On 27 November 2009, Johnny Bergius set off on his second attempt to climb Mount Aconcagua to and raise vital funds for the Louis Dundas Centre for Children’s Palliative Care.
Johnny tells his story about why he headed back to tackle a mountain he swore he’d never set foot on again…
"On 18 December 2007, having endured two weeks on the mountain in particularly appalling weather culminating in two days and nights confined to our flimsy tents at 19,800 feet in winds up to 100 mile an hour and temperatures falling to -50 windchill, I descended Aconcagua, at 22.841 feet (6962 metres) the highest mountain outside of the Himalayas, in the teeth of this storm. I had ascended to the highest camp and was within one final day's slog to the summit.
I arrived back in Mendoza mentally and physically exhausted and vowed I would never set foot on any mountain ever again.
A change of heart
On 21 April 2008 Louis Dundas lost his tenacious and agonising 18 month battle against a brain tumour. Although I hardly knew him, this little boy, the son of my close friends Ruth and Bruce Dundas demonstrated a fortitude and courage through this appalling illness which demonstrated a strength of character, love of life and set an example of courage in the face of serious adversity which I have found totally inspirational.
Louis, in his five short years, achieved what we all spend a life time aspiring too; He has left a legacy which will have a profoundly positive impact on the lives of his fellow human beings.
When Ruth and Bruce announced their ambitious plans to establish a Centre for Palliative Care for Children with life threatening illness at Great Ormond Street Hospital in Louis’ memory I knew that I had to do something.
In an effort to raise funds for this wonderful project I decided to attempt, one more time to climb Aconcagua."