply to chrissloan84:

> You may find this article about ageing and altitude interesting to read. It's from a mountain medicine blog I follow, written by a group of very experienced mountaineering doctors.

Thanks, thats very useful. 

 Graeme G 12 Jun 2021
In reply to Tonker:

Why specifically a 7000m peak? Why not something lower and possibly more memorable? Just interested…..

In reply to Tonker:

Coincidentally I picked up my copy of  “Himalaya Alpine Style” this week, after a cursory flick through I had to concede I’m too knackered for anything in that but if it wasn’t for my various musculoskeletal ailments I think it’d be realistic for me at 51+

 Tonker 12 Jun 2021
In reply to Graeme G:

> Why specifically a 7000m peak? Why not something lower and possibly more memorable? Just interested…..

Climbed to 6400m in the Andes and it didn't feel like proper high altitude. i know 7000m is arbitrary but there is nothing this high outside of Asia. So probably a combination of both factors. 

Post edited at 19:25
 Graeme G 12 Jun 2021
 waitout 12 Jun 2021
In reply to Tonker:

The 7000m peak itself isn't really much of the equation, it's what you will do up there that is. Some 7000m peaks only require a short window above 6500m (around the acclimatable zone), others of course you're up there for much longer and/or doing more technical work. Point being, your capacity will matter depending on it which is no great revelation, though this can be affected to some degree with how you acclimatize when you're there. 

An issue with some providers is they have very standardized schedules that can be an issue to adapt to your wants. Just an extra few days isn't really the answer. If you can adjust the itinerary (and depending where you go) you can optimize things so you start climbing in much better condition than most standard schedules allow. Trying to shoe-horn a 55 year old into a schedule aimed at 35 year olds (not that 55 is geriatric, simply that it's different, including some advantages) can waste your money.

Post edited at 23:44
 John Cuthbert 13 Jun 2021
In reply to Tonker:

Jerry Gore is 60 and off to K2 shortly. He is tough as old boots, however.

How he has been preparing, and addressing his diabetes, is nevertheless, fascinating...

https://www.phdesigns.co.uk/thelowdown/jerry-gore-versus-k2/

JC

 andrewm1000 14 Jun 2021
In reply to Tonker: No reason not to subject to health. I’m in my early 60s now and just getting going. In the past few years submitted 7000m Aconcagua twice, Mera twice 6400, Lobuche Peak just over 6000 earlier this year, and was supposed to be on Baruntse over 7000m last month but pulled out due to COVID risks. Preparing for Baruntse for next season now. I’m definitely slower than before but my slow plodding is actually perfect for Himalayan slow style. Hardly ever had a headache so i do amazingly well at altitude and as long as I keep fit I’ll keep going. I have a long list including another 8000m. Might aim to be the oldest UK to summit Everest sometime. I plan my trips carefully, a couple each year, if in Nepal I usually climb only with my climbing partner/guide and not with groups so dictate my own pace and don’t need to adjust for anyone else. regards Andrew


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