Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Reflections on the Stone Sentinel

Wow. What an amazing expedition. First of all, for the record, I summited Aconcagua at 3:10pm on February 24th, 2012, on Day 12 of the expedition. But this trip was so much more than that brief moment at the summit. I’d heard that Aconcagua was considered to be one long, ugly slog uphill but in reality it was so much better than that. The mountain is beautiful in its own way. As you ascend the mountain, the red rock of the hike in gives way to magnificent glaciers and some epic alpine scenery. It was not as difficult as I expected, though I had the benefit of having a porter, Mariano (who is climbing Everest without oxygen this spring!) help me carry my gear. Compared to the Machame Route on Kilimanjaro, I would say that Aconcagua is only noticeably harder if you don’t use a porter. The two summit days are equally hard in my opinion, for different reasons. Whereas Kilimanjaro is difficult because the first ~7 hours are spent hiking uphill in the dark, Aconcagua is tough because of the extreme cold and the Canaletta, which is the hardest part of the whole mountain.

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