All posts tagged as Training

04 Jun

Staging for Second Denali Attempt

In State Highpoints by Robert Danger Byrd / June 4, 2015 / 3 Comments

So I’m back in Alaska staging for my 2015 Denali Expedition. Also known as Mt. McKinley it is the tallest mountain in America and this is my second attempt.

Last year I acquired a classic wooden ice ace and confidently had it engraved with my name on one side and “Denali 2014” on the other.¬†This was intended as my keepsake from the¬†mountain, but as most of you know I didn’t make it. I wasn’t strong enough and was sent back down at 11200′ by my guide. After my experience last year, I was determined to learn from it and return as a better tougher, stronger climber. Indecently I had the “2104” on the ice axe struck through and “2015” added next to it.

Incline Training
So the first thing I did was invest in a proper incline trainer. I chose the NordicTrack 11xi which inclines all the way up to 40 degrees. I don’t have convenient hills or even stairs to train on, so my incline training is necessarily done on a treadmill.
The new Incline trainer is very effective and has made me considerably stronger. At this point I can climb 2400′ in one hour with a 50lb pack on my back which is a dramatic improvement.

The Chain Gang
Next I doubled my chains. Last year I was training with a 100lb pack and dragging 60lb chains. On the actual expedition however,

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01 Jun

A Better Way to Rig an Alpine Sled

In Gear by Robert Danger Byrd / June 1, 2015 / 0 Comments

The typical way to rig an alpine sled is to wrap a loop of webbing around the pack down low and fasten the sled to this loop with a locking carabiner. This is how I have done it on previous climbs and on my first Denali attempt.

The trouble with that is the packs gets pulled out awkwardly and depending on the packs geometry the sled can pull on the shoulder straps as well as the waist belt shifting the load higher on your body and away from your power base. And if the sled gets out of control, it is yanking the pack to one side or the other which can take you off balance, which is not good on a mountainside.

I tinkered with a few different methods, and came up with a pretty simple solution that puts all the sled weight on the waist belt and let’s my legs carry all the load without wasting any core strength. It only required a bit of filing to enlarge the existing strap slots in the waist belt former and a bit of CA glue.

The result is a much more balanced pulling arrangement the puts the load where it needs to be. I have tested it with my sled training chain setup and it feels good. The only potential downside I see is that since the waist belt is now carrying all of the sleds load, I’ll most likely lose some skin where the straps contact my hip bones.

My straps are retained by folding a 2″ section over and drenching the fold with CA glue. It welds them together and creates a tab that gets trapped behind the hip belt keeper.

I tested it for strength by doing a Tom Cruise from the pull-up bar in my home gym with 240lbs counting myself and my pack and it was rock solid.

If it does not work out, as I anticipate it’s an easy matter to revert to the more traditional tie in method.

16 May

Recovery Time

In Gear by Robert Danger Byrd / May 16, 2014 / 0 Comments

Only 8 days until I leave for Denali, so it’s time to get off the pain train and let my body recover. I had worked up to 160lbs. 100 in the pack and the 60lb drag chain.

Once I get Denali behind me I don’t think I’ll ever need this level of fitness again, and I won’t miss that accursed chain.

13 Apr

The Absolute Best Alpine Sled Training Rig

In Gear by Robert Danger Byrd / April 13, 2014 / 0 Comments

Living at sea level, it is not so easy to simulate pulling an alpine sled such as required on big climbs like Denali. I poked around the internet, and saw examples of people pulling everything from spare tires to igloos but wanted something a bit more elegant and portable. I logged quite a bit of sled time on my recent winter Rainier climb so I know what a real sled feels like, and this setup appropriates it very closely.

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