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Mountain High – Local hikers schooled by altitude and weather

Stalagmite-like ice dots this area of the mountain on Aconcagua in Argentina as Rob Rasmjssen and Will Hornberger maneuver upwards.

Peggy Bradfield
Leader Staff Writer

The winds of Aconcagua ultimately decide whether a mountain climber will summit. The highest mountain in the Americas as well as outside of Asia demands respect. For Bear River Valley residents Rob Rasmussen and Will Hornberger the winds were about to speak as they made the decision to attempt to summit on their fourteenth day. Six other climbers on the mountain were showing evidence of what the wind and weather could force one to endure in search of summiting. Cerebral edema had set in, putting these six lives at risk.

The duo had left the U.S. on Dec. 24, 2009. For thirteen days they had pushed higher and higher on the mountain and returned to lower elevations to recover as they acclimatized, preparing for the ultimate push to the summit. That is if the weather cooperated.

The rangers offered some vague weather advice, Hornberger said. In essence, they said there was a one to two day window in which to summit. Rasmussen and Hornberger decided to go for it. At 2:30 a.m. they began the ascent. They must make a certain cave by 3 p.m. or they would have to turn back.

For the first part of the series, click here

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