Summit Date: March 8th 2016 Time: 21 Days
It was Aconcagua in Argentina, my second climb, that helped me discover that climbing was my true passion.
It’s also where I experienced my first major setback. Aconcagua has a reputation for rapidly changing weather conditions. We were about 500 meters from the summit when a snowstorm hit and we were forced to turn back. Our designated window closed, bringing the expedition to an end.
The rest of my group went home, but I was fortunate that I had the strength to try one more time. They arranged to get me a new porter to take me up again where I met up with another group. We all reached the summit only four days later, and the weather was perfect. I didn’t even need a jacket.
It was a hard, but important lesson to learn about climbing, to understand that safety trumps summiting. The weather is completely out of your control, and you need to listen to your guide, even if it means giving up on a summit. You have the rest of your life to go back and try again.
In the end, the setback was fortuitous. One of the climbers I met on my second attempt had an Everest expedition planned a few weeks later, and invited me to join them.
Liz Rose is a 26-year-old mountain climber from West Vancouver, British Columbia who is poised to become the youngest Canadian to climb the Seven Summits of the world. For her seventh summit she is raising funds for Canuck Place Children’s Hospice. Donate to her fundraiser.