Hiking training: The stairs of Pyrmont!

I read a story somewhere on the Internet about a lady who ran on her gym equipment everyday to train for a big hike, but on climbing the first hill had to hand her pack to someone else as she just couldn’t make it. Her training did little to prepare her for the terrain.

My first major hike is a four day trek in the Mount Kosiouszco region of Australia, an alpine region that holds Australia’s highest mountain and is home to many ski resorts. To walk in this environment requires lots of steep  slope training. And that’s where the stairs of Pyrmont come in!

I decided that to train effectively I had to have a full pack and had to seek out every steep hill, ramp or set of stairs that I could find.

Look at these things!


As I had not yet purchased all my gear I filled my pack with the heaviest household items I could find: a 2kg box of washing powder, packets of baby wipes, an old ropey hammock, my wife’s hiking boots, bottles of water, bags of rice and flour. I had trouble maintaining the weight though as my wife needed to raid the pantry to bake cakes or do a stir fry…

I managed to fill the pack to 10kgs and headed out. My first circuit took me on a walk up a set of cliff side stairs, along the cliff top which had a lovely view of the Harbour bridge, then up and down another set of stairs roughly five stories high. I hit them five to six times then it was downhill all the way home.

Needless to say, in the 30+ degree (c) heat I was wrecked.

It began to get easier though as each night strengthened the leg and back muscles. My second circuit included more slopes. It began with two sets of stairs, followed by a steep road then another cliff side set of stairs, up through a hidden park with a view of the city, down a cliff side set of ramps, looping up and down the cliff stairs and ramps a few times, then down a hidden staircase until I worked my way home again.

I began to hurt a little so I rested a few nights. My stomach muscles ached and I was worried about giving myself a hernia. Turns out I’d just discovered my abs…

My pack hurt my shoulders. It was actually my wife’s pack as my existing one was more of a travel pack than a hiking pack. I tried adjusting but in the end I decided to buy a new one that fit better. I’ll talk gear and gear testing in another post.

What surprised me the most was how much energy all this walking was giving me! I went to work the next day with renewed energy. I had always wondered how someone became a fitness junkie but I’m beginning o understand! The nights I didn’t walk I felt a bit blah the next day.

I have settled into a routine of three to four nights walking each week, ensuring time to talk to my wife afterwards before settling into two hours of study for a uni course I am doing. It’s a lovely routine that happens once the kids are asleep and somehow I seem to have time for everything!

It’s true. Getting up and going gives you get up and go!

I’d love to hear your training stories.


10 thoughts on “Hiking training: The stairs of Pyrmont!

  1. I confess, I laughed out loud when you wrote, “Turns out I’d just discovered my abs…”

    For me, I discovered my shoulders. Part of that is because I’m using trekking poles too. Do you have some? They help take some weight off your legs / knees / ankles, plus they help work some of your upper body as you walk. I don’t quite have the stairs like you do, so I’ve tried to find every trail I can around me that has any hills at all, and have just gone out and hiked them. Sometimes I go with a pack on, and sometimes without, but I keep getting out there as often as I can.

    And you’re probably feeling refreshed the next day because you’re actually using calories / energy when you walk, so then you sleep well at night. Well, that’s probably part of it anyway. That’s true for me too though. I sleep better when I exercise at all.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s funny that all the experts say you’ll feel energised from exercise and Lo and behold it’s true!
      Yes I’ve got trekking poles but I look a bit dicky using them in the city.


  2. I understand about stair climbing. Trying to train in Florida to climb mountains presents its own set of challenges – and my coworkers are now used to seeing me shoulder up my back pack, out in my hiking boots and spent lunch hour climbing up and down the stairs of our 16 floor office building!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Great job! Here is a tip- wrap an unopened bag of cat litter in your ruck. Sounds silly but you wont miss it from the house, it’s inexpensive, and cats will love you! (joking). Wrapped in a plastic bag it will be impervious to weather. I hiked several times a week in the mountains of the Pacific North West of the United States for about 8 years with that bag of litter. It doesnt shift and will fill out your pack nicely. Best of luck!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. HA! It just does a great job of building conditioning, or as I think of it, simulating suck so good that when it really does suck you think, hey! I got this! The funny thing about ultralight — it gets heavy fast! Truly, best of luck. Cat … I mean cant… wait to turn the next page and read where it takes you next! I have never been to Australia or the UK so I’m counting on you for the big reveal!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I was going to say “small world”, but really when you’re out there walking it, it really does seem quite big!

      I recently had a chat with a dad in the park who was training for a marathon about which stairs and which routes were the best! I almost referred him to my blog:)


      1. It is a small world! Maybe the hiking blogger world is just smaller.
        You should have referred him to your blog! I don’t know if I’m ready for my blogging thoughts and opinions to meet the real world yet!

        Liked by 1 person

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