A lot of people get into it and want to treat it like CrossFit, where they train their muscles. Climbing is more of a movement activity, and then you build the muscles when you need them, which comes a lot later. As an adult, it’s easy to get into trouble like that, because it’s easy to hurt your tendons and ligaments, which take years to develop. If you start climbing as an adult, it’s really easy for your muscles to exceed the capacities of the rest of your body pretty quickly.
You should think of it as climbing a staircase – you use the bannister, but you don’t pull yourself up the bannister. You walk up with your feet and use the bannister for balance. It’s kind of the same in climbing, where you’re using your legs to drive you, but your hands are there for balance and to keep you in the right position.
What sort of diet do you have in everyday life and when on an expedition?
In normal life, nutrition is aspirationally plant-based, sort of veggie-vegan, but casually – I’ll eat whatever, but I certainly think about the environmental impact. I also try to be relatively wholesome, with not too much dessert, nothing crazy. If I’m training for a specific project, it’ll tighten up quite a bit, but in general, I just try to eat pretty well, with a lot of plants.
On the wall, particularly on an expedition like Greenland, that all goes out the window and you literally eat anything – it’s just calories. In Greenland, half of our freeze-dried meals were expired: we were eating candy bars that had expired five years before. It was all stuff that the outfitter had dug out of barrels from some other expedition that they were just trying to use up. We were kind of like, well, this Snickers bar doesn’t quite taste fresh, but I guess it’s fine!
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