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new to hiking
04-05-2009, 02:30 PM
Hi all,

I would like to hike Mt. Washington this summer (July). I am seeking some tips on training that should take place prior to the hike. Perhaps some suggested "training hikes" and also recommendations for conditioning during the week down here in the Boston area where my daily walks are going to be much flatter.

I realise it is a challenging hike, but I am motivated to train as I am celebrating a big birthday this year and also have hit some milestones in my life that I would like to celebrate with a physical challenge.

I will be going with a group that has hiked it before, and have been reading about weather and items to take.

Is there anyone out there who remembers their earlier days of hiking?

mtruman
04-06-2009, 07:12 AM
Welcome to the forum. Browse the White Mountains Hiking area and you'll find many threads about conditioning and preparation for Mt Washington. There are lots of great hikes in the Whites to work up and prepare. For some good options closer to home Middlesex Fells in Boston is great as is Blue Hills. Good info on both of these here:
http://home.earthlink.net/~ellozy/strenuous.html (http://home.earthlink.net/%7Eellozy/strenuous.html)
http://home.earthlink.net/~ellozy/strenuous2.html (http://home.earthlink.net/%7Eellozy/strenuous2.html)

Mount Monadnock is another great "training" option closer to home.

Good luck.

Brad
04-06-2009, 09:07 AM
New,

Welcome to the group. Many of us started hiking when we were younger so conditioning was not a big deal - we were very active already. MW was just a bit bigger and, in some cases, we did not know any better about conditioning and equipment. We just went and did it.

Over time hiking I was not very often and my job was to "drive a desk". So, conditioning became more important. The only real way of getting ready for a tougher hike is to hike. If you can get to one of the spots Mark mentioned, great. There are lots of wonderful day hikes in the southern Whites. But, you can go to the local High School football field and climb the stadium stairs. Build up your stamina and then add a pack. I happen to do this just with the cellar stairs at the house. It is not perfect - but it helps.

One thing I find today is if I can do some sort of hike a week before doing MW, then the MW hike goes a lot better.

new to hiking
04-06-2009, 10:09 AM
Thanks Guys for your encouragement and advice. I did a 5 mile walk in the Middlesex Fells on Sunday just to get going. The Blue Hills is a great suggestion as is the stadium stairs.

About how heavy should the pack be for training?

smithtim
04-06-2009, 11:03 AM
Welcome :)

As noted above the best way to train to hike / climb is to actaully hike / climb?

But what I feel is really is the biggest factor in all of this is slimply being in good shape and having endurance! You say that your walks around Boston are ?much flatter? and while this is true you are still getting exercise and increasing stamina? so I?d say do more longer ?much flatter? walks will help your stamina, also jogging or doing stair climbing, stadiums etc.,.

For practice hikes if you've got the time and don't mind the drive I've found there are quite a few trail heads with easy acess directly off I-93 about 2 hours north of downtown in the francoina notch state park area.... I was up there a few weeks back doing a winter hike up mt washington and came back this way; it took me just under 2 hours to get from this state park to the intercontiental hotel on Atlantic Ave in downtown

Here is a map & the state park page

http://nhparks.state.nh.us/library/pdf/state-parks/franconia-notch.pdf

http://www.nhstateparks.com/franconia.html



Best of luck, Tim

KD Talbot
04-06-2009, 03:58 PM
Yep. No lie. The best conditioning for hiking MW is hiking. As Mark suggested, Middlesex Fells is a great spot near Boston. (I grew up there.) Carry what you will bring to MW. Back and forth over the Skyline Trail at Middlesex Fells would be good practice, but keep in mind no substitute for hiking in the White Mountains themselves where the hiking is steeper and the footing is generally worse. On any mtn where there is significant hiking above treeline, especially on MW, practicing your rock hopping and scrambling skills will be especially useful.

There are dozens of smaller hills you can cut your teeth on. You don't give a lot of info on any previous experience. The more we know about you and your skill levels the more we can help.

For absolute beginners I would suggest something like Mt. Major in Alton. It offers great views of Winnepesaukee. Also in the Belknaps are Belknap and Gunstock.

Welch Dickey is another good hike with good rock scrambles and open views with some steep, open ledges somewhat similar to MW which offer a good chance to see how you respond to height and open surroundings.

You would have to climb either of these several times in a row to equal climbing MW, but they would be good practice. For intermediate hikers I would suggest things more strenuous with more elevation like Pierce/Eisenhower which will test you and give you a feel for above treeline hiking with a lot less exposure time than Washington.

The thing not to do is to go hit a trail with out as much info as you can get. Asking here is fine, but don't stop here. The best place I can tell you to get info is here:

http://www.mountwashington.org/store/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=44_6&products_id=28

On sale now, too. It's the White Mountain Hiker's Bible. There is a trail description for every peak that has trails and there are excellent maps that go with it. It gives suggested hikes and what to bring. It has detailed descriptions of finding the trailheads and length, elevation gain and approximate times of the hikes, along with an excellent section on hiking MW.


KDT

Tim&Val
04-06-2009, 04:10 PM
We (Tim, Val and sister Debi) always plan 3-4 training hikes each spring to get us back into the mindset before going up Mt Washington in July. It helps us to figure out what gear we really need and how much food to pack, extra clothes, etc...

Last year, here's what it looked like:

Early June - Lafayette via Old Bridle Path. 8 miles RT, but it has good intermediate goals such as the ledges over Walker Ravine (at 2 miles) and the Greenleaf Hut (at 2.9 miles). If necessary, you can always call it a day at one of those and still feel like you got to have a beautiful hike. It's also an easy drive if you're coming up I-93.

Mid-June - Ammonoosuc Ravine Trail to Mt Monroe. Still about 8 miles RT, but steeper and more rock scrambling. We go to take pictures of the wildflowers in the alpine zone.

Mid-July - Well, we dragged Debi up 19-mile-brook trail to South Carter and Carter Dome because we needed the checkmarks. 12 miles RT. We were totally in the clouds and didn't see anything. This was not her favorite hike!! We thought it would be good to get one hike in that was significantly farther than the MW hike would be.

Of course, while waiting for the snow to clear in the mountains, anything you can do down south is a bonus!! We usually do Pack Monadnock and/or Mount Monadnock.

Hope this helps! Have fun and enjoy yourself!
Valerie

Charlie
04-07-2009, 04:34 PM
New,

Welcome to the group. Many of us started hiking when we were younger so conditioning was not a big deal - we were very active already. MW was just a bit bigger and, in some cases, we did not know any better about conditioning and equipment. We just went and did it.

Over time hiking I was not very often and my job was to "drive a desk". So, conditioning became more important. The only real way of getting ready for a tougher hike is to hike. If you can get to one of the spots Mark mentioned, great. There are lots of wonderful day hikes in the southern Whites. But, you can go to the local High School football field and climb the stadium stairs. Build up your stamina and then add a pack. I happen to do this just with the cellar stairs at the house. It is not perfect - but it helps.

One thing I find today is if I can do some sort of hike a week before doing MW, then the MW hike goes a lot better.

welcome
and brad was going to say is that he hikes with young people that are over weight and suck wind so it makes it look like he is in good shape :D

and i thought i would hike with an old man so it would make me look good :eek:

but i was wrong he sure can move for his age ;);)

i have bin hitting the gym every other night [ its a little far for me to get to some good trails by me ]
but i will make it to the top this July :D:D

Brad
04-07-2009, 04:39 PM
Charlie, so that is what you were doing last year! But, coming along with the olde man got you a lot higher and further than you thought you could get. Secretly I am hoping I am still unemployed this summer so I can get in real good shape for July.

Charlie
04-07-2009, 06:02 PM
Charlie, so that is what you were doing last year! But, coming along with the olde man got you a lot higher and further than you thought you could get. Secretly I am hoping I am still unemployed this summer so I can get in real good shape for July.

at this point you would still out do me :D

but im working on it

MelNino
04-08-2009, 09:05 AM
Yeah, I have been training by going to the gym as well....I hate it, but there aren't any "good" trails I can get to after work (there are a few paths, nothng even remotely challenging)

But as everyone said....hiking is the best training....I've been hitting a few trails over the weekend, and I am def in much better shape for hiking than just hitting the gym alone.


(......is it May yet?.....please?)

FisherCat
04-08-2009, 09:59 PM
Lots of good advice here, the gym certainly will help, if nothing more with your core strength. Its even flatter down here than CT, but I managed to find a nice 300ft incline at an Environmental Education Center (translation: PARK)to run up and down multiple times throughout the seasons to keep those muscles firing. As much as they stress having your uphill muscles in tune, your downhill ones are just as equally important.

At White Mountains Regional High School we always had the best cross-country teams because the coach would take them out and run them up the mountains, including quite a ways up MT W. All that translated to incredible strength on the cross-country tracks. Point being, nothing beats keepin those legs in shape.

Brad
04-09-2009, 07:49 AM
Several years ago family members were visiting us. The husband and wife normally ran 5-8 miles a day. So, they were in very good shape.

They wanted to go up MW with me and off we went to do Lion Head - summit - and down Tuckerman Headwall. It was the toughest thing they had ever done and were surprised at how all that running did not help them like they though. After 45 minutes they were wiped. They had the stamina to keep going - but it was a whole different set of muscles.

Bill O
04-09-2009, 08:05 AM
Anybody who thinks the typical long distance runner is in good shape need to only ask how high they can jump.

If somebody runs 5-8 miles everyday (or about) they've made great progress in destroying their muscle mass and creating a highly specialized body that is only good for running.

Don't get me wrong, running is great exercise. Especially if you do it right, but you can't leave out strength training. Even if you are only hiking.