Check your abilities
It is important to know if you have the physical abilities to do a trip. Here is some information to help you estimate your physical and technical capacities and give you realistic goals.
A dream pushes you to do your best to attain it, and the mountain is a great ground to push yourself. Having the physical abilities is more than just keeping safe, it means you will have so much more pleasure and get to fully enjoy your trip.
Trips’ physical level guide:
- Level 1/5: Easy walk (3-4 hours per day) with low vertical drop (max 400 to 500 m per day) and in low altitude.
- Level 2/5: Moderated activity, average of 4 to 5 hours per day, max vertical drop of 600 m.
- Level 3/5: Medium intensity (4 to 6 hours of walking per day) with some peaks (ascents days of more than 8 hours walk), regular vertical drop (approx. 700 m / day) during the stay.
- Level 4/5: Intense activity in high altitude, significant vertical drop, portages in altitude.
- Level 5/5: Days of activity of more than 9 hours in high altitude or in very difficult conditions. Importantly uneven path during the whole stay, regular portages in heights.
Mountains can be unpredictable. You have to be well prepared to gain the required level to approach mountains, but it isn’t necessary to be over trained for it. Training comes with practice and, in a few days, we can be surprised by our physical aptitudes.
We have come up with different routes of mountain discovery accessible to the non-sportsmen. However, every trip requires a different level. If you wish to succeed ascents or an important trek in high altitude (such as climbing Mont Blanc), you will of course need to be well trained for it, to ensure your safety.
Training is necessary before a hike or a big ascent if you want to fully enjoy your trip. Otherwise, you might have muscle soreness and difficulties to keep up with the group.
We recommend starting training a few weeks before your trip by hiking on progressive difficulty paths if you are near a mountain setting. You have to be able to walk up a 1500m ascend and back down without suffering. There are no better ways to train for a mountain trek than training in the mountains, but you can still work on your breathing by cycling and running on slopes (or up stairs). Doing this workout twice a week with a 2h session is already a correct physical preparation.
Recap: How to train?
We recommend training with a long-term effort 2 to 4 times a week.
- Jogging: 45 min to 1h30 per session
- Bike riding: 1h30 to 3 hours per session
- Power walking (with height differences if possible): 2 to 4h per session
- Swimming: 1h30 per session
If preparing for the mountain can be done a long time before your trip, the altitude resistance needs to be adjusted. Around two weeks before your trek, we advise that you hike progressively in higher heights, starting from 1500m to 3000m. Ideally, you should spend a night over 3000m so that your body can slowly adjust to altitude. Whatever is your reaction to altitude, relax, you will have less trouble breathing.
High Mountain requires techniques using special mountain equipment such as the use of crampons, ice-axes, and roping. To prepare for these methods, we offer a trip to climb Mont Blanc in 6 days with 3 days of training and 3 days of ascent. That way, you get to learn about the techniques and practice in real conditions with your expert guide before the big ascent and get to meet with your trip companions. It is also beneficial for the guide which will have the chance to evaluate the group’s level and adapt its speed.
Mountaineering is the most exposed sport to atmospheric conditions and bad weather: cold, wind, snowfalls, avalanches… Getting used to being outside and working out in different climates will help you resist to mountain climate changes, fairly frequent and sometimes very rough.