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I cross over the Andean mountains and I cross over the Argentinian border. I am surrounded by mountains and one of them is raising above all the others, Aconcagua. This mountain is not only the highest in this part of Argentina, but it is also the highest in the entire Americas. At 6962 meters, she is the one with the vast view over the continent and I want to stand on top and see it all too. I feel tiny as I am drawn to this huge mountain. All I want is to climb closer. It is hard to continue past it, because Aconcagua is on my mind.

My attraction is strong and I join a climbing expedition. There are thirteen others that are just as enchanted by the mountain as I. We hike around and above Base Camp together, where we are acclimatizing and accustoming ourselves to the altitude. The situation is getting more and more extreme and I love it all the more. We carry our heavy equipment in sets to Camp One, we get stranded in our tents during stormy winds in Camp Two and eventually reach the bitter cold nights in Camp Three. We wake up here on summit day, from now on everything is serious. We start climbing before dawn, past the morning and into the afternoon. My breath quickens and is many times faster than my steps. Suddenly it is hard to continue further, because Aconcagua is in my body.

I am a hundred meters below the summit and I have symptoms of severe altitude sickness. Still, I try to reach even higher. I slip with my crampons on the snow and I grope with my mittens on the rock. I fall and I fumble. I feel drunk. Like an alcoholic who is trying to crawl herself into a bar, even if she keeps being refused. My guide tells me that it is over and I try to convince him that it is not. He is however right and I have to turn around. The altitude sickness eases as I reach lower elevation. The air is easier to breath, everything else feels harder. It is hard to realize that my ambition exceeds my ability. That this mountain, that I have longed for, is not going to let me near. It is hard to continue down, because Aconcagua is in my heart.




  1. Anna S W Friday, December 9, 2011, at 5:41 AM

    åh, Hannis! blir alldeles tårögd-känner din besvikelse! Men herregu vad häftig upplevelse ändå, det är ju så högt! Du är grym! Bra att du trotsade din ambition så att du inte blev riktigt sjuk! Du kommer säkert att ta dig tillbaka och lyckas upp till toppen om du vill sedan! Så fint kort på dig! KRAM

  2. Hanna Friday, December 9, 2011, at 7:27 AM

    Tack Anna,

    Ja, det har varit en häftig upplevelse och jag hoppas verkligen att jag kan återvända någon dag. Då kommer jag hälsa på dig innan så att du kan uppmuntra mig, för det är du så bra på.

    Tusen kramar

  3. Fanny and Gwen Tuesday, December 13, 2011, at 9:47 AM

    Far away from the Aconcagua, we think of you lots and at reading this we remember that amazing energy of yours that drives you far far away always… We have come to sit on a couch, on our appartment, and it feels good and… strange too:)Good luck on the road!

  4. hanna Wednesday, December 14, 2011, at 9:19 PM

    Fanny and Gwen, how lovely to hear from you. I hope you are enjoying your couch in France, which sounds a bit more comfortable then a bike seat in Bolivia. Hopefully, you also enjoyed all those cycling days all the way to the end.

    Good luck with all your grand plans and let me know if they ever bring you to Sweden.

  5. Neil and Hannah Monday, December 19, 2011, at 3:28 PM

    Sorry to hear that it was all in vain, but close is better than not trying, and 100m from the summit is definately something to be proud of, there aren’t that many people in the world have been that high without wings.
    Considering your whole trip as well I would be proud to have achieved a quarter of your journey even without the climb.
    Good luck for the rest of the trip, you’ll love the south especially El Chalten I think, and of course Torres del Paine, I hope we enjoy the north as much.
    All the best Neil and Hannah (Mendosa)

  6. Lucia Friday, December 23, 2011, at 4:30 AM

    Read your posts about Chile and Aconcagua! I so happy you had the flowered dessert! No worries about the montain, it’s not moving anywhere and you can always climb it again later on. Besides, your trip is about cycling! Are you heading down to Patagonia now?
    I had bad news from Sweden (a young cousin died) I will probably visit my aunty in February.
    Enjoy the good food in the south, ask for *pan amasado con picarones* hand made bread with bacon bits; *curanto en hoyo*, it is a hole filled with hot rocks, big leaves, seafood, meats and veggies!

  7. hanna Sunday, December 25, 2011, at 1:47 PM

    You are right Neil and Hannah, it was disappointing not to make it all the way up but it was not all in vain. Mountains are always amazing and rewarding and I am looking forward to the rest of them.

    And yes Lucia, I am very keen on returning to the mountain and hopefully the summit one fine day. I am now entering Patagonia however, where the snowy mountain peaks are looking down on all the lakes and greens that I cycle by. I will keep an eye out for a veggie-version of that hand made bread and hope that you will find some tasty rye bread in the bakeries in Sweden.

  8. marta Wednesday, January 4, 2012, at 6:54 PM

    Hannah what an amazing effort!

    I can understand that you are guttered for not being able to reach the top this time but pushing yourself further and further is admirable and brave.

    Well done for trying.

  9. Hanna Thursday, January 5, 2012, at 5:05 PM

    Thank you Marta, with comments such as yours it feels as if the sky is the limit.

    I am sure that you are pushing yourself further and further when you are cycling as well. Best of luck on your journey and let me know if you are closing in.

    /Hanna, now in El Bolson

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