For many purist climbers, the evolution of mountaineering from a fringe pursuit of the wholly devoted to vacation fodder for amateur weekend warriors is a bitter pill to swallow.
The edge—that element of doing something few others dare to try—was lost. And, to add to the anguish, true mountaineers had to venture farther and farther from home to find solace in the rocks and snow.
Like it or not, high-altitude mountaineering has become big business. The fact is, however, that pushing one's way to the roof of the world is still no easy task. Clear evidence of that came last month when "Today" show correspondent Ann Curry was forced to abort an attempt at the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro, all because some of her team members came down with altitude sickness.
Enter the second edition of "Climbing: Training for Peak Performance," a new release from The Mountaineers Books. Written by Colorado-based climber and writer Clyde Soles, a veteran of Himalayan high peaks, the book is part of The Mountaineers' "Outdoor Expert Series."
For anyone aspiring to climb high mountains, "Training for Peak Performance" could provide the added edge that gets you safely to the summit. Packed into its 272 pages are details on exercises to improve performance, nutrition and supplements, injury prevention and training programs suited for various climbers' goals.
Want to find out about whether the latest health craze is based on fact or myth? Wondering what food is the best body fuel to stock at high camp? Looking for ways to fit a training regimen into your busy work schedule? It's all here.
In the new second edition, Soles incorporates many of the findings of the latest research on everything from carbohydrates and fat to working out in ways that will keep you in the mountains and out of the doctor's office.
Though the amount of information in the book might seem daunting to some, it is written in a clear, simple style that allows quick, easy absorption. Mountaineer Jon Krakauer, author of best-sellers "Into Thin Air" and "Into the Wild," praised the book as a valuable training tool for climbers of all levels. Indeed, it is.
"Training for Peak Performance" won't go to the gym for you, and it won't make the air in the high Rockies or the Himalayas any thicker. But for those who don't mind sweating a little and minding their diet, it might just make those last steps to the top less arduous.