Today i spend the day with Sue as she is currently in preparation and training for a once in a lifetime trek to Everest Base camp in a few months time. Lets see how the day unfolded.
Like many of the clients i assist on a path to their mountain aspirations a common factor revolves around the work/life balance debate. Their simply is not enough time to physically train or mentality prepare for the goal they want to achieve whilst spinning other plates such as personal life, work, family etc..
Spending excessive money on equipment seems to take precedence for many. All the gear no idea ring a bell?
As me and Sue are not going to mimic mountainous terrain of the Everest Base camp trek in the UK we have to adapt our day accordingly. One thing Sue will be doing is spending a lot of time on her feet each day over a variety of terrain. Most of it well trodden and broken. Long days walking on loose, broken, difficult ground underfoot should be expected. In the Peak District we have plenty of this.
Starting in the lowlands of the Edale valley and ascending to the Kinder Scout plateau provides us with plenty of opportunity.
So broken ground underfoot aside we then have to try and replicate an average day of ascent and decent on the Everest base camp trail. Starting in the valley bottom and taking the steep Jacobs ladder path up to Edale rocks is a good “wake up” call shall we say.
Once on the Kinder Scout plateau the baroness of the area (lunar like in places) gives a different atmosphere from the green lowland vale below. Your at over 600 metres of height, with the wind howling past making the temperature significantly lower, no obvious path to follow and if your lucky, as we were today, a panoramic view of wind scarred gritstone rocks. Your on your own.
We continued to walk and talk on our way to Kinder Downfall, a natural occurring drain for water which falls upon the plateau. Depending on recent weather conditions the downfall can be an ice climb in winter or a spectacular waterfall, blowing back on its self during other seasons. Neither of them applied today. Sorry Sue. It just wasn’t our day I’m afraid. Blame the guide.
Moving on we then continued on a compass bearing on a unmarked “off piste” route from the west side of the plateau to the southern edge. Different terrain again here as deep bog is a constant threat. I don’t think you will be seeing much of this on the Everest base camp trail Sue but i was trying to emphasise the important of looking for the most suitable walkable route in difficult terrain.
Preserving your energy on a long trip could make the difference between a good day and less than enjoyable one.
As we arrived at the southern edge of Kinder scout we continued to talk about Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS). Considering Diamox medication, plenty of clean water, limiting the amount of height gain each day and listening to your body are important factors that could either make or break a trip at altitude.
Just to make Sue’s preparation day complete we headed on a steep descent down into the vale of Edale over the old Pennine way track.
Paint yourself this picture:
Its been a long day
Your muscle are aching
Your wind battered
Your out of your comfort zone
Now your guide is asking you to descend slowly over rocky and muddy steep terrain to a National Trust cafe offering cake and comfort.
Its a test of mental and physical stamina which many folk would not be happy with.
I have prepared many people for walks, hikes, treks and summits over the years. Sue demonstrated a strong determination to keep going through the hardship that will stand in in good stead when on her journey.
I wish you all the best Sue. Enjoy your trip and send me some photographs of your experience.
Well done today Sue.