I started in Aconcagua working at the base camp in the 2013-2014 season, and at Christmas I already hung up my apron and took my backpack to carry to the high altitude camps (although I continued to lend a hand in the kitchen when I dropped the kilos). This helped me a lot to get to know the mountain and how all the logistics moved, and above all to train every day going up and down with the kilos on my back to the high altitude camps along their normal route. Also, this season I was able to make my first summit on the roof of America.
The following year, already received as a guide, I went up to the Aconcagua season to work as a porter and if a guide came up, I would take it from the Plaza de Mulas base camp. It didn’t take long for the opportunity to lead to the summit to appear.
One day, Gigi and Vale, who used to work at the base, come running and tell me “colo” there is a job as a guide, a lady who wants to go to the summit. None of the guides or porters that were there wanted that job. I of course said yes right away.
So we sat down to have tea and get to know Susan. She was from the United States, she was 61 years old and she tells me that she had come down from a summit attempt the day before. Her expedition had reached the pass of the wind, that is, at approximately 6440 meters above sea level, and they had come down precisely because of a lot of wind (although she told me that she did not think there was that much wind). So she was super acclimatized and very motivated to try the summit again. She explained to me that she didn’t have much time due to flights, and that she wanted to make the attempt to the top in only 3 days. That is, climb directly from the Plaza de Mulas base camp at 4,200 masl to Camp 3 Cólera at 5,990 masl; the next day the summit attempt and finally on the third day go down to the base camp. As always, I wanted to go up the mountain immediately.
We prepare the tent equipment, heater, etc. We chose the food, a very difficult subject because Susan was a “level 8” vegan. And the next day we went straight to Cholera. Already in camp 3 and after fixing the heater (in which Agustín Aramayo helped me, still grateful), we prepared to rest for the next day. The summit attempt left very early and we had good weather, obvious cold as always and some wind, but acceptable. Every now and then I offered her to stop to rest, hydrate, eat something, but she almost always told me to “go on, slowly but steadily” so we kept going up; I was amazed at the physical performance of this woman, truly exemplary her determination. After two long breaks in Independencia 6400 masl and in La Cueva 6680 masl approx. We continue along the gutter step by step. The edge of the guanaco step by step and going up. Finally the summit 6962 masl! Happy to share with Susan and accompany her in her dream of stepping on the roof of America. I will always remember with affection this first guide on the mountain that I love so much and has given me so much.
(Anecdote: coming down from the summit in the cave with a very nice sun, we slept a little nap after the tremendous effort of the top)