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Simone Moro
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How do you train?
I’ve trained both technically and physically. The technical training has consisted in being able to do 8a on rock, 6+/7- on ice and M8 on mixed routes. I think that having this technical level should give me the psychological edge at altitude.
The physical training has consisted in training as if for a marathon. This means that I’ve tried to improve my aerobic threshold, to teach my body to go as far as possible without producing lactic acid. Instead of going as far as possible in an hour I’ve tried to go as far as possible in an hour using only my aerobic mechanism, without producing lactic acid. This type of training has only been possible thanks to a medical team provided by one of my sponsors.

So you control you heart beat?
At a certain heart rate, in theory, it’s possible to go on forever without producing lactic acid, but if we want to go faster then we start producing it. This threshold can be raised through specific training, and so I’ve trained my body to go as fast as possible without producing lactic acid. If in the beginning I started producing lactic acid at 150bpm, I then moved that threshold to 160, to 162 and then to 168 bpm.

Where does this threshold lie at 8000m? And where do the famous ten paces and then a rest fit in to this?
Good question. All studies so far, even the most expensive and detailed, have been designed to find out what happens to the human body at altitude, but none have yet discovered the best strategy for altitude training. The heart is a muscle that, like all others, suffers when oxygen is lacking. When one first arrives at Base Camp the heart beats at about 90/100 times a minute. When I push myself as much as possible, like the time on Shisha Pangma, I discover that I never exceed 150/160 bpm, compared to 195/200 which I get when I train at sea level.

I tried to analyse this with the help of the medical team so that I could train and teach myself to use only my aerobic system and avoid producing the dangerous lactic acid, which you can’t get rid of at altitude. Since it’s like poison for the muscles it makes progress more dangerous. We’re in the process of trying to understand many things and we’re looking for firm answers also because recording my heart rate while climbing at altitude, which is very different from having the data of someone sitting in a tent at 7000 or 7500 meters.


Everest versante Tibetano
Everest Advanced Base Camp, North Face
photo arch. Simone Moro
"... I’ve tried to improve my aerobic threshold, to teach my body to go as far as possible without producing lactic acid."
And what about your nutrition?
I’m going to take food supplements because one of the biggest problems at altitude is that one doesn’t want to eat and, since weight is measured down to the last gram, one is always undernourished. One drinks very little, eats even less and has no appetite whatsoever. There are a whole series of limitations which stem from objective problems that result in people coming back having lost 6 or 7 kilos.

I’ve calculated that I’ll need 6 days for the traverse. Spending six days on the wing of that famous Jumbo, without anyone passing anything to eat through the window, isn’t much fun.

What is your strategy for 8000m peaks and the Everest – Lhotse traverse in particular?
To acclimatise so as to give my body the possibility of feeding off oxygen when higher up. For the traverse I want to arrive at the South Col, spend at least one night there and, before heading back down to Base Camp, climb up to 8100/8200m. Then I’ll descend into the valley, probably to Namche Bazar at 3700 m, or possibly even lower.

There I’ll eat well, I won’t be able to see the mountain which will already make me feel pretty sick, I’ll meet other people, see the forest, smell the smells and have a shower. The desire to see the mountain will return, and while all these things are happening my body will be adapting as much as possible, in a way that it couldn’t do at Base Camp.

And then go, back up to the Traverse. We’ll see if it’s a winning strategy.


"I’ve calculated that I’ll need 6 days for the traverse. Spending six days on the wing of that famous Jumbo, without anyone passing anything to eat through the window, isn’t much fun."
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