Training for Altitude – Improving your Body’s CO2 Tolerance

March 21, 2022 | Posted in: JHMG


By Ben Van Treese 
As you are approaching your climb of the Grand Teton with Jackson Hole Mountain Guides we want to share some simple training advice. Controlling your breathing and your heart rate while on the climb will improve your experience. We all know that developing a solid cardio plan and sticking to it will be a huge help. Another aspect of getting ready for big mountains is increasing your body’s CO2 Tolerance. I talk about the details in the video but here is the short of it: As you increase CO2 tolerance you will be better able to control your breathing. This will help with the climb and with helping handle the elevation!

The Program:

  • Exhale fully and hold your breath as long as you can. – Record that time
  • Every day for a week perform 3 breath holds (while fully exhaled) for 75% of your longest time
  • Re-test every week and adjust your numbers until you can hold your breath exhaled for 60 seconds


  • Max Exhale – 30 seconds
  • 3 sets of 22 second holds with no air in your lungs
  • Retest max hold next week and adjust your numbers.
*If you max hold is 10 seconds or less, do 5 sets at 75% daily*
For questions about this program, or if you are interested in having Ben put together a climbing-specific training program for you, please email

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