Scott Colton, Corporate CFO, just completed a trip to climb Mt. Aconcagua in Argentina. Here is his quick trip report:
I have always wanted to visit South America and I thought it would be great to plan a trip around a climb. I also really enjoy the challenges of high altitude mountaineering so Mt. Aconcagua was the perfect choice due to its prominence. At 22,841 feet it is the highest peak in the world outside of the Himalayan/Karakorum ranges.
I climbed with a buddy from Colorado that I met while climbing Denali up in Alaska. For this trip, we didn’t use a guide service like we did when climbing Denali. Aconcagua offered routes that were well within our technical abilities. I also love the challenge of planning and executing a trip like this and I like the feeling of not having to rely on someone else to make decisions for me.
The hardest part of this trip for me was being away from my loved ones for so long without the ability to communicate very often. The climb, including the trek to and from base camp, lasted 17 days. The people of Argentina were very friendly and would go out of their way to help you. There were people from all over the world climbing the mountain and we got to know a group of South African lawyers and their colorful Italian guide pretty well.
I’m glad to report there weren’t any real scary incidents. We were fortunate and everything went very smoothly for us. But there was one night that the wind was particularly ferocious and I was worried that our tent was going to collapse. We were camped at 16,200 feet and you could hear the gusts coming as they were getting funneled down the valley. When those gusts hit the tent it would buckle over and the sides would press down on us. Luckily our tent held up through the night but some folks camped near us weren’t so lucky. Their tent collapsed in the wind and they had to seek shelter in their friends’ tent.
I enjoyed so many aspects of this climb: standing on the summit, the amazing scenery, the camaraderie and cooperation that it took to be successful, all the people that I met along the way, and even the food at base camp. It’s hard to pick just one thing but something that does stand out is the feeling of relief that I got when we finally arrived back at the trailhead after 17 days of hard work in the mountains.