Your first 4000er

Tips from our mountain guide Carla Heule

What is the best way to prepare for my first 4000m? What technical and physical skills do I need?

Good basic endurance is the be-all and end-all. Regular uphill and downhill hiking (not flat) in different terrain is the ideal training for this. In this way, you can improve not only your endurance but also your surefootedness. In general, endurance training of any kind provides the basis for a successful ascent of a 4000m peak. To get to know the material and the first technical basics, it is advisable to attend a basic mountaineering course. In addition to the physical and technical requirements, there are many small things that are crucial and which are sometimes forgotten in the preparation.


For example?

The optimal clothing system is best tested before the tour. Not everyone has the same perception of cold and hot. If I know what is right for me, I feel safer and more comfortable on the tour. In the mountains, the time factor is often decisive. You have to be able to walk for an hour without stopping. It is important that the clothing system is right and that you don't have to constantly put something on or take something off.

Another important tip: optimise the contents of your backpack! I like to check what I took with me and what I didn't need after every training hike. This also applies to food and drink: try out what is good for you. The general rule is to take as much as necessary and as little as possible. The key factor for a successful ascent of a 4000m peak, however, remains the joy of movement and of the mountains!

Mountain guide standing on a mountain peak. The summit cross can be seen in the background.
Carla Heule - Mountain guide with Outdoor
Rope team climbing the Mönch
Rope team climbing the Mönch.

Is there a preparation tour that you would recommend?

To feel the thinner air and get to know the glacier terrain, it makes sense to do a tour at a higher altitude beforehand. The day tour to the Walcherhorn from the Jungfraujoch fits in very well.


Which 4000m peak would you tackle first?

The day tour to the Allalin or Breithorn - both summits offer wonderful deep views. If you have very good stamina and want to do the whole trail without mechanical ascents, you can venture to the Bishorn (2-day tour).


Mehrere Personen auf dem Gipfel des Allalinhorns


Berglandschaft mit Gletscher, Berghütte und Matterhorn im Hintergrund


Zwei Person im Aufstieg zum Bishorn

Finally: What does the profession of "Mountain Guide" mean to you?

Collecting beautiful experiences together with the guests. It's not only the "big" tours that make your heart soar. Just being able to observe a wonderful mood of the weather or an animal - simply experiencing the different facets of nature, that's what it's all about for me.