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Once the fear was gone it was just business as usual.

When sizing up any project it's important to have all the pieces at your disposal, when venturing into uncharted territory you need to be comfortable with big question marks and alot of confidence in your partners. Kenny Smith and Margus Riga are no strangers to this. Margus had been to Chile before and had befriended Jorge who was their go-to man on the ground. While he didn't have every answer, he knew a man who would. Diego was introduced to Kenny and Margus and the plan to summit Cerro Tupungato began.


Kenny in the foothills of tupungato
Kenny with their porter

The journey would require a significant amout of preparation. Between the elevation change, temperature change and potential weather hazards their safety and comfort would be at risk the entire time. Basing out of multiple camps with different set ups was also an issue. Then there was the matter of actually getting their equipment to the startline.

first camp
kenny slash gx tupungato

Once through the foothills the team began their ascent. The elevation effects were fairly swift to appear. Folks who live at sea level don't acclimatize fast to these elevations and fortunately for Kenny and Margus, Diego had a pattern of climbing that would allow them to properly acclimatize to ensure the success of their journey.

hiking through the icefield
hiking to the summit

The journey to the top from the final camp took hours. After recognizing that sleep wasn't an option the crew agreed to begin their push for the summit in the dark. Walking ridgelines, ice fields and steep climbing portions that would require rope rigging was made even harder by the fact that they could only take a few steps at a time. Their minds began to play tricks on them, hallucinating at times, only adding to the frustration and absurdity of their situation. They gained the summit. Most of their camera gear had stopped working due to the cold, it was about -30° celcius. To say that Tupungato is inhospitable would be an understatement. Nothing lives here, and they knew their time to revel in their success was fleeting.

going down
valley view

The ride out was well-earned. They celebrated with a pack of beer they had stashed at their earliest camp. Although their bodies were battled, the simple comfort of shelter, food and good company was enough to lift their spirits to a place where they could recognize their achievement. They summited, and descended a 6,570m Volcano on bikes, a feat not many can lay claim to.

celebration at the end

Kenny built his Devinci Troy with the incredibly robust GX Eagle Transmission, Code Stealth Bronze brakes and 220mm HS2 rotors for maximum stopping power for the enormous descent.

gx in tupungato

Photography by Margus Riga