Climbing a mountain is symbolic of the trials breast cancer sufferers face in overcoming their illness. Both require immense reserves of resilience, courage and determination.
Hence, in celebration of the physical and emotional fortitude necessary to conquer the challenges in surviving breast cancer, PRIDE Foundation (Pink Ribbon Deeds) launched the Climb with PRIDE-Aconcagua 2007, an expedition to the highest mountain in the Western and Southern Hemispheres in Argentina. This remarkable journey to the summit of one of the world's great peaks will be led by breast cancer survivor, Rene'e Aziz Ahmad.
COREZONE is proud to be the official equipment supplier for this exciting expedition. Here is news of the first part of the journey that began on 13 January:-
Please find below the updates from the team in Argentina (15 January till 17
January 2006). We will also be uploading the information on the website
with sound clips hopefully latest by Saturday. Our apology for the delay as
we are experiencing some technical problem.
The next update on the website will be early next week.
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Argentina, here I come!
15 January, 2007
The Climb with PRIDE team finally arrived at 8.50am in the Ezeiza
International airport in Buenos Aires after more than 25 hours flying. But
the last leg of their journey was not over yet. At 12.40pm, they left Buenos
Aires for Mendoza.
During the flight to Mendoza, the team met the friendly and helpful staff
from Las Lenas, an Argentinean resort which is providing logistics and PR
support for the Climb with PRIDE expedition. On the same flight were also
representatives from the PR agency, including Paola Estomba - she and Sophia
from Las Lenas, will be helping PRIDE organize a press conference in Mendoza
for Rene'e and the team.
About two hours later, they reached their destination. At long last! They
can finally check into the hotel in Mendoza. Don't forget that it is now
summer in Argentina, and the temperature today was a hot 35 degrees Celsius
in Mendoza. It was also dry and windy, said self-styled weatherman, team
member Khairul "Kabie" Ariffin. "It's a desert-like weather," he reported.
Mendoza, a city with a population of just about 111,000 inhabitants, is
located on the fringes of the Andes. It is not just a popular stopover for
those wishing to scale Mt Aconcagua, but the place for outdoor activities
such as hiking, horseback riding, rafting and of course, skiing. Mendoza is
also an important wine region in Argentina, as well as a producer of olive
Before the team members get their well deserved rest, they were off to the
equipment rental shop - Casa Orviz - together with the guides from the
appointed mountaineering expedition company, Aventuras Patagonicas.
According to a jet-lagged Stephanie, everything was very organized - and
fortunately, in no time whatsoever, their vital equipment was sorted out
that evening so that they didn't have to worry about it the next morning.
"As ready to go as can be!" said a tired but excited Shereen over the
So, with everything going as planned, and the climbers with all the
equipment they need and most importantly, in sizes that fit them, they
tucked into their first proper meal in Argentina at a dinner organized by
Aventuras Patagonicas. Yum! The taste of Argentinean cuisine.
Today, the climbers were introduced to their experienced lead guide for the
expedition from Aventuras Patagonicas, Chilean Andres Zegers, as well as
their two other guides, a fellow Chilean and an American lady.
And this is how Andres' profile reads:
He is a NOLS instructor and has been guiding for Aventuras Patagonicas since
1994. He is the most successful Chilean rock climber and he has been on
tremendously difficult routes in Patagonia and the Central Andes. He has
also climbed extensively in Yosemite, where he has done more than twenty El
Cap routes. He has guided Aconcagua for over 12 years with dozens of
successful summits on it. Andres is today one of the best guides in South
America and at the same time, one of the most talented all-round climbers.
He speaks English and Spanish.
Truly impressive.Now, it looks like the Climb with PRIDE team is in good
hands, no doubt about that! It's all up to the team members themselves to
make it happen.
It's oh so beautiful.
16 January 2007
After breakfast, the team members, with the guides from Aventuras
Patagonicas, set off to obtain the required permits for the expedition. As
of today, The Guanacos Valley & Traverse route, the one that the team will
be using, remained closed due to environmental reasons.
It was decided that an alternative - the Vacas & Relinchos Valley Route -
would be the next best option. This route is also one of the best
non-technical ways of climbing Mt Aconcagua. It ascends the Vacas and
Relinchos Valleys Route, and at the base of the Polish Glacier, the climbers
will traverse the mountain. Upon summiting, they will descend the Normal
Route, offering a wide spectrum of the entire mountain by travelling through
three different river valleys: the Vacas, Relinchos and Horcones,
experiencing the entire mountain, and past the four tremendous main faces of
The team will also have the services of two porters during the entire
expedition. As the porters will return to the base camp every night, they
will not be carrying their own equipment or bags. Thus, they can help take
some baggage load off the team members. In a situation where every kilo of
weight counts and backpacks become seemingly heavier with each passing day
of the expedition, this is great news.
With the permits done, Rene'e and her team headed back to their hotel for
the press conference arranged by Paola Estomba and her PR associates.
According to Rene'e, the press conference went really well - the response
from the Argentinean press was fantastic, surpassing everyone's
expectations. The media were excited about the Climb with PRIDE expedition
and for Rene'e. During the PC, nonetheless, translators had to help Rene'e
and the team members to understand and be understood by the largely
Spanish-speaking press! Even a TV station interviewed Rene'e, who's now,
undeniably, the rising star of Argentinean TV! You go girl!
After the PC and lunch, the team members packed up and gathered for another
briefing with the guides from Aventuras Patagonicas. Later this afternoon,
at 4pm, the team departed for Penitentes, a winter resort near the
Argentinean-Chilean border, about 180 kilometers from Mendoza, to begin
acclimatization to the high altitude. At an elevation of 8,500ft, Penitentes
would also serve as their starting point for the expedition. The drive to
Penitentes took about three hours, winding along the Rio (River) Mendoza
deep into the heart of the rugged Andes mountains. Arriving in the
Penitentes ski area, the team was greeted by the sweeping vista of the
mountains, in a colourful desert-like landscape. Not much grows here, except
for some patches of mountain grass. It is unlike Mt Kinabalu or anything she
has seen before, Rene'e told PRIDE over the phone. Weather-wise, it had been
drizzling in Penitentes and raining up in the mountains.
"Better bad weather now than later when we are up there," said Rene'e. It
would be less difficult for the climbers to walk on snow, rather than on icy
or wet rocky surfaces, she added. "It's easier for the crampons to grip the
snow. We are keeping an eye on the weather forecast but no one can really
tell. It's not predictable and the weather changes very quickly in the
Rene'e has yet seen the peak of Mt Aconcagua and she's excited to do so.
Perhaps tomorrow, when the team members go for a short day hike around
Penitentes, they might just get to catch their first ever real-life glimpse
of the mighty Aconcagua!
17 January 2007
In the breathtakingly lovely ski resort of Penitentes, where blue skies and
sunshine dominate, the team members were trying to get used to the high
elevation before they ascend to the base camp of Aconcagua tomorrow. So
today, the Aventuras Patagonicas organized a hiking session for the team.
During the half-kilometre hike, the team had the chance to survey the
starting point for their expedition - an experience that proved both
exhilarating and scary at the same time, as Stephanie confessed to PRIDE
over the phone. Tomorrow is the BIG DAY - the beginning of the climb up Mt
All of the team members have also emailed PRIDE today, so here they are:
We took a short drive up the road today from where we are staying in
Penitentes to catch our first glimpse of Aconcagua. It was quite an imposing
sight, the South Face, all covered in ice and snow with clouds moving in
fast from the west.
Tomorrow we begin the 3-day walk to the basecamp of the Vacas & Relinchos
Valley. I think we are all a little excited and perhaps nervous but I have
faith that all will be well. We pray for good weather and for the mountain
to give us permission to pass safely through. Once at basecamp, we will
spend two or three days resting and acclimatizing before we move to Camp 1.
This will be the pattern that we will follow until we get to High Camp and
prepare for our Summit attempt.
We hope everyone at home is well. We will keep in touch with PRIDE via the
satellite phone over the course of the expedition. Till then, love and good
wishes to all.