Contributors to this thread:
getting in shape for altitude elk hunt??
my hunting partner and i are heading to colorado for 14 day archery DIY elk hunt 5-10 mile hike into wilderness 9000-12500 feet ive completely cut out pop energy drinks and cleaned up my food diet since new year i have a morning kalstetic (bad speller lol) routine and ab workout i go to the gym 4-6 days a week short workouts but intense cardio 1-2 mile non stop run once a week looking for help /ideas for getting ready for high elevations and be in shape for our hunt
High elevation take Diamox. That is it. Being in shape and eating right might help slightly (5%) at best. It WILL help you hunt longer further etc but will not help your body with altitude.
Have either you been over 11,000 overnight? Night is when it is worst.
When I was guiding we would sometimes have guys from low elevation get sick at elevations as low as 8000'. We had one trigger a Grand Mal seizure at age 40 who had never had one before or since. Diamox is a great preventative.
Bigbuck, do a search on here and you'll find lots of great fitness threads for elk conditioning.
I would guess that you will not be hunting at 12,500 but lower. Tree line in most places in Colorado is around 10,500 ft. and I would also expect most of the elk will be in the trees and below that unless it is very early in the season, (first week) then you may find some elk above tree line but mostly, just at tree line and below. Also, if you are in 10 miles as you have stated, how are you going to get the elk meat out within a reasonable time. Lets say you kill the elk on the 13 day, well, maybe two elk on the 13 day. What then??? Good luck.
Take some Diamox. I hunted with DonV in 2012. When I hit 8K the altitude kicked my but. This past season in CO it destroyed me. In 2012 I was in great shape when I went. Last year not so much. The results were about the same.
Sleeping at Altitude it worse. I spent the night on Mt Fuji at 10K. I spent most of the night laboring to breath. I had a similar experience my first two days in CO.
Don't climb to 12,500 feet to hunt elk. Even to glass. Even if that's a pass to get somewhere else, you don't want to carry an elk at that elevation.
There are some women at the south pole year round. I'd recommend looking closer to home for a date.
Diamox....cheap, effective. I start taking a day or two before I leave and continue about 3 days after I'm there. It will help to curb your carbonated drink habit, too! ;-)
In 2005 we went on a hunt in unit 76 Colorado. I knew what the altitude was like so I went to see my doc for some medication. He gave me some. My huntig partner also went in to see his doc and he told him you don't need any and refused to give him any. We got up to around 10,000' and he started gitting sick. He could eat anything. I shot my bull and we had to cut the hunt short because he couldn't take it anymore. There were bulls galore and I am sure he could have got his if he could have kept hunting.
1. Start taking diamox 1 week before you leave. 2. Get in the best shape you possibly can. 3. Start hiking with your pack and a 40 pound bag of sand and your new hiking boots as soon as possible. You want to get your feet and your back and shoulders accustome to the pack and boots at the same time. Don't wait on #3. See one bull up close and you will be hooked for life! Good luck Leo
Guys what exactly does the diamond do for the body??
I copied this...
The drug works by acidifying the blood, which causes an increase in respiration and arterial oxygenation and thus aids acclimatization.
Keep up the good work! All you can do is get as prepared as you can. I'm only hoping you have spent that much time in the backcountry at that distance from the truck before. Your doing the physical aspect, I would highly recommend honing your gear list for an ambitious hunt like that.
A 14 day backpack trip is a lot of time! My biggest recommendation would be to do a trial trip in the summer. That way you know what you are up against and can learn the access, country, gear, and exactly what kind of shape you are in. You'll have to carry a lot of food and supplies for a trip that long. It's important to know what to bring and what to leave at the truck. Also, what gear will make your life a lot easier. The learning curve on backcountry elk hunts is outrageous so you have a lot of logistics to figure out.
Keep up the cardio, maybe add some backpacking with weight, and diamox is a solid suggestion. I am in far better shape than when I started years ago, never used to have issues with altitude. Now I do, diamox helps immensely.
Diamond is the wonder drug for me. First time out I was in excellent shape. Once I got to 12000 feet I could barely crawl. Spent 2 days like that, came down and symptoms subsided but return when I went back to elevation. Trip ruined. Next time I included diamox, zero problems. Wvarcher
"It will help to curb your carbonated drink habit, too! ;-) "
wait...... beer is carbonated..... lets not get all carried away here.....it's just a little altitude....
I don't know anything about the diamox, although I'm looking into it for Coach. I've been lucky with no sickness, just takes a bit of time to acclimate. We hike here at 10,000 foot Haleakala once or twice a year, she's gotten sick, not every time, but more often than not. Debilitating headaches, nausea. We will see if the diamox makes a difference.
I hunt the mountain nearly every week up to near 7000 and notice the thinner air. We pretty much literally live and work at sea level and drive to those altitudes in an hour, hour and half. It does seem to effect some a good deal more more than others.
What I DO know is make yourself go slooooow the first day or two. Folks are excited to finally get where they are going and want to dive in. Don't. Go slow, take your time. Make yourself drink LOTS of water, the higher the drier and it will suck the moisture out of you before you know it and then it's too late.
Anaerobic training can help. Do some searches as suggested and you'll find details. That said nothing like the real thing so train at elevation and if that's not possible move up in elevation gradually over several days. If feeling bad drop down for a day or two.
Beware that one of the side effects of Diamox is "may decrease energy level". I took it for the first time last fall in Colorado and it kicked my butt. After hunting for a couple of hours in the morning I would lay on ground and sleep for an hour or more. I've never done that before. Just too tired to go on. I'm going to try something different (I don't know what) next fall.
I toss in some realism....
Train hard for your hunt. It will benefit you in the fact that you wont suffer... as much.
Suffer you will. You will be in better shape only after hunting at that altitude for several days. Not to mention packing meat at that altitude and that distance.
By the time you go home you will know how much you got in shape :)
Good luck man.
Diamox and STAY HYDRATED. Drink lots of water, even if you do not feel thirsty.
When I go to Colorado this year it will be my 13th time. I am 71 years old and all my hunts but one have been DIY in wilderness areas. All but 2 in Unit 82-----really rugged and steep. Where we hunted was accessible only by foot. One trip we killed 2 bulls and it took us 3 days to get them out. My training starts in March and consist of running until I am up to 3-4 miles then I run up the mountain behind my house (I live in East Tn.) sprinting until I am out of breath and repeating as soon as I recover. I believe this makes a lot of difference because moving around in altitude is all about recovering quickly. The last month I do the same mountain with my pack. I have never had any altitude sickness or not been able to successfully complete any hunt. This year I will be guiding for my son's first year in the outfitting business in Units 76 and 82.
I only skimmed through the posts, but here is my 2 cents.
Paul has way more experience in Colorado than me, but I wouldn't completely discount hunting above 10,500'. When I hunted the San Juan I know treeline was above 10,500' and probably more like 11,500'. I personally have not felt many effects at elevations below 10,000', however once reaching that elevation the changes seemed a little more drastic with smaller elevation changes. I have not been truly sick, but headaches and and other symptoms have been encountered.
My best advice, and I don't know if it was stressed enough above, is simply to acclimate to the elevation. Take time to work your way up and stay fully hydrated. I'm not talking minutes or hours, but days, if you really feel you want to hunt at that elevation. Obviously, you don't have to and there are other options. It is easier said than done within a limited timeframe, but it is certainly the most tried and true method.
No alcohol the night before driving up. Start pounding water down as you drive up in elevation...super-hydrate. Also it can help to take an Aleve or Ibuprofen when you reach altitude. Expect a full day to acclimate.
Best of Luck, Jeff
Each person is different, I've never been affected much by altitude. Basically drive from 900' to 9-12k' in a day. I might get a slight headache, but luckily not much more. It takes a good 3 days for me to acclimate and really be able to pound up and down the mountains.
I have to agree with jims here though, if you've never done a hunt like this (which I'm assuming you haven't since you are asking questions here), 14 days AND 5-10 MILES in is a huge undertaking. All your camping equipment, clothes, food, hunting gear, etc etc etc will be a good sized load. If you don't live at a very high elevation, I guarantee you will not go 100 yards up a steep incline with a heavy pack and you will have to stop to catch your breath. It will be a long and difficult 5-10 mile hike at 9-12k'. Once you get an elk down, think how many trips it's going to take to get everything back out..........and now you are racing against time with precious elk meat and warm days. I wish you the best of luck, but also want to make sure you know what lies ahead. But, there is only one way to know and that is to DO IT!
Looking at Diamox online, it has terrible reviews, mostly from the side effects. The people reviewing it are taking it for eye problems so maybe their dosage is higher. They mention tingling fingers and lips. Any of you guys notice the side effects other than the carbonated thing?
DonVathome nailed it. That is it. Period.
One lady mentions diamox sequels, that are time released and side effects are less. I also find it interesting that everyone suggests pounding water but these pills are a diuretic.
Exactly why you need lots of water. I have experienced tingling fingers from Diamox, not a problem, but feels kinda weird. I usually stop taking Diamox after about 4-5 days at elevation with no problems.
Side effects for me have been minimal. A little tingling in the fingers occasionally and anything carbonated tastes REALLY weird. Never had an energy problem and I don't take it easy for the first few days. In fact, I go balls to the wall first day. I don't even get headaches any more.
Cardio is your best bet. Jogging, biking, hiking with a pack are all great. resistance training never hurts but, it's your aerobic capacity that needs tuning up. It will still take time for you to acclimate to higher altitude but, after a few days of sucking wind you'll be good to go. Diamox is a good idea as well, even mild altitude sickness can be a bummer.
Diamox didn't work for me. It was my worst physical performance of any mountain hunt I've done and I was in decent shape. No worse than usual, and better than a few years. I had zero energy. I just drug up and down the mountain. Really struggled.
I prefer to hydrate with water and Gatorade on the way to and during the hunt. The only problems I've ever had was on a ski trip where I didn't drink water on the way out, and then went right to the top of the highest lift at Breckenridge. Had to come right down with a murderous headache.
It wasn't a problem, but sleeping multiple nights on one trip at 11,000 feet eventually led to some appetite suppression, but no headache or other troubles
Get in cardio shape. Get your legs used to the up and down climbing motion, hydrate well, and have a good time.
And don't buy the hype that you have to "bivy" in 10 miles to find elk. If that's how you WANT to hunt, fine. But that's not how you HAVE to hunt to find elk
I just wrote a newspaper article on this very subject last week. Having been on numerous Colorado elk hunts over the past 8 years I might offer the following advice for enduring a high elevation hunt:
1. Quit smoking. NOW! Once you turn 50, your lungs and heart are seriously compromised by the effects of smoking. Sure, you might have been able to get away with smoking when you were in your 20's, 30's and possibly even your 40's but when you get in your 50's, the body has a much harder time dealing with the effects. A friend recently related a story of how he invited someone who smoked on a high elevation elk hunt a few years ago. All during the year leading up to the trip, his friend assured him he was fit and ready to tackle the mountains. It was a 10 day hunt and it required a two hour hike up the mountain every morning before the hunt even began. His friend lasted one day and spent the rest of the 10 day hunt in camp.
2. Get in shape. Seriously! On an archery elk hunt, I'll typically walk 4-5 miles in the morning and 3-5 miles in the evening. To prepare for that, all year I play racquetball once or twice a week at our local health club. It just so happens I love to play racquetball so the added benefit comes easy. Maybe you like to ride a bicycle. Finding something you like to do that involves exercise make your prep a lot easier. 3. Arrive in the area a few days early to allow your body to acclimate to the high elevation. My group usually books a trout fishing float trip a few days before heading to our camp.
4. Drink lots of water. The low humidity at elevation will dry out your body quicker than you think. Every time you exhale you lose water through your breath. The harder you breath the more you lose. I carry a bottle of Propel (energy drink) on my hunt. It restores the electrolytes, vitamins and minerals you lose when exercising. I find it does give me energy. Oh, and apply the rule that athletes live by: "During exercise (or a game), if you wait till your thirsty to drink, it's too late." So drink before, during, and after the hunt - even if your not thirsty.
5. Climb at your own pace. I'm 62 years old and I can climb about any mountain in elk country as long as I watch my speed. My friend, who I hunt with, is a foot taller than I am so he walks and climbs at a faster speed. I've found that if I try to keep up with him, I end up gasping for air. Find your comfortable pace and you'll last a lot longer in the field.
6. Get plenty of rest and nutrition while in camp. Staying up late and rising early will wear you down in a hurry. Lay off the alcohol or at least limit it to 1 beer or 1 drink after the hunt. During the night, your body has to work hard to flush out the alcohol in your system when, instead, it could be resting.
Hope this helps!
What is the dosage/regimen for Diamox for altitude?
I get tingly fingers and lips whenever I'm close to a bugling bull.
Just wondering, do you have to go so high to hunt elk? taking a drug isn't a guarantee so why risk the hunt go so high? find an area where you can stay at safe levers for your first hunt and see how it goes. Just seems a bit foolish to go so high the first time. Why not take a long weekend before sometime before the season and go out to the area and hike up and see how you react. End trips short due to sickness is never good, don't risk it.
Scar Finga's Link
"I get tingly fingers and lips whenever I'm close to a bugling bull."
I get tingly too, but it ain't my lips and fingers!
I bought a Steel Climber/ Vertical Climber. This thing is nuts! It will give a full body workout in nothing flat. The first time I used it I done in 5 minutes, completely wiped out. I now use it with a 30-40 lb pack on.
Another thing, on one trip to Colorado my brother became seriously sick, sick enough to have to evacuate him off the mountain. The doc at the clinic told us that middle aged guys, in good shape, I was 50 and he was 56 at the time, are more prone to altitude sickness than others might be.
You are on the right track to be in shape. Keep it up. But as stated, that doesn't help people who have altitude problems. Have you ever been to those altitudes? Hiking, skiing, etc. If you have and didn't have any problem, then you probably won't have a problem on your hunt. If you are not sure, then it pays to be prepared.
I used to take Diamox and it helped a lot and I would recommend it for those that need it, but I now use a herbal supplement (altitude adjustment) and it works just as well without the side effects. I took both with me for a few years, but never needed to take the Diamox when taking the supplement, so stopped taking it.
No matter what, the first few days will kick you in the butt even if the altitude doesn't cause any real problems. You will feel tired and out of breath, so my synopsis is:
1) Be in shape 2) get their early and take it easy the first few days. If you drive, stop at a town at the bottom of the mountain you will be climbing and spend the night. 3) drink water, drink some more, and drink some more 4) If you just don't know how the altitude will affect you, then Diamox is the safest choice (side effects: tingling, peeing more, carbonated beverages taste NASTY). But I know lots of people who Altitude Adjustment works just as well without the side effects. Me and my wife to name two.
You are going to be hiking long distances while elk hunting. The cardio and short high intensity stuff is great but does not reflect what most of your hunt will be.You will be on your feet walking all day, not running for an hour and then sitting the rest of the day. Get your legs in shape for long days of endless hiking. IMHO, the only way to do that is to do long hikes. Nothing else will get you ready for that. You want to get to where you can do a 15 or 20 mile hike like it was nothing (on the hilliest route you can find), At the end of the hike you should not be tired and have the same energy level as before the hike. If a 15 or 20 mile hike affects the rest of your day or leaves you sore the next day then you aren't ready.
Aspen Ghost, with all due respect, in my 42 years of elk hunting I've never hiked more than 9 miles in a day, and that's very rare. And that's 3 in to a morning spot, 3 back out, mile and a half each way to an evening spot. If the ability to do 15-20 miles a day every day is a requirement, then I've never been even close to "ready", LOL!
It's a great thought to be in the kind of shape you're referencing, but that's not realistic realistic or necessary for 90% of elk bowhunters. All the guys I know who kill bulls every year hunt smarter and more strategically, rather than through brute force.
But your advice about fitness for endurance is sound, and many inexperienced flatlanders learn that lesson the hard way. But I've also guided and hunted with unfit hunters who missed opportunities because they couldnt make that rapid push to get ahead of the herd.
So with these "supplements"......
Any chance of side effects that last for 4 hours of more????
Diamox is a diuretic that was once used to treat high blood pressure. That's why some people have loss of energy. It works on elevation sickness because it decreases your intracranial pressure. That's most useful for the headaches associated with mountain sickness. It does have side effects like any other medication. I haven't experienced the tingling in my hands and feet every time I have taken but I had rather deal with that vs losing a hunt. I usually stop taking after 2-3 days.
Running and hiking with a pack up mtns is the best pre work out a guy can do for hunting in my opinion
I don't know much about the supplements. I do know I have to be in the best condition possible. What works for me is spinning classes and a revolving stair machine. Those two things get my legs in shape and get me used to an elevated heart rate and sucking wind.
Just FYI, I'm pretty much on the move all day with the exception of elk napping time in the middle of the afternoon. I keep moving until I get into elk then I hunt them. Then I repeat the process. This year we averaged between 8-13 miles a day (technology keeps track of my distance these days). It's very hard physically. You lose weight and pee brown. Eventually your body breaks down. Happens every year. The elevation is between 7500 and 9,000 ft. I can't imagine not being in top condition and trying to hunt..
"So with these "supplements"...... Any chance of side effects that last for 4 hours of more????"
TD.....yes, but it keeps me from rolling off the mountain when I'm sleeping. ;-)
This by Ermine is # 1 "Running and hiking with a pack up mtns is the best pre work out a guy can do for hunting in my opinion"
If no mountains then walk fast forward & backwards & try & climb anything you can in route even if it's small hills, stairs, etc. Start slow if not used to it but work up to 3-4 miles of sweating & putting yourself into shape! I also like doing a weight lifting program that suits my desires & needs. All this is necessary to enjoy the hunt to its fullest & not let it beat you down easily because of being unprepared!
Asking again, for you guys that have taken Diamox. What is the best dosage/regimen you have found? I'll be at 16,000 ft in a couple of months and plan on trying it. Camped at 12000 a few years back hunting and had pretty bad headaches at night.
painless, it's what my doctor told me. I believe it's 250 mg twice per day. He gives me enough to last about 3 years.
Holy cow 16000?! In a couple months in North America? Where and Good luck lol
Pretty sure I was given 250 mg tabs and took 1/2 twice daily. Here is a pretty good writeup:
I have taken Diamox for 11 years now. It works great. I usually start taking it 2 days before I get to altitude (2 pills a day). I continue taking it for 3 days at altitude. By then I am acclimated and don't need it.
Carbonated drinks, beer included, taste like a glass of pennies. Other side effects I get are tingling in my hands, feet, and sometimes lips. Other than that it's good stuff.
I had not heard of Diamox when I hunted elk in WY in 2014. We were camped at about 8900 ft and I hunted up to about 10000 ft. On the way out from PA, I stopped overnight in Laramie, WY and went the rest of the way to the campsite the next morning. I committed to myself to do nothing strenuous for 2 days, so after getting camp set up, I just walked the forest service roads for a little bit each day. I had a slight nagging headache, but by the time I woke up at 3 am the third day to hunt I was great and never had another problem. I was also very conscious of hydrating, as some others have mentioned. I would not be opposed to Diamox, but would prefer to avoid putting any drug in my body unless I felt I really needed it. I'm hoping the strategy will work again this fall.
No way I would sacrifice 2 or 3 days of an elk hunt taking it easy. I would go insane...the hunt is too short the way it is!
But to each their own.
"Easy" is relative...... sometimes I wish it was a very close relative..... =D
That is why for people who have a problem with altitude, you get there 2-3 days before the season opens and fish, do some light scouting, etc. Because I am like you, if the season is open, no way I will take it easy
bigbuck, you've gotten some golden information here. Now, your thoughts?
If I had 2 or 3 extra days, they would be added on to hunt days. But again, that's just me. Maybe when I retire and have more time to just hang out. When I'm out there, I have this clock ticking, counting down in my head, and it keeps getting faster! lol
I didn't read all of the replies, but the first 6-8 had the same theme. I'll respectively disagree. Yes on the Diamox, but yes on the workouts. They will DEFINITELY help with altitude, which is what you asked about, not altitude sickness. Even having a greater cardio/endurance/VO2 max will help some with the sickness.
Every less pound of fat you carry in the mountain will help your breathing. Taxing those legs now and getting that cardiovascular system pumping oxygen through those muscles will help immensely.
I think that every year based on hunt plans of when, where, and what we need to approach the training more like athletes than hunters. Many of us are at a certain yield point and then ramp up for a particular hunt. A better way IMHO would be to establish a yearly plan to support our hunts/goals using periodization training by using meso & micro cyles. I have made several of these for wrestlers that I have coached over the years with excellent results. What drove me to this methodology was having to identify periods that we could focus on gaining strength. This was difficult because it seemed like they were always trying to lose weight so when was there time to develop strength. Here is the basic concept.
"1. The macrocycle consists of all 52 weeks of your annual plan and therefore includes all four stages of a periodized training program (endurance, intensity, competition and recovery). Because of its length, you will almost certainly make changes to it throughout the year. Think of the macrocycle as a “birds-eye” view of your annual training plan. This macro could be adjusted based on the time that you have when you decide to get ready for your hunt.
2.The mesocycle represents a specific block of training that is designed to accomplish a particular goal. For example, during the endurance phase, you might develop a mesocycle that is specifically designed to enhance your muscular endurance (the ability to pedal relatively big gears at a moderate cadence). This mesocycle might consist of 3 weeks of strength training and big gear spinning, and one week of recovery. Mesocycles are typically 3 to 4 weeks in length but can be a bit longer. Two very common mesocycles are 21 and 28-day training blocks.
3.A microcycle is the shortest training cycle, typically consisting of a single week or two with the goal of facilitating a focused block of training. An example of this is an endurance block where a cyclist strings three or four long rides together within one week to progressively overload training volume (with the objective of improving aerobic endurance). Generally speaking, two or three microcycles are tied together to create a mesocycle."
Many of us think getting in shape for a seasonal event is a perpetual climb of increased activity when in actuality it be somewhat of a stair step that has a recovery period that will allow to continue to improve over the entire year. the benefits would be: * Injury prevention * Prevent over training * Boredom of gloom and doom (same thing different day) * Theoretically you could start at any fitness level and prepare for a rigorous hunt if you allowed enough time to prepare * Ability to focus on specific types of workouts to improve week areas * Promotes recovery * Structured improvement over time by type Many of us do not realize that we do not actually get better from exercise but we get better from recovery from that exercise. Remember specialization is key, if you are going to be hiking 10 miles a day then your training should at some point around hiking. If that hike is with weight then adding weight would be a good idea.
I have gone 4 times with Diamox and 1 time without. No problems the four times but headaches cost me a day's hunting the time I went without. Faint tingling of fingers was the only side effect. Would never go again without.
Pigsticker, that's a great plan and great histogram. I'm applying it to my workout routine. Its a much more detailed application of the "wave training" routines I wrote about in my Bowhunter mountain fitness article last spring.
Jaq, I am humbled that I can contribute to your world.
Rocky, Can you write me a program that has me doing a marathon in late May and an Olympic triathlon in mid July? TIA ;-)
Midwest, I can but most of your tri- would be focused on technique. The quickest way to improve at triathlons are to improve your weaker events. The marathon training alone will provide a strong cardiovascular foundation to build upon.
The swimming kicks my cardio ass!
Rocky - PM sent. You just moved way up on my short list of guys with super-useful knowledge. :-)
As usual the first reply is the most correct! Diamox
I am a 5'6", 60 year old guy with asthma that can be exercise induced. I am slow uphill, and fast on level and downhill, with considerable leg strength to pack out quarters thanks to a damn good Kifaru pack. I've packed out two elk quarters at once several times, bone in.
To be fair, I am stubborn and do not quit. My first elk pack out took 6.5 hours on the way back in a rainstorm, two steps up, one step back.
I say that to let you know I have a little experience. Get in good shape and hydrate the hell out of yourself every hunting day. No beer or booze until you are done packing, not done hunting. If I can do it, you can do it.
A hard head and stubbornness are admirable qualities but you need a certain level of fitness to really enjoy the hunt. What is more important is a plan to do it year after year.
A progressive plan focused around specificity, notrition, and recovery will be your best bet for the long haul. I have heard many people say never again or not at my age.
3 years ago I backpacked solo for Elk into Montana's Snowy mountains and met a local about 10 miles in who was 43 who surprised to see someone period never the less someone my age that was prepared to stay twelve days. He actually stated that he admires my determination but determination alone will not get you there year after year and on into old age. Start well in advance and have a progressive plan. Diamox obviously will help but it will not make weak legs strong or drastically improve your cardiovascular system. Actually, I never considered diamox but then I never used a cart to drag a deer out of the woods.
Thanks to all that helped me I've purchased and received my Eberlestock F1 frame and I've started hiking with weight on my back 25-50 lbs for 4 1/2 hours at a time :) feeling good and comfortable I'll be building up weight per week and doing stairs with it doing anywhere from 20 sets all the way to 50 sets getting weight up to 100 lbs I think this is a good add in for building up for elevations.
4 1/2 hours? Wow, that is a lot of mileage! I do 5 miles of lite hills in 80 minutes. You should definitely be ready when the time comes.
Just something you may want to consider: You will most likely need 2# of food per day on average just to maintain and you'll probably still lose some body weight. A 14 day hunt at altitude = 28# of food. Add a couple quarts of water @ 4# plus a good solid elk hunting pack in the 6-8# range empty and you are already at 38-40#. That doesn't leave much room for gear, not to mention your bow and hunting related items.
If you are going in blind, I hope you can find a good water source.
Update I've been since new year week do every morning regimen 3 sets of calstetics and ab workout takes about 15 minutes ( spelling not the best lol ) intense gym workout 4-6 times a week ( different muscle group per trip) after work ending with ab workout again cardiovascular run once a week 1 1/2 --- 3 miles steady non-stop and the last two days I used my Eberlestock F1 frame at work day 1 was 7am till 1:30 pm about 5 miles fast pace had water igloo filled to 3 gallon mark so I'm guessing with pack and water 25lbs. and day 2 745am till 145 pm walked fast pace just over 8 miles filled water cooler guessing around 45lbs. I made only two minor pack strap moves and felt very comfortable the entire walk when I took it off traps were very sore yesterday and I could tell my lungs were working to breathe (guessing from just from using new muscles sore) before people attack this I'm turning 37 I'm 5'8" 166lbs. I'm very very active I still play ice hockey weekly 50 weeks a year and I have a fast fast walking pace so I am in shape just NOT where I want to be come September
You don't have to kill yourself in February, especially if you are already in decent shape. Pushing too hard and fast is a good recipe for injury that will set you back weeks, or more. Been there, done that.
Instead, work up to it, back down a little, push ahead a little more. "Wave" training. Give your body plenty of opportunity to recover. You want to peak a couple weeks before your hunt, not in June.
Sounds like you'll be fine. The preparation is half the fun.
I have a good pipeline welder buddy that's been hunting out west for 25+ years for elk muleys bear and plenty more he's recommended Altitude RX and I've read plenty of reviews and research on it it's "all natural" and doesn't have side effects like Diamox so that's why I've decided to use Altitude RX for altitude sickness I have in my notes to start taking 3-4 days before trip take for a couple days into hunt. I should add that our "14 day hunt" is in total were not going into backcountry the entire trip instead plan is too set up base camp in our #1 unit first and hike in to top 2-3 spots in unit separately for spike camps on our own and meeting back at decided location after 1-3 days compare notes and if nothing well hike back to base camp a day go to 2nd choice location we are both wanting willing and are very hard working when it comes to bow hunting most of my buddies have either learned from me asking questions or having me help them to become better whitetail hunters because of my success and I've learned from reading all my hunting magazines when I was young I cut put all good learns and put them on my walls I was addicted and now I think of bow hunting 365 and theres not a day goes by that I'm not thinking about something to do with hunting or doing something for hunting
We plan on doing a couple trial runs in the most hilliest state land in our home state of Michigan . Allegan Forrest Fort Custer Forrest or Manistee National Forrest well pack our entire elk hunting pack and go for it plan on visiting our two local ski resorts several times this spring and summer building up our pack weights and number of assents and decents I have lots of natural energy and super super high endurance so I'll bemail taking the advice to take it slow our first couple of days
I would sure prefer to see a couple of guys pack an elk out two miles at 9,000 feet before they killed one seven or eight miles back in the wilderness. Line up a reliable packer just in case. I really don't want to dissuade anyone from trying a DIY elk hunt, but a hunt like you are proposing is not for kids and greenhorns. It is not for me either. Best wishes.
hunt elevation yet to be determined