Johnathan Sugarman just called in minutes ago from the summit of Aconcagua! He, Allen and Fermin are all standing on the summit after a long climb up from High Camp. Fermin and our guide Nick Shepherd are in radio contact with one another, so we’ll hear from the remaining climbers soon.
Summit day is a long, hard day, with almost 3,000′ of elevation gain, all of it above 20,000 feet. The team started out in the dark, moving up by the light of each climber’s headlamp. As the sun crested the eastern horizon, the mountain is often bathed in an orange/pink alpenglow, light that casts a pyramidal shadow of the peak over the nearby Pacific Ocean.
A bit higher, the team followed a long, rising traverse, known as the Grand Traverse, which climbs up to the final challenge of the route, the Canaleta.
The Canaleta is a rather infamous gully that can be loose and tricky. It is often described as the hardest part of the entire route. This leads to the summit ridge, and ultimately, the top of South America.