Men's Journal is here to help, giving us a three-year plan to making Everest not just a dream, but a reality.
MJ's article was actually written back in 2014, with the plan of reaching the summit of Everest in the spring of 2017. But, if you ignore the precise dates, and focus just on the plan itself, the schedule can remain the same. And fortunately for all of us, the training starts in May.
The first stage of the Everest prep plan is to start getting into shape. The article says that you should start getting ready by building a strong fitness base of cardio, strength, and balance. Over the course of the three year program, that will be the focus of getting your body ready for the challenges of the Himalaya.
Next up, you'll also need to start seeing how your body does at altitude, so the plan is to bag a 14er, or a fourteen-thousand foot peak. This will not only allow you to put your fitness gains to the test, it'll let you build leg strength and lung capacity. With its 53 different 14ers, Colorado is a natural destination to bag one of these mountains, but there are plenty of others around as well.
The rest of the plan includes pushing your physical boundaries even higher by attempting more challenging peaks (Mt. Rainier for instance) and adding altitude. The Men's Journal schedule recommends traveling to Ecuador to climb Cotopaxi to get a taste for altitudes above 19,000 feet, although Tanzania's Kilimanjaro will do too. From there, it's on to Denali in Alaska – described as a "mini-Everest" – before attempting an easier 8000-meter peak like Cho Oyu. After that, Everest will be in reach.
In terms of creating a strategy for getting yourself ready to climb the Big Hill, this is about as good of a plan as any. You could literally go from zero mountaineering experience, to Everest in just three years if you stick to the schedule closely. What it doesn't offer is advice on how to pay for it all. Mountaineering expeditions aren't cheap, and even travel to and from these locations can be pricey. For most of us, that would turn this three year plan into one that would probably take a decade or more to wrap up.