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Archive for Monday, February 8, 2010

Climber prepares to peak in Argentina

Woman ready for 23,000-foot ‘sufferfest’

February 8, 2010

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Sandy Brown will soon be climbing Aconcagua in Argentina, the second tallest mountain in the seven continental summits. She has been training by traversing the hill area near the Campanile.

Sandy Brown will soon be climbing Aconcagua in Argentina, the second tallest mountain in the seven continental summits. She has been training by traversing the hill area near the Campanile.

Sandy Brown is no stranger to a challenge.

She’s bicycled in Morocco, the Czech Republic and Ireland with her husband, dermatologist Lee Bittenbender. She’s hiked in Bhutan and Mongolia. She’s even climbed Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, the highest peak in Africa.

But she’s about to face her biggest challenge yet: She’s going to climb the tallest mountain outside of Asia.

Brown, a Lawrence resident, arrives today in Mendoza, Argentina. In the next three weeks she will travel to and climb Aconcagua, a 22,834-foot-tall mountain that is the highest outside of the Himalayas. It’s the second-highest of the seven summits, the tallest mountains on each continent. Temperatures on Aconcagua rarely rise above freezing, and the wind chill can dip below minus 30 degrees.

“I’m pretty much drawn to that emotional high and the accomplishment of reaching that goal,” Brown said. “I enjoy taking a goal, preparing for it and executing it.”

Brown said that for the past four years she has wanted to attempt climbing Aconcagua, but she knows it won’t be easy. The mountain is about 3,500 feet taller than Kilimanjaro.

“It’s a giant step up,” she said. “It’s crazy. It will be a sufferfest.”

Brown has trained since Nov. 1 for Aconcagua by climbing hills near Memorial Stadium and stairs in Allen Fieldhouse while wearing a 35-pound pack. She’s mentally preparing for a trip up what she says is a dangerously unpredictable mountain.

“I can start to visualize now what it’s going to be like on that glacier,” she said. “I know that I have the self-confidence. I trust my equipment, I trust my training and it’s just a mental focus and clarity. I just feel super clear.”

Brown will spend six to eight hours each day climbing to get to the highest camp on the mountain by Feb. 23. Then she will have a two-day window to climb thousands of feet to try to reach the summit. This will be the hardest part of her journey: a 15-hour day likely to begin at 4 a.m.

Brown isn’t fearless, though. Altitude, danger and the physical discomfort have all crossed her mind.

“My eyes filled up with tears but then I switched right out of it and then it turned to excitement,” she said. “I’m super psyched right now.”

Comments

SassyGirl 4 years, 10 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

grimpeur 4 years, 10 months ago

Same people who pay to rescue people from (or pay for people to do) zillions of perfectly acceptable excesses, vices, and bad habits every freakin day.

So zip it, assygirl. Sheesh...

Robert Rauktis 4 years, 10 months ago

In Alaska it is required to post a bond for rescue before you attenpt Denali (McKinley). Too many Asians showed, thinking they would "gut it up", requiring at least a helicopter download. Oregon is considering the same policy for the winter "assaults" on Mt. Hood by adventure lawyers from the east coast.

peach_plum_pear 4 years, 10 months ago

This lady is awesome! Best of luck to her.

ilovelucy 4 years, 10 months ago

Sassy: what is up your butt today? I've known Sandy for years and admire and respect what she does.
Your sassy mouth needs to be slapped.

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