This is a particularly hard post for me to write. I hate failing to reach a goal, particularly when I don’t even get the opportunity to give it my all. If I had reached 6,000m and the mountain had beaten me, I could accept that. This is a much harder pill to swallow.
As I was getting ready to climb Mt Aconcagua (a trip I’d been looking forward to for the past 6 months), I made a short journey up to Bolivia, spending a few days on the Salt Flats above 4,000m and climbing Volcan Lazcar (5,500m) to help get acclimatised for the big dog. It was an incredible experience, well worth the journey in it’s own right. I was there for a purpose however, the fact that I got to experience the closest thing I’ve seen to an otherworldly landscape was just a bonus. I did manage to get well acclimatised and also managed to pick up a bonus Bolivian stomach virus to add to the bodily festivities.
I’ve always had an iron-stomach, having eaten Vietnamese street-chicken, New-Delhi fried gutter specialties, Nepalese shanty-cuisine and Tanzanian beef that had been out in the 30 degree sun god-knows how long. I’d never been sick until now.. and what a time for it to happen.
I first noticed the real effects on New Years Day, after a few too many drinks and not quite enough sleep (thanks to a certain Macedonian acquaintance). Frankly, I felt like shit, struggling to walk 15 minutes to book a bus back to Mendoza. From there I just deteriorated, spending the next 10 days hardly able to move; racked with fever, hallucinating (I was seeing these strange little things that kept trying to build structures around the edge of my bed), headaches and not able to hold any food down. I realised Mt Aconcagua 2016 wasn’t going to happen..
As I type this a few days later I still feel incredibly disappointed.. That’s the way life goes though I guess, it just means I’ll have to get back down here next year to make another attempt.
Everyone has been incredibly supportive which I really appreciate. It’s just a minor setback on this long journey I’ve committed myself to. Time to get back to training and preparing for the next one!