NEC Grad Treks in the Andes
Kate Belanger and her companions trekked through bitter cold and hip deep snow this past December, in an attempt to reach the 22,841 foot summit of Aconcagua in the Argentine Andes. “It was the hardest thing I’ve ever done,” she said.
At 21,000 feet above sea level the lack of atmospheric pressure makes it extremely difficult to breathe. That is a discussion that Kate Belanger probably had with her biology professors here at New England College. And one that she will most likely have with her students at The Hill School in Pottstown, Pennsylvania where she teaches science. But that is a lesson she experienced for herself as she struggled to reach the summit of the highest mountain outside Asia or in the Western or Southern Hemispheres.
Aconcagua in the Argentine Andes stands at 22,841 feet. One of “The Seven Summits,” it ranks with other legendary peaks such as Everest, Kilimanjaro, and Denali, and with lesser known but equally challenging mountains like Elbrus, Carstensz Pyramid, and Vinson.
For more than four and a half hours, Kate and her companions trekked through bitter cold and hip deep snow this past December, in an attempt to reach the 22,841 foot summit. “It was the hardest thing I’ve ever done,” she said.
Despite the impossible conditions, she was able to ascend as far as 21,005 feet, just 1,836 feet short of the summit, before returning to a more habitable elevation. But not before capturing the moment with some amazing photographs. Atmospheric pressure aside, the views are still breathtaking.