Climb Lifestyle

#learningtoextreme Climbing Training and Preparation – Getting Started

Learning to extreme - Bugaboos climbing

Climbing + Fitness + Mental Toughness

Pushing myself in the outdoors and #learningtoextreme one climb at a time.

Learning to extreme is a series documenting my training and preparation for my major climbing objectives for the year. For those who don’t know, I haven’t always been into outdoor sports. I’ve really only started climbing three years ago. Since then, I’ve had some amazing and challenging experiences in the mountains where I’ve grown as an outdoorswoman and as a person. Every year ups the ante and the climbs get burlier and more committing. This year, the ultimate goal is to climb the Beckey-Chouinard route on the South Howser Tower in Bugaboo Provincial Park.

We’re aiming for the Beckey-Chouinard climb in August, so I have a few months of hard work ahead! This route is going to be the most mentally and physically challenging climb I’ve ever done. I’ve climbed 5.10 alpine before (and we’ve been to the Bugaboo Provincial Park before), but nothing this committing or sustained.

The Beckey-Chouinard route consists of 15 pitches of exposed 5.10 climbing on the beautiful granite spires in the Bugaboos. We’ll either need to shuttle water and food out to the South Howser Tower or plan to bivy overnight on the route on the “world’s best bivy ledge.” The Beckey-Chouinard route is known to be one of the world’s best alpine climbs.

Bugaboo Provincial Park - glacier

Feeling small at the Bugaboo Provincial Park


Climbing Objectives

There are a number of climbs we have planned this spring and summer that should further my climbing ability, fitness and mental toughness:

Objective Route Grade
Mt. Baker North Ridge WI2-3
Dragontail Gerber-Sink WI3+ M3/4
Mt. Rainier Ski Descent (Route TBD)
Mt. Stuart North Ridge (Full) 5.9
Prusik Peak West Ridge 5.7
Prusik Peak Stanley-Burgner 5.10-
Dragontrail Serpentine Arete 5.8
Dragontrail Backbone 5.9
Snow Creek Wall Outer Space 5.9

I’ll document trip reports for each of these and track progress for my mental and physical state – #learningtoextreme one climb at a time!

Obviously, we may not be able to get to all of these climbs as some will be weather, condition and schedule dependent.

NE Ridge Bugaboo Spire climb

Climbing the ultra classic NE Ridge on Bugaboo Spire, 5.8


NE Ridge Bugaboo Spire climb

Traversing from the North summit to the South summit of Bugaboo Spire


This month, I’ll be focusing on fitness and nutrition.


Admittedly, my fitness isn’t exactly where I’d like it to be… I’ve been slacking since our wedding last fall and dealing with a pesky back injury. However, it’s March and I only have 6 months to train for Becky-Chouinard (and our Bugaboos trip in general), so I better get moving!

My goal weekly workout schedule consists of:

  • 3x week running (increasing consecutively)
  • 3-4x week gym climbing (includes 1x endurance climbing and/or bouldering)
  • 2x week other cardio (stair climber for hiking)
  • 1x week yoga
  • Skiing on the weekends (weather permitting)

Other planned athletic endeavors that should help overall with fitness:

  • Smith Rock Ascent (15 mile run) – May
  • Black Hawk Trail Half Marathon (13.1 mile run) – July
  • Numerous backcountry ski tours – Spring
McTete Arete

About ready to start the fourth pitch of McTete Arete in the Bugaboos, 5.10 (I’m the tiny little spec at the bottom)


Sprained ankle Bugaboos

Soaking a sprained ankle (from a failed ceiling move on the aforementioned McTete Arete) in the Bugaboo glacial springs



Nutrition is another story…

Since I’ve been having a hard time losing weight (in a normal and healthy manner), my husband and I decided to commit to a 30 day clean eating diet. We’ve done Paleo before and honestly, felt great. We had more energy, shed a few excess pounds and just felt all around better. Our 30 day clean eating diet is a Paleo hybrid mainly consisting of (with a few exceptions):

  1. Eggs
  2. Meats
  3. Vegetables
  4. Fruit
  5. Nuts
  6. Natural oils and butter

Sounds pretty fun right? I tend to get attached to foods (what can I say, I like to eat! And have a sweet tooth…), so hoping this will help break some bad eating habits and help my body lean out to climb harder grades. Realistically, we won’t be able to follow this on the weekends with skiing and any backcountry activities, so will try to be as healthy as possible for those endeavors.

Are you training for any specific climbing or outdoor endeavors?

Share your story and tag #learningtoextreme on Instagram for a chance to be featured on the blog!

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  • Reply
    #learningtoextreme Climbing Training - Month Two Check-in - Mountain Lovely
    April 14, 2016 at 9:27 pm

    […] it’s been about a month and half… Time to check in with my training and progression in preparing for climbing in the Bugaboos! This month has been highly productive in getting my nutrition and workout regimen on track. […]

  • Reply
    Nicola Wohlschlegel
    April 27, 2017 at 6:57 pm

    Wow, I love your post!

  • Leave a Reply