Alison Young's mountain adventure begins

January 6, 2014
Alison Young at the tourist view of Cerro Aconcagua (the snow-capped mountain at right) in 2011, a pit-stop on her way to Patagonia. Alison's husband, Richard, recalls Alison saying when this photo was taken, "One day, I'll be on top of that beast!" (Richard Rasch) Alison Young and her husband, Richard Rasch, in Patagonia in 2011. (courtesy Richard Rasch) Alison Young practices the self-arrest technique in Como Park in St. Paul, Minn. (courtesy Alison Young) Alison Young hikes the John Muir Trail in California's Sierra Nevada. (Richard Rasch) Alison Young on the Drakensberg Traverse in South Africa. (courtesy Alison Young) Alison Young sport-climbing in Blue Mounds State Park near Luverne, Minn. (courtesy Alison Young)

St. Paul, Minn. — This January, classical host Alison Young will attempt to summit the highest mountain in the Western Hemisphere, Cerro Aconcagua. It's located near one of the greatest wine regions in the world, Mendoza, Argentina. At 22,841 feet, Cerro Aconcagua is the tallest peak outside of the Himalayas.

Alison is an avid backpacker and long-distance trekker; she has walked up the Baltoro Glacier to the base camp of K2 in the Pakistani Karakorum, the Torres del Paine's El Circuito in the Chilean Patagonia, the Drakensberg Traverse in South Africa and the John Muir Trail in California's Sierra Nevada. Cerro Aconcagua, however, is her first high-altitude climb. It will push her way out of any comfort zone she may have developed up to now, and it will require some new techniques, such as "self-arrest" — that's when you use your ice ax to stop a potentially fatal fall over a cliff.

Alison attempted to simulate falling backwards, forwards, head first, etc. on a sledding hill in Como Park, and she successfully stopped before crashing into trees, skiers or small children. And what an incredible December to prepare for the bitter winds and cold she'll encounter on Cerro Aconcagua. And every piece of gear she is taking to Argentina has been tested and broken in on Alison's daily walks to work.

Of course, music is integral to every aspect of Alison's life as it permeates her training, planning, soothing of nerves, and contemplating spectacular vistas.

Look for updates on the intersection of music and adventure as well as "classical on top of the world" in the coming weeks.

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