The Everest Base Camp Series: Preparations
Six weeks until take off! As you can imagine, a trek of this caliber requires plenty of preparation. While the specifics of our training programs vary slightly, they all include five key components:
Exercise, exercise, exercise.
An accomplished tri-athlete, Moshe has always been active. To prep for this trek, though, he’s been working weekly with a personal trainer – Mark Mendelson – at the JCC. His regimen also includes swimming and other cardio at the J and several 4-7 mile hikes/walks per week.
This week, Cyd ramped up her personal training sessions from one to two weekly with Mark at the JCC.
Hiking has been a focus for both Moshe and Cyd over the past several weeks. They completed the Fjallraven Classic –a 35-mile backpacking trek in Colorado in July; did hikes in both Denver and Utah this past week while out west at Outdoor Retailer and are heading out to Portland next weekend for another hike.
Sarah’s been kicking it at 9Rounds for eight weeks now between five and six days per week for overall strength and conditioning. To add a bit more focus for the legs, she’s hitting a weekly spin class and using the good old-fashioned stair master (with her hiking boots!) at the Wisconsin Athletic Club and does power(ish) yoga once a week to keep her muscles loose. Over the next six weeks, she’ll begin to incorporate hiking on an incline with a 25-pound backpack to simulate the actual trek as well as some uphill runs.
Moshe and Cyd purchased a really cool training system called AltoLab. The lightweight and completely portable mechanism, “simulates the reduced oxygen levels of high altitude, training the body and mind to achieve the advantages associated with [being] at altitude.”
Sarah opted for an alternative to AltoLab, purchasing a Hannibal-style (EEK) altitude mask, which she’ll apprehensively sport on long hikes and uphill runs with the hope of increasing lung capacity and building much-needed stamina.
The question of to vaccine or not came up a few weeks ago. Thorough discussion ensued and we ultimately reached the decision not to after consulting with a trusted physician.
Several years ago, Sarah was diagnosed with POTS – Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome. This was her first concern when considering the trek. After consulting with her electrophysiologist, they agreed she’d bring medication along to take as needed to prevent fainting episodes and/or dizziness.
Purchasing the Right Gear.
We’ll go in depth about what gear we’re bringing in a blog entirely dedicated to the topic next week, but identifying and acquiring the proper gear has certainly been a primary focus. Thanks to the incredible reps we work with, we’re feeling amply prepared to tackle any conditions that might be thrown our way. (Note: If you’re going on a specialized adventure and don’t see what you need in-store – or need a consultation on what to bring, ask us! We’ll be happy to reach out to our reps to get you the pieces you need.)
We’d be remiss not to mention the daily necessities we’ll need along the way. We’re staying in tea houses, but that doesn’t always mean running water and modern conveniences will be available. So, our packing lists also include ibuprofen or Disprin (KEY to help dull those altitude headaches!), baby wipes, TP, water carriers such as Camelbak, Hydropack, Nalgene or Hydroflask and a water purifying system such as LifeStraw or Grayl - which removes 99.9999% of all bacteria and viruses - and snacks (we’ll share our favorites with you in our daily journals!).
We’re all athletes and have tested the limits of our bodies in one way or another. Patience is something we’ll definitely have to practice along this journey. After all, to use the old adage, this trek is a marathon, not a sprint.