November 7, 2011
Part 1 of our week long series “From A Guide’s Perspective”, IMG Guide Jenni Fogle describes a few things that can make or break a climb.
Success and Failure in the Mountains
By Jenni Fogle
I don’t think anyone sets out on a climb expecting to fail. Some may have doubts or apprehension, but most expect to make it to the top. As an IMG guide, I always tell people that my job is to provide them with a safe, enjoyable and successful climb. Success as I see it is not the same for everyone. For many (for most) success is getting to the summit, but this isn’t always the case. I’m often asked, “What can I do to improve my chances for success?” Here are my top five suggestions, in order of least to most importance.
5. Pack only what you need, and nothing that you don’t need. Read the website before you show up for your climb. The people with the lightest, most effective equipment and clothing are those who read and follow the information on the IMG website. If you have questions about gear, call the office. If you are hesitant to spend the money for exactly what you need, just remind yourself that you need to do everything you can to improve your chances of success. You’ve already invested time training and probably money on airfare; how disappointed would you be if you had to turn around on summit day because your hands were just too cold?
4. Train hard. Most people register for their climbs several months in advance. Take advantage of that time to prepare. Join a gym, hire a trainer, or train with partners. Do whatever it takes to stay motivated. Read the information on the IMG website regarding suggested training programs. Stack the cards in your favor! Get fit and feel better about yourself!
3. Eat well and stay hydrated on the climb. Your body needs fuel and water. Bring foods that you like, but that aren’t too heavy. Fresh foods on the first day are a great idea. The more you eat on your first day, the lighter your load will be, and the better you’ll feel! Drink plenty of water and/or electrolytes.
2. Listen to your guides. Listen to your guides. Listen to your guides. Chances are we’ve spent a lot more time in the mountains than you have, and you can probably learn something from us. That’s why you hired us, right? Our job is to keep you safe and help you have a good time. Trust us; our success is yours.
1. Have a great attitude. To me, success is much more than just getting to the top of a mountain. I’ve climbed with people who didn’t get anywhere near the top of the mountain they were on but still had the time of their lives! We see many first-time mountaineers at IMG, and climbing a mountain like Rainier is often the hardest thing they’ve ever done. One of the most difficult aspects is facing the unknown. Show up with a sense of adventure, and be ready to make the best of whatever the mountain gives you. A fellow climber once told me the reason he climbs is, “You can’t lie to the mountains. The mountain will show you the truth.” The truth may be that you didn’t train hard enough, you packed too much stuff, the avalanche danger is too high, you don’t have enough energy to continue, or maybe the stars align and you have a fantastic adventure all the way to the summit and down. The truth is it’s all up to you!
I look forward to seeing you on an IMG climb, and wish you success, whatever that means for you!