Cycling The Globe

A Cycle Touring Expedition Around The World

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Day 1303, Refugio Valadero: Up Up Up…

Posted by Thomas Andersen Posted on May - 16 - 2014

It was just after sunrise as we packed our bags for today’s adventure. The game plan was to cycle a couple of kilometers off road as far as the bikes would take us, and then start hiking towards the summit of a 5000 m peak we had spotted on Petters GPS.

A little after 9 am we left the bikes in the middle of nowhere. A couple of quick calculations told us that we would need to be at the top at 3 pm at the latest, or we would have to turn around.

After cycling a lot it always feels nice to be doing some hiking using different muscles. In the first couple of hours we were slowly climbing towards 4800 m. Even though we had spent some days to acclimatize to this height, our hearts were still racing and our steps very short.

After a short lunch break we climbed a bit higher, and we could now see the peak we were going to summit. As we had tried a couple of times before, the last couple of hundred meters towards the summit felt like hitting a wall. As the climb got steeper our steps were now very short and very slow. We were laughing about the fact that we looked like we were 90 years old.

A few hundred meters in front of us we could now see the summit. It was a great feeling of relief to finally reach it – 5000 m was a new record height for both of us! In the morning we were not sure how our bodies would react at this height, now we knew we could manage it.

We put the camera in timer mode and tried a celebration jump. We didn’t manage to leave the ground by many centimeters, and after the single jump we had to lie down to rest. There just isn’t much oxygen up here.

A few minutes later we started to descend. Climbing mountains is strange as you celebrate your victory at the summit, but in fact you are only half way there. Our legs got even more tired as we made our way down towards our bikes.

Our legs might have been tired, but the views made up for it. Being out here you really feel one with nature.

Reunited with our bikes we used our absolutely last energy to cycle the last two kilometers towards the Valadero Refugio.

Inside the refugio we sat down, both of us staring into the air without saying much, almost in a state of apathy. The euphoria we had experienced at the summit suddenly felt far away. I wonder if this is a normal reaction after climbing mountains.

A few minutes later we were both sound asleep in our sleeping bags.

Categories: Argentina, Mountaineering
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