Thursday, July 14, 2011

January 2006

January 2006

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all of you! I'm planning on kicking off 2007 with another great adventure!!

On Jan. 9th, I'll be flying to Mendoza, Argentina where soon after, I'll be attempting to climb Mt. Aconcagua. It is located in the heart of the Argentine-Chilean Central Andes. Ackon Cahuak, or "Stone Sentinel" is one of the Seven Summits (the highest mountain in South America)... and stands proudly at almost 23,000 feet... and is actually the highest mountain in the world outside the Himalayas. It is an incredible mountain of rock, ice, and massive faces, and the 35 mile approach is surrounded by beautiful 21,000 foot high peaks. I've been training hard for this specifically for quite a few months. I'm expecting this to be my hardest challenge yet, and since I've completed Ironmans, run 135 miles through Death Valley, 140 miles through the Sahara, and climbed the highest mountains on two other continents (Africa and Europe), that's saying a lot!
(apparently, my psychiatrist and medication AREN'T working....JUST KIDDING....but probably not a bad idea!)

The climb itself will last about 14 days depending on mother nature... and she can be quite angry on this mountain. With the famously fierce and unpredictable winds called "viento blanco" or white winds, that can reach 100 miles per hour, and temps dropping to well below zero, things can deteriorate incredibly fast to become quite deadly. The high altitude makes any number of altitude sicknesses a very real possibility, and at this height, such menial tasks as feeding yourself and dressing can start to seem more like writing a computer program. We will be taking the less technical route (meaning "EASIER"... thank God), but with the extreme altitude, severe winds, and cold temps...this ascent by any route will be incredibly challenging!!

But if we make it...and that's a BIG "if"...what a view we'll have! If it's a cloudless day, we'll be able to see almost 100 miles straight through Chile, to the big blue Pacific...what a moment that will be!! It's actually THAT vision that is already motivating me to keep putting one foot in front of the other.

Even though I've been training very hard and feel ready, there's really no way to predict how your body might react at this height, so I'm still quite nervous....ok, maybe scared is a more accurate description! I've spent months training, and endured many strange looks and finger pointing as I've prepared by running marathons with my backpack on, and spending countless hours on the stair master in the gym dressed in full gear...yes, looking ridiculous...but hopefully my intense training will pay off and my determination will enable me to make it to the top... but more importantly...back down again!!

One of members of my climbing group is a writer for Men's Journal, fitness trainer, and running coach and he will be sending daily dispatches to his blog where anyone can follow our progress. If anyone is interested you can follow along at

Frank Fumich
Express Catering, Inc.

Also, my trainer is friends with the man and woman that have just recently been on the news as being lost, climbing the remote mountains of China. She has asked that I include the info since the elderly mother of the missing woman is collecting funds to pay searchers to look for the lost couple. After watching all the coverage of the missing climbers on Mt Hood, and all the people searching, you can imagine how it would feel to have a loved one lost in a remote part of China where there aren't really any authorities to even conduct a search.

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