So I just did the Alpine Combine, the fitness benchmark test suggested by Steve House and Scott Johnston in Training for the New Alpinism: A Manual for the Climber as Athlete. Um, wow.
For those of you who don’t have the book yet, here are the test components:
(1) Box step, 1000′, wearing boots and a backpack containing 20% of your body weight;
(2) Dips in 60 seconds;
(3) Sit-ups in 60 seconds;
(4) Pull-ups in 60 seconds;
(5) Box jumps in 60 seconds;
(6) Push-ups in 60 seconds.
Before I reveal my results, I’d like to make some suggestions for preparations before you start the box step:
– Keep a liter or so of water at hand. You will sweat.
– Wear a heart rate monitor; the box step test was almost a maximum heart rate test for me. And besides, data is a fun distraction – “yes, my heart is in fact about to explode. How interesting.”
– Point a fan at yourself and turn it up. Did I mention the sweat?
– Counting was tough. I kept a notecard next to me with 100, 200, 300 up to 800 written on it; once I counted to 100, I crossed off the next 100 unit and kept going. I wish I had one of those crowd counter things though; maybe next time.
So, here are my results:
(1) Box step :: 48:17 (837 steps, with a 35-lb. backpack and boots, on an impassive 15″ step)
(2) Dips :: 40
(3) Sit-ups :: 20
(4) Pull-ups :: 12
(5) Box jumps :: 26
(6) Push-ups :: 30
For those of you who want to know where all of this fits on the Alpine Combine scale, turn to p. 178 of House/Johnston. I was in the ‘poor’ range for everything except dips and push-ups.
To fully round out the humbling process, Johnston reported on this thread that, at age 61 and after a knee replacement, he can cover those 1000 vertical feet in 24 minutes, boots and pack and all. He also says that he’s “not very fit any more,” yet he did it in half the time it took me. Yikes.