Friday, December 5, 2014

A New Online Alpinism Fitness And Training Forum

High Peaks has gained popularity in recent years due to a well-organized format and plethora of hiking/scrambling information contributed by a broad base of members. For those unfamiliar with their layout, a variety of sub-forums (trip reports, general hiking information, ADK 100 Highest, Slide Climbing Reports, New England Hiking etc.) are organized by broader categories (hiking, Adirondack Slides, Special Interest, etc.).

The newest sub-forum, Fitness and Training, is an exciting new addition to the Foundation’s site located under General Hiking – those serious about training won’t want to miss this. Steve House and Scott Johnston, authors of Training for the New Alpinism, are the mentors for the sub-forum. They bring an incredible depth of knowledge to the table and offer forum members a rare chance to interactively tap into the collective knowledge of two experts in the climbing and training fields.

More information about Training for the New Alpinism may be found in local guide and climber, Don Mellor’s book review on

Meet the Mentors

houseSteve House is a husband, climber, mountain guide, skier, cyclist, traveler, student, eagle scout, and author of two books. He currently lives in Ridgway, Colorado with his wife Eva, although they spend time in Europe and Asia each year. He began climbing with his father as a child, and was introduced to alpine climbing in Slovenia after graduating high school in 1988.

Steve has been guiding professionally since 1992 and in 1999 he became the ninth American to achieve IFMGA certification. He has guided trips across the globe from Alaska to the Karakoram. He has a long list of first-guided ascents in Alaska: Ham and Eggs Couloir on the Moose’s Tooth, Peak 11,300 via the SW Ridge, the West Face Couloir of Mount Huntington, the Harvard Route of Mount Huntington, and most recently the Moonflower Buttress of Mount Hunter. Steve was also the first non-European guide to lead ascents of the Eiger’s North Face (1938 Route) Grande Jorasses by the Croz Spur, Cima Grande’s North Face (Comici-Demai), Piz Badille’s North Face (Cassin Route), and Triglav’s North Face (Long German Route).

In addition to being an accomplished guide, Steve is also a world-class climber. Steve’s most famous ascent may be the Central Pillar of the Rupal Face with Vince Anderson but he has compiled an impressive list of first ascents and new routes in Alaska, the Canadian Rockies, the Alps, and the Karakoram. Reinhold Messner has called him, “The best high-altitude climber in the world.” Steve is an athlete-ambassador for Patagonia, Grivel, and La Sportiva.

johnstonScott Johnston is a lifelong athlete, climber, and coach. Starting as a very successful swimmer, he earned himself a scholarship to university, but soon found climbing to be more interesting.

Growing up in Boulder, CO during the 1970′s he partnered with pioneering climbers such as Charlie Fowler, Pete Athens, and Peter Metcalf during a time when chocks were cutting-edge protection and lug soled Krohnhoffer climbing shoes were state of the art. Scott went on to make many significant ascents in Canada (a very early ascent of the Emperor Ridge), Alaska (Second ascent of the Messner Couloir, solo), and Nepal (Third ascent of Ama Dablam). A mechanical engineer by training, Scott worked first in the aerospace industry before starting his own business designing research grade astronomical instrumentation.

Within Boulder’s tight-knit athletic community, Scott gained notice for his cardiovascular endurance. He was tested and found have an incredibly high VO2max and was quickly recruited into Nordic ski racing. After just a few years Scott was skiing at the World Cup level, traveling the world racing on his skis. During this period he ran a successful exotic collector-car restoration and sales business that focused on his favorite automobile, the Porsche 911.

In 1997 Scott and his wife Midge retired to Mazama Washington. Not one to be idle he soon began coaching the local junior cross-country ski team. In 2003 he officially began coaching Steve House on a daily basis and continues to consult with Steve on his training today. Scott continues to climb actively and establish new routes around his home in the North Cascades. Since co-authoring Training for the New Alpinism, he has begun coaching more climbers. He continues to actively coach three of North America’s top Nordic ski athletes and had four athletes competing in the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia.

Thanks to Neil Luckhurst (Vice President ADK High Peaks Foundation). Biographies and photographs courtesy of ADK High Peaks Foundation and

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Kevin MacKenzie is an Adirondack writer and photographer, licensed to guide in NY state and is associate registrar at St. Lawrence University. He lives in the Lake Placid area with his wife, Deb (also a freelance photographer). His articles and photographs have been featured such magazines and journals as Climbing, Adirondack Journal of Environmental Studies, Adirondac, Adirondack LifePeeks, and Adirondack Outdoors. Many of Kevin and Deb's photographs are featured on the Adirondack Wildlife Refuge and Rehabilitation Center's website.

Kevin is an avid slide climber, rock/ice climber, winter forty-sixer, board member of the Adirondack Climbers Coalition and member of Climbing for Christ. His passion for climbing slides and pioneering new backcountry technical ice and rock routes takes him to some of the most remote areas in the High Peaks. His website and Summitpost forum page contain trip reports, photos and video from many of his explorations.

2 Responses

  1. Neil Luckhurst says:

    Excellent write-up Kevin! Scott trains climbers and cross-country skiers at the world-class (Olympian) level and Steve climbs at a level that would make your head spin. We’re very pleased to be able to provide our readership with an opportunity to pick their brains. I have been working with the book for about a month and have found Scott’s analyses (posted publicly free of charge! on the forum) of my training observations particularly helpful and insightful.

    • The forum discussion has been intriguing, Neil. I know the training you’ve done over recent years and how you’ve been monitoring (and sharing progress via the forum). It’s interesting to see where you’ve hit things correctly and where you’ve found the need for improvement. Like I’ve mentioned to you, their book and Scott’s responses have made me look at my own strengths and weaknesses as well.

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