Steve and I are glad that there is such a good reception to the information we are providing on the site that can go into more detail than the book could.
How do we work backwards based on time between the starting point and the target climb? Say it’s Jan1, and the objective is to be in peak condition on Jun1 – that’s 22 weeks in total.
That question is easy. Always remember this: You can NEVER have too much base. So just extend the base period by 2 weeks.
As for the modulation in the plans: The 24 week plan we sell follows the principles in our book. All other, shorter plans for mountaineering are compromises meant to provide a workable plan for those who do not have adequate time before their big climb. The 3 building weeks followed by one recovery week is typical for what we use with coached clients and generally works pretty well. 2 build weeks with a recovery week also works well for some people. In writing these plans we can’t customize them for anyone so we shoot for the middle ground.
The 16 week big mountain plan goes up-down, up-down, up for 4 weeks, recover for 3 weeks, ramp for 3 again.
Volume is not the only measure of training load. Those blue bars in the graph only tell volume not load. Those weeks are not recovery weeks, They are when we begin to add intensity so the volume stays pretty constant to allow the athlete to adjust to the higher loads.
The 8 week plan is a very basic plan. We say in the description that this is the minimum plan length for even the easiest mountaineering routes that we can recommend the untrained. It can not follow the standard periodization plan of a the longer plans.