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Training in the Alps

One thing I’ve learnt in Mountaineering is that progression is key.  Don’t skip the steps in hunger to get to the summit quicker, a missed step could mean serious consequences.  Do the courses, learn the skills and listen to the experts who have the skills. 

After completing courses across Ireland, building endurance and regularly spending time in the Irish mountains.  I shared recently all of my own learnings from spending winter time in the Scottish mountains and how it develops you as a mountaineer. 

The next step made sense for me …  I headed out to the Alps and completed an introductory Alpine course with Jagged Globe.  After a Scottish winter training, this is the perfect step to learn about decision making in an Alpine environment and how big those crevasses can really be!

The 5 Top most important parts that I took away from this which ultimately helped me progress to the next stage of my mountaineering are:

  1. Adjusting to Altitude.  I learnt a lot about my body and how it changes at altitude.   Everyone’s body adjusts differently. I always get a high heart rate initially until my bod adjusts and once I go past 3,000 metres – stomach problems always kick in. I’ve learnt from these experiences that this is always the way for me and I don’t get worried about it anymore. It always adjusts itself.  Not the best place to be looking for a bathroom, but all part of mountain life and altitude!
  2. Crevasse rescue – you will get to experience this by literally going down a crevasse or down the size of an ice rock. 
  3. The Exposure – you just won’t get these in Ireland and even Scotland. It tests you.  You have no choice when you are there.  I climbed up to the Aiguille du Midi – all my previous training kicked in. I was grateful to myself for doing the work beforehand so that I could not freak out on that rock face climbing up the viewing tower.  Previous comfort zones that turned into sometimes a panic zone all paid off – I was aware of my surroundings and didn’t panic. I was able to keep going whilst being aware but in control
  4. Hut life and the experience of absolute silence in the mountains you just will never get at home!
  5. Rope work. Being roped up to another person for hours on end.  No joke. This was one of the ultimate tests.  Learning how to be aware of the pace of your fellow partner(s). This truly tests us at times as people got pulled quite a lot and people’s patience were tested, especially when we started to get tired. With my height and size, I was in the middle a lot. Like a bloody yoyo at times
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