by Don Sydor
based a successful climb of Aconcagua (see summary below)
Success on a climb should not be measured by the mere distance of elevation above sea level or the degree of difficulty of a rock face, but, rather how close the experience has brought us to our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
“Master, which is the great commandment in the law?” Jesus said unto him, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.” (Matthew 22:36-40)
Perfect love is the key to balance in our lives. Perfect balance is the key to climbing and to life on this earth. In His sermon on the mount, Jesus invited us to welcome Him into our lives. “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and you shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto yo;. For everyone that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.” (Matthew 7:7-8)
We do not have to climb a mountain to realize that life on this earth has caused us all to be climbers in one way or another. No one carries us on his back for very long. We all as individuals must place one foot in front of the other.
Don Sydor on Summit of Aconcagua (6962 m)
A climber should know well that absolutely no one conquers a mountain. Our Father in Heaven allows us the unspoken rite of passage. While climbing a mountain of great magnitude, a climber willfully departs from a world of comforts and conveniences. He enthusiastically enters a realm where life is stripped to the barest essentials for survival.
To climb higher in life, we do not need crampons, ice axes or ropes. Perfect balance is the key which gives us the perfect relationship with our God in Heaven and our surroundings on this earth. The mountaineers of the Spirit willfully leave the earthly things behind and press in toward higher places with the Lord of Heaven and earth. “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts.” (Isaiah 55:9)
Our reach should always be greater than our grasp. “I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 3:14) A mountain should be a means of bringing us all together, not a weapon for driving us apart.
As we climb the mighty mountain of life, no better guide could we follow than the ultimate, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, who leads us on our journey upon this earth. He has a plan and a purpose for every one of us.
There is no question the world we live in would be a more perfect place if we all just stopped long enough to ask ourselves the question, “How can I live my life in greater fulfillment?” Climb Higher!
Summary of Don's Ascent
- We left Puente del Inca and were transported by trucks to the beginning of the Vacas Valley.
- Our team then trekked approximately 35 miles, with a support of 13 mules guided by 3 drivers. We arrived at basecamp around 14,000' to prepare for our ascent.
- With much planning, we established three high camps: Camp I at 16'200', Camp II at 19,000'and Camp III at 20,000'.
- We successfully climbed the Polish Glacier Route via the alternative North Ridge. All of our team of ten members reached the summit of Aconcagua (22,900') in Argentina, the highest mountain outside the Himalaya, on January 30, 1994, in perfect conditions. A Colorado expedition running two days ahead of us where denied success due to extreme wind velocity.
- The expedition took 13 days to reach the summit and 3 days to return to "civilization".
- I had no knowledge that there was an aluminum cross planted upon the summit. Upon my ice ax, Jesus had symbolically placed His banner above our "star spangled banner."