Expedition Mixed/Ice Climbing Training Program


• 8-week, 5 days/week
• Climbing intensive – lots of endurance work from ice tools
• Designed for you to arrive at your expedition locale at top fitness
• This training plan is one of the 200+ Plans included with an Athlete’s Subscription.


This 8-week training program is sport-specifically designed to prepare experienced, advanced alpine climbers/athletes for multi day/week technical alpine-style, mixed/ice mountaineering expeditions in the Canadian Rockies, Alaska, Himalaya, etc.

This is a very intense, progressive program, and assumes athletes advanced enough to plan dangerous alpine mixed/ice climbing expeditions are already very fit. This training methodology is the same we use with our professional mountain guides and sponsored alpine climbers including Patagonia Ambassador Ben Gilmore for his 2010 attempt on Nupste.

Program Goals
– Strengthen your legs and lungs for miles and thousands of vertical feet you’ll be hiking up and down during your climbing trip.
– Build your core/midsection strength and overall strength so your body will be able to perform well with a loaded backpack, and be able to recover from long days in the mountains.
– Train your “sport specific” ice/mixed climbing grip, core and calf strength, work capacity and stamina.

System Board Details
We train your sport specific grip strength by having you hang and do intervals using your ice tools on a system board. The minimum sized system board you’ll need is a 4×8 sheet of plywood set at a 15 degree angle. You can use common rock climbing holds with your tools, and also hardware such as old door hinges, door bolt brackets, eye bolts, etc. We use all.

While one 4×8 sheet of plywood is the minimum you’ll need to complete this program, space and cost allowing, we’d recommend you build up to 4 system boards placed close enough that you can move from one to the other without touching the floor. You’ll be spending hours hanging on your system boards. This is very effective training, but pure drudgery. The more system boards you have the more variety you’ll have for movement … and the training will be more interesting.

If you have more then one system board, we’d recommend differing board angles ranging from 10 degrees to 20 degrees. Email me if you have any questions about system boards: rob@mountainathlete.com

You’ll also need a pull up bar, door frame, overhead floor or roof joist, eye bolts in the ceiling, etc. to do dead hangs on and Figure 4‘s using your ice tools.

Required Equipment

- Fully equipped functional fitness gym (barbell, racks, dumbbells, plyo boxes)
- Sandbags. Men will need 60 and 80# sandbags. Women will need 40 and 60# sandbags
- System board for tool intervals. See below

Sample Training

Obj: Base Fitness Strength, Mixed Climbing Work Capacity

Warm up:
3 Rounds
2 min System Board
8x Front Squat @ 45#
8x Weighted Situps @ 25#
Instep stretch Stretch

(1) 5 Rounds
8x Front Squat (65/95#)
40x Step ups
30 Seconds Rest

(3) 5 Rounds
2:30 min min System Board, Constant Movement
1 min Rest

(4)  5 Rounds
10x 1-Leg Calve Raise
6x Ankles to Bar

Obj: Mixed Climbing Stamina, Base Fitness Work Capacity

Warm up:
5 Rounds
6x Figure 4's (total)
6x Goblet Squats @ 16kg
Instep stretch

(1) 7 Minutes Sandbag Getups Reps @ 60/80

*** Rest 3 minutes

(2) 15 Rounds
30 Sec 40-foot Shuttle Sprint

30 Sec Rest

(3) 4 Rounds
6 min System Board
1 Minute Rest

Obj: Base Fitness Stamina

(1) Run 2.5 Miles

(2) 700x Stepups @ 30# pack

(3) Run 2 Miles


Obj: Mixed Climbing Strength, Base Fitness Work Capacity

Warm up:
5 Rounds
9x Figure 4's (total)
9x Goblet Squats @ 12kg
Instep stretch

(1) 10 Rounds
30 Sec Dead Hang
10 Sec Rest

(2) 5 Rounds
4x Mr. Spectacular - increase load until 4x is hard, but doable, then immediately ….
4x Jingle Jangles
Lat + Pec Stretch

(3) 5 Rounds
3:30 System Board, Constant Movement
1 Min Rest
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Fitness Programming Focused on
Mission-Direct Performance

All that matters to MTI is outside performance. We are driven to continuously improve and evolve. To this end MTI is not beholden to any fitness programming methodology, equipment or exercise. We continuously research, deploy, assess and iterate our programming with an emphasis on Mission-Direct application and performance. Here is the MTI Method:

MTI begins program design with extensive research of the fitness demands of the mission, sport or event, identifies the exercises and progressions which sport-specifically meet those demands, chose end-of-cycle goals, and program backward to design the training plan.

We deploy the training plan "Lab Rats" at our Wyoming facility. Training session and cycle issues are identified and fixed as we work through the training plan.  Post cycle we assess the programming's effectiveness and efficiency. We keep the stuff that works, and fix or toss the stuff that doesn't.

Plan is published for purchase as an individual training plan and made available to our subscribers.

It doesn't stop there. We take what we learn by deploying our mountain and tactical programming with our Lab Rats, go back, re-visit, update and improve already published training plans. Several of our individual training plans are on their 4th or 5th version.

Our Stuff Works. Guaranteed.

By Rob Shaul

I received notes frequently from athletes hesitant to purchase a subscription or training plans asking me to sell them on why they should make the purchase.

While I understand the question, I’m not a salesman - so I can't put a hard sale on anyone for our programming.

I can tell them the process we go through to design our programming.

We begin with extensive research on the fitness demands of the event, identify the exercises and progressions which sport specifically meet those demands, chose end-of-cycle goals, and program backward to design the plan.

Then we test the cycle on ourselves and our lab rats here in Wyoming. We document, note what works and doesn’t work, re-assess, and make changes and modifications.

Then we publish the programming in the form of one of our plans or as part of our subscription daily training sessions for tactical and mountain athletes.
We don’t stop there - our daily programming is the “tip of the spear” for our programming evolution. We use these sessions to learn and make continuous improvement.

As we learn more and improve, we go back, and update the sport-specific training plans on the website. For example, we’re currently on Version 5 of our Ruck Based Selection Training Plan and Version 3 of our Dryland Ski Training Plan and Version 4 of our Big Game Back Country Hunting Training Plan.

We understand our programing isn’t cheap, but we believe it’s a great value. The $79 for the Ruck Based Selection Training Plan, and $39 for the Dryland Ski Training Plan reflect the, research, work, innovative theory, iteration, testing and feedback we've put in and received to make these plans effective.

All that matters for us is outside performance, and we feel strongly that Our Stuff Works in the real world.

Here’s our guarantee:

1) Individual Training Plan Purchase:
If you purchase an individual training plan, follow it as prescribed before your season/event/pft/selection, and if you don’t feel you were physically ready for your season/event/pft/selection, and/or didn’t see dramatic improvements in your early season performance, we’ll refund your money, no questions asked.

2) Athlete’s Subscription
If you purchase an Athletes’ Subscription, follow the training sessions as prescribed, and are not satisfied with the quality of the programming, notify us within 30 days of purchase, and we’ll refund your money, no questions asked.

Email: rob@mtntactical.com

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This Plan is one of 200+ plans included in the Athlete's Subscription.