While most people on here are enjoying summery, northern hemisphere things like music festivals, beach sessions, and beer gardens, I’m posting from inside this tent at 10,000 subfreezing feet. I’m camped in a valley just a few miles from the Chile/Argentina border - a border that was closed just a few days ago due to a major winter storm. Roads are all clear now, though, and I’m set to cross into Chile in the morning.
Oh! You can’t see it from this angle, but Aconcagua, the tallest mountain in the western and southern hemispheres, looms just out of frame.
Jornet is widely considered the world’s fastest mountain runner and one of the most exciting endurance athletes today. Stephen Kurczydocuments one of his recent climbs:
At 6 A.M., he started running from the park entrance. He covered the first fourteen miles to base camp in three and a quarter hours. The next four and a half miles to the summit took five and a quarter hours, during which he climbed nearly nine thousand feet in elevation and the terrain changed from sandy and rocky to snow-covered and icy. The altitude made him disoriented, and wobbly legs and a loss of balance caused him to fall repeatedly, he later told me.
Above: Kílian Jornet on Aconcagua. Photograph by Stephen Kurczy
Aconcagua is the highest mountain in South America as well as the tallest in the Western and Southern hemispheres. It is found in western Argentina, near the Chile border. It has an elevation of 6,962 metres above sea level and is the highest point within the Andes, the world’s longest continental mountain range. The Andes stretch over 7,000 kilometres across the west edge of South America and cross through seven countries: Colombia, Venezuela, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Argentina, and Chile.