Journal: Paul's First Mountaineering Expedition
A Kampong boy’s journey to the mountains.
The memories from this journey still leave me speechless. I would have never thought of climbing a high-altitude mountain, but I accomplished the challenge of Kilimanjaro in August 2022, and I thought that would be the highest peak for me. Then came a rare opportunity to join the Aconcagua Expedition in December 2022, and I have decided to step out of my comfort zone to join my first mountaineering expedition!
In preparation for this trip, I did some research and watched some YouTube videos on the Aconcagua climbs. However, you wouldn't know what you were getting into until you actually started climbing.
Aconcagua is a mountain in the Principal Cordillera of the Andes Mountain range, in Mendoza Province, Argentina. It is the highest mountain in the South America, the highest outside Asia, and the highest in the Southern Hemisphere, with a summit elevation of 6,961 meters. Aconcagua is a massive, mighty, unpredictable, and beautiful mountain. It took 16 days from the day we started trekking to complete the full journey.
To me, this whole journey consisted of many "parts": from the preparation and training, long travel before trekking, the main expedition, and post-trip. The expedition itself has four stages of experience. The walk from the starting point to Plaza de Mulas basecamp, the stay at the basecamp, the high camps, and the summiting. Every part is valuable. The week-long stay at the basecamp is probably the most enjoyable, but the best experiences in the mountains come from high camps.
I have made all the necessary preparations before the trip and during the trip. Well acclimated. The window for the summit push from Camp 3 was on Day 14 on January 4. The much-awaited day to conquer the summit finally came, and despite all the preparations, I made a swift decision to descend after an hour and a half, halfway through it. Every hiker or climber should be aware of the importance of listening to their own body and heart.
I may not have reached the summit, but I have made it to about 6300 meters in altitude. My highest accomplishment for now. The entire journey is definitely for the books. It was a whole new life experience that I will cherish and remember forever. The sweat, tears, and everything else have definitely left a very big impact on my life.
You taught me a lot, and no words can describe how much I hope to see you again, Aconcagua!