I was going to write a post specifically about exercising in cold weather and I was pondering the thought and then I thought about my dear friend Paul Steele and his adventures. He so inspired me with his love for climbing, but most of all his heart to help others. I met him via Twitter and know him to be great fun and one of the nicest people you’ll ever meet.
In Paul’s own words:
I left the Army 4 years ago after 16 years. I began working behind a desk and put on 56 pounds in weight, enough was enough. I re-established my love of hill/mountain-walking and started climbing again the great mountains of the UK.
Then an opportunity to climb Kilimanjaro arose. I joined the group and completed that in Jan 08 raising Thousands of pounds for an overseas development charity.
That was it, goals and charity was my game, I was hooked. Throughout 08/09 I have led and took part in various Mountain Challenges within the UK for many many charities, helping people who had never dared to climb any mountain do so along the way.
I have lost count how many times now I have climbed the likes of Snowdon, Scafell Pike , thus a new challenge was born. If I have done one of ‘THE 7 Summits‘ (highest Mt in each of the 7 continents) why not carry on? Aconcagua gives you the chance of a second. So I took it and having been around people affected by leukemia, I wanted to help in the little way I could.
Training for this? Well, yes, it involved returning yet again to many Uk mountains trying to get faster and faster. Thus when on the climb I need worry less about my cardio, legs and back and concentrate on the mental side and the goal.
What next? Well many people have asked, how do you go and climb the big mountains? Well, a twitter team is forming right now for 2011 to take on a Himalayan challenge, many of whom have never been up a small mountain……yet
I was so in awe of his accomplishments and his goals. I wanted to know how he prepared for the climbs. Here’s Paul’s advice:
Preparation for a High Altitude Climb at Extremely Cold Temeratures
By Paul Steele
You cannot just decide take on the highest mountains of the world. They need to be thought out, for many months or even years. You MUST be ready for a Physical AND a Mental Challenge. Pushing past pain barriers to realise your goal and stand above the world.
I always say there are 3 equally important things to think about:
1. Kit – ‘Look after your body and it will look after you’ Temperatures on mountains such as Aconcagua can range between -30 and -62c at night, and you have to camp there. You must get up early in altitude that gives you less oxygen and thus less chance to warm up and go.
The correct kit therefore is essential. Not just what you wear/sleep in but how you carry it all and not make it harder for yourself, how you keep it dry, what have you got in case the first set freezes (no chance to defrost and dry anything up there), avoiding frostbite, preparing for the extra UV rays with thinning oxygen above the clouds.
2. Physical Capacity – Even though most of the way is walking. These mountains take 3 weeks or more to ascend and descend. Day after day of walking and walking, pounding the legs and feet. Take into account the lowering oxygen levels and the lowering temperatures, your body will get weaker and weaker. There is no excuse. You must be fitter than you can ever wish to be to take it on. The goal is the top, the views, the sights and feeling of conquering what many don’t. There is no excuse, train train train the whole body. And on the climb eat thousands and thousands of calories of carbs along with litres and litres of water. Being fit then gives you one less thing to worry about with getting to the top.
3. Mental state – Even though you are seeing some of the most amazing things in your life, the days of continued march plus the affects on the body can take its toll. Again being at your fittest gives you an advantage. Altitude sickness can also strike at any time. It doesn’t matter if you are the fittest person in the world, you may get alt sickness that day or you may not, there is no science or real training can be done for it. Walk very slowly up to acclimatise, drink and drink and drink water.
I hope one day to do one myself and would love to join in a group climb with Paul. What a great adventure that would be! A great long term goal to keep up the motivation to stay fit! In support of his great dedication and caring for those in need, I wanted to share with you information about his upcoming climb and info if you’d like to be part of helping such a great cause.
From his blog:
The Anthony Nolan Trust is a UK Charity that focuses on leukaemia and bone marrow transplantation. It manages and recruits donors to one of the two bone marrow registers in the United Kingdom; the other register is the British Bone Marrow Registry run by the National Blood Service. It also carries out pioneering research to help make bone marrow transplants more effective.
It is a charity that has touched me more than once in my life and is wonderful to help give to them in any way I can.
HOW YOU CAN HELP
I set out as always to help raise as much as possible for the chosen charity. Thanks to the immense support from Twitter/Facebook friends, family and colleagues I had raised my target to £5000 which is unbelievable and am approaching. Please help smash this target. You can sponsor directly by clicking the link below:
Aconcagua For Leukaemia.
Enjoy this great video of Paul & friends!