World’s highest swim record attempt meets with challenges

The group of seven South African swimmers attempting to beat Lewis Pugh’s record for the world’s highest swim have released pictures and video of their expedition to Mount Ojos, the highest active volcano in the world, in the Andes mountains, Argentina.

As the team struggle to acclimatise to the altitude, they are now also considering a plan B. Worried that the lake on Mount Ojos might be so solidly frozen that it defeats even the chainsaws they are carrying, a lower lake on another volcano, Zapaleri, was initially proposed as an alternative site for their record attempt. At 5540m above sea level, a swim at the lower lake would still beat Pugh’s record of 5300m.

However, having spent the weekend acclimatising (and kite surfing!) at Laguna Verde at 4300m above sea level, the group are now on Mount Tres Cruces searching for another back-up pool. Conditions are reported to be challenging as the team attempt to deal with plans and logistics changing from day to day. According to Madswimmer spokesperson Nicolene Steynberg, the team’s local guide, Eduardo, has found a lake in a volcanic crater at 5909m after a very difficult climb. The Madswimmers will now have to acclimatise further before attempting to reach the pool and are now, after some car troubles, heading to Mt San Francisco on the Argentina/Chile border at 5700m above sea level.

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I created Outdoor Swimmer in 2011 (initially as H2Open Magazine) as an outlet for my passion for swimming outdoors. I've been a swimmer and outdoor swimmer for as long as I remember. Swimming has made a huge difference to my life and I want to share its joys and benefits with as many people as possible. I am also the author of Swim Wild & Free: A Practical Guide to Swimming Outdoors 365 a Year and I provide one-to-one support to swimmers through Swim Mentoring.