If you want to climb, hike or trek to extreme places of our world, such as high altitudes, arctic climate zones or hike over a long period of time, you should always be prepared. I usually spend hours, days, weeks and months preparing myself before I begin my adventures. Preparation can often be underestimated, but an important key to have a success on your adventure. Continue reading to get knowledge about why preparation is crucial for making your expedition a great success and a lifetime memory. Read about how I prepare both mentally and physically, and why I prepare the way I do, before an expedition.
Mentally and Physically training
Time spent on preparation is well spent time. The preparation includes both mentally and physically training. I would say that the mentally preparation is the most important part, because in most cases it is your head that pulls you to an end. If you are in a situation where your head stops your body because you think you are tired, I think you still have extra energy. I experienced this during my duty in the army, and i found it radiculous how amazing the human body is. You can push the limits so far before it actual stops. It’s important to say that you need to take care of your health too, so physically training will also be an important key in the preparation. What fitness level your adventure require depends on what type of adventure you are preparing for, but a high fitness level is always good to have. In this paragraph, I tried to explain two keys in the preparation you should consider, but let’s move on the how I actually prepare.
Before I climb a high or remote mountain like Mera Peak, I always begin my preparation by educate myself and study the environment I’m headed towards. I usually spend much time on youtube and blogs to see what I can expect during the adventure, and what other people have to say about the climb. You can usually get books as well. When you get information and can understand the mountain area you are headed for, you have accomplished a great educational base for your adventure. When you start to study where you are going, you begin your mental preparation by getting motivation, excitement and you can begin to visualizing the upcoming adventure. You get important insight as well as education, and will most likely understand what you are about to commit. Information can be a key to prepare yourself for situation that can occur during the expedition and prevent mistakes that in a worst case scenario can be deadly.
Know your equipment
The second thing I always prepare is the equipment that I will use during the expedition. I never bring any equipment that I never have used or tested. The time is not right to test some new gear 26’000 ft up on a mountain or on the North Pole in extreme conditions! I go through all the equipment I’m going to use during the expedition to see if there any damage or wear and tear. This could be things like sharpening my crampons and ice axe or run a check up on how water resistant my shield cloths are. This is for my own safety, and the equipment can save you from a dangerous or cold situation. If you will bring new gear, have a backup solution or test it before your adventure starts! Knowledge about how you use your equipment such as crampons, ice axe and harness gives you a great advantage on the mountain.
If you find yourself located in a remote mountain area or deep in a forest there will be essential equipment that would be necessary. When I go hiking in the wilderness, winter or summer, I always bring 9 essentials things in my backpack. I bring these equipments due to my own safety and comfort during the adventure. Have a look at my 9 essentials.
You can push the limits so far before it actual stops. It’s important to say that you need to take care of your health too, so physically training will also be an important key in the preparation. Your adventure can be demanding over several days, weeks or months. You need to prepare your body for the upcoming tasks in your expedition. I usually begins my physical training 5-12 months before my adventure begins. During this periode I try to sleep, eat and exercise which can yield a good benefit from training.
I log everything of training. I do this to be able to follow up and make sure that muscle mass increases. It is easier to follow progression by writing down each exercise. It is important to vary exercises and the number of repetitions. Do not let your body get too used to one exercise program, but often vary every 6 weeks. Rest is also important. So after every 6 weeks you should have a rest week or a very quiet week. If you want a program that gives you increased muscle mass you can take a closer look at this program. This is a program I have set up and get good results with.
In terms of running, I run 4 times a week. During these sessions I vary between intervals, hill runs, long runs like half marathons and longer. If you are training for a high mountain, it is important that you can utilize all the oxygen when you reach the altitude. This is a key preparation to prepare to avoid altitude sickness. If you need more information about altitude sickness, you can look more closely here. You can make your body absorb more oxygen by following this exercise program.
You can’t be prepared for everything
The things I have mention so far is things that can be easy for you to control, but during an adventure there will be things that you really can’t prepare yourself upon, such as altitude. If you never been to an altitude above 5000m above sea level, it will be difficult to understand and know how your body will react in this altitude. The human body can react different from each time, so you can’t know for sure how this will turn out. I experience real altitude when I hiked Kilimanjaro and Elbrus. I can still remember the feeling of being short of breath and how difficult it was for me to fall asleep due to high heart rate. Another thing that is hard to prepare is the weather. You can look at different forecasts, but it’s not sure it will be as they predict. That’s why it’s always clever to bring some extra cloths and equipment just in case if the weather turns.
As the final words in this article, keep in mind that the more time and effort you spend in the preparation part, the more likely you will be to experience a success on your expedition. Never underestimate the preparation part or knowledge, you have to commit for your upcoming mission, live it through your dreams before you exactly travel for the real adventure. I wish you the best of luck and remember to stay safe!