Ascending Tres Cruces Norte

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Ascending Tres Cruces Norte

Ascending Tres Cruces Norte: Completing a New World Record

Within the volcanic crater on what is believed to be the current highest body of water on the planet I set a new world record for highest altitude to paddle board at a height of 5902M/19,364 feet above sea level. 

The record was filled with unforeseen complexities, from lost luggage, to illness, to the inarguable impacts of climate change altering the anticipated water levels where the record was to be set.

On January 22nd, I began my ascent of Tres Cruces Norte

A rarely climbed peak often overshadowed by its two neighboring mountains that stand at greater heights, it alone though holds a rare pool - which like a glimmering blue sapphire - sits within its dormant volcanic crater.

After camping for the night midway up the mountain, I set off the following morning reaching the crater rim a few hours later. After climbing to the summit at 19,783 feet, I descended over 400 feet into the volcanic crater to reach the shoreline of the pool. Immediately upon the descent concerns came into view as there were clear evaporation rings indicating a water level below the anticipated 5915 meters gathered from all satellite and reports available. 

Climate change has put these highest bodies of water on Earth in its crosshairs and many such high-altitude pools from the Andes to the Himalayas are now already believed to be gone. 

Reaching the water’s edge I was beyond relieved to realize looking at my Garmin that the pool still sat at 5902M/19,364 feet. The record would not be shattered today, but it would still be broken.

Unpacking and inflating my ISLE paddle board, I set off on the water. Winds whirling like a Dervish and trying to take me tempestuously in unwanted ways, the board remained ever stable - for which I was grateful since room prohibited packing my dry suit for the attempt. A little over 13 mins and a new record was realized!

Record aside though – through expanding the way we experience such places our connection to them becomes ever deeper and more meaningful as does our conviction to advocate for their preservation and protection. Our adventures should always make us better advocates.

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