Preparation is almost everything
I am always amazed how your body changes in between expeditions and prepares for the next challenge..
It’s been 45 days since I stood on the top of Mont Blanc after having made it to the top on my own. During that day and a half, I put my body through some extreme “workout”, starting with a long trek up to the Tete Rousse glacier onto
some more technical scrambling, 2 + 2 hour sleep and leaving for the summit at 2.30am. At that point I felt incredibly strong and in shape. I remember putting one foot in front o the other on the Les Bosses ridges about an hour before
the summit, not even worrying whether my legs would get me to the top. I didn’t have the luxury of time to take the descending easy so when I left the summit around 7.15am I headed back to the Gouter hut with only stopping twice to take
photos, rehydrate and grab a snack. I collected my helmet from the hut and carried on heading down.
Since I was in the “first wave” of climbers heading down the mountain, I was lucky not be held up by people coming up on the rock face between the Tete Rousse and Gouter hut. It was a lot trickier going down on the rocks and after
a while, putting my dignity aside I switched to a different way of descending – sat on my bum, swung my legs out into the air and with the help of my arms and pulled myself lower. It kept me closer to the rocks however I found my crampons
catching the surface, luckily I managed to avoid getting completely stuck and flying face down into the void. I felt a lot safer when I was back on the Tete glacier continuing down the mountain. I made it back to the Mont Blanc tram
station where I even had 20 minutes to lay down and relax my shattered body before the 1.30pm tram. 10 hours later I was asleep in my own bed in London.
It wasn’t until the following morning when I realized my body was in agony. I felt muscles hurting I didn’t know existed and if you saw me walking to work that day, you’d have thought I had more problems than just muscle pain! ☺
For the next three days I struggled with even the smallest moving tasks but absolutely nothing could wipe the smile off my face. In the evening of day three I knew what I had to do… an ice bath followed by a warm shower used by
many athletes and sports men. The icy water makes your blood vessels to tighten and drains the blood out of your battered legs. I sat there for 15 minutes then took a warm shower, which helped pumping fresh blood back into my legs. I’ve read studies that suggest it helps with the inflamed area and the tissues to heal quicker. Must admit I felt like a million dollar the following day. After the next expedition, I will probably repeat this as soon as I’m home and not waiting for days! Lesson
Each expedition is very different. Mont Blanc was an “express” day and a half climb, my next trek Kilimanjaro will take about 8 days and Everest next May will be a 2-month push. But it’s not just about the length of the trip; my training also varies from mountain to mountain. At 5,895m / 19,341 feet above sea Kilimanjaro is the forth highest of the 7 summits and all trekkers suffer with altitude sickness. There will be very long hours of uphill walks day after day so I’ve been spending a lot of time on an
inclined treadmill with a backpack on my back. I also attend two double- spinning classes a week as part of my daily training so my muscles are now used long workouts.
I also implemented a triathlon type training; after an hour on the treadmill I attend a double spinning then jump into the pool at the gym. When I’m back from Kilimanjaro, I would like to focus on this more. Two weeks ago I had the opportunity to do a 30-minute altitude spinning class at the Altitude Centre in Central London. This high intensity session was at a simulated altitude of 2800m in a chamber. Of course it’s something you need to do a couple of times a month to feel the effect but I was pleased when the session ended, my body was actually craving for more. In three days I’ll be flying out to Tanzania to face my second of the 7 summits, Kilimanjaro. And what my body is craving now is food as if it knows what’s coming up. I don’t mind piling on a couple of kilos pre-trekking, I know I will shred more on the mountains.. you can easily burn 6-7000 calories climbing Kili! It’s easy to say I feel fit now but hiking up in altitude will be another story and the real test of strength and stamina… and I can’t wait to be there! 🙂
© copyright 2021 by Alexandra Nemeth