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Fit Travel: Ice Climbing in Estes Park, Colorado

If heights and sub-zero temps don’t turn you off, and you can get a grip on your fears, read on. We just planned your next adventure trip.

HOW TO TRAIN
Training for ice climbing requires two main things: cardio and strength. And just getting to where you need to climb is half the battle. Unless you live next to a park where you’re regularly hiking through snow and ice with a pack, you’ll need to ramp up both the amount and variety of cardio you’re doing. “Throw some weight plates in a pack and get on the Stairmaster,” says Chris Wall, certified trainer, MS in Exercise Physiology, and 20-year climbing coach. “You will have to go a lot slower than you are used to, but remember you are training for an approach, not a race.”

Depending on the grade and angle, ice climbing works various muscles in the upper and lower body. The steeper the climb, the more engaged your core muscles, hip flexors, and upper body will be. So make your strength training a full-body effort. “With the exception of the heart, no muscle is more or less important than another,” says Wall. “If there is a weak one in there, it will catch up to you eventually. You need them all.” Wall recommends doing a bunch of one-arm pull ups, knee and leg raises, trunk rotations, and wrist exercises (extension, flexion, abduction, adduction)—all of which will translate directly to your ice climbing performance.

WHERE TO STAY
No doubt you’ll want a steaming shower and a warm bed to crash in after you head in from a day of climbing. Deer Crest Resort is a budget-friendly, cozy escape with a seasonal discount (valid until 5/15/13) starting at $69 per night. If you’re planning to stay for a week, go for a mini suite complete with a kitchenette and fireplace at $89 per night. Chow down at the resort’s onsite restaurant. Or if your sore muscles prefer a stiff drink, head a mile east to downtown Estes to Cascades Whiskey Bar at The Stanley Hotel, where you can treat yourself to a whiskey neat.

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