It’s Summer, But Armbands Required!

Getting ready to climb Aconcagua has certainly come at the most inconvenient time.  At a time of year when I want to be spending time with family and friends, soaking up the sunshine, lazing in the swimming pool and drinking endless glasses of wine.  Instead I find myself needing to be making lists, checking my equipment and packing for the trip, making sure I know where my passport is and doing everything that I need to do before I depart. But with just 6 days to go before I leave Cape Town and 7 days till I fly to Argentina, I’m fast running out of time and I have done none of what I should except for laze in the sun, float in the pool and drink wine!

Today was supposed to be D-Day. I was going to move all my stuff for the trip into my study and start checking it against a list of things I need to take for the trip so I can see what I still need to buy. I have done none of the above. Maybe tomorrow will be better!

Yesterday, three of us decided to head out for a quick climb up Platteklip Gorge with our heavily loaded backpacks to get in some final training for the climb.

The misty mountain slopes, it wasn't before long the rain set in.

The misty mountain slopes, it wasn’t before long the rain set in.

As usual, we headed out early ready to hit the slopes before it got too hot. But as Cape Town weather has it lately, a summer forecast of light rain was predicted. The mountain was once again shrouded in cloud and within the first 10 minutes of heading up, the rain began to fall. A soft drizzle at first, each step became a little harder and the rain was not letting up. We kept pushing forward.

Slightly drenched, but always smiling!

Slightly drenched, but always smiling!

We were prepared and had all our necessary gear with us, as we always do. Others on the mountain however, were ill prepared. A large group of people walked up in shorts and t-shirts, some even in long denim skirts and only one couple turned around saying they didn’t have the right clothes to be hiking in this weather and were heading back down. They were sensible. The large group was soaked already, yet they kept pushing forward with little regard for the cold that would set in soon with their wet clothes and the increasing wind and the incessant rain.  We could only hope they would be ok.

Life is never boring on the mountain with these two team mates for company!

Life is never boring on the mountain with these two team mates for company!

We reached about half way up, even in our good hiking boots with plenty of grip, the stone steps that grew bigger and higher to climb, and they were wet and very slippery. The steps are tough to negotiate in dry weather with our heavy loads, but so much more treacherous in the wet.

The mountain side shrouded in mist.

The mountain side shrouded in mist.

The mountain shrouded in cloud, only occasionally parting to show Table Mountains majestic slopes.

Looking up Platteklip Gorge,  shrouded in cloud, only occasionally parting to show Table Mountains majestic slopes.

Only occassionally and ever so briefly would the clouds part showing a bit of the city below.

Only occasionally and ever so briefly would the clouds part showing a bit of the city below.

A nagging feeling inside of my gut told me to turn around. With just 7 days till we leave for Argentina, I didn’t want to chance an injury and with my weak ankles as it is, I felt like I was playing with fire in the rain! I voiced my concerns to my team mates, happy for them to continue on if they wishes but I was going to turn around soon and not go all the way to top. They felt the same way and were happy to turn back too. We decided to climb a little higher and then stopped to take a short rest and then turned back.

The climb down was slow, consciously stepping cautiously so as not to slip as we headed back down the steep path to where our cars were parked. The rain, still not letting up, didn’t dampen our spirits and we excitedly chatted about our upcoming trip and last-minute things. The wind continually sweeping the clouds up the mountain, covering everything in an eerie white veil and only occasionally pulling back to give us a glimpse of the mountain side.

Making our way down, occasionally stopping to take a pic in the rain!

Making our way down, occasionally stopping to take a pic in the rain!

Disappointed we didn’t make it to the top but happy to be back on the ground with all body parts still intact!  The rain still falling, everything wet and yet still smiling we bid farewell.  One possible last hike still coming up before we fly next Saturday…

Safely back at the bottom, one last "selfie" before the three of us meet at the airport.

Safely back at the bottom, one last “selfie” before the three of us meet at the airport.

We weren't the only crazies out in the rain and thanks to some joggers who passed us, they stopped and offered to take this shot for us! Aconcagua, here we come!

We weren’t the only crazies out in the rain and thanks to some joggers who passed us, they stopped and offered to take this shot for us! Aconcagua, here we come!

It’s going to be a week of frantic last-minute buying, packing, finding my passport with ease and starting to say farewell to those I love. It hasn’t sunk in yet, and I still can’t quite wrap my head around that in a week’s time I’ll be in Argentina getting ready to climb the slopes of Aconcagua! Another dream is about to come true…

Let the adventures of my frantic week ahead begin.

As most of you already know, I’m climbing for those who fight the life-threatening illness Cystic Fibrosis. If you would like to make a donation in support of these courageously fighting this daily battle, please consider making a donation by clicking here. All donations go directly the Cape Cystic Fibrosis Association and donations of any size are greatly appreciated!

If you would like to follow my journey up the slopes of Aconcagua, please click here.  The link will take you through to the Facebook Page of ADVENTURES GLOBAL, the company I will be doing the expedition with.  They will be updating all their followers with daily updates from the slopes of Aconcagua. They will update you as to where we are, how we are doing, what we are seeing and how the weather is treating us. I won’t have access to my mobile phone or to internet, except for at Base Camp so for daily updates on how it’s going give Adventures Global a follow by liking their page.

~ All Photos by me, except the one I’m in and the one taken by the friendly jogger! ~

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