Aconcagua season kicking in!

Let’s get ready for some climbing again. The Aconcagua seasons starts officialy in December, but I need to way for February 2019 for my start. Do I feel ready? Yes! Nervous? A little maybe. Feeling like wanting to start tomorrow? Yes, let’s rock and roll!

Transition from Denali

The first thing I needed after Denali was time to recover and rest. Step away from the everyday trainingroutine and take time time to sit back and relaxed. Unfortunately, I am not to good at that, and it only took two weeks before I started picking up some training again. First just some relaxing bike rides of running, but they started to get more serious and serious.

Good times at Denali

So it did not take long before I decided to get back to a structured way of training. I started a running program that would lead up to a full marathon. Ambitious, but that is what I like. Training was well and I registered for a half marathon on 30 September (Halve van Haarlem). 

Let’s do that half marathon!

The days before the half marathon I felt awesome, but a little insecure. It would be my first half marathon, and I was wondering how much time I would need. Racing day itself was just another great day; sunny, not to much wind and just about 20 degrees celcius. Awesome! I started just about in the middle of the field and I felt great. The first part of the race I spend a lot of energy on overtaking other runners, and sometimes needed to jump on anf off sidewalks. The second part of the half marathon was much better and I was at full speed. It took me just a little over 1:35 to finish the race. Very satisfied and knowing that a sub 1:30 is definitely possible with some more racing experience.

Finishing the Halve van Haarlem

Focus on Aconcagua

However, now it is time to fully focus on the upcoming climb; Aconcagua! Almost everything is in place. Expedition and plane tickets are arranged, and I just need to take care of some final details.

The first early trip reports are already on Facebook, but so far the weather has been realy bad. Summiting has barely been possible so far. But, let the weather be bad now, so it will be good when I start climbing!

Next up: Aconcagua

My 7-years schedule requires me to keep the pace with climbing. Certainly after my initial failure on Denali, which caused a delay of one year. But, I am very happy to tell you my next expedition is planned!

On 1 February 2019, I will start climbing Aconcagua! Let’s try and get to the top of the Americas!

Aconcagua, the highest of the Americas

But not the normal route

Most climbers wanting to climb the mountain will use the normal route to get to the summit. This is an easy, non-technical climb that does not require rope, crampons or any other climbing hardware. However, Aconcagua is still almost 7000 meters high and should not be underestimated. These two factors, relatively easy climb but high altitude, cause a low summit percentage and the high number of accidents. Estimates are that only 30 to 40% of all climbers reach the summit successfully.

Since I am looking to a climb that is a little more challenging, I will not take this route.

Not the Polish Traverse either

The second most climbed route on Aconcagua is the so-called Polish Traverse. With this route, you approach Aconcagua from the east through the Vacas Valley. Once you reach the mountain, the route joins the normal route just below summit. During this traverse to the normal route, you climb just below the Polish Glacier, hence the name. The advantage of this route is that it is a little longer than the normal route, allowing you the acclimatize more. And this route is a little less crowded than the normal route, but still non-technical.

I will follow the Polish Traverse route for a while, but not all the way…

Where is all starts…

So how will I climb exactly?

I will head to the bottom of Aconcagua via the Vacas Valley and will start my climb using the Polish Traverse Route. However, at the bottom of the Polish Glacier, I will head for the summit directly, and not follow the traverse to the normal route.

This route is called the Polish Direct Route and offers a nice ice climb up to 55 degrees steep. Besides the steepness we will encounter section with huge crevasses where we will have to find a way to pass. The crux of this route is at 6700m, where we need to climb a steep, but short, rock band. Given the altitude, this might just be pretty challenging!

After the rock band there is not much left that can stop us from summiting!

In red: The Polish Direct route. In blue: The Polish Traverse

But, my choice for the Polish Polish Direct route also allows flexibility. I will join a group that will climb the Polish Traverse, and can always decide to stay with them, instead of going for the steep Polish Glacier. Weather on Aconcagua or bad route conditions may force me to do so!

Let’s start preparing

While planning this expedition, I have already started to intensify my training sessions. I have fully recovered from my Denali climb and enjoy working on my fitness again. I know good preparation is key when trying to increase chances of reaching the summit. And I will do everything I can to get to that summit!

Denali 2018 is dead… Let’s do Denali!

Mixed feelings while writing this blog about Denali 2018. The last couple of weeks a lot of things happened, but unfortunately not all things where good. So let’s dive into the current status of my Denali (2.0) Expedition progress.

Status of the expedition

As you might have understood by the title of this blog, some things have changed. The 2018 expedition was planned and we were making good progress to get all preparation done in time. But then my climbing partner decided not to go to Denali. He just didn’t felt he was ready for it. So, I had an immediate problem and I felt I had to act fast…

Testing equipment

Since I think it’s a bad decision to climb Denali solo, I had a decision to make. To find new climbing partners, I needed time… but May 2018 is getting closer every day. And it’s not easy finding capable climbers with the right ambition.. certainly not if you live in a country that has no mountains at all!

The other option I had was to drop my plans to climb Denali unguided and join another commercial expedition.  This was a hard one since I put my head on to going unguided, which is very understandable given my experience last year.

So after having a good nights sleep, some deep thoughts and difficult discussions (mostly with myself :)), I decided to drop my ambition to go unguided; I joined a commercial expedition. So expedition Denali 2018  is dead… Let’s do Denali!


Training is good! I’m on the 20k intermediate schedule from Garmin. The schedule requires me to run 5 times a week. And I love it! I do most of my training sessions early in the morning before I go to work. Meaning I often get up before 6 o’clock in the morning and enjoy the silence while doing my workout. But I do look forward to running in the sunrise in a couple of weeks!

Wallballs for strenght

To add some strength and core stability I am following the Be Your Best Program at BuitenGewoonFit. I loved it last year and I love it again this year! But, because it’s always nice to do a little extra, I’m taking another extra Bootcamp work-out every week.

This all adds up to 8 workouts a week. I find it hard to compare my current fitness level to last year. But I do feel I’m on the right track!


Not much news on the Gear-section. Most things I already bought last year. But I did some extra hardware like snow pickets, and some new carabiners and slings. And of course some snowshoes! Luckily, Klimwinkel helped me a lot on this and will continue to help me. Thanks a lot for that!

Training weekend in Austria

Any other things?

Yes! Definitely! I’m working hard on the future of my project.  Recently the Utrechtse Sportkant (Sports paper of Utrecht) published a pretty big article about my The7in7 project and the Denali 2018 expedition. It’s a great read and certainly worth your time. You can use Google Translate if you don’t understand Dutch!

Another article of me, about my successful summit on Mount Elbrus, got published on Mountainreporters.

I had some small support from Vifit Sport. They were kind enough to support me with some high protein recovery bars and drinks. The drinks and bars didn’t last long, but every help is greatly appreciated and welcome!

And there is even more on the way! I’m expecting another, but smaller article, pretty soon. But more on this once the article has been published.

Is that all? No, not yet… I’m working hard on something else, which could be a really big step for the project. Stay tuned for an update on that!

Meanwhile, my focus on the Denali 2018 expedition is growing a bit every day.