Training

Your health is very important to us. Climbing to higher than 3000m triggers a number of changes in the functioning of the heart and lungs. These changes can manifest themselves in symptoms known as “altitude sickness” which at its worst can result in acute oedema of the lungs or brain. Furthermore, a number of cardiac illnesses can become evident at altitude because of the additional strain placed on the heart.

 Therefore, Andes and More has developed a 4 step programme to ensure that you are not going to have serious health problems during the expedition.

 Before arriving in Mendoza:
When you book, you will need to put some basic medical details on the booking form. We ask for this so we can see if you will need a specially tailored programme in order to make the most of the expedition. Before arriving in Mendoza you will also need to visit your doctor for a medical. Tell your doctor that you will be climbing to an altitude of 6962m and need to have your heart, circulatory system and lungs checked. You will need to bring a copy of the doctor´s report with you to Mendoza.

After arriving in Mendoza:
When you arrive in Mendoza, before we get the climbing permits, the group will go to a doctor for more specific tests. The cost of these tests is included in the price of the expedition. If the doctor says that you cannot continue with the expedition, Andes and More will refund you the cost of the expedition paid to Andes and More, less any costs that we have already had to pay to third parties, because your health is more important to us than your money.

At base camp:
The Aconcagua Provincial Park has medical centres set up at Confluencia and Plaza de Mulas. They will measure your blood pressure, your pulse and the amount of oxygen in your blood.

During the expedition:
Twice a day during the expedition, your guide will measure your blood pressure, your pulse and the amount of oxygen in your blood. This will be done at breakfast and dinner each day. Your guide will also make a note of any effects of altitude from which you may be suffering, using what is known as the “Lake Louise Test” in order to monitor and treat any altitude sickness.

You can see from this programme that it is extremely important to Andes and More that you do not fall ill during your expedition.

 
General Guidelines for your Training

Mountaineering is a predominantly low intensity aerobic activity but one which must be sustained over a long period. Therefore your training programme needs to concentrate on improving the ability of the lungs, heart and blood vessels to deliver oxygen to the cells of the body in order to support a prolonged physical effort in an environment with reduced oxygen.

Assuming your health is good, you should base your training around the following:

Type of activity: for aerobic training, you have to use your large muscles. Therefore trekking, jogging, running, cycling, mountain biking and cross-country skiing are all suitable activities.

 Intensity and duration: this depends on how fit you are already. The idea is to progressively increase the intensity and duration of the exercise. If you are starting from a fairly low level of fitness, we would recommend that start with three sessions of 30 minutes each per week for the first two weeks, building up over time, as your fitness improves to 5 sessions per week of between an hour and an hour and a half. You should try to combine different types of activities so that you do not get bored.

 It is useful to use what is known as the Karvonen Formula. According to this formula, at a high level of fitness, which you need to be aiming for, your heart should be working at an intensity between 70% and 85% of its reserve capacity. But you have to build up to this level.

Firstly, work out your maximum heart rate: 220 – your age.
Secondly, take your pulse first thing in the morning before getting out of bed to get your resting heart rate.
Thirdly, your heart rate reserve = maximum heart rate – resting heart rate
 
Using this heart rate reserve, you can calculate the intensity at which you should be training. If you aim to train at an intensity that uses 50% of your heart rate reserve, you would calculate your target heart rate like this:

Target heart rate = Resting heart rate + 50% x heart rate reserve 
As your training progresses, you should increase this percentage. Obviously you cannot maintain high intensity training over long periods of time, so you will need to build in rest periods or lower intensity spells into your programme. The ideal would be that you start your training programme at a 50%-60% intensity, and build up to around 70%. But you should be able to push your body to 80-85%, though not over a prolonged period.

 It’s also a good idea to increase the intensity of your exercise by utilising slopes or stairs as part of your programme, and if you go trekking, to carry a backpack of about 8-10kg.

Strength and Flexibility Training

 Strength and flexibility are very important to avoid injury to your joints or muscles, in particular the knees, hips, back, ankle or shoulder. Therefore you would be advised to also follow an exercise programme to strengthen the principle muscle groups that are used in mountaineering.

abdominal and back muscles, those that support the spine, especially the lumbar area
quadriceps which will strengthen the movement of the knee
others such as the gluteus (buttocks) and calf muscles should also be strengthened as they are required to work hard during a mountaineering expedition.
And don’t forget to warm up and stretch each muscle group before starting any of the abovementioned exercises.

Using a Trainer

Andes and More works with a trainer based in Buenos Aires who can help you manage your training programme for Aconcagua. If you want to optimise your training by using a trainer to be prepared for the demands of an expedition, then please contact us for more information at mailto:info@andesandmore.com

Vaccinations

If you are just visiting to climb Aconcagua and will not be extending your stay to any other regions of Argentina or South America, then you are advised to get the following vaccinations:

Tetanus, Polio, Hepatitis A.

The following are also strongly recommended:

Typhoid, Diphtheria, Tuberculosis, Hepatitis B and Rabies. A Yellow Fever may be required if travelling to the north of Argentina - you may need the certificate to enter other South American countries, such as Brazil.

You do not require any form of anti-malarial tablets.

This information is constantly updated by the medical community. We keep in touch with these changes, and can tell you which websites we check, but we also strongly advise checking with your doctor as they have the very latest information.

 

Patricias Mendocinas 1391 Ciudad de mendoza