Denali Training Update

Not a whole lot has been going on around the house this past month.  Shelley and I did take a week and drive over to Seattle for a visit.  It rained most of the time we were there.  But I did get a sunny afternoon to clean out the gutters on the Seattle house.  Oh boy!

Mainly we are working, sleeping, eating and training.

We really made a huge step forward last Sunday in our training though.  Up until a couple of weeks ago we had been pulling just one tire to simulate the sled we’ll be pulling on Denali.  I tried adding weight to that tire but found it just increased the drag on the tire making it very difficult to pull in the dirt.  So, I went out and picked up a couple more tires.  These are slightly smaller than the original tires we had been using.  I didn’t want to double the weight, I just wanted to increase the weight gradually but not have the drag that came with just adding weight onto the one tire.

Both of us upped our pack weight too.  Shelley usually carries a couple 2-liter bottles of water in her pack.  When she gets to the top she dumps the water for the hike down.  She’s just trying to take things easier on her knees.  In fact, she probably added too much this time.  She started out with 64 lbs in her pack.  She began having issues with her legs in the first hour of the hike.  She got concerned that she had so much weight on her back that it might be compressing her spine causing nerve pain to shoot down both of her legs.  So, at the first break she dumped two liters of water out of her pack, bringing the weight down to 60-ish lbs.  Remember, that’s more than 50% of her body weight!  That would be like me carrying an 85 lb pack!  Once she dumped that extra water, she was fine.  Well, maybe not fine.  But no more pain in her legs.  Between the pack and the tires she was carrying 102 lbs now.  My wife is such a stud!  In fact, I bet she could add some more to the tires if she had too, but right now I think she’s right in a good spot.  My total weight is up to 110 lbs.  65 lbs in the pack and 45 lbs in tires.  That is right where I want to be.  If I can continue that for the next couple weeks, then maybe I’ll toss in another 5 lbs.  But for right now, we are going to leave things where they are at and just add distance to our hikes.

Last Sunday we were out for just over four hours (about 5 1/2 hours counting breaks), and traveled 7.4 miles.  Remember, a 1-way climb to Denali’s summit is 18 miles.  So, on Denali we won’t be traveling that many miles each day.  It will be steeper.  I can only hope that what we lack in elevation we are making up for in distance.

Here’s a shot of Shelley on the way back down with Jake covering her flank.

We are getting closer to making it to the top of this road as well.  We have been going about 2 hours and turning around.  When things feel good, we add weight and do it again.  Last Sunday we went 2:40 minutes before we turned around.  We are getting closer to the top of the road.  My guess is we were probably just about 45 minutes from the top on Sunday.  We have 6 weeks left till our trip, so we didn’t see a need to push to the top.  Next weekend Shelley is on call at work so she won’t be able to hike with me, so I’ll be going alone.  I’m gonna try to make it to the top of the road.  That should make for a long day.  But what doesn’t kill me, makes me stronger.


One Response to “Denali Training Update”

  1. Off To Alaska « News From Summit Ridge Says:

    […] is that you can’t.  I think we are ready.  We’ve been carrying heavy loads on our training hikes and we’ve been working out 5 – 6 days a week for the last few months.  We’ll […]


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