Aconcagua is the highest mountain in the Americas, and the highest outside Asia. It was one of the first of the seven summits, I ever wanted to climb. From the beginning of my quest, I always wanted to climb it solo. The normal route on Aconcagua is not technically difficult, but the intense weather and its extreme altitude of 6962m makes it a really challenging peak. Climbing solo, means no partner, carrying all the equipment by yourself, setting up camp, cooking food, which is not always easy after a long exhausting day of climbing. The most challenging part of climbing solo at high altitude is the decision making, you constantly have doubts, your mind is playing tricks on you, while you know that every little decision you make will have an impact on your safety and chances of reaching the summit. After 10 days and 4 nights at Nido de Condores (Camp2), I felt ready and strong for a summit push. At 2:45 am on January 20th, I started to climb alone in the dark towards the summit. Around 4 am, I made it to Camp 3 and realized that I was making really good progress. I took a small 5 minutes brake to add some layers, grab a bite to eat, water and I kept on moving. At around 6;30 am the sun was starting to rise over the horizon, that is to me one of the most magical moments in the mountain. I soon realized that I was the only one up there and I loved it. I made it to the famous traverse before starting the section called the Canaleta, a 300m steep section of loose rocks. At 6600m, that is when my body really start noticing the effect of the altitude, I would go for maximum 10 steps before needed to stop for a 30 seconds rest. I tried to not look up or to look at my altimeter, because even do I knew I was really close to the summit, it felt so far at the same time. I remembered laughing at myself because, I was moving so slow, the last 300m took almost 2 hours. Finally at 9:10 am on January 20, I made it to the summit of Aconcagua. It was such a powerful and incredible feeling to be standing up there all by myself, there is no words to describe such a magical experience. I remembered thinking about all the times of my life when I felt so low, at that moment I was probably one of the highest people in the world. It was pretty cold, around -29C and the wind was gusting at 50km/hrs, I spent about 25 minutes on the summit enjoying the views, taking pictures and videos. The the cold and the wind made it really difficult, I was also so out of breath and the emotions so strong that I had difficulty speaking. After 45 minutes into my descent, I met the first group that was slowly making his way up. I was so happy about my decision to go solo, not only I could climb at my own pace, but to stand on the summit by myself was worth all the doubts and the challenging moments I had previously faced. I took a direct descent trail and found myself peeking at the summit from camp 2 only eight hours after leaving my tent. That afternoon, I decided to make it all the way down to base camp, in total a thirteen hours day. The following morning, I hiked 30km to the trailhead.
During this amazing adventure, I met some incredible people and saw some really beautiful sceneries. Aconcagua was about self-discovery, about believing in myself while learning to really listen to my emotions and take care of my body and mind. I definitely had my moments of doubts, but I kept on listening to my hearth and it safely took me up and down the mountain. These lessons are something we can all apply to our life, because we all have a mountain to climb!