With an altitude of 6.961 m / 22.837 ft, Aconcagua is the highest mountain outside of Asia. It is located in the Aconcagua Provincial Park, only 15 km away from the Chilean boarder. As it is the highest mountain on the south American continent, it is part of the famous Seven Summits. In addition, several glaciers are located on and around the mountain.
Even though the mountain is technically easy, almost all mountaineers underestimate it. The risks of elevation change, low oxygen level, and the consequential altitude sickness is a common failure. Furthermore, the cold weather with its fierce winds can be challenging and cause injuries. In the summer months lightning storms add even more risk to mountaineers. Its nickname “Mountain of Death” is referred to one of the highest death rates in south America. About three climbers per year die while trying to climb the mountain.
To enter the provincial park and climb Aconcagua you’ll need a permit. You personally have to fill in the information in an office close to Mendoza. The high season is between mid-december an end of January. Permits are more expensive in this time. A complete tour, starting from Mendoza, with acclimatization, hiking to the base camp and reaching the summit takes about 21 days. Through the normal route on the northern side, Aconcagua is a technically easy mountain. Ropes, axes and pins are not necessary but of course recommended. Aconcagua has several camps on the mountain. They can be used for rest and acclimatization reasons. The ascent from the base camp can either go through the Horcones Valley or the less used Vacas Valley. Smaller groups with experienced guides make a successful climb more possible.
Aconcagua is part of the Disney cartoon “Pedro” from 1942. On the way crossing the Andes, the airplane Pedro has a disastrous encounter with the mountain Aconcagua.