Chris Ummer, Athletic Director at Lyndon State College, has just begun formal training for his trek. “Aconcagua is a stepping stone to the next level,” he shares. To climb any higher, Chris would have to go to the Himalayas.
He’s done that – earlier this year, Chris hiked to Everest Base Camp (17,200 feet). He has also summited Pico de Orizaba (Mexico, 18,491ft), Kilimanjaro (Tanzania, 19,410ft), and Rainier (USA, 14,411ft).
Aconcagua’s summit is 22,841 feet.
Chris lives and works just up the road from Bag Balm Headquarters in Lyndonville, Vermont. “I often chuckle to myself when I drive by the Bag Balm signs in Lyndonville,” he says. “This product is something that I use whenever training, winter or summer, and it’s made right here! It’s my fundamental component of skin protection, especially in the winter months.”
Chris’ routine includes daily trainings for endurance and speed, consistent hikes, and a careful diet. “The tricky thing is working it in with my job,” he says. One of his strategies is to join Lyndon State’s cross-country team (which he coaches) for long Sunday runs.
Right now, Chris is bounding up short, steep hikes during the week; his average pace is 1,500 vertical feet in 30 minutes. He favors Vermont’s Pisgah and Burke peaks for these early morning jaunts – they are close to home and quite steep. His longer weekend hike is often on Mount Washington in New Hampshire, and Chris’ goal is trailhead to summit in 90 minutes or less. As a point of reference, it takes most hikers over 4 hours to reach this summit.
The weather on Mount Washington can be extremely cold and windy, and Chris finds Bag Balm to be the best product to protect his skin, especially his face and lips.
In addition to Bag Balm, Chris never leaves home for a training run without food, a map, a headlamp, and his training partner, Maverick - an American Chocolate Lab. Stay tuned for updates on Chris’ journey! He is scheduled to leave for Argentina on December 4, with a summit attempt on or around December 17.