My dream has always been to climb Mount Everest as even though I have not reached that goal yet, I am on the way. It is thanks to Ian’s expertise and that I have climbed 5 of the 7 summits so far and working towards the final two. From my experience so far, I want to make sure I take my time and be as prepared as I possibly can be. From my experience you should contact Ian and team and learn from their expert experience.
The Journey so far
Since I was a child, I have always wanted to stand on the summit of top of Mount Everest. After going to Nepal a few times and climbing Island, Mera and Lobuche peaks, I understand more about the challenges that I will face on Mount Everest and the challenges the people who will help me get there. I have climbed Kilimanjaro, Mount Elbrus, Carstensz and Aconcagua with Ian’s teams. I do look forward to going back to Kilimanjaro with my two sons in a few years.
It is all About Altitude
I have been training in a very specific manor and follow Ian’s instructions and I am getting stronger, lighter, leaner, and stronger. My endurance has improved drastically from my first climb on Kilimanjaro with Ian in 2014. The real learning in about high altitude and how I perform in low oxygen environments. I can now tell you the is a massive difference between 14,000 feet, 20,000 feet and 23,000 feet. Managing my movement and heart rate in the Canaleta above 22,000 feet though me a lot. I remember walking up to the summit of Mera Peak and that was much easier than high on Aconcagua.
The big differences are that I am lighter, stronger and my endurance training has paid off. I used to be around 210lbs and now I am 180lbs. I want to be around 175lbs before going to Mount Everest. When I say it is all about altitude, I am talking about getting my body lighter and stronger so I can move effectively in a low oxygen environment. Understanding than the less weight I carry up, the less oxygen my body needed to be safe and successful.
Why Climb Aconcagua
I always looked at Aconcagua as a training peak. Can I carry weight at high altitude and how will my body recover and handle sleeping at 6,000m/ 20,000 feet along with making it to almost 23,000 feet. Aconcagua is a dry dusty and windy place but a unique landscape that is really captivating. Ian really likes the Vacas valley traverse route for anyone aspiring to go to higher elevation and big mountains. I encourage you to take on the Aconcagua challenge.
Ian has a great team of guides and the communication, service and set up is 5 stars. There are many different operators on Aconcagua and like Kilimanjaro Ian’s set up is top notice. The food, tents, guides and management on the mountain was managed in a highly professional manor. I highly recommend reaching out to Ian and his team for advice on how to climb Aconcagua.
Climbing Aconcagua in February
We climbed in February 2019 and we were lucky with the weather most of the time. The hike into Plaza Argentina Base Camp was really enjoyable. We saw very few people on the mountain, what an experience to have Aconcagua. We had 4 nights in Base Camp before moving higher on the mountain to sleep. There were some nights where the winds were really high and definitely lots of lost sleep. I think Aconcagua was more of a mental challenge than a physical one. I trained hard for this trip and felt great throughout the whole trip. It was cold high up but winds were low and the whole team of 12 climbers all reached the summit.
What I Learned on Aconcagua
I know I can perform well above 22,000 feet. My training is going in the right direction. The gear and clothing I was using worked well. I just need to manage my hands better in the cold. It is now time to climb Denali, then Cho Oyu and if they go well I think Everest will be on the cards for 2025. I may consider joining Ian’s Everest North Col adventure as I think the North Side of Everest is for me.