Excitement Mounts ~ A Peek at What’s to Come…

aconcagua

Soon, I’ll be standing by this very sign.

Ronnie Muhl, a South African mountaineer who has scaled the great slopes of Everest and has a passion for the mountain, will be leading us up the slopes of Aconcagua in just over three months time.  Yesterday he wrote a piece about his journey to the summit of Aconcagua with his team earlier this year.  Reading his piece adds to my vision of climbing this mountain, while at the same time transporting me back to where my own journey began.

My first high altitude mountain, Kilimanjaro, seems to pale in comparison with what lies ahead of me.  As I read Ronnie’s post, I was transported back to the slopes of Kilimanjaro as I vividly recalled my own journey to the summit and I think no matter what high altitude mountain you are climbing some moments are going to repeat themselves over and over again. Maybe it is pushing yourself to those new limits that keep us coming back for more.

Sunrise at Aconcagua, Argentina Premium Poster by Michael Brown

Sunrise at Aconcagua, Argentina by Michael Brown

“The coldest and darkest time of any summit push is just before dawn, but -20° Celsius seemed much more tolerable as it slowly became lighter and the sun inched its way above the horizon. Seeing the awesome shadow of Aconcagua reflected in the early morning light against the foothills below is a sight I will not forget as long as I live.” ~ Ronnie Muhl

I recall those icy cold pre-dawn hours on the slopes of Kilimanjaro where I was practically begging the sun to rise. The night was so dark and the wind chilled me to the bone. Countless times I screamed silently in my mind “where are you sun?” as if willing it in my mind to make the sun rise. Begging aloud with a sense of urgency when I could muster enough air in my lungs to speak out aloud I would say, “Please can the sun just rise, please!” It is true that those hours are the coldest and the longest hours of the night and when that sun finally rises, it is as if it renews your energy that has seeped from your body, replacing it with renewed hope that you were going to be ok and that you are going make it.

After the cold pre-dawn hours this is the moment you long to see! Pic from www.summitpost.org

After the cold pre-dawn hours this is the moment you long to see! Pic from http://www.summitpost.org

“We spent a few brief minutes on the summit, each of us finding that quiet personal moment to contemplate what we had just achieved – but we were brought back to reality as we realised the predicted snow storm was starting to make its presence felt. It was time to descend. Our bodies were exhausted, but we found that reserve strength and resolve to struggle our way down. Hours later, we stumbled into Camp 3, physically wasted but emotionally exhilarated and relieved.” ~ Ronnie Muhl

As I continued to read Ronnie’s post, I recalled my beautiful moment of quiet contemplation on top of Kilimanjaro. I could have been the only person standing there on top, completely lost in the moment, giving thanks for having made it to the summit, remembering my best friend, Emma and feeling the mammoth wave of emotions wash over me as I stood there looking out over the world below. There is something very sacred and humbling about climbing a mountain that touches you to your very core of your being.

The cross on the summit of Aconcagua.  Pic from www.nogutsknowglory.com

The cross on the summit of Aconcagua. Pic from http://www.nogutsknowglory.com

“As I reflected on our experience of being on one of the great mountains of the world, I felt embraced and touched by the warmth, passion, honesty and enthusiasm of my fellow teammates and by our local guides, Pablo and Bruno, but I also felt humbled by the awesome power of Mother Nature and the mountains themselves. The lessons they teach are profound and timeless, and I hear their call to go back for more.” ~ Ronnie Muhl

Some things just can’t be explained in words and although I wrote and put into words my Journey to the top of Kilimanjaro, pieces like the one Ronnie wrote, touch me deeply, remind me of my own journey and as I sit reading it, the goosebumps on my skin rise and I get even more excited for what lies ahead. I am thrilled to be climbing the next mountain with two of my Kilimanjaro team mates and a new member too, who I had the pleasure of hiking with recently in the snowy mountains back in August. My excitement grows too for the chance to climb a mountain with Ronnie Muhl who, as a young girl, I listened to on the radio as he chatted to a local radio station as he climbed to the summit of Everest. I can’t wait to experience new moments on the next mountain, to form new bonds like no other and to push myself to ever newer limits.

If you would like to read the full post by Ronnie Muhl about his trip up to the summit of Aconcagua earlier this year, please click the link below, which will give you a wonderful snippet of what our team can expect to experience in January 2014.

The Intrepid Explorer – To the roof of the Americas

In January 2014, we will be doing a different route to the one that Ronnie writes about here.  It is a route that will take us winding 360ᴼ around the slopes of Aconcagua. A day by day snippet of where we will be, how high we will be and what we can be expected to see and experience will be posted on my blog soon. As always, we will be at the mercy of the mountain and Mother Nature, yet every day I pray that our 2014 Aconcagua team will be granted safe passage all the way to the summit of Aconcagua.

If you are new to my blog and would like to read about my My Journey to the Summit of Kilimanjaro, click here for a daily story and photos of what we got to experience as we shuffled our way to the summit of Africa’s highest mountain.

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