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Meaningful Accomplishments on Aconcagua

Mad­ness Guide Mark Pugliese writes to share he and his team’s expe­ri­ence on a dif­fi­cult sum­mit attempt on Aconcagua.

Team one of sev­en back in Men­doza and final­ly warm! This has been one of the cold­est and windi­est expe­di­tions I have ever been on. 

We bat­tled through gale force winds and cold that was unlike any­thing I’ve seen in the moun­tains to date. I want to con­grat­u­late my team for a safe and enjoy­able expe­di­tion, even if the sum­mit was not reached. 

It is often hard to look back on an expe­di­tion in which no sum­mits were achieved as a suc­cess, but this one in par­tic­u­lar is a per­fect exam­ple of how sum­mit­ing is not the only goal in the end. This group was one of the most close­ly knit and team-ori­ent­ed groups I have ever had the plea­sure of guid­ing. Their pos­i­tive atti­tudes and per­sis­tence got them through days and days of hor­ri­ble weath­er and demor­al­iz­ing set­backs. I tru­ly believe each mem­ber of this group will take away some­thing from this expe­di­tion that will enrich their lives for count­less years to come, and they should be proud to have earned that gift. 

The team at our high­est point (20,300 ft./6187m). Mark Pugliese photo

On the oth­er side of the coin, I was able to grow as a per­son on this trip as well. This group of gen­tle­man has so much diverse life expe­ri­ence from all over the world that as much as I was able to teach them about the moun­tains, they were able to teach me about life. Every­thing from retire­ment accounts to rela­tion­ships, they spilled the wealth of their knowl­edge to me in those dark windy days high on the moun­tain, and that is some­thing that will enrich my life for years to come.

As a final word, thank you boys for an incred­i­ble 20 days, and I hope to get the chance to climb with you again! 

~MM Guide Mark Pugliese