I summited Mt. Rainier Saturday morning, August 4th (2012) in perfect weather (zero wind, even!).  I want to thank Fitclimb, particularly Grant Story and his 12 week Mt Rainier Training Plan, for playing a key role in making this dream come true.

In late April I learned I would have the opportunity to climb Rainier three months later, guided by a cousin who was a Rainier (RMI) guide in the 80's.  I went online, found Grant's 12-week plan, and followed it ... rigorously for the most part, slacking off on some of the workouts toward the end, but perhaps counteracting that by more steep hikes and more weight than was required by the plan. 

The results speak for themselves!  I made it up Adams two Saturdays ago (July 28th) and Rainier this last Saturday (August 4th) all without significant suffering (except for some very sore thighs for a couple of days after our single day 4200+' ascent and almost 9000 foot descent of Rainier).

When I'd heard nothing from Fitclimb for several weeks after applying for membership, I thought perhaps I was not being taken seriously because of my age.  But alas, my acceptance eventually came through, so I had to dump that bit of paranoia and chalk it up to the fact that those maintaining the website probably do it for free in their spare time, and just might have lives of their own to maintain as well.

Part of the magic in the timing of my summit was its close coincidence with my late father's 100th birthday (August 7th).  He once told me that one of the things he'd like to do before he was too old to do it was to climb Mt. Rainier.  As far as I know this was one of the few dreams he had that he did not achieve.  My 67th birthday is next week, and it feels really good to have been able to celebrate both of our birthdays in this way.

My late uncle (my father's brother and cousin-guide's father) will have his 100th birthday next year.  There are photos of him in front of the Muir hut at age 13 (1926).  Momentum is building to attempt a repeat of what we did this year with a much larger family group: Adams for everyone, followed by Rainier for those eager to take on the clearly tougher challenge.  For those seriously considering either challenge, I will highly recommend this website and Grant's training program, modified as needed to match individual capabilities and inclinations.

Keep up the great work.



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Comment by Ali Alami on November 14, 2012 at 6:36am

Thanks Ben and Baker,

Baker- Great advice on using Adams as a checkpoint.  For new mountaineers wanting to climb Rainier I recommend they do  Adams and Baker first if they can.  I'm also a big advocate of going on real hikes and climbs as much as possible.

Ben- Thanks for the comment on adding more detail to phase III we're in the process of refining this plan and adding new plans which will include more details and better linking to videos.  

Comment by baker.stocking on November 8, 2012 at 5:47pm

Thanks Ben,

I ran into the same issues.  My answer was to do a lot of Googling, and I felt I found most of what I really needed.  

As suggested in my post, I was more rigorous about following the protocol in the first 6-8 weeks than I was in the last part.  And, I must admit, particularly for the recommended interval running portions, I did some "numerical adjustments" to match my geezer inclinations.  To be specific, as the regimen got tougher, I started dividing the distances by two!  (My times were probably about the same as much younger jocks would do what was called for.  :o)  )

I did only occasional weight training (about 8 trips to the gym total) and probably fewer swim sessions.  What I found most valuable, besides eventually being able to run comfortably for more than an hour, were the calisthenics (and the stretches, which I've always neglected in the past), stair climbs and hill work, and lots of really great hikes with plenty of elevation gain, and decent weight on my back.  

If you are not local to northwestern Washington, I apologize for this part, but I'd like to share this for those who are.  Except for one trip up Mt Si, all my serious training hikes were in the Olympics.  One day I did Mt Walker twice ("laps?", as a descending hiker asked me as saw me heading back up).  My last two hikes before Adams were Putvin Trail #813 to the Lake of the Angels, and Mt Rose.  Putvin remains the toughest.  I did Mt Rose because nearby Mt. Ellinor was closed from July to October due to aggressive goats, but I've done it since and highly recommend it.  I was turned back by snow well short of my destination on my first Putvin attempt in June.  On the second trip in early July I had crampons and ice axe and was able to find the trail from others' footprints.

I highly recommend climbing Mt Adams (South Spur, via Cold Springs Campground) as a way of checking yourself out - not only for distance and elevation gain, but also for effects of the higher altitude (12,276'). Overnight camping on the mountain (at or near "Lunch Counter") helps with that.  It's basically just a long, steep hike in the snow, no ropes required.  On a good weather day there are lots of climbers (including dogs!) and little question where the route is.  

I hope some of this helps you, and/or others.  Most of all, do what feels right and works for you.  And best of luck on your upcoming climb[s].

Best to you too,


Comment by Ben Sims on November 8, 2012 at 2:06pm


Congratulations!  I am following the Rainier Plan myself for a climb next summer.  I wanted to ask a question.  In looking at the plan, the Phase III workouts are very ambiguous.  They say thing like "ab workout" or "failure workout."  Also, some of the individual moves aren't hyperlinked in Phase III.  Where did you get the info for the last 4-week Phase?



Comment by Ali Alami on August 9, 2012 at 2:00am
Congrats on making the summit and most of all getting back safe. Thanks for the kind words.

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