The more preparation you can do before you travel the better. Put in the hard work during the build up to your adventure and you will reap the rewards on summit day.
We’ve teamed up with the Altitude Centre (more about them here) to create specific training programmes to help you get ready for Mont Blanc. They’ve built a 12 week, 8 week, and 6 week training plan that can be purchased on Training Peaks here.
Having guided thousands of clients to the summit of Mont Blanc we know what it takes to get there. We also know that the majority of people who fail to summit are not those affected by the weather, but are those affected by their fitness levels. Trust us when we say don’t leave it to chance!
The Altitude Centre is a world leading provider of altitude training, with over 20 years experience in preparing athletes for high altitude challenges and endurance events. They’ve put mountaineers on top of Everest and every other 8000m peak, as well as working with World & Olympic champions. They know what they’re doing!
Ascent and Descent training
Aim to get some mileage in your legs by doing ascents and descents in the outdoors. If you can’t get outdoors, improvising in your home or office building will work too (albeit a little more mundane, stair laps do work!). If you can get outdoors, aim for long walks in the countryside and try to get as much elevation gain as you can each time. If you can get to 1000m +/- of elevation gain per hike you’re well on your way. One walk like this every week (or two) will help build up the stamina needed for the big summit days. It’s worth bringing a fairly heavy backpack with you, to simulate what you would be carrying on your trip with us. Aim for around 10-15 kg but be careful to wear your backpack correctly so as not to cause any damage to your back over time (there are lots of videos online that you can check out to help you figure out how to correctly fit and wear a backpack).
Benchmarking for a trip like Mont Blanc: Can you climb 5000m in 5 days? Can you climb 3000m in 2 days? Can ascend and descend 1500m in 5hrs up and 3hrs down? Can you do all that while wearing a 5-10kg back pack? If you can you’re in a good spot.
This is all about increasing your lung capacity and strengthening your overall shape and heart condition. Regular 5km and 10km runs are great, aim for 50-60mins for a 10km and 25 – 30mins for a 5km over flat terrain. Try to fit in some hills too! Regular runs will strengthen your overall cardio which will in turn help massively when you come to pushing yourself on one of our trips.
The key here is to develop your core and lower leg strength to be able to maintain consistent balance and output on a climb, ski or a multi day trek. Squats and lunges are great for lower body strength building and crunches, planks and other balance exercises are great for your core. Upper body strength is less important, but shouldn’t be ignored. You don’t need to become Superman but a good level of overall strength will definitely help when summit day comes around and you need to push that little bit extra.
Stretching and Flexibility
All of the above is nothing without regular stretching. Stretching every day for 30 mins if you have time, or even 15 mins, helps massively in injury prevention and keep your from getting stiff and achy. Yoga classes are highly recommended if you have the time, otherwise any standard stretch routine at home will also do. Stretch, stretch, stretch!
This is general advice and by no means absolutely perfect, but following the 4 key areas above over a sustained period of time will definitely help with your preparation.