I became the youngest British female to climb Aconcagua on the 27th December 2010, age 17, with my dad. Again, we climbed with Alpine Ascents and had three awesome guides - Suzanne Allen, Matthew Emht and the legendary Lakpa Rita Sherpa, who has summited Everest 14 times now, hopefully the next time will be with my dad and me! Our team was relatively large this time, consisting of 10 lovely team members, out of whom 6 summited.
This was another tough climb, and the whole team reached personal altitude records; however, reaching almost 7000m had fairly bad effects on everybody's health. It was this aspect that proved most difficult throughout the climb, leading to some days spent exhausted and relying on Gu gel to get through... This wasn't a technical climb, and weight wise it was easier than Denali, however the continuous hauling weight up the highest mountain outside the Himalayas proved to be a challenge for even our strongest team members.
We spent Christmas day at Camp 3, with the amazing views shown in the top two pictures on the right. This was a rest day, and we made as Christmassy as possible by creating a Christmas tree out of ice axes and crampons, looped with rope, and with a glove on the top for a star. Suzanne also brought a tiny set of fairy lights to decorate it with! We sang carols and had an interesting Christmas dinner... It was definitely a Christmas to remember, however the festive spirit was difficult to maintain, especially as we had to dismantle our tree to use our crampons later that same day.
Summit day was, in my opinion, harder than Denali summit day, even though it was slightly shorter. We began at sunrise and traversed ice, scrambled up rocks for hours, and experienced moderate snowfall - leading to a very slippery descent, with one exhausted member being short-roped the entire way down.
Everyone made it down safely, albeit with some minor toe injuries and very tired leg muscles, ready to celebrate New Year's Eve back in civilisation.