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Training To Climb Mont Blanc

Updated: Apr 26

Thinking of climbing Mont Blanc this year? Here is some information to help you train and prepare for the highest mountain in the alps; Mont Blanc.

Skiers getting ready to descend the valley Blanche. Mont Blanc in the background
Valley Blanche

How fit do I need to be to climb Mont Blanc? Mont Blanc requires over 1600 metres of ascent on summit day depending on the route you choose. This is like hiking Snowdon twice. Not forgetting the altitude. You will also be wearing heavy boots, crampons and ice axe and a small rucksack with essential items.

What exercises should I do to train for Mont Blanc? It important to be doing lots of cardiovascular exercise like running and hiking. As an impact exercise these will help develop bone density and specific muscle groups needed for mountaineering. Being on your feet all day can also be a challenge when unaccustomed to it . Spending some longer days out in the hills will help you build a level of resilience.

It is also useful to include some strength training into your plan. This will help build strength endurance and engage stabilising muscles. These help keep good posture, help prevent injury when carrying rucksacks up and down hills over long distances. Most of all though it improves economy over long distances.

How often should I train? Training for Mont Blanc requires 3-4 cardiovascular workouts each week which could include a mixture of running hiking, swimming or cycling.

Planning some trips to the mountains will really help you build mountain endurance. Plan some multi day trips to Wales or the Lake District to get some long mountain days under your belt. Plus 2-3 strength workouts depending on your other activities. You may decide to stop strength training nearer the departure date to focus on cardiovascular.

Arete des cosmiques
Climbing in the Mt Blanc Massive

Training Periodisation

Weeks 1-4: Foundation building

- Focus on building your cardiovascular fitness with activities such as running, cycling, and swimming. Aim for at least 3-4 cardio sessions per week, gradually increasing the duration and intensity of your workouts.

- Incorporate strength training exercises targeting your legs and core, such as squats, lunges, and planks. Aim for 2-3 strength training sessions per week.

- Begin acclimating to high altitudes by spending time at higher elevations on weekend hikes or camping trips.

Weeks 5-8: Intensify your training

- Increase the intensity of your cardio workouts by incorporating interval training and hill repeats. Aim for 4-5 cardio sessions per week.

- Continue to focus on strength training, increasing the weight and intensity of your exercises. Include exercises that mimic climbing movements, such as step-ups and pull-ups.

- Practice climbing techniques such as rock climbing, ice climbing, and glacier travel. Consider taking a mountaineering course or hiring a guide for hands-on instruction.

Weeks 9-12: Peak conditioning

- Ramp up your cardio workouts with longer, more challenging hikes and runs. Consider adding weight to your pack to simulate the added weight of your climbing gear.

- Increase the frequency of your strength training sessions, focusing on building muscular endurance and power.

- Go on practice climbs on other mountains to gain experience and confidence in your climbing abilities.

Weeks 13-16: Taper and rest

- Reduce the intensity and volume of your workouts to allow your body to recover and peak for the climb.

- Focus on proper nutrition, hydration, and rest to ensure you are in peak condition for the climb.

- Review your gear and make sure everything is in working order.

Arete Des Cosmiques
Arete Des Cosmiques

What skills do I need? Mont Blanc is known as a non technical peak (depending on the route you choose). However even for a non technical routes you will need to know how to use crampons and ice axes effectively. Some basic rope work would be useful and knowing how to tie a figure of eight.

Some of the ground covered is steep; so having some experience of scrambling will really help. Check out popular scrambles in the Lakes and Wales to help prepare your mental game.

Can a beginner climb Mont Blanc? If this is your first visit to the alps then it would be recommended to hire a guide. The route can be very busy and sections of the route can be very dangerous due to ice fall and rock fall. All of the routes are hard going so having a professional guide will make sure you come back safely.

Need help training?

Use this code to receive 10% off a strength training plan designed on Training Peaks - AFCMTBLANC

Plan 6 week plan includes strength & conditioning/ mobility and custom endurance sessions to help you train to perform! It can also be used multi times once you have purchased it.



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