In honor of International Mountain Day this Dec. 11th, we’ve compiled a few of our best mountain climbing stories to share! Our hope is that they inspire you to climb to new heights, to ally with local communities to protect vital mountain communities, and share your mountain adventures with newcomers. So, from all of the mountain lovers at Project Cordillera, Happy International Mountain Day!
“Last year I walked the W circuit in Torres del Paine National Park, Chilean Patagonia. I was alone and with limited
resources, anything I did have was rented and not in great shape. The first few days were freezing cold and swept by unforeseeable storms that appeared as if from nowhere. But even when the weather was bad there was an unprecedented beauty in the sense of isolation there. The sight of Grey Glacier from the wind swept look out point, the sun touching it through breaks in the cloud, is one of the most striking things I’ve ever seen. And then reaching the granite towers of the Paine range as the sun was rising (just as my legs were about to give out) was the perfect way to end the Chilean part of my journey across South America. It’s so peaceful there, yet so chaotic. So unfamiliar, yet somehow recognizable as though I’d seen it once in a past life. It is truly one of the most spectacular places on earth.”
- Alanna Byrne, Marketing & Communications Superstar
“My first memory of climbing a significant mountain is from long, long ago when I was in kindergarten! A family visit to Colorado found me summiting my very first 14er (a mountain over 14,000 feet) and combating my first bout of altitude sickness on the way down. Aside from crying a little, I remember feeling nothing but open-mouthed awe on top of that mountain, I was speechless (something that rarely happens these days.) It’s always worth a little pain to enjoy that sense of accomplishment, the serenity that only exists in the last steps before the summit, and the inspiring, breathtaking views from the top of the world. On to the next adventure!”
- Maria Ranallo, Operations Manager and all around Rockstar
“Climbing mountains for me is all about pushing the boundaries of my comfort zone and continually striving to learning something new. Some of the great ranges in the world such as the Alps and the Andes also makes for a pretty awesome playground! So when the opportunity to climb Gran Paradiso, Italy’s highest mountain at 4,061m, appeared as a “back up” when bad weather meant that Mont Blanc was off the cards, I enthusiastically grabbed the opportunity with both hands (quite literally!). Gran Paradiso makes for a great first ‘real’ mountain on where you can get the opportunity to practice and test a few skills, be that roping up on the glacier, scrambling and for me one of the highlights, the via ferrata! A steady slog, concentrating just on putting one foot in front of the other finally gets you to the rocks below the summit where the Madonna statue sits. A few snaps of the camera and a panorama that swings from the French, to the Italian Alps to the Matterhorn and the Swiss Alps, and it’s back down for the descent and the reward of a local beer and some yummy Italian food!”
- Marie Cheng, Finance wiz and lover of Italian food.