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Improve Your Shot at the Top with Tips from a First Ascent Guide
Posted on August 19, 2009


Climbing season is at its peak in the Pacific Northwest. First Ascent Guide Seth Waterfall shares his tips on how to boost your chances to tag the top. Seth has summited Rainier 58 times, and spends more than 200 days a year in the high mountains, climbing, guiding and ski patrolling. For first-time climbers, Seth stresses endurance training.

“One thing that gets overlooked by first-timers is the duration of the climb. If you are training for a long endurance climb, try to figure out how long most people take to do the climb and try to get close to that in your training. A typical summit day on Rainier starts around midnight. We summit before 8 a.m. and get back to the parking lot at 3 p.m. That’s approximately 15 hours of physical exertion. Who does that normally besides guides and climbers? Your training should include at least a few days where you exercise for at least six hours.”

Top 5 tips from Seth:
1. Test your gear before your trip.
2. Bring good socks. They’re your feet; take care of them.
3. Don’t be afraid to take it easy on endurance climbs. At high altitudes, avoid overexerting yourself.
4. Be friendly to everyone, even if they don’t return the favor. You never know who will end up helping you!
5. Have fun!

Author: - Wednesday, August 19th, 2009

  1. T-Dawg

    Hi Seth!
    What type of exercise plan do you recommend for the six hour training day? I know a lot of cardio. is recommended, so would it be good to do some cross training or just go on a extended hike?

  2. nancy.janosko

    i like this…thanks for the great tips…i was just visiting mt. rainier for the first time, can’t wait to make a summit…i have a goal…woohoo! thanks again…it means a lot to have tips from a world class guide…i fully appreciate you…bueno bye from taos…

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