There is something in the Mountain Guiding business we refer to as “Stepping Stones”. In a nutshell the meaning of the saying is that you get a certain amount experience EVERY time you go into the outdoors. In order to achieve your climbing goals and before you move ahead to try a higher or more difficult route or summit, it is important that you have gained the proper skills on similar type mountains.
Some people try to, “skip steps” and find themselves over their heads and attempting summits far beyond their reach. Bottom line is, Yes it is noble to push yourself, people should test and improve their ability in the outdoors BUT their is a natural progression to doing this. In the arena of fitness the model of using, “stepping stones” also works very well. Working up your fitness level slowly but surely is the best way of achieving your goals without injuries or setbacks.
Another term we sometimes use, “putting money in the bank”. Every time you go on a bike ride, walk instead of driving your car, go swimming, hit the fitness club or go on a hike or climb before the trip your planning for… it is like putting money in the bank! Then when it comes to the big climb your planning (for example a climb of Mount Rainier, Baker or Kilimanjaro) you are then allowed to take some “withdraws” on your hard earnings.
Thinking in these terms you quickly realize that every little thing you do BEFORE your next climb is important and does have significance. This also a huge psychological advantage when you combine your experience and background with fitness you have worked so hard to achieve. Far better then the great equipment anyone brings on a climb is the self confidence that can only come with time, fitness and experience.
Hike and bike part TWO: In the past week I was able to get some more time in the outdoors. My two teenagers came to visit late last week and we visited Mount Shuksan and did a nice hike near Mount Baker. Today: I drove up The Middle Fork Of The Nooksack River to begin my 8-mile mountain bike ride to the base of The North Twin Sister. I tried to push myself a bit more then my past trips realizing I had ate a huge breakfast and was, “running out of time” before the climbing season begins.