Photo by Edilson V. Benvenutti
|Difficulty:||Major Mountain Expedition|
|Best months for climbing:||Jan, Feb, Mar|
|Year first climbed:||1897|
|First successful climber(s):||Matthias Zurbriggen|
|Nearest major airport:||Mendoza, Argentina|
|Convenient Center:||Mendoza, Argentina|
Aconcagua is the highest mountain in the Western hemisphere, located in western Argentina, near the Chile border. Aconcagua is a gigantic mass of rock, not picturesque in the traditional Alpine sense, but magnificent by its size alone. It dominates the sky west of Santiago, Chile's capital city, and is visible from the Pacific coast, 100 miles away.
Though the mountain's summit crest and radiating ridges are largely windswept free of snow, large glaciers fill the valleys on all but the southern and western flanks. Some climbing routes are relatively straightforward hikes to the top, but this is the very reason that Aconcagua has one of the highest mountain death tolls in the world: It is a popular mountain, and many of its climbers tend to move too swiftly up the mountain, with little respect for the elevation or the weather, which on Aconcagua can quickly become severe.