Running Up Aconcagua

Speaking of Aconcagua, I was listening to National Geographic Weekend, on Stitcher Radio a few days back, and host Boyd Matson was interviewing ultrarunner and North Face athlete Diane Van Deren as she prepares to make a speed attempt on Aconcagua in a few weeks time.

In the interview, Diane talked a lot about her training and the extreme races she takes part in, including doing the Yukon Quest trail on foot in the middle of February. That’s a 430 mile long run, in the dead of winter, which she completed in just 10 days time. Think about that folks. She averaged 43 miles per day, through snow, in arctic conditions. Very impressive.

Anyway, Diane is now preparing to leave for Argentina as part of a research study put on by the Mayo Clinic, to examine the effects of altitude on performance. She’ll start by climbing the mountain in typical fashion, spending a number of days acclimatizing and making a summit bid. After that, she’ll return to base camp, then descend 20 miles further away from the mountain, where she’ll start the real challenge, running to the summit of Aconcagua, the tallest mountain in South America.

Accompanying Diane on the climb will be Willie Benegas, who is very familiar with Aconcagua, having gone up the mountain himself more than 20 times. The well known mountain guide has climbed all over the world, including Patagonia and the Himalaya. Also a North Face athlete, Willie will make a perfect partner for Diane on this expedition.

I had a hard time finding much info on this speed climb. If anyone has a link to an expedition page, please send it my way.

Kraig Becker

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