Endurance Athlete Completes Circumnavigation and Summit of Aconcagua in Single Push

1280px Monte Aconcagua

Mountain runner Sunny Stroeer is up to her old tricks again. You’ll recall, she’s the endurance athlete who set a new speed record on Aconcagua last February and then followed it up with another speed record on the Annapurna Circuit this past fall. Now, she’s gone back to Argentina once again, and has managed to pull off yet another impressive feat on the tallest mountain in South America.

Last week, Stroeer became the first woman to not only circumnavigate Aconcagua on foot, but then also proceed straight up to its 22,841-foot (6961-meter) summit in a single push. And if that doesn’t sound hard enough, she also accomplished this impressive feat completely solo.

Dubbed the “Full 360,” this test of endurance has only been accomplished once before. It took Stroeer 47 hours and 30 minutes to complete the 64-mile (103 km) loop, with the clock starting to tick as soon as she stepped out of her hotel room.

Stroeer tells National Geographic that she had no intention of attempting the Full 360 when she traveled to South America back in December. Her original plan was to lead a team of female climbers up Aconcagua, then have a go at a different speed record. But when her climbing partner pulled out of that attempt, she went looking for other projects, eventually settling on this one. She ended up training for about a month before setting out on the trail.

As you can imagine, the summit push on Aconcagua proved to be the toughest part of the expedition. Stroeer says she arrived at Camp 3 on the mountain – located at 19,300 feet (5882 meters) after running for 24 hours straight. She had stashed some supplies there, including clean ice to use as drinking water, only to discover that someone had stolen it. With very little water in her pack, she set out for the summit anyway, facing dehydration on the way up. She says she nearly turned around at least six times, but eventually was able to push through.

This is just the tip of the story though. To find out more, read the full interview with Nat Geo, where Sunny even provides some insights into what might come next for her. Those projects include a potential speed record attempt on the Hayduke Trail and possibly a solo expedition to the South Pole.

Kraig Becker