Mitchell Winiecki ’06 Posted on March 27th, 2019 by

Mitchell Winiecki ’06 and his climbing partner, Jason Hendricks (St. Olaf class of 2005), ascended and traversed North America’s Third Highest point on their own, unassisted and unsupported. Pictured below is Pico de Orizaba – North America’s Third Highest Peak (18,491 ft). “We reached the summit on February 19, 2019 at approximately 10am CST. Below is a brief synopsis of the climb. In mountaineering it’s not always about what you do but how you do it. For our team that means doing things our way. Completing our goal of an alpine style traverse of the mountain beginning on the north side and ending on the south over the course of two days. Using our own accelerated acclimation timeframe to summit the mountain in a shorter period of time despite the objection from other international guides. And of course doing this all DIY style – WE are the guides. We spent the night at high-camp at 15,700 ft, which is over 1,200 ft higher than any point in the contiguous United States. And endured an eleven-hour summit day that included three hours of climbing a 40+ degree incline on top of Mexico’s only permanent glacier during a windstorm that knocked us off balance on more than one occasion. The scree-field we descended on the south side is one of the steepest sections of the entire mountain and left us completely exhausted and humbled. The view from the summit will always go down as one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen in my life. Stats: • 5,000 ft vertical elevation gain ~14 hours on the trail • Third highest point in North America 18,491 ft. (alpine style traverse) Up next, we are continuing to go international with this thing and the only peak left for me to climb in the western hemisphere is Aconcagua in Argentina, which is the highest point in the world outside of the Himalayas. My plan is to either climb Aconcagua or go straight to Himalaya where I have Lhotse is my sights. Lhotse is the world’s fourth highest mountain and shares a saddle with Mt. Everest.”

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