Our youngest daughter Lia is 25 years old and has been traveling the world since she was just 18, visiting more than 70 countries, and she has not let a pandemic stop her.
In 2017 she climbed the 5895m to the summit of Mt Kilamanjaro, and since then has had a dream to climb an even higher mountain in Argentina. Mt Aconcagua. Its height of 6961m meters is midway between Mt Kilamanjaro and Mt Everest. Her 3 week expedition began in early January 2022 – stick with us to find out if she made it!
Only 30% of people who attempt to climb Mt Aconcagua reach the summit and its usually altitude sickness and/or the cold that halts the other 70%. With increased altitude the % of Oxygen in the air decreases making it more difficult for body to keep delivering adequate Oxygen to all the tissues. Symptoms can be quite debilitating and include headache, confusion, fatigue, stomach illness, dizziness, and sleep disturbance. It can progress to more dangerous and life threatening situations. Symptoms often begin to appear at a height of 2000 meters.
Lia used Canes Deer Velvet when she climbed Mt Kilamanjaro a few years ago, and was one of the 60% who made it to the summit, and she’s been using Canes Deer Velvet for a many months prior to this climb too, to help prepare her body. It was her hope that she would once again cope with the altitude and be among the minority who reach the summit. More on her expedition shortly…..
Canes Deer Velvet is an effective supplement to assist the body to maximise the Oxygen carrying capacity of the blood. Research shows how it can enhance new blood vessel development in wounds and promote peripheral circulation in general. In Traditional Chinese Medicine velvet has been used as a tonic for the blood for centuries. With healthy red blood cells the body has the best chance to carry as much Oxygen as possible around the body, and improved circulation means this Oxygen can be delivered efficiently to the tissues, and the waste products from the cells can be removed efficiently. This is why a lot of athletes use Velvet and sports research has shown an almost 10% improvement in aerobic capacity and strength, and 25% reduction in muscle damage, along with improved recovery rates. More on that subject here
These benefits are all helpful to Lia as she climbs her mountain, but are also helpful to you and I as we move through our day with maximum energy levels and mental clarity – we all love a dose of that!
And now as the long awaited pandemic finally hits our country its very relevant to support the body with good nutritients, good oxygenation and natural anti-inflammatory factors. The body has greater demands both during illness, and during recovery phase, which for some people can apparently become ‘long Covid’. Lending a hand in the form of Canes Deer Velvet is a great all round way to take care of yourself.
More on Lia’s expedition…. We eagerly awaited her messages, which were few and far between.
By Day 5 of expedition, they reached Plaza de Mulas base camp at 4300 m. From this camp upwards they largely carry all their own gear, and this includes the food and water, which you must drink a lot of to help prevent the altitude sickness. Porters assist with the tents and some camping equipment, but Lia was grateful she had done lots of hiking training while carrying a pack on her back in her preparation.
“It is difficult to get a good night sleep while on the mountain, as the tent is very noisy with the wind, the ground is very hard, and the mattress is a very thin inflatable – not to mention the temperatures of -5-20 degrees Celsius!”
It’s usual to do acclimatization hikes on the way up the mountain, which means they hike further up the mountain for a day and then come back down to the same place to sleep. This allows the body time to adjust a little to the lower oxygen concentration. A medical examination is required before going on to the next step.
One of the members of Lia’s group had to be airlifted down from this camp due to pulmonary oedema or (fluid on the lungs) due to the altitude. In fact Lia said she lost count of the number of times the rescue helicopter visited the mountain during her expedition. I am glad it was not for her, but it did become close…..
Covid causes concerns!
The night before they left this camp they learned that several people from other groups at the same base camp had tested positive for Covid-19, including 5 from 2 groups within the same tour company. The rule is if one person in your group tests positive, all must abandon the climb and go down as it is too much of a risk to everyone to climb if you are not in best of health. Lia was extremely sad for these climbers, and very worried for her own group, but fortunately, they all tested negative and they were able to continue. PHEW! She was so relieved!
After they left Plaza de Mulas, the weather was not so flash. There was a windstorm, and she felt like her tent might become a kite at any moment! The summit was closed during the next few days because of the wind and some of the groups had to go down without summiting, but by the time Lia was due to summit the weather was much better so we were very hopeful and excited for her success. During all this time she kept taking 6 capsules of Canes Deer Velvet every day to help her body get the limited Oxygen around her body as efficiently as possible.
From here on we knew we would not hear from her until after the expedition so we waited….and waited.
We expected to hear from her 2 or 3 days after her expected summit day, and this allowed the usual 2 days for decent, but we heard nothing! …. when it became 5 days later I began to be concerned and sent emails to the company she climbed with asking if she was safe and well. They advised me she had left the mountain and was dropped to her hotel 2 days earlier! I admit to some anxiety at that point. Lia has been travelling the world for more than 7 years, often solo travelling, and thankfully I have never had to send a search party – she always keeps in touch, even if it’s just a thumbs up. So I expected she would have called us somehow even though she was still in the mountains and the coverage was not great. I learned that she left the mountain with her climbing buddy Jon so calmly waited some more…and was very relieved when she finally did contact us a few hours later. (Turns out a couple of those extra days were a miscalculation on my part.)
Did she make it?
We learned directly from her the exciting news that YES! she had made it to the summit. Her dream had come true! She describes it as the toughest 16 hours of her life by a landslide. 99% of her wanted to turn around! She spent 9 hours telling the other 1% ‘you can do this!!’
Following is her message about this moment.
“For all the nights I lay awake picturing myself getting up to the summit of Aconcagua, I never could’ve imagined just how tough that summit day would be. 4am start, ten hours of relentlessly steep uphill, well below freezing conditions, at extreme altitude, I spent every minute trying to convince one part of my mind not to listen to the other part, even though one was a scream and the other was a whisper. Four hours from the summit, I took off my gloves to see my fingers were still black with frostbite, despite me and the guides trying desperately to warm them up for the past hours. The guides were tossing up whether to send me down or not, and if it wasn’t for the weather being on my side, my expedition would’ve been over at that point. Thanks to an incredible team, good weather, and a lot of luck, I reached the summit of Aconcagua a few days ago. The heights of emotions that day is like nothing I’ve ever experienced, and I’m just so grateful to have been able to live out my dream and experience such an incredible part of the world.”
Some serious sleep!
When we finally spoke, Lia explained she had literally been asleep 40 hours out of the 48 hours at the hotel!!! She had not turned on her phone as she was too exhausted to face a months worth of messages coming in, and doing so would signal the end of that special time in her life… she was not quite ready for the moment to be over!
Lia has an iron will and it took all her mental skills to keep going to the top. The walk down the mountain was equally as difficult as the ascent, as every last ounce of energy had been used up getting to the summit. I would never take away from the enormity of her personal achievement, and yes, being our daughter she may be a bit biased, but she happily credits Canes Deer Velvet with helping her physically to the top of Mt Aconcagua, and was very happy she had it in her tool box.
“When I climbed Kilimanjaro a few years ago, I was wildly underprepared in most aspects. I had done the least training, didn’t have the right equipment, and had by far the least experience at altitude. But I had been consistently taking deer velvet, and I largely credit that to how well my body adjusted to the mountain conditions. It is proven to increase your red blood cells and this is what suffers at altitude and causes you to feels so sick. So I knew when I set out to attempt Aconcagua, a 6962 m mountain in the Andes, which has just a 30% summit success rate- that I wanted a good stock of deer velvet on board for me, and also for my climbing partner Jon. We started taking between 4-6 capsules a day about a year before the expedition, which also aided in our training recovery leading up, and we of course took it with us up the mountain too. During the 18 day expedition on Aconcagua, we found our bodies handled the altitude really well compared to others in our group, and despite the long days and sleepless nights, our bodies felt good and we had a lot of energy. Also having travelled in South America for the past three months, staying in hostel dorm rooms and taking countless flights and public transport, I believe Canes Deer velvet has been vital in helping me maintain a strong immune system that has allowed me to stay healthy during this time.“
Those frost bitten fingers remained a bit numb for a couple of weeks, so it was great to have the deer velvet supplements on board assisting the damaged nerves and tissues to recover too. I’m pleased to report they were soon back to normal, just in time for an expedition to yet another cold place……..yes…..next up was Antarctica, then South America, Mexico, and plans to be home just in time to welcome a new niece or nephew……
You can watch Lia’s amazing expedition video Aconcagua, the highs the lows and everything in between, and you too can get a taste of the energy and immune support that helped her reach her summit right here. If you have questions on along the way please pop me a message hereWarm Regards – Kathy Cane