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Wilderness Sports > Mountaineering and Scrambling Training & Conditioning

Mountaineering and Scrambling Training & Conditioning

training for mountaineering can give you confidence

Mountaineering and Scrambling Overview

Mountaineering and Scrambling conditioning and training needs fills the gap between hiking, trekking, and backpacking on established trails and technical vertical climbing of rock or ice. We define Scrambling as nontechnical off-trail travel (i.e. without a harness, rope, or protection hardware), often on snow or rock, requiring the occasional use of hands. Scrambling can involve negotiating lower-angle rock; covering class 2 or 3 terrain; traveling over talus, scree, or boulder fields; crossing streams; maneuvering through dense brush; and walking on snowy slopes.

Mountaineering uses ropes, protection, and harness to reach a summit and requires skill beyond that of scrambling. Mountaineers may handle 5th class rock, hard snow, and low-angle ice or glacial terrain. If you are climbing low 5th class rock in mountaineering boots or you need only one ice axe to ascend icy slopes of less than 40 degrees, train for mountaineering. If the climbing is difficult enough to require rock shoes or your terrain requires two ice axes, see the climbing training and conditioning area for information related to technical climbing.

Training Overview

Training for Mountaineering and Scrambling is usually going to involve a combination of training for specific fitness qualities, doing sport specific outings and practicing sport required skill elements. There are five major fitness qualities your general training should focus on for mountaineering and scrambling. Those qualities are:

  • Aerobic Endurance
  • Anaerobic Endurance
  • Upper Body Strength
  • Lower Body Strength
  • Flexibility

To learn more about the needed levels of fitness components for mountaineering and to understand more about sport specific and skill training read our Mountaineering Program Development section. Below you can find a directory of other pages to visit to get a greater understanding of training for mountaineering including potential goals, trip reports and special mountain coverage.

Mountaineering and Scrambling Training Greater Detail

Specific Article Recommendations

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Goals YOU can train for

Recommended Products for
Mountaineering and Scrambling Training and Conditioning

The Outdoor Athlete by Courtenay and Doug Schurman

The Outdoor Athlete book. This new book will prepare you for your mountaineering or scrambling adventure with sample performance training and conditioning programs designed to maximize outdoor enjoyment. Read more about the book - The Outdoor Athlete

Train To Climb Mt. Rainier DVD by Courtenay and Doug Schurman

Train To Climb Mt Rainier or any high peak DVD. Optimal training and conditioning for high altitude mountaineering.

Special Coverage Mountaineering Destinations


29,035 ft (8,850 m)

Nepal/Tibet, highest peak on Earth


19,344 ft (5,896 m)

Tanzania, highest peak in Africa

McKinley (Denali)

20,320 ft (6,194 m)

USA / AK, highest peak in North America


22,841 ft (6,962 m)

Argentina, highest peak in South America


14,411 ft (4,392 m)

USA / WA, highest peak in Washington


10,778 ft (3,285 m)

USA / WA, Specatacular glaciers


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