By Ashley Lodato
It’s not just Larry Goldie and Matt Walker who are famous this week for mountaineering ventures. Scott Johnston is fresh off an eight-day book tour to Boulder and Denver, Colo., Boston and New York, promoting his newly-released Training for the New Alpinism, which he co-wrote with mountaineer and former valley resident Steve House.
Sean McCabe introduced Scott and Steve back in 2000 and they started climbing together. Steve asked Scott — who has coached U.S. national champions and World Cup Nordic skiers, including our three current hometown Olympians — to help him with training, and Scott has been working with Steve ever since. About the same time Steve started training with Scott, Steve’s fitness and endurance really took off and he completed some precedent-setting climbs, including the legendary Rupal Face on Nanga Parbat in Pakistan.
The Nanga Parbat climb, says Scott, resulted in Steve getting endorsements and accolades for being one of the world’s top mountaineers. He wrote a memoir, Beyond the Mountain, which was widely acclaimed. And on every book tour, according to Steve, when people asked him, “What did you do for training?” his answer was, “I could tell you, but it would take a whole book.” So he and Scott finally wrote one.
It’s not just Scott’s work that is featured in this book. Erik Brooks did all of the illustrations in the book. Scott says that originally they were going to use color photos to articulate various training exercises, but from a space consideration and clarity perspective it made much more sense to use Erik’s drawings, which could show precisely the image that the authors were seeking. Erik’s excellent work on the training book resulted in a subsequent contract drawing pictures for another Patagonia publication, this one on fly fishing.
Steve and Scott began collaborating on Training for the New Alpinism during the summer of 2010 and just recently finished up, with Scott providing information about the physiology and methodology of strength training and Steve discussing nutrition, mental strength and performance at high altitudes. The original printing of 7,100 copies sold out in the pre-sale period, exceeding Scott’s prediction by about 6,000 copies. A second printing is underway and copies will be available in early March.
For those of us without immediate access to Nanga Parbat but still seeking thrills, there is Saturday’s (Feb. 22) Big Adventure event at the McCabe Trails at Liberty Bell High School. There are three different Nordic courses that include a variety of distances, obstacles and challenges. Competitors predict their time for the course and the winner is the skier whose actual time comes closest to their predicted time. Register at www.methowvalleynordic.com. No timepieces allowed!