Two Months, Ten 6,000m Peaks In The Andes

In less than two months, a pair of European climbers bagged enough Andean peaks to make any alpinist jealous.

Belgian climber Koen Darras and his Dutch partner Sara Eenhoorn summited 10 Andean mountains over 6,000m, they reported recently.

Traveling to three South American countries — Bolivia, Chile, and finally Argentina — they battled their way up some of the continent’s toughest mountains, culminating with the biggest prize of all: Aconcagua (6,962m).

While both Darras and Eenhoorn seem to have plenty of experience with outdoor adventures, neither of them had spent much time in the high mountains.

“With almost no high mountain experience, you can truly say: it was a crazy idea,” Darras said. “But we gave everything from ourselves.”


Ver esta publicación en Instagram


Una publicación compartida por Sara Eenhoorn (@saraeenhoorn)


All told, the two Europeans returned home on New Year’s Eve with a decent report card:

In Bolivia, they climbed Huayana Potosi (6,088m), Illimani (6,438m) Acontango (6,052m), Parinacota (6,342m), Pomerape (6,282m) and Sajama (6,542m). They continued on to Chile, where they bagged Vicunas (6,067m), San Fransico (6,016m), and Ojos del Salado (6,891m).

And finally, well-acclimatized, they managed to climb Aconcagua in just seven days, far below the average of 20 days.


Ver esta publicación en Instagram


Una publicación compartida por Sara Eenhoorn (@saraeenhoorn)


A busy and successful trip

In fact, part of the team’s success resulted from its rigorous acclimatization process in the Andes.

Coming from lives at sea level in both Belgium and The Netherlands, the pair knew they needed plenty of time to get used to the altitude.

So they also managed to summit plenty of other mountains on their way to bigger objectives. Most of those were in Bolivia and include: Pico Austria (5,327m), Janq’u Uyu (5,512m), Apacheta (5,445m), Pirámide Blance (5,392m), and Pico Las Animalis (4,750m).


Ver esta publicación en Instagram


Una publicación compartida por Sara Eenhoorn (@saraeenhoorn)


The pair also attempted to climb Illimani, the tallest mountain in the Cordillera Real and the second-highest peak in Bolivia (6,468m) but had to turn back just below the summit after encountering a crevasse.

On Aconcagua, the climbing team decided to tackle the Polish Traverse Route, a demanding route that’s more difficult than the one normally taken by newcomers.

“What a cool adventure and what a climb,” Darras wrote.

Andrew McLemore

An award-winning journalist and photographer, Andrew McLemore brings more than 14 years of experience to his position as Associate News Editor for Lola Digital Media. Andrew is also a musician, climber and traveler who currently lives in Medellin, Colombia. When he’s not writing, playing gigs or exploring the outdoors, he’s hanging out with his dog Campana.