10 Questions with Carolyn

  1. What has been the biggest change in your day-to-day life since beginning to train for this climb? Training and preparing for this climb takes a lot of time! I’ve been getting noticeably less sleep. Even though I may have a day off from physical training, there’s no shortage of additional tasks and research that needs to be done.
  2. What are you doing this spring that you wouldn’t normally be doing, at this time? I’m comfortably carrying a 55+lb pack on weekly or bi-weekly after-work hikes with about 2,000′ of elevation gain per hike. In a normal climbing season, I don’t carry more than about 40 pounds on after-work hikes.
  3. We’ve each purchased or borrowed a ton of gear for the trip – what Denali-specific new items are you absolutely loving right now? I’m excited about my bomber down parka, the Feathered Friends Icefall Parka. It’s so puffy and warm. It feels like a sleeping bag that you wear. I’m kinda hoping we’ll get some really cold weather so I can go outside, spit, and see it freezes before it hits the ground!
  4. What’s your go-to snack for food on the mountain? I plan to eat a lot of granola and muesli on this climb. Hot, cold, dry, wet, it’s a pretty versatile food. When I was tea house trekking in Nepal, I often had muesli with hot milk for lunch or second lunch. It was easy to digest, quick to prepare, and really hit the spot.
  5. What new food or drink products have you added to your daily life since starting preparations for the climb? I’ve been paying more attention to getting enough protein in my diet. Our product sponsors, Coco Libre, KIND, and eXo make products with added protein. I’ve been using these products post work-out to maximize my recovery. My philosophy is to Train Hard and Recover Equally Hard.
  6. What’s the most interesting, most complicated, or most useful skill or technique you’ve learned or perfected over the last few months? Crevasse self-rescue with 100 pounds of gear is a “must have” skill for any Denali climber.
  7. What’s still on your Denali to-do list? Give us a sample of the things you’re about to get to, or make decisions about, this week. This week I bought a whole lotta stuff sacks for our food. Next task will be preparing and packaging/repackaging a whole lotta food to put into them – over 40 pounds of food per person!
  8. What does your training or conditioning schedule look like this week, for example? A typical training week for me includes 10-20 hours exercise (running average since January is 15.5 hours/week). This combined volume includes a mix of endurance, muscular endurance, strength training, and recovery workouts. I typically get 2×1-hour strength/core workouts per week. I alternate between core, upper body and lower body exercises, and stick mostly to things described in Training for the New Alpinism by Steve House and Mark Johnston. My hiking workouts (2-4 per week) are with a heavy pack and are 2.5+ hours in duration. Depending on the terrain, pack weight, and intensity, these hikes would fall into the category of endurance or mixed endurance and muscular endurance workouts. The remaining workout are recover workouts. Since I work 40-50 hours a week, I try to make the most of my time by incorporating recovery workouts into my commute. Instead of taking the bus to the P&R, I’ll walk between the P&R and my office (30-45min depending on the route). These recovery workouts are very relaxing and give me time to think, or not think, about anything I desire.
  9. What are you reading or listening to right now? I typically spend a few minutes reading before I turn the lights out and go to bed. Lately, everything has been centered around preparing for Denali. Here’s my list of recommended reading/resources: Denali’s West Buttress: A Climber’s Guide to Mount McKinley’s Classic Route by Colby Coombs; Denali Climbing Guide by RJ Secor; Surviving Denali by Jonathan Waterman; and One Man’s Guide to Climbing McKinley, aka Denali by Timothy D. Hult.
  10. What, to you, would make for a successful climb? Is there one moment or experience you are most looking forward to? I’m looking forward to the experience of being on the West Buttress route. Weather conditions and other factors will affect whether or not we summit. A safe climb is a successful climb.

Thoughts? Comments? Advice?

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