Getting in mountain shape with no mountains around?

I have been working on this since I first read this post.
What I have come up with is loaded carries while dragging a sled.
The sandbag is 150# and I think the sled was 135#.
I eventually got up to a 200# sled, 75# weight vest and 135# sandbag for 1000yds.
If your playing with that much weight...... you are inviting an injury.
I live near sea level in flat land country and my feet are always flat.When I went mule deer hunting in Western Wyoming,we did miles of walking.It was my first time in the mountains,I was younger and really good shape,but my leg muscles were not used to the mountain terrain.My feet were always tilted up while going uphill,or tilted down going downhill.Yes going up and down stairs will help,but if you can find a steep hill somewhere and go up and down that hill,your feet will not be flat in the workout and will simulate going up and down mountains better than stairs.
I like the sleds both push and pull. And I prefer the assault bike to nearly anything for high intensity. It’s called assault because it feels like your lungs are being beaten with a stick.
Also do some semi heavy stuff at the gym. One of the best hunting season as far as fitness and feeling like I could do anything in the woods was on the backside of doing a powerlifting meet.
The Forest Service uses the pack test to confirm that folks are in good enough shape to fight fire in the mountains. Walk (not run) 3 miles in 45 minutes carrying a 45 pound pack. When I started doing this, I was in the best shape of my life for hunting. It was much better than jogging or bike riding.

Endurox R4 is magic. It is a muscle recovery drink that claims to increase endurance. I take it on every hunt, and use it a couple of weeks before the hunt. I'll take some with a pint of water for my lunch break while hunting, and usually take a short nap after lunch. It is amazing how much difference that makes. Hydrates you and gives you more energy.

Pick where you hunt. I live in NM at 5000 feet and usually hunt at about 7000 feet. You don't have to hunt at 10,000 feet.

X2 on the alclhol. My buddy got pretty drunk the night before we were going to hike a 14'er (14,000 ft peak) in CO. He didn't make it to the top. He ran triathelons at 5,000 ft.
Altitude is great if you can get it. If you can't, make breathing more difficult for you. Wear a mask of some sort while training. We propably all still have some sort of face mask kicking around still. Or have great access to one. The more you restict your breathing the better. Carry a backpack with weight and possibly wear light ankle weights. And the most important, train...train...train.... you don't have to get stupid and dedicated 100% but train and be honest with yourself. Lots of people who train for marathons don't actually run a full marathon till race day.
The Forest Service uses the pack test to confirm that folks are in good enough shape to fight fire in the mountains. Walk (not run) 3 miles in 45 minutes carrying a 45 pound pack. When I started doing this, I was in the best shape of my life for hunting. It was much better than jogging or bike riding.

Five years ago I met a guy on a hill in WI wearing a black weight vest with 45#.

In summer he goes west to fight fires and ex
plained to me this same fitness test method. Very impressive.
FWIW, I use to do a LOT of cycling (120-130 miles/week) before I went on trips to Montana mountain & road bike with a friend who owns a place up at the Yellowstone Club. The cycling I did prior to the trip was at approx. 1,100ft elevation with some rolling hills. That helped me immensely! In Montana, leaving my friends place we started out at 7,400 ft of altitude and climbed as high as 10,200 ft. Once and only once did I experience hypoxia while climbing a tared road up a mountain. On another trip out there, we were riding mountain bike on some sketchy single track. Two guys flew in from Arizona with limited miles in their legs that spring. They both lagged way behind my friend and I and in the evenings through the night suffered some Nasty Headaches. ( A by product of limited conditioning and riding at altitude).

Me in the white jersey riding down the rock slide trail ALL the way. In the top pix is the other 2 guys walking all the way down the rock slide. (They were the ones who suffered headaches). YMMV!
Big Sky Rock Slide Pass.jpg

I’ve found this whole thread to be quite interesting all around. I live in northern Sk at a mere 1100 feet above sea level and have never experienced much for elevation (driving through the Rockies to the bc coast doesn’t count haha, though my ears certainly give me hell when driving downhill in a hurry)

I have to wonder, it just makes intuitive sense to me but the truth often isn’t what seems most obvious) -

Would being physically larger be a big disadvantage for altitude sickness? Or does it have nothing to do with it?

I’m not talking fat/obese/whatever you wanna call it and tremendously unhealthy and out of shape. Nor am I just referring to the bigger man having more weight to haul up the mountain.

I mean if you have two men of EQUAL cardiac fitness and strength conditioning proportionate to their respective sizes, of equal body fat to muscle ratios, about the same age and in the same health etc…all things being equal except their natural healthy size…let’s go a bit extreme and say a 6 foot 4 and naturally stout build (like a football player) and a naturally thin/wiry kind of muscular 5 foot 8 (like a lightweight boxer), both in great shape.

Am I right to expect the big guy should be WAAAAAY MORE SENSITIVE to any oxygen reduction simply because his larger body burns through a lot more of it even at rest than the lightweight? I know even in competitive sports and endurance races and wrestling/boxing/any kind of fighting, the general rule is that big guys, even if in fantastic shape, “run out of gas” faster (of course in some situations the benefit of being big and strong is being able to end the situation very quickly haha) But you don’t see strongman competitors able to endure a marathon and I very much doubt there’s many competitive marathoners that can powerlift worth a hoot. And operating at high altitude for a long time seems a lot more like endurance than power.

Or am I totally out to lunch here and it has nothing to do with bodily oxygen need and fuel consumption, something else entirely?
I hunted with a friend, mentor that was maybe 8 years older than I. I was very fit snow/water skier and grew up in mountains. Im 5-9 and 170 lb. He was a know great 3 d shooter and avid mule deer hunter. 6-5 and I don't know on weight but fit.At time I was in my 30,s.This guys stride on dark to dark hunts, and pace , when you had to dog the herd was unreal. Also he was a packing machine. Most larger guys Ive hunted with are harder keepers as they require more for and water in general As the day or number of days stretch out it catches up with them.
Long sustained cardio, keeping HR below 150. And rucking. Lots of rucking. Keep it 50lbs at max to avoid injury.
The Forest Service uses the pack test to confirm that folks are in good enough shape to fight fire in the mountains. Walk (not run) 3 miles in 45 minutes carrying a 45 pound pack. When I started doing this, I was in the best shape of my life for hunting. It was much better than jogging or bike riding.
This is true, I do it almost every season with fire instructors and new firefighters and this is a great start. The old forest service test was a five minute step test using a 18 inch step and you step up and down to the click sound of a metronome. Its pretty fast pace and works up a great lather. Then they checked heart rate before the test and just after to monitor heart rate drop. I like to pack the 45lb pack and do the old step test to prepare for rugged hikes and heavy pack loads. Best of luck and start slow. cheers, Jason
I lived at 8700ft elevation in Colorado for several years and found that if in reasonable shape most people that weren't used to altitude needed to focus on hydration first and foremost.

At altitude you will become dehydrated WAAAAAAAAY before your body will signal that dehydration to you so you need to hydrate heavily in advance and during exercise at altitude especially if you aren't used to altitudes.

Basic cardio fitness is of course very important and I fully agree that the 45 pound pack training is a nearly perfect way to get and keep fitness levels up for altitude excursions. It helps if you can find at least a few moderate hills to add to this training.

I worked for an outfitter and we saw a lot of flatlanders come up to hunt and my advice here is based on experience in helping them with "altitude sickness."
What I find interesting is I am in PT to rebuild lower body strength from years of degradation from severe spinal stenosis and severe spinal arthritis and one of the best workouts is pulling sled backwards! I could see immediate improvement in strength even in 4 weeks. Has got my vote!

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