In September 2013, DC Rider Karen Diener set out to climb Mt. Baker in the North Cascades of Washington state. When Karen came back, she attributed much of her success to her cross training at Revolve. Here is her story:
What led you to tackle Mt. Baker? How did Revolve help you make it to the top?
In July 2013, I attempted Mt. Rainier, and unfortunately, I did not summit like I had hoped. I had to stop short of the top and make a decision to come down as I was too dizzy and out of breath. It was then that I searched for something to add to my training regiment that would build my leg strength and lung capacity to tackle these much harder climbs. One of my successful climber friends said she did indoor cycling classes several times a week. So, when I came back I asked people where the best class was in the DC area and a fellow rider, Sarah DuFrane, told me about Revolve and how much she loved it.
I started at Revolve DC in August 2013 and came about three times a week. In September, I successfully summited Mt. Baker (which is next to Mt. Rainier and also a glacier climb) and I could not believe how much stronger I felt and how much better my breathing was on this climb. Indoor cycling gave me the ability to control my exhaustion as I got closer to the top. Deep cleansing breathes to push out the Carbon Dioxide in your lungs is required during climbs, I get to practice this on the bike when we go breathless on a ride and have to continue our pace and learn to breath through it.
What inspired you to climb Mt Baker?
I wanted to climb more technical mountains and Baker is a glacier climb where you learn crevasse rescue, ice skills, snow skills, etc. It is a goal in itself but also a part of my training to be able to climb Cotopaxi in Ecuador and the Bolivian mountains next year.
How do you keep your head in the game during tough moments climbing?
I stay completely present with myself to get through “scary” or tough parts of climb. When you get discouraged, you look at it in sections and get to the next break. This is also like our rides when the instructor helps you to get through a heavy climb and you know in a minute you get to recover before you go again. You learn that you can dig deeper than you thought you could and that your body serves you if you can get your mind to push to your goal.
If I want to climb Mt. Baker, where do I begin?
It is always best to take a week long training course with the mountain guides for that mountain. RMI and First Ascents are two companies that take people climbing in these North Cascade Mountains of Washington state. They send you full training schedules three months ahead of your week with them and if you tailor your daily training to that schedule you will be in good shape. Mountain climbing takes strength, endurance, balance, and flexibility. It is one of the most physically demanding as you need to carry weight on your back as you go up on average about 3000 feet a day varying between 25 to 45 degree elevation angles. You move slowly, but if something happens or you are in a more dangerous zone, you will need to move quickly and respond fast while maintaining balance.
What are your tips to beginning Revolve riders?
What is great about indoor cycling is it can work for whatever your physical goals may be. You can adjust the intensity to fit where you are today and increase as you go. It is surprising how fast you get strong if you use that hour to demand things of yourself you might not have in other activities.