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Go Back   KOTR Forums > Community > KMPL - Korean Mountain Preservation League

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  #1  
Unread 01-30-2009, 12:28 AM
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Nepal Training

As someone with very little high altitude experience and a fair share of enthusiasm, I'm curious about what training would best prepare me for an all out Himalayan assault. I've read around a bit, and found that cardio training helps, though I have it from good Australian authority that heights are the great leveler, and cardio may not be enough. Some suggest running up stairs with a full pack. Weight training is seen as good as well. Probably yoga isn't a bad idea, since it seems to help everything else. So, experts, weigh in.
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  #2  
Unread 01-30-2009, 03:28 AM
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I did a lot of cardio. . . and any weight training will help as it won't get easier (though I had donkies for main gear until base camp) Give yourself some time before the ascent, acclimatize!! when you're there, go a little higher than you sleep each night (500m) and come back down . . . if you can go to Fuji or someplace easy but high just to see altitude, it's a good idea. . . when we trained for Rainier, we would run up the base of Pike's Peak. . . but in Korea you don't have anything too high altuitude, so work on what you can! To some degree, altitude sickeness can just pop up, even in those who haven't had it-- others fare well with no experience!
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  #3  
Unread 01-30-2009, 06:18 PM
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shanja shanja is offline
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The latest info I got from the AMS clinic docs (online) was that any benefits of training at high altitude disappear within 2 weeks return to normal (sub-2500m) altitude, and that (maybe) you would be at greater risk of AMS if you then went back to heights. A longer stay at normal would allow the pH of your blood etc to stabilize better, and reduce the stress on the heart etc.
Diamox taken prophylactically (before going up) has proven very effective at preventing AMS in most people, but it can ruin the taste of beer and other foods. Recent trials have suggested that Ginko Biloba extract (Ginko trees are those common yellow umbrella shaped leaf trees that line the roads etc here in Korea) also is quite good at preventing AMS...probably due to the anti-oxidants in the leaves...160-240mg/day of extract seems to work well.

Yes, sorry but it's true. Cardio whilst a great training, will all level out over the course of the exped, and big muscled males with super cardio typically show the biggest performance decreases (more muscles need more oxygen and oxygen saturation in the air pulls back everyone to it's limit, not your pb at sea-level). That said, lots of hiking and jogging will really help tone the muscles and maybe increase the circulation and so on. Knees typiically need some conditioning too as they and the lower back take a lot of the brunt of the work...so yes, yoga, stretching and careful, controlled weight (resistance) exercises that strengthen the back and knees are a good idea. I like squats (don't go beyond 90' at the knees!) as they work most of the leg muscle groups, and cycling/ spinning....for some reason this seems to give me a much more similar burn in the legs (like hiking steep slopes/ breaking trail in snow) that jogging/ running etc.

Eating garlic can help thin the blood and hasten pH changes in the blood too, but careful not to overdo any supplements...some counteract each other (like aspirin and paracetamol) and others are a dangerous combo.

Finally, and maybe the best advice (beyong ascending slowly) is HYDRATION, HYDRATION, HYDRATION. Drink enormous amounts of water, tea, coffee, juice etc (5 litres a day or more). You should be peeing frequently, and clear (yet again vitamin supplements often change the colour of urine so beware - drink more!). Contrary to popular (yet mistaken) belief, caffeine is not that bad, and though alcohol does dehydrate you a bit, in moderation (especially red wine) the anti-oxidants in it may offer a small benefit.

OK now the good news. As long as we don't gain more than 500m elevation/ day from 3000m-5000m, or more than 350m/day from 5000m-7000m AMS should not be a major issue for anyone. Rest days and acclimatization days will be included definitely! We are only looking at a max altitude of 5200m for BC people, and 6400m for the mountain team. By the time we are ready to shoot for the summit, we should be all about the same on acclimatization.

Thanks for starting the thread though...others please jump in!
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  #4  
Unread 02-02-2009, 04:13 PM
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Strong legs are imperative, and shoulders as well if you plan on carrying all of your own gear. I put a lot of stock in flexibility, but I believe it's something many people ignore (so it's great that yoga's been brought up). In my approximately twenty years of martial arts training and the years I spent teaching it, I've discovered that a well developed stretching routine (particularly for the lower body) not only provides you with a greater range of motion, it helps in strengthen the muscles as well.

For leg strength training I do the following from my martial arts training:
* Wall Sits: aka the Roman Chair, or the Dreaded Roman Chair due to its difficulty. Take a sitting position on a wall; that is, put your back against a wall and get into a position as if you were sitting on a chair. Keep your legs at a 90 degree angle (or slightly less) so that the knees and ankles fall in the same line. Make sure your knees don't pass over the line with the ankles. Stay in the position for 30 seconds on the first run to see how your legs respond. Gradually increase the time over several days. Most people can generally hold the position for one minute at the beginning of the training, some can go longer, some shorter. STAY WITHIN YOUR LIMITS! In my kenpo dojo, we could hold this position for 10 minutes without fatigue in the advanced stages of this training, but it took several months. Remember to stretch before and after doing this exercise. If your knees hurt, check to make sure you're keeping to the rule regarding the line of the knees and ankles. If it still hurts, stop doing the exercise entirely.

* Squats, as Jake explained.

* Calf raises: feet together, lift slowly up onto your tippy-toes, hold for a beat, slowly go back down. Rest a beat, and repeat. Reps depend on your ability but must be increased gradually, perhaps over a few days to a week.

I do other leg exercises but they're entirely within the realm of martial arts and I'd need to personally show people those. Perhaps once more people get involved in the expedition, we can have a few team meetings and one could be used for health issues and training.

For the shoulders and upper back I do pull ups. I have a bar in my house which is very convenient. The some one I have can be purchased online for only 10,000won, and it fits between any standard door frame. It's great. I change the position of my grip in order to work different muscles. I do a pyramid: start with 2 pull ups. 10 or 20 second rest. 3 pull ups. Rest. 4 pull ups. Rest. 5 pull ups. Rest. 6 pull ups. Rest. 5 pull ups. Rest. 4 pull ups. Rest. 3 pulls rest. 2 pull ups. Fall down... It's a tough exercise but wonderful for strength training. I also do the varied pyramid: 2 pull ups. 1 push up. 10 to 20 second rest. 3 pulls. 2 push ups. Rest. 4 pulls. 3 push ups. Rest. 5 pulls. 4 push ups. Finish.

I don't lift weights. I instead do a lot of isometrics and calisthenics as I prefer the results I get from those. You will typically not build very much muscle mass by doing these exercises but you will increase your muscle strength drastically. The important thing to remember is to know how to do the exercises properly. There are often debates about how to do certain things properly, but read up on them and decide for yourself. Push ups is a common debate. I advocate the rule that says you must not touch your chest to the floor. Push ups was a staple in my kenpo dojo (we did everything from standard push ups to finger push ups to knuckle push ups to shock push ups to military style) and although I've always hated doing them, they truly are a wonderous exercise. Stretching improperly in particularly can cause some serious damage. It remains true that many people really don't know how to stretch safely. Look into it.
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Last edited by Hypoxic : 02-02-2009 at 04:38 PM.
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  #5  
Unread 02-15-2009, 01:59 PM
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Okey Dokes folks,
Bit of an update to say hi and so on. Shawn in currently in Nepal trekking his big heart out (lucky sod!) and getting some beta too. If you are a lurker, or committed (Jon and Brandon I'm thinking of you cats) it's time to start getting serious into your prep.
Trainingwise, Jon I know you are solid, KA and I are running & cycling 4 times a week each to get the legs used to working hard, and throwing in lots of stretching and resistance (weight training/ isometrics) exercises. But lets not forget physical health is but one part.
I'm wanting to get interested folks together asap for a glacier travel (roped travel) training day. My preferred method is the "Kiwi-coil" (can be found in Freedom of the Hills etc), as it's what I grew up with. Also like to get people set up to practice haul systems and crevasse rescues (just in case).
Jon you have some experience in route finding and avalanche awarenes so if you'd like to share some of that with us it'd be appreciated hugely.
Remember that vaccinations will be due to start by end of May! Earlier is better though, so go and see a doctor at a major hospital and talk to them. At the very least you'll need to have your tetanus booster up to date (1 every 10 years is OK), Hepatitis A and Hepatitis B (if you are in Korea you may have had these already), Typhoid vaccine (if they still give them) and some medications to deal with travellers diarrhea (Dehli Belly), if and when it might occur. AMS meds (Altitude sickness meds) could be a great idea. The standard old Diamox (acetazolamide) is a great PROPHYLACTIC (preventative), ask your doc for some if you like - say 1 weeks worth of 250mg tablets (half a tablet morn and night, usually started the day of ascent above 3000m - or the day before). It can be used as a treatment too, but less effectively and at 250mg twice a day for 5 days. Descent, rest and hydration still by far the best option for sick people. I already mentioned the alternative Ginko Biloba, and that's wha I'll be using myself.
So go and talk to a doctor and explain what you'll be doing. For most people max altitude (of Base Camp) is 5334m, but it's likely that when we hike in and out via the Thorung La (La=Pass) we will be at 5350m for a short time! Mountain climbers will be going (hopefully) up to 6585m...nearly a km higher, though acclimatization will likely have max'ed after a 3-4 days at BC. So there's little more that can be done other than ascending slowly and coming down asap.
Ask about Malaria too, as it will be the monson season...no perfumes, lots of DEET insect repellent and light coloured clothing (mosquitoes are attracted to dark colours) may well be enough, as we'll be above the mosquito line most of the time. I think rabies is unlikely to be an issue, just be careful of all animals - especially the dogs of K'du and Pokhara!
Finally, insurance. Uh-huh. Some like to do without it, and get away with it. But at least look into travellers insurance PLEASE! It's not too expensive and will cover trekking (but not climbing, scuba diving etc).
I have a lot of books on Wilderness First Aid, Avalanche Risk assessment, Crevasse Rescue, Expeditin Planning and beer making. If you want to borrow anything, just ask. Training is being prepared physically, knowledgably, and culturally too. Read up on Nepal, it's people, it's culture and language.
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  #6  
Unread 04-23-2009, 08:29 PM
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Check out www.crossfit.com. Read some of their documentation and make your mind up for yourself!
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