How to train for winter expedition

Elizabeth “Zab” Revol climbs alpine style. Which to her, boils it down to a few maxims: light, in winter and, most often, solo. This austerity masks her meticulous physical preparation and discerning gear choices which enable this ‘light-naked’ style of alpinism.

Her success with winter climbing in the Himalayas, without porters or fixed ropes - rests on intense preparation in three areas:

  • Intense physical training and appropriate nutrition
  • Mental thoughness
  • Light and robust gear (like the 89 g Choucas Light harness)

Zab is currently attempting the first female, winter ascent of Nanga Parbat via the Messner Route, a remarkable undertaking for anyone given the harsh weather and lack of support. But at 37 year old, Zab is a lifelong mountain enthusiast, ex-gymnast and an endurance athlete.

She started climbing with CAF (French Alpine Club) Crest in her teenage year, where her stint in the CAF Women's Excellence team helped her sharpen her technical skills. And her background as a teacher of physical education provides Elisabeth with an understanding of advanced training techniques.


Her daily solo outings in the elements further develop her technical skills and builds character. Her irrepressible hunger for new experiences adapts her body to cold, wind and hypoxia. She calibrates her training to adapt the physical load to her goals.

Elisabeth Revol’s training method rests on 7 principles:

  • A routine maintains a high level of physical 
  • But customize; we are all different.
  • Adapt your training to your goals: develop skills that are essential to your objectives: a gymnast is not a marathoner.
  • Vary the intensity of training in both quantity and quality.
  • Active rest. Recovery is an integral part of the training.
  • Break down your preparation into cycles: a macro cycle, a medium cycle and mini cycles
  • Sleep. Always good sleep.


Zab believes that nutrition plays a key role in enduring the long, cold workdays of Himalayan ascents.

She follows a healthy and balanced diet, with variety based on the training load:

  • 50 - 65% carbohydrates,
  • 25 - 35% fiber
  • 5 - 15% protein
  • 5 - 10% fat

Good luck Zab on the Nanga Parbat !

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Choucas Light Harness

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