Couch to Summit: Start Here

You’re here.  The mountain is there.  Let’s start your journey toward the summit TODAY with Couch to Summit!

Don’t get me wrong, TV is awesome, recliners are heavenly and Netflix is producing some great binge-worthy entertainment (Ozarks, am I right?!?) but climbing a mountain will change your life.

Hiking and mountain climbing has many benefits to both your physical and mental health and well-being.

According to WebMD, hiking can:

  • Lower your risk of heart disease
  • Improve your blood pressure and blood sugar levels
  • Boost bone density, since walking is a weight-bearing exercise
  • Build strength in your glutes, quadriceps, hamstrings, and the muscles in your hips and lower legs
  • Strengthen your core
  • Improve balance
  • Help control your weight
  • Boost your mood. “Research shows that hiking has a positive impact on combating the symptoms of stress and anxiety,” says Gregory A. Miller, PhD, president of the American Hiking Society. “Being in nature is ingrained in our DNA, and we sometimes forget that.”

Couch to Summit intends to do literally what it says, transform almost anyone with no outdoor skill and minimal physical training into someone capable of summiting a mountain.

From my experience, I’ve found that people avoid outdoor adventures, specifically mountaineering, for 4 reasons:

  • Cost
  • Know-how
  • Time Commitment
  • Decision Paralysis

Each of these perceived obstacles will be addressed in detail in future posts, but let’s take care of decision paralysis right now.  Commit to climbing a mountain TODAY. Say it, believe it, post on social media and tell your friends.  Get excited!

Gather the Training Supplies

Start by gathering the following supplies from around your house.  Don’t have one of these items?  Borrow from a friend.  Still no luck?  Don’t sweat it, they aren’t required.

NOTE:  We will go through each of these items in detail throughout this course.

  • Basic backpack
    A standard school backpack, hiking backpack, etc
  • Comfortable Footwear
    Sneakers, tennis shoes, hiking shoes/boots.
  • Socks
    Wool socks are best, but any comfortable, cushioned calf height or higher will suffice for training.
  • Water Bottle
    Any 16oz or more reusable, resealable bottle will do.
  • Comfortable/Weather-Appropriate Clothing 
    Depending on your location, comfortable workout shirt and shorts/pants
  • Training Weight
    This can be anything that adds weight to your pack for training.  As training progresses, weight with be increased to continually challenge you and  Good options are sand bags, dried rice, beans, canned goods, dumbbell weights, etc.

Got the supplies?  Let’s go!

Make a Basic First Aid Kit

Carrying a basic first aid kit when engaging in outdoor adventures is important.  Learning how to effectively use each item in your first aid kit is key.

Uses for Basic First Aid Kit: Hiking, Biking, Paddling, Camping, Car Travel and College Students.

2×2 Gauze Pads & 4×4 Gauze Pads: Sterile gauze pads are a must-have for every first-aid kit due to their incredible absorption capabilities, plus they are chemical free. Generally used for minor scrapes, cuts and burns, sterile gauze pads are good for allowing just enough room for the wound to breathe without leaving too much space for air exposure – which can prompt wound infection.

Assorted Bandaids: Adhesive bandages are probably the most used component of most first aid kit. Use these small bandages to cover small lacerations and abrasions.  Be sure to change adhesive bandages at least once a day, and always clean the wound before you apply an adhesive bandage.

Triple Antibiotic Cream: Whether it’s a gash caused by shattered glass or a simple paper cut, antibiotic ointment is an ideal addition to your first aid kit. Air exposure is always an issue for fresh scrapes, and applying a thin layer of antibiotic ointment in addition to covering with a dressing will vastly reduce the chances of wound infection occurring.

Rubber Gloves: Exam gloves provide clean fingers for the victim’s benefit and provide a barrier for the rescuer’s benefit.

Tampon: Tactical Adventure Medical Preparedness Outdoors Necessity (T.A.M.P.O.N.).  An sterile, ultra-absorbent item that can be used as an improvised wound dressing or to stop a nose bleed.

Self-Adhesive Bandage Roll: Sometimes simply covering a wound with a bandage just won’t do the trick. Adhesive tape is important because it can help wound dressings remain securely fit surrounding the injury. Adhesive tape is also essential for helping apply the necessary pressure a covering needs to collect excess fluid from the wound.

Alcohol Swabs:  Used to clean the infected or wounded area before antibiotic ointment or bandages are placed on the area. Alcohol swabs may also be used in conjunction with anesthetic swabs and can be used to sterilize tweezers if needed.

Adhesive Remover Pads:  Used to clean and remove the sticky residue left from a bandaid or adhesive bandage.