Urban Hiking with my new Scarpa’s

My quick urban hike

My quick urban hike


Just tried out my new Scarpa boots on a short (3 mile) urban hike with a 35 lb. pack.  The boots have decent ankle support and it sure made a huge difference!  Thanks to Scarpa for sponsoring our climb and giving us a great deal on awesome boots.

Rocking my new Scarpa boots and Osprey backpack, both sponsors of Climb Against the Odds!

Rocking my new Scarpa boots and Osprey backpack, both sponsors of Climb Against the Odds!




Last friday we had a conference call with our guides at Shasta Mountain Guides, Chris and Jenn Carr, who have been leading the Breast Cancer Fund’s Climb Against the Odds for 10 years. They emphasized that getting to the top isn’t the most important part – that safety is first priority then enjoyment, whether or not we reach the summit.  Even though they warned not to get caught up in “summit fever” (i.e. being bent on getting to the top), I have to say I’ll be pretty bummed if injury or weather prevents me from making it to the top.  But I won’t let fatigue be the reason, I’m training hard and plan on to just keep putting one foot in front of the other all the way up!

We got a lot of good information about what to expect for the climb.  Here’s the rundown:

Climb Itinerary: First we went over our climb itinerary –

  • Monday 6/17: Gear check, get to know each other and the guides, break up into climb teams of 6-7.  Our guides will inspect our gear and make sure we have enough but not too much packed for the trip.
  • Tuesday 6/18: Meet the guides at Bunny Flat Trailhead (6090 feet) at 9 am to begin climb to base camp (Hidden Valley) at 9200 feet. Dinner and bed by 7pm to get plenty of rest for the summit attempt!
  • Wednesday, 6/19: Summit day!  Wakeup call is at 1am with climb teams of 3 leaving every 20 minutes, roped together on snow and ice. This is where my mountaineering training will be most important since my safety and the safety of the two people I will be roped to depend on my caution and ability to fix any mistakes (i.e. stop myself with my iceaxe!).  The ascent to the summit will take 6-9 hours and the descent 4-5.  We will gain nearly 5,000 feet in elevation on summit day!  We will camp again at basecamp.
  • Thursday 6/20: Back to civilization! Breakfast halfway home on the trail followed by a prayer flag ceremony and a fun evening with our family and new friends.

Altitude Sickness: Next we went over altitude sickness and how to deal with it.  The guides said that everyone will experience some form of altitude sickness and went over the signs of mild altitude sickness, known as AMS: decreased appetite, headache, and irritability.  They said they will teach us some techniques for dealing with mild altitude sickness when we get to the mountain like pressure breathing and rest-stepping, but that the best way to keep it mild is to eat a bunch and drink a bunch of water while climbing.  They also suggested we focus on our intensity training at this point to make sure we can handle the intense activity, which brought us to…

Calorie loss: Our guides said we would expend about 10,000 calories on climb day and that we would need to replace all of those calories while we climb to prevent extreme fatigue.  They suggested we have 4-5 lbs of snacks in accessible pockets and that we should constantly be snacking on things all day long, whether or not we are hungry.  So far I’m thinking of bringing some Probar meal bars, Luna bars, stinger honey gummies, and some sesame sticks. They also recommended we experiment with different electrolyte powders to add to our water during the climb.

Equipment: Next we went over equipment.  There is some equipment we can rent on the mountain, including boots.  I haven’t quite decided if I’m

My potential new mountaineering boots from Scarpa

going to purchase a pair before climbing or rent a pair.  On the one hand I’d like to keep mountain climbing and getting a decent pair now may be worth it. On the other hand, mountaineering boots are awfully expensive!  At the recommendation of the guides I am considering this boot from our sponsor Scarpa, but we’ll see. I really disliked the double plastic boots I wore at mountaineering training and would like to get something like these with solid but flexible ankle support.  My ankle still hurts over a week later from the plastic boots! They also suggested some equipment to bring that may not be so obvious – a pair of lightweight flipflops or sneakers for camp and a face buff for lightweight protection from the sun on warm days.

Training: Next we went over some key training suggestions.  They emphasized again how important it is to train for this event but also said that we don’t have to climb mountains to train… good news for me since there’s no mountains in Boston!  They said that the key is building up endurance carrying weight – high intensity short interval training that gets your heart rate up and lots of hills or stairs. They also echoed my mountaineering training guide in their suggestions that we stretch stretch stretch (guess I need to start doing more yoga)!

Gear, gear, gear!

Osprey Ariel 65 – The official pack of the Climb Against the Odds 2013 team

Gear is starting to come in and I’m getting excited.  Osprey is a major supporter of the Breast Cancer Fund and is providing us with the Ariel 65 pack this year.

From their press release today announcing their support of the climb this year:

Osprey is a long-time supporter of the Climb Against the Odds. 2013 marks the eighth year that the award-winning pack manufacturer has sponsored the event. In addition to providing Ariel 65 and Aether 70 packs, Osprey is hosting a daylong mountaineering course for team members in partnership with Southwest Adventure Guides.

Breast Cancer Fund – now celebrating its twenty-first year – has led 13 successful Climb Against the Odds mountaineering expeditions around the world. Funds raised through climber sponsorship directly support the organization’s work to translate the growing body of scientific evidence linking breast cancer and environmental exposures into public education and advocacy campaigns that protect health and reduce breast cancer risk.

The pack is pretty awesome and looks like space gear compared to my old aluminum frame Kelty.  I’m excited to get all of this cool gear and start breaking in in as I train for the climb!