Listo para Aconcagua, Ready for Aconcagua!
For half a year since leaving the town of Talkeetna in Alaska I have had one main focus, to reach Aconcagua within its climbing season and make a bid to summit. The pace has been pretty frantic at times but I have done it! I am in Argentina in time to climb. Now I just need to find out if I am in shape! Climbing requires a totally different sort of fitness to cycling.
I haven't been cycling at the record pace I maintained around the globe, this was never the idea. What I wanted was to explore and film a lot more of the world I was passing through. This has been a tricky balance to maintain at times, but I'm really pleased to hear from the production team that the documentary series is shaping up very well and that it promises to be unique and very colourful.
The last section across the Atacama Desert was one of the most extreme and stunning worlds I have cycled through. Almost nothing lives in this sterile world, neither plant nor animal as the sands are too acidic. It hasn't rained for decades. The days are very hot without shade and the nights very cold and exposed. The Atacama has a rare magic that can only be properly appreciated at the speed of a bike and by sleeping under the stars.
For the last five days I have been in the beautiful city of Mendoza in Argentina, preparing for the climb. Aconcagua is the highest mountain outside of the Himalayas and not to be underestimated. On my first day off the bike I went to hospital for five hours of medical checks. Rather ironically my taxi had a crash on route there - but luckily no-one was hurt and I swapped to another cab and left some angry Argentineans to sort it out!
After the tests, and with a clean bill of health, it was then a case of plenty of food and sleep to restore the body's batteries. The bike also went for a check up and is now fully serviced and ready for the final 2000 miles that I plan to cycle post-climb to the southern tip of Argentina.
I will be climbing with two Argentineans, Damian and Sebastian. Both are great athletes and experienced climbers. Damian is arguably the most experienced guide on this mountain. We are now packed and ready for up to three weeks away as we attempt to climb to 6,963 meters. My next update will be from the mountain!