One of the common question people have about Island Peak is the level of physical fitness required to climb the peak. Sometimes also called “trekking peak”, getting to the peak top itself is of non-technical nature, graded as alpine PD+. In mountaineering term, PD+ is broadly defined as “slightly difficult” level. Generally speaking, most trekkers with good physical condition and with some mountaineering skills are up to the task. So Island Peak climbing for beginners is not a far-fetched idea.
However, just because you are fit and healthy does not mean you are already ready to scale the peak. Although you will have ample opportunity to get yourself acclimatized at high altitude during the trek itself, you are recommended to go through a series of fitness routine several months before your actual trip.
1. Preparing physically for the trip
It is important you begin some sort of physical training for three to four months prior to your trip. Usually it is to your advantage if you have done some kind of trekking at high altitude. However, if you haven’t done any high altitude trekking previously, you might have to train yourself a bit harder.
In this trip, on some days you will be required to ascend or descend several thousand feet on successive days carrying your backpack and gears with you. So it is pertinent that you begin your preparation early, and gradually build your physical and mental conditioning required for the trip. Here are a few things that will get you started.
2. Make climbing a regular part of your daily activity
You can start an outdoor hiking routine in your plan carrying a manageable pack weight, and then gradually increasing the distance and weight. If you do not have access to natural hiking trails in your area, you can simply climb up and down the stairs, or even an inclined treadmill could be useful. A reasonable goal is you should be comfortable carrying around 20-25 pounds of pack weight while ascending to build up your stamina.
3. Amp up your physical strength
Next up, building overall body strength should be part of your preparation. Free weights training and other bodyweight exercises can help you gain the required strength, especially in your upper and lower back, abdominals, shoulders, and legs. This will assist you perform important tasks during your trip, including ascending and descending, carrying your pack, using your trekking equipment easily, just to name a few.
4. Cardiovascular fitness matters
Of course you would want to incorporate some cardiovascular training in an attempt to build up your overall bodily conditioning. Some specific exercises include jogging and running, walking on an inclined treadmill, aerobic workouts, walking up and down a hill, or anything physical that keeps your heart working harder. After all, cardiovascular health is just about important throughout your mountain trek.
5. A reminder before you are headed for the trip
Now that we have explained a bit on the physical conditioning required for your trip, it is important to remember this is not a must-follow rule of fitness regimen to successfully climb Island Peak. It is meant as a general guideline to get you prepared physically and mentally before the trip. Everyone’s body respond differently, and depending on your body and health condition, you might need to prepare yourself accordingly. However, if you follow the above mentioned guidelines on building up your fitness, most certainly you will have an easier time accomplishing your goal of summiting the peak, and also able to enjoy the whole experience.