Post 1: Flight from Atlanta to Santiago
Twenty-four hours flying plus four hours by van and I will be on this frozen rock again. Aconcagua, the highest peak in America, and second highest of the seven summits. My tent mate and climbing partner last year, Roi, called me and said we have unfinished business, and that he would like to give Aconcagua another try. I don’t have any friends that enjoy the punishment these high peaks bring, so after getting it blessed by my wife and looking at work window I said yes.
I have been accepted to climb Everest again in April and have been training in preparation for my return. I climbed a glacier in Russia, Elbrus, the highest peak in Europe, Kilimanjaro, the highest peak in Africa, and a few 14ers in Colorado. I get better every mountain I climb, but I am also getting older and my physical ability diminishing. I have been feeling the aches and pains in my knees, back, feet, and I enjoy every second of it. I have a long way to go before I stand on Everest again, and this will be a good test to see if my skills and conditioning are staying ahead of my tired old ass.
I still am asking myself “Why?” I have more answers than I did last year, and every mountain gives me more reasons. For the first time, I will be climbing for a cause “Les wrestles MS”. My college wrestling teammate, and fraternity brother from CMSU was diagnosed with MS a few years ago and a group of friends has reunited to help, the past year we have seen him push back the effects of MS in his words “without drugs but with a bike and friends”. We created a fundraiser that raised over $40,000 dollars for the wrestling program and MS Society, rode several trips on the Katy trail, and rekindled old friendships and even changed some people’s lives. I am climbing these mountains everyone thinks is hard, but it is easy compared to the mountain, Les and people with MS have to climb every day. Every time I start listening to the pain or the cold I think to myself how blessed I am to be able to do this and how people with MS will trade me spots any day. So I will have a link to a fundraising site asking for donations.