Alpinist fitness test baseline

Here we are at the start of a new cycle. A new dawn. Hatching plans and setting the path to get there. The JTA has been, and will always be, a learning process. We have now been through two very different programs with different outcomes. In each we learned valuable hard fought lessons.

Matt sandbag
Note from Matt: While I look 100% dead here, this is actually what I call a ‘micro-recovery.’ This is completely different than being too tired to get up off the ground.

We have combined the lessons from the most recent cycle (focused on pushing grades) and the previous cycle (focused on general fitness, strength and endurance) to build a customized periodized program that will better prepare us for the next big goal (More to come on this soon).


Baselines are important to track progress. Strong Swift Durable put together a fitness test that better fits our customized JTA program than the alpine combine. It combines leg strength, climbing, endurance and sport specific litmus tests to closely simulate an alpine day. Check out their stuff – it’s pretty intense.

You can find the scoring system on their website but here is what your day will look like:

  • 1000 step-ups on 16″ box with 40lbs pack (Max 53 min)
  • Max dips in 1 min
  • Max chins in 1 min
  • Max Sandbag getups in 10 min
  • Bouldering V-Sum (Max 50 min)
  • 12 mile run (Max 2 hrs)

Pro tips:

  • Actual sandbags are way cheaper than “fitness sandbags” and they weight the same
  • Block off 5 hours to do this test
  • Make sure water, food, and beer is readily available for after you’re finished
  • Podcasts are more interesting than traffic noise
  • The bouldering feels rushed – make smart choices
  • Having to carry your weights home at the end is awful. Try to get a ride.

RunningWe got our asses handed to us. But for whatever reason we enjoy 40lb step ups at 8am on a saturday.

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