Dr. Jon and his team at Dr. Jon's Adventures have decades of experience preparing for endurance events and mountaineering objectives. From summiting 8000m peaks and preparing for long expeditions, to ski mountaineering, ultra marathoning, fast-packing, triathlons, and more, we know how to progressively train and prepare for challenging adventures.
(Go here to learn more about Jon and his team at Dr. Jon's Adventures.)
Why Choose Dr. Jon?
Dr. Jon wants to share with you the physical and mental mountaineering training fundamentals that have not only helped him summit the world's highest mountains (including Mt. Everest and other big mountain multiple times), but also maintain a schedule of 250+ days a year skiing and climbing all over the world.
It's been through consistency over the years and a high attention to detail on all aspects of fitness including aerobic conditioning, muscular endurance exercises, strength training, flexibility, mental preparation, recovery, nutrition, and hydration. All these factors are built into the custom endurance training we provide.
Whether you want to come out to Vail one time to learn new skills or sharpen existing ones, or you want to set up multiple mountaineering courses over a period of time, we will customize a program for you based on your current skills, fitness, and planned objectives. These courses are typically 1-on-1, so you get full attention on your training, skills, and needs.
Our standard mountaineering courses are held over 3 days, but they can be shortened based on your schedule. Given most people are coming to Colorado from lower elevations (Vail is at 8000 feet), the first day is usually set aside for an acclimatization hike in the mountains surrounding Vail. On the second day, depending on the time of year, you may do technical training on ropes, rock climbing, glacier travel, crampons, and / or ice axe usage.
On the third day, you usually go for a big mountain climb up possibly a 13er (13,000+ ft peak) or 14er (14,000+ ft peak). Jon will pick out a peak that will challenge you and allow you to use the skills you've learned on the first two days, while also being within your skill and fitness levels.
The rugged terrain of the Colorado Rockies provides a perfect classroom for gaining the skills and fitness you need for your next personal adventure goal, and Jon's model of providing 1-on-1 training maximizes your ability to apply what you learn and practice.
On an acclimatization hike while training for bigger peaks.
During your stay in Vail and through the coursework with Jon, you will: 1) learn new adventure skills, 2) get gear, mindset, and physical training advice, and 3) have an opportunity to climb a tall, challenging peak in the Colorado Rockies!
The fee is dependent on the length of the course in days. You will pay a flat fee per day (email us about current rates) with no hidden or added charges. The fee covers:
What's not included:
You will want to reserve your spot 2 months ahead of time, at a minimum. Jon offers these courses in any season, as long as he's in Colorado and not on a foreign expedition.
We will send you a gear list once you reserve your course dates. Gear is dependent on the season. For technical climbing gear such as ropes and harnesses, Jon usually has extra you can borrow. There are also plenty of outdoor adventure stores in Vail and Jon can advise you on what to purchase when you arrive in town.
The base location for this course is Vail, CO and the surrounding mountains. You will be staying at an elevation of about 8000’, which depending on where you come from, will help with you learning about acclimatization and exertion at higher elevations.
You will need to fly into Denver International Airport. Vail is about 120 miles from the airport. Alternatively, you can also fly into Eagle County Regional Airport, which is 30 minutes from Vail.
Transportation options from Denver include renting a car or taking an airport shuttle. We can provide you more information on the airport shuttle if that is of interest to you. Once in Vail, Dr. Jon can provide you rides to the course venues from your hotel.
We recommend you stay in Vail, but if you have a rental car you can also look for lodging in Eagle, Leadville, or Silverthorne/Frisco. Contact us for lodging recommendations
Because Jon caters this coursework to your fitness and skills, there are no prerequisites in terms of certifications or qualifications. Colorado offers such a variety of terrain and geological features that Jon can find the appropriate level for everyone.
For a typical 3-day training course, here's a potential itinerary
Vail is hot and sunny in the summer and cold and snowy in the winter. Snow sticks around on the ground well into early summer in the mountains. It's also possible to get snow at high elevations year-round. Make sure you check the forecast before you pack and leave.
You are an experienced hiker, have done some endurance training, backpacking, and climbed some small peaks, maybe a few 14ers. You want to go farther, to higher altitudes, and have big dreams but don't know where to begin training and what gear you need.
Dr. Jon can help. Come spend a day or two with him in beautiful Vail, CO where he will teach you the skills you need and answer all your questions. This can include:
You have climbed some bigger peaks, requiring glacier travel and mini expeditions, but you're ready to dream bigger. Or maybe you've been on a longer expedition or attempted an 8000m peak but did not have a good experience.
How do you prepare for the rigors of a high altitude climb? For spending days, weeks, or months on an expedition? Come spend a couple days with Dr. Jon in the CO backcountry (or a location of your choice) and increase your skills, fitness, and confidence that you can succeed. This training can include:
"I highly recommend Jon as both an expedition guide for your customized trip, and also because if you train with him the summit never seems that far away or too difficult. From start to finish, from the moment I signed on to his custom trip, we covered everything from aspects of the expedition: how to train, what to expect, the minor details, the climbing techniques, and everything in between. Then he covered lots of intangibles like gear selection, my nutrition, as well as little tips and details even like how to keep my hands warm for situations that I might encounter on the trip as well."
D. Johnson, Luboche East Climb (20,200'/6119m), Nepal
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