January 19, 2022

Located in Argentina in the Andes, Aconcagua (full name: Cerro Aconcagua) is the highest mountain outside of Asia at 6961 m. At the same time, after Mount Everest, it is the mountain with the greatest dominance at 16,536 kilometers and has the second largest gap.


The Aconcagua is located in the province of Mendoza near the Chilean border. It has five slope glaciers and glaciers up to ten kilometers long. A secondary peak (6928 m) lies south of the main peak. The mountain is not a volcano; however, like Mount Everest, it has long been assumed to be such due to the cloud plumes that can often be observed at its summit.


The meaning of the name Aconcagua is unclear. It is believed to derive from Quechua Mapudungun Aconca-Hue or Ackon Cahuak, which roughly means "stone guardian". Another interpretation is based on the Aymara language, in which the name "snow mountain" would mean. In Chile it was long known as El volcano (“the volcano”).

Climbing history

The first explorations of the area were carried out in 1817 by the independence fighter José de San Martín, when he entered Chile via the Aconcagua passes from Argentina. Robert FitzRoy measured the mountain from the sea in 1834 and calculated a height of 23,200 feet, making Aconcagua the highest mountain in the Andes. Until then, Chimborazo had been considered the highest mountain on the continent. The first expedition mentioned was carried out by the German Paul Güßfeldt from November 1882 to March 1883. He was able to prove that Aconcagua is not a volcano and determine the height relatively accurately. However, he had to abort his attempts to climb from the north several times due to bad weather. Its highest altitude reached was 6560 m. The third expedition, after an unsuccessful attempt by the German Gymnastics Association of Santiago de Chile, was led by the British Edward FitzGerald in December 1896, choosing the route from the south. The expedition leader, mountain guide Matthias Zurbriggen from Saas Fee, was the first to reach the summit on January 14, 1897. Because of FitzGerald's nausea, the mountain guides Nicola Lanti from Macugnaga, Josef Lochmatter, Josef Pollinger and Alois Pollinger junior from St. Niklaus had to lead the expedition members back to the base camp below the summit. On February 13, Nicola Lanti and Stuart Vines performed the second ascent. The first Argentine on the summit was the soldier Nicolás Plantamura on March 8, 1934, the first woman was the Frenchwoman Adriana Banca on March 7, 1940. In 1946 several bivouac boxes were set up along the normal route over the north-west ridge up to an altitude of 6400 m; however, they are now largely derelict. The southern side summit of the mountain was not climbed until 1947 by a German group (Thomas Kopp, Lothar Herold).


The mountain is considered by mountaineers as an "easy" mountain to climb from the north side. The normal route from the “Plaza de Mulas” base camp can be managed without using any climbing techniques. Due to the extreme height, the ascent nevertheless harbors considerable dangers. Since the atmospheric pressure at the summit is only about 40% of the pressure at sea level, long acclimatization is essential. Usually three high camps are set up. The use of oxygen cylinders is not common at these altitudes. The second most used and next most difficult "False Poland Route" leads from the base camp "Plaza Argentina" to the start of the northeastern Glaciar de los Polacos ("Polish Glacier"). The glacier is crossed in its lower, flat and crevice-free part, and after crossing a 25 to 30 degree steep slope at about 6400 m, the “normal route” coming from the “Plaza de Mulas” base camp is reached. The one facing away from the sun

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